carding the wool

Carding & Spinning

The process of weaving a rug is a long one, it starts with the sheep’s wool. First the wool is washed using only cold water, usually by the women artisans; once it is dry the wool is carded by hand in order to pull all of the fibers in the same direction. Once carded the wool is then spun into yarn by hand, again usually by the women artisans. Once the yarns have been spun they are washed, this time with soap to remove the natural lanolin of the wool, and then the yarns are ready for dying.


Dying the Yarns

The dying process varies on what color is desired by the artisan. The dyes are made from various natural ingredients such as plants and flowers, cochineal and indigo. All of the dyes except those made with indigo are boiled, the plants needed to make the dye are placed inside a big pot of boiling water, then the yarns are added and left to boil for two to three hours. Dying with indigo is slightly different because it requires fermentation to take place. Once the yarns have been dyed they are hung out to dry before being washed again with soap, this time, usually by the men because washing the yarns after dying is harder work.

Our Approach - El Tono de la Cochinilla

Design & Weaving

Once the yarns have been dyed and dried the weaving process can begin and is done by both the men and the women artisans. Different tones of yarns are selected for the design and the weaving is then done on horizontal foot looms. The length of time taken to finish weaving a rug will vary depending on the size of the rug and the intricacy of its design. At El Tono de la Cochinilla we make rugs with designs inspires by the hieroglyphs found at the nearby archaeological sites, and it is shapes and designs of these which give our rugs their unique beauty and distinctive appearance.

weaving rugs teotitlan del valle oaxaca

We are the 5th generation of weavers

To us weaving is a very important tradition, that's why from the age of 7 we teach our children how to weave, just like our parents and grandparents taught us when we were children, and how our children will teach their children, and carry on this tradition for future generations.Weaving is not only an art but also a bonding process between family members.

How our rugs are used

The most common use for the tapestries is as a rug, at the side of the bed, in front of the hearth etc., but they are also occasionally used in nurseries, for blankets, or as wall hangings to adorn a room, and sometimes for special occasions.

El Tono de la Cochinilla - Wool Rugs from Teótitlan Oaxaca

Get in touch ...

If you would like to find out even more about our rugs, organize a tour of our workshop or maybe get a quote for having a rug custom made, or maybe seeing what we currently have in stock, just ask!