For the colder months here in the Northern Hemisphere, nothing keeps you warmer than all natural wool. And what could be more luxurious than feeling warm, thick wool pile under your feet instead of a cold wood or tile floor?
A flokati (flow-KAH-tee) is a type of rug that has been woven in Greece for thousands of years. Originally created by Vlach shepherds in the Pindus mountain range on the border of Greece and Albania, these rugs are made entirely of sheep wool, including the base. When the rug is being woven, long wool strands are inserted in between the weft fibers (the ones that run horizontally, or left to right). The rugs are then left in cold running water like rivers or waterfalls (or machine baths) where the long wool strands unravel and fluff out, while the backing gets much tighter, creating the classic, shag-rug look and feel of a flokati.
Today, these rugs are still handmade in Greece. In fact, in 1966 the Greek Ministries of Finance, Industry, and Commerce passed a law regarding flokatis that is reminiscent of the territorial claims for champagne (in order to be called champagne and not just a sparkling wine, it must be made in the Champagne region of France). The law specified that for a rug to be classified as a flokati, it must be hand woven in Greece and must be made of 100% wool (warp, weft, and pile). The total weight of the rug must be at least 1800 grams of wool per square meter. And the flokati must be subjected to the water friction process for the pile to unravel and fluff out.
Since they were popular in the United States in the 1970s, these rugs can have a slightly retro vibe to them. But as you can see below, they can look completely modern too!
Flokatis don't have to go on the floor either--they can be spread on chairs or on the backs of sofas...or even hung on walls like a tapestry to give a space texture.