Moroccan craftswomen use sheep's wool to make their rugs & carpets or kilims . The wool is easily dyed and allows the creation of knotted carpets or colorful rugs with high pile wool, Berber carpets. For each rug, all the work is done by hand, from mowing wool to weaving, sorting wool, washing, framing and spinning. The artisanal work of wool is exclusively feminine.
Firstly, Moroccan weaver prepares the raw wool that is freed from its impurities such as pieces of straw or dirt, then spread to the sun.In a second step, the weaver washes the wool in order to degrease it and remove the ooze by soaking it in water mixed with clay, and then tap it with a wooden board or a palm branch. The wool is then thoroughly rinsed with water. In general, this happens during summer evenings in streams or natural water sources. It is a festive occasion for Moroccan women who organize parties by washing the wool in turn. The wool is then thoroughly cleaned as long as it is wet, drained and then dried in the sun.
The rug or clothing weavers then sort the wool according to the color, fineness and age of the sheep. This will determine the purpose of using wool. If the wool is thin and white, it will be used for the manufacture of jebbas (jellabas) or barnous (long woolen coat with a hood and sleeveless), or blankets for girls' trousseaux. The thicker wool will be used for making carpets (knotted stitches, Berber carpets kilims and mergoums (margoums)).
It is then necessary to mix and soften the wool in order to obtain a homogeneous color and to make it more flexible and easier to work. Women use for this an iron comb called "mchot". The carding of the wool is then done manually. This is a necessary step to prepare the wool for spinning. There are then two carding modes depending on the use of the wire. If one wishes to obtain fine rolls of wool, the women make the wool pass between two plates of wood provided with several rows of iron needles. If you want to get a perfectly smooth wick called "bous", the wool is combed on a wooden board at the end of which are fixed two rows of iron needles. This operation is however reserved for the most experienced women.
The women then spin the wool. There are two different spinning modes for warp and weft threads. Wool for weaving is prepared in small rolls then pulled while forming rotations using a distaff called "maghzel". The diameter of the yarn is defined according to the product to be woven. The fine woolen threads are intended for making clothes (jebba or barnous), the average woolen threads for blankets, and the thickest for carpets (knotted, mergoums or margoums, Berber carpets kilims ). The wool for the weft yarn is spun with another type of maghzel that turns the wool into a fairly fine yarn that will be stretched on the loom.
Author : J.Rodi