Fruition | Handknotted Nylon Part 5 of 5

‘Nylon Engulfed’ is the prototype handknotted carpet made from ECONYL® regenerated nylon. Designed by Morris, made by Sarawagi Rugs of Kathmandu, Nepal. As a collaborative effort between Aquafil, makers of ECONYL®, Sarawagi, and Morris, the project asks ‘What can we do to design and create rugs with the principles of circular design in mind?’ | Photograph by Prabal Ratna Tuladhar.
Weavers Kumari Rai, Paljung Sherpa, and Sun Maya Lama, (left to right) were tasked with weaving the first — the prototype — handknotted carpet made from ECONYL® regenerated nylon by Sarawagi Rugs. | Photograph by The Ruggist.
  • The cutting of ECONYL® proved to be quite difficult at first. The making of a Tibetan weave carpet involves cutting yarn from a metal rod around which the yarn has been tied to create knots. In doing so this creates cut pile; loop pile is created by pulling the rod out. This cutting proved to be harder than that of wool due to nylon’s properties. Minor changes were made to the process to correct for this. Further, when changing colours while knotting yarn is cut and similar difficulties were encountered here, though likewise simple alterations to the process were made.
  • Whether reflective of the design itself or the aforementioned problems with cutting, there was a noticeable increase in yarn waste versus that of a wool carpet. This is only an anecdotal observation but as a matter of expense as well as managing resources this should be monitored and hopefully in the future minimized. The positive is of course that ECONYL® is regenerable, if….
  • The waste yarn must be segregated from other waste yarn within the same manufactory and must also be saved. In order to meet the criteria for regeneration, contamination from other materials must be minimized. Maximum efficiency is of course at zero percent (0%) contamination so by segregating the materials fully the yarn waste is easily integrated into the regeneration process, if…
The familiar visual structure of Nepali-Tibetan weaving is clearly shown in this detail photograph of ‘Nylon Engulfed.’ | Photograph by Prabal Ratna Tuladhar.
  • Another issue with an as of yet unknown answer is whether or not the current structure of the carpet will meet flammability requirements for nylon products. As most people familiar with wool already know, wool is naturally flame retardant whereas nylon is not. Of course at the same time, nylon is also used extensively in floorcoverings the world over and so solutions obviously exist. Typically this is done by integrating flame resistant materials such as flame resistant and/or retardant weft yarns into the foundation of the broadloom. Testing of samples is already underway. Once complete, the solutions to this, the previous, and the next concern will become more apparent.
  • Durability. Nylon’s wear and performance characteristics are already widely know as are wool’s. But there are many different wools and of course construction technique further affects durability. Identical handknotted samples which differ only in material, one wool, one ECONYL®, are currently being evaluated at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Aquafil has worked with this testing facility previously.
  • Walking on nylon carpet or carpets, particularly in stocking feet, creates static electricity which likewise means the possibility of static discharge. As with other implementations of nylon in soft flooring products this can be mitigated during the manufacturing process of the yarn — if required — by the addition of anti-static fibres .
In ‘Is Econyl® one gateway to a clean future for rugs and carpets?’ which appears in COVER 57, Winter 2019, Denna Jones examines ECONYL® in the context of handknotted rugs and carpets. | Low quality JPG image made by The Ruggist from a PDF courtesy of COVER Magazine. Please support contemporary writing, news, commentary, and critique. This includes The Ruggist, Rug Insider Magazine, COVER, and the like.
An unidentified staff member of Sarawagi Rugs caught frozen in the moment while walking in front of ‘Nylon Engulfed’ during photography in Kathmandu, Nepal. | Photograph by Prabal Ratna Tuladhar.
  1. Sandrini MG. Aquafil and Sustainability 2018. Aquafil S.p.A.; 2019:12.
  2. Schlossberg T, Raza N. Opinion | The Great Recycling Con. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/09/opinion/recycling-myths.html. Published December 9, 2019. Accessed December 22, 2019.

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