We have been buying hand felted wool rugs from this women’s NGO (Non-Governmental Association) in Northern Afghanistan for years. Our customers love them. The rugs are traditionally made but have a modern vibe that suits many types of home decor.
They come in many sizes. We even have a hand felted wool rug in a yoga mat size which customers find comforting because one rug combines two loves: handmade textiles and yoga. Our customers often put these rugs in high traffic areas since they are durable and easy to clean.
The NGO trains and teaches the women members to make wool felted rugs using a centuries old, traditional method. This training not only gives the women a skill that they can use to earn money but it also preserves and extends the textile tradition in Afghanistan, which was in danger of vanishing. Watch this YouTube video to see how rugs are similarly made in Iran.
In addition to teaching rug making, the NGO also teaches its members Dari and English languages and computer skills. The local people speak Turkmen but to get the best prices for their rugs, they need to go to larger towns where they must speak Dari and English.
The women rug artisans are traditional and work from their homes since they often have 6-9 children. They prefer not to have their pictures taken, so we aren’t showing their faces in this posting.
They live simply on about 50 cents per day in a village with no running water or electricity. Their families are often farmers who grow almonds, apples, wheat, cows and sheep. They use the sheep wool to make rugs.
The money these women earn is very important to their families. They use it to buy the basic-necessities and they try to make sure their children are educated. They believe that education makes all the difference.
How to Care for And Clean a Hand Felted Wool Rug
Regularly vacuum and shake your rug. Spot clean when necessary. To wash, use cold water and mild detergent. Let rug soak for a few minutes and lightly agitate the water with your hands. Squeeze out the water without wringing the rug and let air dry.
The easiest way for those of you who are lucky enough to live in “snow” country to clean your rugs at home is to use snow to clean your rug. Unroll your rug in fresh, clean snow. Rub the snow into the rug surface. Then shake off excess snow and bring it inside to line dry.
Hand felted wool rugs are durable and with little care will last a long time.