Saturday, July 21, 2012

Moroccan Berber Rug Repair - Result

Our Moroccan Berber rug repair project's final result is shown below.  The color of the yarns used in the repair closely match the original rug's color.  

A close up of the knotting process highlights the area that was affected.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Moroccan Berber Rug Repair - Mid Process

As I explained in my last post, we recently completed a professional cleaning and repair of a fantastic Moroccan Berber rug for a client.  Below is a picture of the hole in the center field of the Berber rug.  

The first step was to professionally clean the Berber rug.  Cleaning is important so as to ensure that the yarns used in the repair will match as much as possible the color of the cleaned rug.  In addition, it is preferable for a restorer to work on a cleaned rug free of dust particles that inevitably become embedded in the pile of a rug subject to foot traffic and normal ambient dust.  The next step, as seen below, was to recreate the missing warp (the vertical white fibers in the middle of the tent (triangle) motif).

After recreating the warp of the Berber rug, the next step was to recreate the weft (the horizontal strands pictured below).

Below is a picture of the reconstructed warp and weft from the back side of the Moroccan Berber rug.  The warp and weft is the structure upon which the knots are constructed.

Below is a picture of the reconstructed warp and weft from the front side.  The loose fibers surrounding the area are compromised knots that we removed before we started the knotting process.

The next step was to begin knotting the missing pile as seen in the picture below.  The process is a bit long, but the reward is well worth it.  At this stage, this Moroccan Berber rug restoration was almost complete and ready to return to what we hoped would be a very happy client who could enjoy it for years to come.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Moroccan Berber Rug Cleaning and Repair


We recently completed a Moroccan Berber rug cleaning and repair project.  Moroccan Berber rugs have enjoyed a recent increase in popularity due to their timeless design that seems to fit in with just about every style of decor - from the traditional aesthetic to the more modern.  This particular Moroccan Berber rug, as is typical with all Berber rugs, have minimal motifs, longer piles than their Persian and Turkish counterparts, and are infused with vibrant fantastic color.   After cleaning this Berber rug, we were asked to bind the fringes of the rug so as to prevent any unraveling as well as repairing and reknotting the hole pictured above that was in almost the very center of the rug.  To show the extent of the damage, we took pictures of both the front side of the damage (top picture) and the reverse side of the rug (bottom picture).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Moth Damage in Rugs

Moths are peculiar little creatures.  They are small, relatively slow, strangely finicky, and able to cause an incredible amount of damage to any rug, including those exceptional rugs and kilims so many of us treasure in our homes.  Moths work in the dark, in closets, in garages, under sofas, under beds.  Moths work in humid areas where there is little cross ventilation.  Moths prefer soiled rugs to clean rugs.  And moths have their very specific tastes - note in the top picture above how moths "ate" just certain sections of the rug's pile.  Moths simply left certain colors alone.  They are carvers, eating only those woolen knots that they prefer.  Moths can cause an incredible amount of damage - just take notice of the bottom picture taken from the back side of the carpet.  Those little white "dots" are intersections of warp and weft where a woolen knot once was but was eaten by a moth.  Rug repair and rug restoration will be able to remedy the damage caused by moths in most instances, but prevention can go a long way.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Antique Caucasian Kazak Rug Repair - Result

This picture above is of the antique Caucasian Kazak rug after our restoration (just as a reminder, the picture below is what the section of the rug looked like before our restoration project).  We reknotted the missing section and restored the compromised border area.  Now that the antique rug has been restored, we hope that it will be enjoyed for decades to come.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Antique Caucasian Kazak Rug Repair

This antique Caucasian Kazak rug is of gorgeous quality.  Its fine wool, exquisite knotting, and sublime color palette make it among the most beautiful pieces we've worked on recently.  The damage in the antique Kazak rug was readily apparent:  it had a significant section missing; worn out pile along the border; and compromised fibers throughout.  This antique Caucasian Kazak rug restoration project was significant, but the reward of bringing back the structural integrity of this beautiful rug was just wonderful.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Is An Antique Rug "Worth" Repair or Restoration?

Quite often, we are asked whether a particular rug or kilim is worth repairing or restoring.  It is a very difficult question to answer for many reasons, including the very significant factor of any sentimental value it has for its owner.   To answer this question, we usually advise clients of what the cost of repair and / or restoration would be and then give them a rough estimate of what the retail price would be of a similar rug purchased today.  Often what this calculation omits, however, is the very real and underestimated value of preserving our common heritage and conserving a part of the past for the future.  The absolutely exquisite antique Turkish rug pictured above, before restoration, was probably the cost of only half of the cost of restoration.  It is, of course, worth much more now after its restoration - not only in terms of its "retail price," but also because through its restoration, more generations will be able to appreciate it, enjoy it, and treasure it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rug Stain Caused by Pet Urine

As many owners of beloved pets know, even the most well trained puppy, kitten, or other pet can sometimes have accidents.  A common victim of these pet accidents are rugs, carpets, kilim rugs, and other flat weaves.  Pet urine, which is intrinsically acidic, can damage the fibers of rugs and kilims if left untreated.  Sometimes, a regular professional cleaning can remove the pet stain, but often a special treatment is required on the rug or flat weave.  In any case, it is best to have the rug treated as soon as possible.  The longer the acid is left to damage the fibers of the rug, the less likely it is that the stain (or the smell, for that matter) can be removed.  Upon discovering a pet stain on your rug, if a thorough professional cleaning can not be done immediately, blot up any excess liquid as soon as possible; note that one should blot, not rub.  Take a damp towel and natural soap and blot it clean - be careful to not put too much water on the rug as you will increase the likelihood that the colors will run and bleed into adjacent colors.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Damage to Rug Caused by a Potted Plant

Potted plants in our indoor living spaces are a wonderful way to bring the outdoors in.  Those beautiful plants, however, can cause a significant amount of damage to rugs, kilims, and other flat weaves.  Actually, it is not so much the plants or their pots that can cause damage, but owners who enthusiastically water their plants without due care of what rest beneath them.  In the case of the picture above, a potted plant was left on a rug for an extended period of time.  The owner did not move the pot and did not notice the damage that increased over time.  The yellow areas are rotted fibers and an entire section of the corner was lost.  Take care to make sure that no water or moisture is reaching a rug or kilim on which a potted plant rests.  Furthermore, be cautious and examine beneath pots to assess whether any damage has occurred.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hungry Moths

Moths can do an extraordinary amount of damage to wool rugs.  One of the most remarkable things about moths is that they have strong preferences for certain wools.  Notice how the "carved" out areas (actually the areas eaten by moths) are all concentrated in what was once the light blue curvilinear motifs.  The dark blue background, also made of wool, was largely unaffected.  The white warp and weft (the white grid like structure), which are made of cotton, didn't entice the moths' appetites either.   Repairing this kind of moth damage is possible, after a thorough professional cleaning to ensure that the active moths and their larvae are eliminated.  However, prevention would go a long way to ensure that this moth damage doesn't occur again.  We've written about this before but we can't stress enough how just a few steps can help owners minimize the risk of moths damaging their valuable rugs:  (1) always professionally clean any rugs or kilims before storing them; (2) never store rugs in plastic or in dark humid areas such as closets; (3) periodically inspect rugs for active larvae; (4) expose your rug to sunlight and well ventilated areas; and (5) never place your rugs where there is a known moth infestation.  --

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oriental Rug Cleaning Tips and Precautions

Clients often ask us, "Can I clean my own Oriental or Persian carpet at home?"  And the answer we always give is, "Absolutely, but be careful."  The truth is that in most households in the Middle East and in other carpet weaving regions, few people use professional oriental rug cleaning services.  In many of the households in my native country of Turkey, carpet and kilim cleaning is an annual or biannual chore akin to the American "spring cleaning" tradition.  The reason I generally do not recommend clients to clean their own Oriental carpets at home is because if clients do not have experience and knowledge in how to care for the natural fibers of their rugs, or knowledge of how to control possible dye-run (and ability to recognize fugitive dyes that will "bleed" into other colors), or knowledge about how to properly dry rugs or kilims, it can be a very risky and ultimately costly endeavor.  The truth is this kind of knowledge is most easily acquired through trial and error, which means that the first few times one tries to thoroughly clean a certain kind of piece, one may make a mistake that may permanently damage the Oriental rug, kilim, dhurrie, or soumak.

If a reader is willing to take the risk, however, there are steps that may be taken to minimize the chance of damaging the piece (and again, I am not recommending that readers clean their own rugs if they do not have experience and knowledge in the necessary cleaning process):

  • First make sure the rug has been thoroughly vacuumed both on the front side and the reverse.  If possible, shaking a rug is an even better way to dislodge dust (depending on how large or heavy your rug is, you will need the help of an additional person or persons for this step).
  • Next get ready for cleaning the rug - ideally you will work in a space large enough to fit your rug and allow you to brush off water - an outside (clean) patio is ideal.  
  • In a large bucket, mix cold water, soap, and a drop of vinegar.  The vinegar minimizes the risk of color run (again, this is not a guarantee - there is no guarantee against color run!!).  However, it is a traditional technique (a secret, if you will) that aids to minimize (NOT eliminate!) the chance of colors bleeding.  Take special care when cleaning Oriental rugs or kilims with red or black dyes that have a higher tendency to run or "bleed" into adjacent colors.
  • Only use cold water (never subject a wool rug to hot water!). 
  • With this mixture, take a brush made of natural fibers to start cleaning the rug.  When cleaning the pile of the rug, take care to gently brush against the pile (that is, in the opposite direction in which the carpet was originally knotted) so as to dislodge any embedded dust particles.
  • The last brushing should be in the direction of the pile. 
  • Rinse with water to remove all traces of the soap used (if any soap is left over, it will leave a discolored or splotchy look in the rug).  Again, be careful about how you rinse the rug - if you leave water sitting on the rug for even a few extra minutes, you may cause color run damage that will be very difficult, if not impossible, to repair.
  • Make sure that any excess water is removed from the rug as soon as possible:  one can do this by brushing away the water quickly and thoroughly.  
The drying process is just as critical as the cleaning process:
  • When the cleaning process is completed, it is imperative that the rug be moved to a dry and clean space to dry.  Depending on how large or heavy the rug is, this is usually at least a two person job.
  • The rug - which should have very little water - should be placed flat.  Never, ever hang a rug to dry.  A mistake at this stage in the process may cause the rug's shape to be compromised.
  • The best way to dry a rug is by leaving it in the sunlight for a few consecutive days; summer time is an ideal time for this.
  • People should take care to dry the rug completely before bringing it indoors; if a rug is left slightly wet, it is at a higher risk for its fibers to rot.  
While I recommend readers inexperienced in the cleaning process to clean their own rugs at home because of the inherent risks involved, cleaning Oriental rugs (and drying them!) at home is certainly possible with the proper precautions (including those set out above), experience, knowledge, time, and space.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - Final Result

Our antique Persian rug restoration is complete.  The picture above shows the rug before the restoration; the pictures below show the restored rug.  It was a wonderful project to work on and we are grateful that both we and our client were pleased with the result.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - In Process

Above are pictures of our recent antique Persian rug restoration in process.  As we blogged yesterday, this beautiful antique Persian carpet had a tear along its side as well as compromised sections of its selvage.   We reconstructed the missing and damaged warp and weft, as highlighted in the first couple of pictures, and then reknotted the pile.  The next stage in the restoration process is to cut the excess yarns which will reveal the reknotted motifs.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration

This exceptional antique Persian carpet was damaged in several areas, including the tear pictured above at one its edges as well as missing sections along its selvage.  The Persian carpet, known as a Serapi carpet, dates from ca. 1850 and its stunning muted palette and evenly worn pile is the product of a few lifetimes of wonderful use and care.  When restoring antiques of this quality it is imperative to use yarns that will allow the restoration to blend in as much as possible to the worn fields of the antique original.  The work involved in an antique Persian rug restoration like this is time-consuming, but if the challenge is appropriately met, a good restoration will allow a person to appreciate the beauty of this extraordinary carpet, and not lament the damaged areas.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Art Of Kilim

Earlier this week, I had the great fortune to introduce a client to the art of kilims.  Kilims are undoubtedly a passion of mine - of course all hand knotted rugs and carpets are, but I must admit that I reserve a special affection and admiration for kilims.  Perhaps it is because for years, kilims were overlooked and unappreciated - in fact, there was a time when they were quite literally the wrapping material that people would use to protect the more valuable hand knotted rugs (!!).   But I love kilims also for their own intrinsic beauty.  The kilim above (or to be technically correct, the cecim) has been in my workroom for years - I love it for its texture which it once both fine and coarse and for its fantastic imperfections (note the uneven border in the bottom section).  I also love it for its strangely harmonious color palette (would you think that reds, pinks, oranges, golds, blacks, blues, purples, and whites would look just right together?).  I love it also for how it simultaneously evokes the antique and the modern.  It is, in my opinion, just exquisite.  And it is only a minor example of what the kilim art form has to offer.  --

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chinese Rugs

I noticed that many of my blog posts have focused on Middle Eastern carpets so I thought that today I would share with you an image of a beautiful Chinese carpet that we recently cared for.  Its motifs, including the dragon, are typical for Chinese carpets - and that deep blue background was even more beautiful in person.  While the motifs are different and their countries of origin may be far apart, Chinese carpets require the same simple general care that Middle Eastern carpets require in order to last a lifetime (and even more!) - occasional vacuuming and professional Chinese carpet cleaning every two years or so; and occasional rotation of the carpet to allow for more even wear and sun exposure.   I promise to introduce more of a geographical diversity in my future posts!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vintage Turkish Rug Repair Final Result

Above is the final result of our vintage Turkish rug repair.  As a reminder, the picture below shows the rug pre-repair.   We reconstructed the missing section, including reknotting the pile and replicating the original floral motifs; we did not use a "patch" from another rug to hide the damage.  This completed repair will allow the user of this rug to enjoy this vintage beauty for many years to come.  Handknotted rugs are quite sturdy and can outlast many of their owners (!), but we always caution our clients to take care when placing heavy furniture on top of their Turkish or any other handknotted Oriental rugs.  Simple precautions can help save these beautiful rugs for our future generations to enjoy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vintage Turkish Rug Repair

This picture shows the vintage Turkish rug repair in process of being completed (please see our last blog for the "before" pictures showing the hole and damage possibly caused by heavy furniture being dragged on the rug).  At the point when this picture was taken, we had already extracted all the damaged yarns, rebuilt the missing and compromised warp and weft, and reknotted the pile.  The next step is to cut down the fuzzy section (the excess yarns used to reknot the pile) which will then reveal the final result of this vintage Turkish rug repair.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Vintage Turkish Rug Repair

This vintage Turkish rug had a significant tear - actually hole - in one of its corners.  We do not know what caused the damage, but we suspect that it was caused by heavy furniture being dragged on the rug.   The damage extended to the areas surrounding the hole and compromised a significant part of the warp in one corner of the rug.  When we received the rug, the hole was slightly smaller than what is visible in the pictures above.   Before commencing the repair, we had to extract all the compromised areas, including the compromised warp and pile surrounding the hole.  After that, we began reconstructing the missing section using cotton for the warp and wool for the pile, conforming to the original materials.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Turkish Kilim Repair

Pictured above is the completed vintage Turkish kilim repair.  The picture below highlights the area of the kilim before we repaired it.  As is visible from this set of pictures, we reconstructed the warp and rewove the missing kilim sections, including the motifs that were present in the original kilim design.  What is not readily apparent without seeing this beautiful vintage kilim in person is that it is quite thin and delicate; we used yarns that were of similar quality to those used to weave the original kilim so that the repair would "blend" in as much as possible.  Although not visible in the pictures, we also bound the edges of the kilim so as to minimize the risk of the edge unraveling.  If you have a similar kilim, we recommend you place it in an area that is not subject to high foot traffic or moving furniture (e.g., dining room chairs that are often moved).  With the proper care and caution, this vintage Turkish kilim can be used for at least a few more decades.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kilim Rug Repair

This semi-antique kilim from Turkey had several damaged areas in need of repair, one of the most significant pictured above.  We loved working on this project.  The kilim was woven with fine yarns that had beautifully muted over several decades.  As always, matching the yarns to the original was the first challenge, as well as making sure that the areas surrounding the damaged areas were reinforced and not vulnerable to further damage.  The picture may not reveal it, but this beautiful kilim was almost paper-thin - just a beautiful work of art.  Repairing it so that it could be enjoyed for several more decades was definitely a privilege.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tapestry Repair

Yesterday we shared a damaged hand chain stitched tapestry.  Above are pictures of the completed repair to the damaged tapestry's stitching.  The original piece was stitched using neutral tones and we used the closest yarns to the original we could source.  Notice how the hand stitching blends into the off white field  - our goal was to not draw attention to the area that was once damaged.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tapestry Repair

This is an example of a damaged handmade chain stitched Kashmir tapestry.  As the pictures indicate, the beautiful intricate stitching was torn in the area surrounding the floral motifs.  The tapestry was stitched in lovely neutral tones - an immediate challenge was to find yarns that could blend into the neutral palette so as not to attract too much attention to the restored area.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beware of Moth Season

Today's post is a precautionary tale.  We are not the only ones who like the longer days, warm temperatures, and sunny weather.  Moths love warm conditions and this is the season to be especially vigilant with respect to our woolen goods, including our cherished wool rugs and kilims.  The kilim pictured above shows clear traces of moth infestation.  Sometimes the moth infestation is more severe or less severe.   Be careful with moths.  They will literally eat your woolen goods.  And although repairing and/or restoring a moth damaged wool kilim rug, dhurrie, or kilim is always possible, the best route would be not to have them damaged at all.  Some steps you can take:  never store woolen goods in plastic, dark, humid, or enclosed spaces; inspect your wool rugs and kilims periodically; expose your wool rug or kilim to the sun; keep wool kilims or rugs in well ventilated areas; never place wool rugs or kilims in areas known to be infested with moths. --

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Turkmen Rug Repair

Damage to the edge of a rug's border or side cord is a common problem we are asked to repair.  These areas are particularly vulnerable to damage because of pet bites, heavy furniture being moved on the rug, chair legs being dragged on and tearing the rug, or other similar trauma to the area.  The Turkmen rug (or Turkoman rug) pictured above was in fine condition with the exception of the damaged edge.  We repaired the compromise warp, reknotted the pile, and reconstructed the side selvage.  The bottom picture shows the results of our repair.