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Once dry the rug is ready for shearing, stretching, neeming, fringe-tying and clipping. These finishing processes all happen at the Bunyaad warehouse in Lahore, Pakistan.

Shearing

The rug is sheared by an artisan who drapes the rug over a steel pipe, its diameter determined by the desired height of the final pile. With a heavy shears (similar to shears once used to hand-trim the border of a lawn), the artisan trims the pile to the desired length. It takes three years of training to become a master trimmer.

Master Shearer at the Lahore Warehouse.
Master Shearer at the Bunyaad warehouse.

Stretching

Using wooden platforms to frame the rug, artisans nail each inch of the rug to the platforms and leave it in the sunlight all day. Usually done on rooftops, this process corrects the shape of the rug which may have been altered during knotting or washing.

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Rugs are nailed to platforms for stretching

Neeming

While the rug is on the stretching frame, an artisan applies an organic mixture to the back of the rug that provides lifetime mothproof protection for the rug. This organic mixture from the neem trees acts as a natural moth repellent.

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Neem provides lifetime mothproof protection

Fringe Tying

The rug is brought inside for the final steps of the finishing process. The fringes are tied using the leftover warp threads. These knots can be tied in several ways, from simple knots to exquisite needlework. The fringe knots protect the rug from unraveling by securing the warp and weft threads. A rug can become threadbare over time, but if the warp and weft are held together, the rug remains strong.

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Tying fringes from simple knots to exquisite needlework

Clipping

Another finishing process includes clipping any unwanted warp knots and weft threads. During the knotting of the rug, a knotter ties over 40 knots per minute. With such speed, it is inevitable that some warp threads are cut. These warp threads are tied and knotting continues. At finishing time, these knots are cut out, leaving the structure of the rug untouched. Also, the ends of the shuttled weft threads are trimmed during this period.

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Trimming the ends of shuttled weft threads