Thursday, October 17, 2019

Moth Damaged Persian Rug

It can happen to anyone.  You have a little renovation project in one room so you empty the room of all its contents, including rolling up your beautiful Persian rug.  You place that rolled up rug in the corner of another room and leave it undisturbed for a few weeks that turn into a few months.  You don't think anything of it, but once that renovation is done, you happily start putting back your furniture.  And you go to the corner to get your gorgeous rug and unroll it only to discover that moths have started to devour it.  This is a common occurrence when rugs are improperly stored, especially rugs that have not been recently professionally cleaned.  Moth damage is always a risk especially when rugs (or any wool products) are stored.  It is important to periodically inspect your rugs to assess for any potential moth infestation.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Timeless Hand Knotted Rug Art

Occasionally, I hear from friends and acquaintances that say that while they love hand knotted rugs, they can not have them in their homes because traditional Oriental rugs will not suit their modern decor.  I am always saddened to hear this because it neglects to consider the vast range of gorgeous hand knotted and handwoven rugs that are perfectly suited to modern decor, and I would argue, any kind of decor.  These beautiful modern hand knotted rugs sometimes marry traditional motifs and open sparse fields like the rug above.  They reimagine traditional motifs in a new way and, in my opinion, breathe new life into beautiful woven art.  I would encourage homeowners, designers, and any one interested in beautiful rugs to consider these gorgeous rugs when looking to furnish their modern homes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Collecting Yarns for Rug Restoration Projects

An artist has her paints, and a weaver has her yarns.  One of my most beloved and prized possessions is my collection of yarns.  I love the way they look on my desk when they're neatly organized or even when they're just strewn about.  I love the many shades of the many colors, and how the different textures feel against my hands.  I love everything about the yarns, even the faint scent that some have.    Every trip I make back home to Turkey is filled with what I affectionately call "yarn hunting" as I seek to find a new shade of a beloved color to my collection.   Lucky for me, amassing my wide ranging collection is not just for personal enjoyment, but is also critical for my restoration work.  Finding (or creating) just the right shade is critical for a good restoration, if the goal of the restoration is not to call attention to itself.  When the wrong color is used in a restoration, the result can be jarring even if the restored section is finely woven and seamlessly integrated.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Cleaning and Caring for Silk Rugs

For generations, silk has been prized for its beauty, its strength, its rarity.  Similarly, great silk rugs have been lauded for their beauty, quality, intricacy, and value.  Silk rugs are durable when they are finely woven and they can last for generations.  Caring for silk rugs is very similar to caring for their more widely available wool counterparts.  Routine care of silk rugs will ensure that they remain as beautiful as they were when they were cut off the loom.  Silk rugs should be vacuumed regularly, but great care should be taken to not vacuum the fringes.  Silk rugs should be rotated regularly so as to ensure that foot traffic and sun exposure is evenly distributed.  Silk rugs should be inspected regularly for any damage.  Lastly, silk rugs should be professionally cleaned every two years or so.  If the rug is not in a high traffic area then the times between professional cleanings can be longer.  Similarly, if the rug is in a high traffic area, then professionally cleaning silk rugs every year may be preferable.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Caring for Mass Produced Handmade Rugs

Many popular stores today sell hand knotted rugs that are mass produced.  Photographed above is one such rug sold by a popular chain store with locations throughout the US.  Although these rugs are hand knotted, we have found that often the materials used to make the rugs are generally less durable and of lower quality than those used for traditional hand knotted rugs that are made by individual weavers.  Because of this, we have found that we need to be extra careful when caring for these mass produced rugs as colors are generally not stable and dyes often run.  Also, fibers generally are not as durable so cleaning must be very gentle.  This is surprising given that these rugs can sometimes be more expensive to buy than traditional hand knotted rugs that are not made through mass produced means.  --

Monday, September 2, 2019

Rugs That Are Risky to Clean

There are beautiful Moroccan rugs that have so much intricate detail and great fantastic color palettes to enchant any lover of gorgeous rugs.   A subset of these Moroccan rugs, specifically those that have a cotton base with embroidery-like detail, are notorious among restorers and those who care for Oriental rugs.  The reason for this is that a subset of these are made with unstable dyes and therefore are particularly susceptible to color run during the cleaning process.  It is imperative that any cleaning process controls for this risk or else the rug may be damaged permanently.  One way to do this is to do a color run test on a small discrete area of the rug.  But even if a rug's colors do not run in a small discrete area, there is always a risk that the colors in other parts of the rug may run.  It is a risk, for sure, but a color run test can usually help a restorer assess whether the dyes in the rug are generally stable.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Antique Persian Rug Restoration

There are few things more satisfying than restoring a beautiful antique Oriental rug.  While modern rugs undoubtedly can be exquisite, there is something that only centuries of wear, sunlight, and care can do to a rug.  For an inexplicable reason, time seems to enhance the beauty in fine Oriental rugs.  To be sure, there are specific challenges associated with restoring antique rugs, including sourcing the right color wool that is muted just so and working around fragile wool that has been lived on for decades - even centuries.  Despite the challenges, however, I find it especially rewarding to see a rug that had been almost unusable come back to "life," and in turn allowing it to be used for many more decades to come. --

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Kilim Cleaning

The wonderful geometric motifs of kilims can be like art for your floor.  Indeed, in many homes in my native country of Turkey, people hang kilims on the wall for the beautiful vibrancy they provide.  The contrasting colors accentuate the motifs making them "pop" even more.  This is why it is critical that when a handmade kilim is cleaned, special care is made to avoid any color run.  Darker colors can seep into lighter colors during the kilim cleaning process so special attention should be paid to this at all times.  We recommend doing a test on a small area of the kilim before soaking the entire kilim to minimize the risk of color run.  With proper care and regular period professional kilim cleaning, a beautiful kilim can last several lifetimes. --

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Moroccan Beni Ourain Rug Cleaning

It seems that these days, Beni Ourain rugs can be found in nearly every stylish home.  They are at once modern and traditional and can seemingly fit into nearly any kind of space.  They are beautiful in their exquisite simplicity, having a very limited motif and color palette, especially when compared to other rugs from the region.  
Caring for Beni Ourain rugs is similar to caring for other Oriental rugs, but their simplicity can sometimes present a challenge, especially when a Beni Ourain is stained or discolored.  The fact that the stain is usually on a single color can make the stain appear more prominently than it would with a more intricate design and color palette.  Indeed, even if the stain is very minor, the fact that the rest of the rug is very simple will make the minor stain stand out.   Improving the appearance of a stain on these beautiful Moroccan rugs is impossible, but they usually require lots of trial and error.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Removing Pet Stains from a Rug

Pet stains are rarely completely avoidable.  Even the most well behaved pets can sometimes have an accident.  What results, unfortunately, is a very difficult stain to remove.  What we do in instances of pet stains on Oriental rugs is first soak the rug, professionally clean it, and then assess how best to minimize the risk of any stain that is still present.  In rare instances, regular professional cleaning can almost eliminate the stain altogether.  But in most cases, the stain will remain and we will have to treat the area further.  Often, we will have to do a color restoration process that can include redying and reknotting the area.  As with most things, the quicker we can address the stain, the more likely the chances of success. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

When a Cat Claws at an Oriental Rug

Good quality Oriental rugs can withstand centuries of daily wear and generations of children, grown ups, and pets.  Occasionally, however, it is sometimes inevitable that a rug is damaged if it lived upon for an extended period of time.  A great advantage of hand knotted rugs is that they can be repaired and restored.  Indeed, it is hard for a family member - two legged or four legged - to irreversibly damage a rug.
The photo above is of a beautiful Oushak that was damaged by a family pet that consistently pulled at the knots of the rug.  The white spots that resemble pilling on a wool sweater are the result of the cat's clawing over what I assume was a significant period of time.  Luckily, we can repair this kind of damage by shearing down the pulled knots.  Once repaired, the white spots will no longer be visible.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Turkish Kilim Restoration

We recently restored this lovely Turkish kilim, which was made using a slit weave design.  The kilim is absolutely beautiful constructed entirely of warm shades of brown and beige yarns.  The warp was mostly intact so the focus of our restoration was mostly on finding the right yarns for the missing and damaged weft.  One of the most gratifying aspects of working on kilims is that the result of our work is immediately visible - there is no need to shear down yarns in order to see if our work is as we desired.  The photo above shows us restoring a damaged tent motif.  After our restoration is complete, the owner of this beautiful Turkish kilim should be able to enjoy it for many years to come with just a minimal amount of periodic care and maintenance.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Antique rug fringe repair

As any admirer of handmade rugs will know, one can live with a handmade rug for years and still discover new beautiful details.  When we restore rugs, we try to maintain those beautiful intricacies as much as possible.  This beautiful antique rug had some fringe damage so after restoring the fringe, we bound the fringe with a chain detail as seen in the top photo.  From the back (the bottom photo), the chain detail is not as visible.  The chain detail serves to further minimize the risk of unraveling, but it is also a beautiful detail that serves to enhance the beauty of an already lovely piece.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Moroccan Kilim Restoration

Restoration has many challenges, and it certainly has many rewards.  One of the wonderful parts of my work is when I am able to restore a cherished piece that is of great sentimental value to its owner.  This beautiful Moroccan kilim was such a piece.  It had been damaged for some time, and had significant tears and holes in its beautiful blue field.  We were able to reconstruct the warp and weft and make it structurally sound again.  We hope that by restoring this Moroccan kilim rug with great care and love, it will have even more sentimental value to its owner.  Kilims like this can last for generations with minimal care and preservation.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sun Damaged Rug

We often write about how important it is to carefully inspect a rug on a regular basis, especially when the rug is under heavy furniture or under a bed where dark poorly ventilated spaces provide ideal conditions for moth damage to occur.  What we haven't warned about as often is how the sun can damage a rug that is not rotated or inspected regularly.  The rug above was left with a heavy table on top of it for an extended period of time.  Luckily for the rug owner, moths did not damage the rug, but the sunlight that hit the rug did manage to mute all the areas except for that area under the table.  The result is that now the rug looks stained and discolored.  The best way to prevent sun damage is of course is to limit exposure to sunlight through sun blocking shades and curtains.  But that is not always practical, possible, or frankly, desirable to those humans and pets that enjoy the brightness and warmth of sunlight.  For this reason, we also recommend maintaining a regular rotation schedule so that any muting of your rugs can be even and uneven muting like in that of the rug above can be avoided.

Monday, May 6, 2019

What Do Moths on a Rug Look Like?

With the longer days of spring upon us, we are well into clearing out all things winter and welcoming all warmer weather related happiness.  As part of this, many people are taking time to do deeper cleanings and are undertaking a wise careful inspection of their rugs.  As such, we wanted to remind readers what to look for in terms of any potential moth damage.  What does an active or past moth infestation look like?  The photo above is a good example of moth damage.  Moths tend to look like sticky white glue-like substances on the pile of the rug, in particular, on the wool sections of the rug.  It is really incredible to us even after all these years of restoring moth damaged rugs, just how moths can completely devour entire wool sections of rugs, and leave cotton fibers (like those making up the warp and weft in some rugs) completely untouched.  If you spot moths, it is important that you immediately isolate the rug from all other wool rugs and textiles and have the rug professionally cleaned as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the moth damage.  In addition, you should thoroughly clean the floor and area under the rug.  If the rug was on a pad, we recommend discarding the pad and replacing it with a new one.  If you catch moth damage early, a cleaning and minimal repair might be the only things that are necessary.  But if moths are left to devour a rug for an extended period of time, a more extensive restoration might be needed.  --    

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Moroccan Kilim Fringe Unraveling

A rug or kilim is most vulnerable at its fringes.  This is because the fringes are the areas of a rug that tend to get sucked in by aggressive vacuuming, snagged by high heels, or pulled by energetic kids or pets.  This lovely Moroccan kilim's fringes were damaged in several sections as can be seen by the shorter fringes dotting the edge.  It is best to address this kind of fringe damage as soon as possible so that the field of the kilim is not compromised.  Once the fringe is repaired, we advise to bind the edge of the kilim or rug so as to minimize the risk of future unraveling.  Of course, there is no full proof way to prevent this, but a good binding will go a long way to protecting the fringes, and, in turn, the kilim itself.  --

Antique Rug With Moth Damage

As spring is upon us and the season for deep cleaning begins in earnest, it is a good time to carefully inspect all of our wool goods, especially beloved rugs and kilims.  Take care to inspect rugs that are partially covered by heavy furniture such as beds, tables, dressers, or armoires.  Moths take advantage of undisturbed wool (such as those sections of wool rugs hidden by furniture) to exert their most damage.  The pictured rug has been damaged by moths eating away at a small section of the pile, warp, and weft.  This rug will have to be professionally cleaned before we can assess the full extent of the moth damage.  After the cleaning, we will then remove all weakened fibers before undertaking the needed restoration.  We will take special care to use yarns that are somewhat muted to match the age of the rug.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Antique Persian Rug Restoration

One of my favorite stages in a rug restoration project is the shearing stage when the pile has been reknotted and all that remains is to cut down the yarns so that the pattern can reveal itself.  This photo is of precisely that stage in the process of an antique Persian rug restoration.  It looks beautiful even with long yarns, but once they have been cut, we aim for the restored area to blend into the original.   Note that this kind of restoration is one in which we rebuild the warp and weft and reknot the damaged pile in the same style of the original.  This makes the restoration part of the original structure of the rug and therefore allows the restored to last as long as, if not longer than, the original rug.  When a repair is done by sewing in a patch from another rug, that is temporary at best, because the sewn edges will eventually come undone through normal wear.  A true rug restoration is one in which the new area is knotted.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Moroccan Rug Cleaning

It is no mystery as to why Moroccan rugs have been so popular for decades.  They bring an instant splash of color and texture to any space and can even bring occasional whimsy.  Note, for example, the fabulous color change in the Moroccan rug above where the field goes from black to violet.  It is unexpected and brilliant making what otherwise would be a lovely rug into a spectacular one.  Proper professional cleaning is important for all rugs, but especially for Moroccan rugs that tend to have a longer pile where dirt fibers can become embedded and are harder to reach during vacuuming.  A good cleaning practice in between professional Moroccan rug cleaning would be to turn the rug around so that the underside is on top and to vacuum the underside.  A thorough cleaning of the floor below the rug is advised as well.  --

                                   Kosker Traditional Rug Repair 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Should I Steam Clean My HandMade Oriental Rug?

Can you steam clean a Persian rug (a term which colloquially encompasses all hand knotted rugs, often used interchangeably with Oriental rug)?  Steam cleaning may be an effective way to clean many kinds of wall to wall rugs or upholstery, but it is never a recommended way to clean a Persian rug.  This is because the steam cleaning may compromise the lanolin of the wool in the rug.  Lanolin is a natural oil found in wool that  helps it maintain its lustre, pliability, and if kept intact helps preserve the wool for decades.  Steam destroys the lanolin thereby cutting the life of the rug significantly.   The proper way to professionally clean a Persian rug is to brush the rug with shampoo and a controlled amount of water.  It is important to minimize the risk of color run.  Drying must be thorough so as not to risk losing the rug's original shape.  --

                                              Kosker Traditional Rug Repair

Friday, March 1, 2019

My Rug Won't Lay Flat - What Can I Do?

Occasionally, you will come across a rug that is lovely but for the fact that it does not lie flat.  Sometimes a rug that once lay flat no longer does after a cleaning.  Is there anything to be done to make it lay flat again?  The answer is yes.  Oftentimes, a rug that can not lay flat can be made to do so by a process called blocking.  Blocking entails stretching out the wool so that the edges stop curling up and lay flat.  Blocking is generally very successful, but is not a permanent solution.  It must be repeated after every professional cleaning.  --

Monday, February 25, 2019

How Often Should I Have My Oriental Rug Professionally Cleaned?

There is no one perfect answer to the question about how often one should have their Persian or Oriental rug professionally washed.  However, the general recommendation is to have an Oriental rug professionally cleaned once every two years.  This is important because a professional cleaning can dislodge dirt embedded deep in the pile of the rug - dirt that is not removed through regular vacuuming alone.  If dirt particles are left deep in the pile for too long, the friction on the fibers can eventually wear them down weakening them and thereby shortening the life span of the rug.  Of course, there are also hygienic reasons for having a rug professionally cleaned on a regular schedule - a clean rug is less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people.  Lastly, a professionally cleaned rug will often look brighter than a soiled rug making so for aesthetic reasons, a regular professional cleaning schedule is recommended as well.  Two years is just a guideline - if a Persian rug or Oriental rug is in a high traffic area such as an entry way or hallway, professional cleaning should be done even more often.  Similarly, if a rug is in a less trafficked area, professional cleaning can be done every three years or so.

                                Kosker Traditional Rug Repair

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Kilim Fringe Repair

A beautiful high quality kilim can last for centuries.  But like traditional hand knotted rugs, kilims are most vulnerable at their edges, including the fringed ends.  This is because vacuums can suck up fringes thereby weakening fibers, or pets or young children can pull at the fringes causing similar damage.  Once the binding on a fringe is compromised, the fringe can come undone, and the field of the kilim can be damaged.  This is what happened to this Turkish kilim.  The first step in our kilim restoration was to professionally clean the kilim.  Next, we attached the clean kilim to a loom.  Then we slowly and steadily rebuilt the damaged warp (the white vertical strands in the photo above).  This is a slow process, but well worth the result as it ensures the kilim will be ready to withstand another century of enjoyment.  --


                                    Kosker Traditional Rug Repair

Monday, February 18, 2019

Pet urine on my Oriental carpet

This beautiful Oriental rug was irreparably damaged by a large pet who consistently urinated on the same several spots over a long period of time.  Unfortunately, no professional cleaning procedure can remove the stains as the acid from the pet urine permanently discolored the yarns.  The only thing that can be done in this instance is to tear out all the affected sections and reweave them anew.  However, because there are many affected sections, it would be much more cost effective to replace the rug.  It is sad - as the rug other than the spots was in quite good condition.  --

                 Kosker Traditional Rug Repair

Sunday, February 17, 2019

When Vacuuming Is Not Enough To Prevent Moth Damage

How is it possible moths are eating my rug even though I regularly vacuum my rug?  While this is not a common problem, it is completely possible for a rug to be damaged by moths even when it is being used (i.e., not stored), and is vacuumed regularly.  How does this moth damage happen?  It most often occurs when a piece of heavy furniture is covering a part of the rug so that only the exposed part of the rug is regularly vacuumed.  Similarly, it can happen when a rug is under a bed or sofa and vacuuming does not reach to all parts under the bed or sofa.   This kind of moth damage can be prevented by ensuring that one vacuums the entire rug - even those sections under heavy furniture - on a regular basis.  Vacuuming those specific sections under furniture does not have to be done daily, weekly, or even monthly, but should be done at least once every few months.  Better yet, one should try to rotate the rug at least twice a year so that wear is more evenly distributed.  While moving furniture this way and this often may be inconvenient and cumbersome, it will go a long way in preventing the kind of moth damage than can ruin entire sections of a rug.  In addition, regular inspection of the entire rug (and the rug pad underneath!) is recommended so that any moth damage is detected at its earliest stages.


                               Kosker Traditional Rug Repair

Friday, February 15, 2019

Antique Rug Cleaning

Anyone who has ever lived with antique rugs knows how beautifully warm, muted, and breathtaking they can be.  Over a century or more of sunlight, use, and care can really bring out the true beauty of gorgeous textiles.  They add an incomparable texture and dimension to a space that few things can parallel.  
Caring for an antique rug is similar to caring for any handmade rug, with some notable exceptions.  Professional antique rug cleaning should be undertaken regularly depending on the use of the rug.  However, we recommend professionally cleaning antique rugs less frequently than new rugs; we recommend antique rugs be cleaned every three to five years.  However, if the antique rug is in a low traffic area, the time between professional antique rug cleanings can be longer.  Regular in home care is very important.  To extend the life of the rug, we recommend regular vacuuming (without a beater bar).  In addition, it is extremely important to rotate an antique rug on a regular basis, perhaps every six months or so.  This is important because regular rotation will allow the sun to mute the rug on a more even basis, as well as allow foot traffic to be more evenly distributed.   With minimal care, an antique rug can last for generations. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Professional kilim rug cleaning

No matter how many kilims have passed through my hands, I have never tired of their great beauty, detail, and vibrancy.   They can rival any painting on a wall, or any exquisite hand knotted rug.  Kilims are timeless, lending themselves to any style or aesthetic.  
Kilims require minimal care - similar to Oriental rugs.  They require regular vacuuming (or shaking!),  periodic rotation and inspection, and periodic professional kilim cleaning.  We recommend kilims to be professionally cleaned every two years, though if a kilim is in a low traffic area and is not subjected to shoe traffic or pets, one can go longer between professional cleanings.  With minimal care, kilims can last for centuries.  --

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Flooded Rug Care

How do we care for rugs that have been damaged by flood waters?  The answer may seem counterintuitive, but the first thing we do with a flooded rug is to soak it in a shallow pool.  What purpose does the soaking serve?  A good soaking will help minimize the odor, help remove the dirty water, and any dirt that was embedded in the pile.  The next step after the soaking is to professionally clean the rug with rug shampoo.  Once the rug is thoroughly cleaned and rinsed, the next step is to allow for a thorough and complete drying.  This step is imperative as it will prevent the rug from rotting.  Rugs especially susceptible to rot because of a flood are those made with a combination of wool and cotton such as Sarouk, Heriz, Tabriz rugs.
Of course, the best thing to do is to take steps to avoid a flood in the first place, when possible.   This includes not watering a plant that is resting on a rug.  Small steps can go a long way in preventing damage to a beautiful treasured hand knotted rug.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Moroccan Rug Cleaning. Special considerations

Anyone who has opened up a home decor magazine in the last decade undoubtedly has seen many beautiful examples of gorgeous Moroccan rugs - from stunning, monochromatic Beni Ourain rugs such as those pictured above, to fantastically vibrant Moroccan kilims.  Moroccan rugs have been adorning and beautifying homes for centuries and they are among the most beautiful rugs in the world.  Caring for them is similar to caring for Persian, Turkish and other Oriental rugs.  However, they do pose several unique challenges.  Moroccan rugs tend to have a longer pile than other Oriental rugs, leaving room at the base of the pile for dirt to become embedded, and in some instances, for moths to inflict damage.  Moroccan wool is coarser, generally, than Persian and Turkish wool.  Also, Moroccan dyes, as indeed all dyes, can be fugitive leading to possible color run during the cleaning process.  Of course there are many fine examples of Moroccan rugs with stable dyes, but many Moroccan rugs in the US and European markets unfortunately have less stable dyes.  For this reason, professional cleaners must take special care not to let colors run during a cleaning process.  When searching for a Moroccan rug cleaner, take special care to ask about the cleaning process and what steps are taken to minimize the risk of color run.  A good Moroccan carpet cleaner will have experience with different types of Moroccan rugs and kilims to ensure that they can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

What Do I Do If I think Moths are Eating My Rug?

I think I have moths - what do I do?  We hear this numerous times a week from worried clients who either suspect or know definitively that their beloved wool rugs are slowly being devoured by silent moths they didn't even know they had.  If you think you may have moths, there are a number of important steps that you should take, in order of importance:

1.  Isolate the item you suspect has moths from all other wool items.  You want to minimize the possibility the moth infestation will spread to your other wool rugs, furniture, or clothing.

2.  If the rug is smaller, put it in a bag or airtight wrapping until the rug can be thoroughly cleaned.

3.   Sweep then mop the floor with a combination of vinegar and water to ensure that all moth larvae are removed.  We encourage clients to air out the room for a few days as well.   If the infestation is severe, you may have to contact an exterminator.

4.  Arrange to have your rug professionally cleaned.  If you have experience cleaning handmade rugs, you can do this at home yourself.  You just need to take care that the cleaning process is thorough and that you remove all larvae.  Take special care that the rug is completely dry before returning the rug to its place.

Moth damage can be avoided by not putting your rugs in storage, regularly examining rugs that have heavy furniture on top of them, and regular vacuuming.  It is impossible to eliminate the risk of moth infestation entirely, but a few preventative steps can greatly reduce the risk of heartache when a beloved rug is damaged beyond repair.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Antique Turkish Rug Restoration - Result


The restoration of this gorgeous antique Turkish Yahyali rug is complete.  The reknotting was done and the shearing of the newly knotted pile was finished (below is a photo before we cut down the new knotting).  The rug is ready for more decades of enjoyment and use.  This was a wonderful rug restoration project to work on.  Yahyali rugs are stunning, and they hold a special place in my heart as they originate from an area close to my hometown in Turkey.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Antique Turkish Rug Restoration

There is something wonderfully satisfying when a restorer is at a certain point in her or his project.  For me, it's usually when the work of the warp and weft is done, and the reknotting can begin.  I love seeing how the rug comes back to life, how it becomes whole again.
In this project, the photos show us close to that stage.  We have professionally cleaned the antique Turkish Yahyali rug, and are reconstructing the warp and weft. All that remains is the reknotting before it can be used and enjoyed for a few more decades, if not longer.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Antique Turkish Rug Restoration

This stunning antique Turkish rug was neglected for quite an extended period of time, probably decades.  It is a fine beautiful rug from Yahyali, Turkey in central Anatolia.  Yahyali rugs generally have a central medallion design with geometric motifs. They most commonly are hand knotted in shades of blue, red, green and gold.   Among the most significant damage in this Yahyali rug was a hole in one of the corners.  We first professionally cleaned the rug and sought to match the yarns so that the restored section would match the beautiful muted tones of the antique Yahyali rug.

Friday, November 23, 2018

What is the Difference Between a Rug Repair and Rug Restoration?

When we first meet clients who have damaged rugs or kilims, we strive to give as much information as possible to them so that they may make an informed decision.  As such, we list all repair options a client has, followed by the available restoration options.  There are time, of course, when there is only one option available, but more often than not, there is a quicker, less skill intensive route that we would consider a repair.  Rug repairs are generally less costly than proper restoration.  But they are not as permanent, and they can affect the beauty (and value) of a piece.  For this reason, when possible, we always counsel clients to restore damage.
The rug above had a hole near the fringe.  In order to properly restore the rug, we first professionally cleaned it.  Then we built a loom on the section with the hole and removed all compromised fibers.  Next, we rebuilt the missing warp and reknotted the missing pile.  The entire process takes weeks - sometimes months.  But the resulting restoration will last as long as the original rug will, perhaps even longer.  And the beauty of the rug stays intact as any patch that is merely sewn in will not match perfectly.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

At The Edge -Oriental Rug Fringe Repair

It turns out that rugs, in some ways at least, are like their owners:  we can get in trouble when we live on the edge.  At the edge is where the vacuum sucks up fringes.  At the edge is wear heavy chairs pull and tug.  At the edge is wear hungry pets chew and yank.  All this stress on the edges of our rugs is what can damage fringes and eventually leave the pile ready to come undone.  For this reason, when we do an inspection of any rug, the fringes are what we look at first.   Fringes are the area most vulnerable to damage and what are definitely easier to repair and restore at the first signs of damage rather than when the damage is allowed to get more extensive.  
We recommend owners of handmade rugs do regular periodic inspections of their rugs, perhaps at the same time that they are rotating the rug 180 degrees so that any sun muting or foot traffic patterns are more evenly dispersed.  Look to see if any fringes are wearing down or if any of the binding of the fringes is coming undone.  Fringe repair at the early stages of fringe damage can be limited to just replacing the fringe binding, which would minimize the risk of any unraveling of the fringe or knotted pile.  Fringe repair at later stages of fringe damage can include fringe reconstruction, reknotting pile, and edge binding.  This more extensive fringe restoration is often significantly more time and skill intensive, and therefore, significantly more costly than repair done at the earlier stages of fringe damage. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Flooded Antique Persian Rug Cleaning and Restoration

One of the most destructive things that can completely destroy a rug is water.   This antique Kerman rug was badly damaged by water from a flood.  The water caused significant color run, weakening of fibers which revealed the underlying warp and weft, and loosening of fibers which compromised sections of the pile.  We have seen a great number of flooded rugs over the years.  On occasion, the damage caused by water has been so extensive that the restoration work would be cost prohibitive.  Even in instances where restoration is feasible, it is often extensive.  The antique Kerman rug photographed above required a series of various restoration processes.  First, we needed to soak the rug (which seems to be counterintuitive, but is necessary when done in correction conditions).  The soaking was then followed by a thorough professionally cleaning.  Next, we completely dried the rug to minimize the risk of mildew, foul odor, or dry rot.  This was followed by a careful inspection to assess how much damage was caused by the flood and what repair/restoration options are most advisable.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What Are Those White Knots That Are Suddenly Appearing in My Rug?

Fine hand knotted rugs can last for generations giving those of us who are lucky to live with them plenty of opportunity to seemingly know each knot by heart.  That is why when a new white dot appears where there was once a sea of red and blue or other vibrant color, many people panic fearing that their treasured rug has fallen victim to moths.  These white dots seem to appear quite suddenly, maybe after returning from a professional cleaning.  What are the white dots that appear almost overnight in a very well loved rug?
In order to understand what a white knot is, it is important to understand the basic structure of a hand knotted rug.  One of the first steps in hand knotting a rug is to extend the vertical strands, often made of cotton, around the loom.  These vertical strands are known as the warp of the rug.  The very ends of the warp (on both the top and bottom) are what the fringes are.  Because cotton strands are often shorter than the vertical length of the finished rug, weavers tie cotton strands together to create a longer warp.  The places where the cotton strings are tied are the white knots.  When a hand knotted rug is knew, the pile yarns are long and hide these white knots.  In addition, sometimes weavers color the white knots so that they match the surrounding pile.  So why do they appear so suddenly?
The white knots become visible eventually  because, over time, the pile gets shorter as the rug is worn from every day use.  The shorter pile reveals the white knots that had once been hidden.  It is very common for white knots to be more visible after a professional cleaning because the cleaning brightens the cotton that may have been soiled from years of use (and which was soiled while the pile was still long making the knots invisible).  
Should you be worried about the appearance of white knots?  There really is no reason to be alarmed.  It is a natural part of the weaving process.  It does indicate, however, that the pile is worn down so the rug is becoming more susceptible to damage (from heavy furniture, particularly heavy traffic, for example).  But taking precautionary measures such as treating the rug a little more delicately, will extend the life of the rug.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

When Does Your Rug Need More Than A Professional Cleaning?

Occasionally, we find that people are surprised that handmade rugs are as durable as they are.  They can withstand generations of use and enjoyment while needing just a minimal amount of care, including regular vacuuming, inspection, and periodic rotation and professional cleaning.  There are times, however, when an Oriental rug can benefit from more than just a regular professional cleaning (which we recommend as once every two years in most circumstances).  Among these times are when a rug is infested by moths, when it has been soiled by pet urine, when it has been damaged by a flood or sitting water, or when it has not had a professional cleaning for an extended period of time.  In these instances, we recommend a professional cleaning with an additional treatment, such as overnight soaking.  An extended soaking, for example, can help eliminate the foul odor that results from the wool being urinated upon.  Generally, a professional cleaning would not suffice to achieve this results.  
With just a minimal amount of care, one can extend the life of an Oriental rug by decades, even centuries in some instances.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Oriental Rug Damaged by Water

A fine Oriental rug can withstand an amazing amount of wear, tear, and everyday household life.  But, like houses themselves, there is one thing that poses a great risk to the life of an Oriental rug:  water.  A rug that has been flooded (or, in some instances, even just wet) by a burst pipe, a flooded basement, or a watered plant can experience color run, a strong foul odor, mildew, mold, and even rot.  
When a water damaged hand knotted rug is entrusted to our care, we immediately soak it for some time.  It may seem counterintuitive to soak a rug that has been damaged by water, but the soaking allows for the best chance to eliminate the foul odor of wet or damp wool.   It is also the first step of any color run repair process.  After the soaking, we do a thorough professional cleaning and allow for a thorough drying.  It is only after the drying that we can assess how much color run damage there is.  Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee complete elimination of color run.  However, if the color run is limited, we are able to reknot the affected area when other methods