Karastan Rug MIll Tour
At D. A. Burns, we like to stay informed about the textiles we clean. We attend seminars and trade shows to meet the people behind the products, we travel to manufacturing centers to get an understanding of how they’re made, and we’re active in a number of industry trade associations to share information.
The following photos and video were taken on a tour of the Karastan carpet and rug mill in Eden, North Carolina.
The Karastan division of Mohawk Industries makes a variety of wall-to-wall carpeting and power-loomed rugs using a variety of yarns, production methods and machinery. This tour will focus on the ‘American Oriental’ a type of rug that has been in continuous production since 1928.
The Karastan factory has some modern touches and equipment, but the way the “Wonder Rug” is made hasn’t changed much since it was introduced. The factory is a working model of low-speed quality over quantity.
Original maple floors require moving carts of materials by hand.
Wool dyed on the lower floors is dried and brought to the manufacturing floor in hanks. This machine rolls the hanks onto spools for easier handling.
Hanks rolled into spools. Each cardboard core tube (top) is used multiple times.
Spools of yarn are loaded into a sorting machine so they line up with a particular row of a rug pattern.
An operator hand-loads each color of yarn into the cartridge loading machine. A loaded cartridge will hold enough yarn for that particular row of dozens of carpets. Rugs wider than 6 feet require more than one cartridge per row.
Cartridges must be loaded into the weaving machine in exactly the right order to make the rug pattern come out right.
Cartridges in the weaving machine. 2880 cartridges needed to make the 1440 horizontal lines in a 9×12 rug.
This video shows the back of weaving machine showing warp (fringe to fringe) fiber that will become the foundation of the rug.
Unlike the zinging speed of modern weaving machines, the Karastan weaver is… deliberate.
This video shows the trimmer that clips fiber from the cartridges as the rug is woven. The cartridges will cycle back through the machine to make the same lines in the next rug.
Newly woven rugs go through a shaver to get the pile to a uniform height. Carpet and woven rugs often have a curve to the pattern that runs across the width of the rug. This ‘skew’ is removed by the sets of rollers.
After shearing, the rugs are given a series of rinses that give the wool the typical Karastan look and feel, make the rug resistant to insect damage, and include an application of fabric protector.
After the final rinse the rugs go through a set of compression wringers to remove most of the moisture. They then pass under this rotating set of mop heads that gently set the nap, and then travel into a temperature controlled drying chamber.
Any errors are corrected at one of several repair stations. In this case, one cartridge had one yarn of color out of place, so each rug made from that set will have that particular yarn replaced by hand.
Individual rugs are separated and the edges are finished by hand. The sides get a serging treatment and the ends have a pre-made fringe sewn on.
Karastan has long been identified with traditional Persian rug patterns, but this year have introduced some new looks.
Above is an example of using a traditional field pattern with a narrow border for a more contemporary look.
Below is a brand-new rug being made with a more coarse wool and a weaving pattern that emulates the look and feel of Tibetan rugs.
The quality of the wool, the permanence of the dyes, the amount of hand work involved, and the time invested in making each rug explains why Karastan rugs cost more than other machine-woven rugs.
And, why we like cleaning them.
Thanks to Karastan and the Association of Rug Care Specialists for arranging our tour.
At D. A. Burns we’re proud of our commitment to being good citizens of our community. As a company, we do more for our combination of communities than any other local firm in our industry. We go to a little extra effort and expense to provide the most favorable outcome from our services, as you can see from the list below…
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Welcome to the D. A. Burns & Sons website and blog. The intent of this blog is to provide more lengthy explanations and other information than we could on our website and allow our customers a way to have a thorough answer to questions about anything in our knowledge base.
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