Saturday, February 8, 2014

Antique Turkish Kilim Cushion Cover (Cuval) Repair - After

The result of our latest antique Turkish kilim cushion restoration is pictured above.  As a reminder, below is the cushion before we commenced the restoration.

To repair this fine Konya cuval, we first professionally cleaned the kilim cushion so that we could choose yarns for the restoration that would match the cleaned yarns of the original cushion.  We were fortunate to find a similarly aged Konya kilim that was beyond repair.  We unraveled the yarns from that kilim to use in this restoration.  We reconstructed the damaged warp and weft taking care to rebuild the motifs to match the original motifs woven into the cushion.  The brown diagonal "stripe" was the major focus of the restoration.  Now that this beautiful Turkish kilim cushion is restored, it can be stuffed with either cotton or other form of batting, and enjoyed for another generation.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Antique Turkish Kilim Cushion Cover (Cuval) Repair - Before

The flat woven technique has been used for centuries to make a wide variety of gorgeous textiles - from kilim floor coverings to tent covers, tent dividers, hay bags, saddle bags, tapestries,  salt bags, and cushion covers also known as cuvals (pronounced chuvals).  Pictured above and below is a beautiful example of a hand woven cuval from the Konya region of Turkey.  It was made circa 1910-1920 with all vegetable dyed, one ply, hand-spun wool.  Pieces such as this have become very collectible in recent years.  As you can see from the photos, this cuval, with its stunning muted palette was in good condition except for a central row where the warp and weft was severely compromised.  The picture below with the white background highlights the damaged area.

To restore a piece like this, we strive to use yarn from a similarly aged piece, if possible.  The reason for this is that new yarn would be too bold in color tone and would not allow the restored area to "blend" into the original.  Furthermore, we strive to use yarn colored in the same manner (i.e., with vegetable dyes) and constructed in the same way (i.e., single ply and hand spun).  For this project, we sourced the yarns we used in the restoration from another antique Konya kilim that was beyond restoration.   This highlights yet another wonderful benefit of owning and collecting kilims - even when they are old and seemingly beyond utility, they can still be used to restore and repair other kilims.  Nothing ever needs to go to waste - a rare, and wonderful feat in today's world where so much seems to be disposable.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Persian Rug Restoration - After

After professionally cleaning the rug, we were ready to commence with the restoration.  We always recommend cleaning a rug before undertaking any repair or restoration for a few reasons.  First, yarns used in restored areas should match the clean yarns of the rest of the rug.  Second, dirt particles embedded within the pile of soiled rugs can rub against the fibers and compromise their integrity thereby increasing the chances of damage from occurring.  

After cleaning, we rebuilt the warp and weft that had been damaged.  We then reknotted the pile.  The picture above is of the restored area, as seen from the front side of the rug.  Below is a picture of the same area as seen from the reverse side of the rug.

And, just a reminder, below are pictures of the damaged areas (from the front and back) before our restoration.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Persian Rug Restoration - Before Pictures

Among the many wonderful aspects of working on Persian and Oriental rug restoration projects is the fantastic opportunity to work with an amazing array of colors.  The Persian rug pictured above is a field of vibrant reds, blues, oranges, greens, pinks, and even more colors that one would assume would ordinarily yield a jarring or disjointed color composition.  Yet this rug, with its floral design woven in the traditional Persian single knot technique, is not only harmonious, but pleasing to the eye.  The damage shown above - a hole or tear about twice the size of a quarter, was the subject of a recent rug restoration of ours.  Below is a picture of the damaged area from the back of the rug.  Note how the single knot technique allows for the design of the rug to be mirrored clearly from the back as well as the front.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Being Green: Loving, Creating, Caring For, and Preserving Rugs (and Memories)

Before I immigrated to the US, I had never heard of the concept of being "green."  Yet it was a philosophy and guiding principle that my family and my community closely followed.  There is perhaps no better material embodiment of this green philosophy than the role that handmade rugs, kilims, cecims, soumaks, and other textiles occupy in our homes, our families, and our culture.

Starting when they are just wool on a sheep's back, the traditional process of rug weaving is one that elevates the use of renewable materials sourced locally, privileges the skills developed by local ancient communities, and virtually eliminates the need for renewal or replacement for generations thereby reducing waste.  Handmade rugs and kilims, intrinsically, are the perfect example of living green.

The rug pictured above was woven by my grandmother for my mother's dowry.   My parents gave it to my wife and me when we married - I suppose it was a part of my own dowry as well.  My grandmother wove it in red to symbolize love; included the traditional flowing water motif around the perimeter to symbolize that just as water holds life, water holds this knotted gift; and decorated the rug with a seven mountain floral motif which symbolizes the mountainous region from where my family originates.  To a casual observer, this beautiful rug looks like it was just cut off the loom.  The colors are still so vibrant, the pile almost as thick as my grandmother knotted it, and the designs as crisp and meaningful well over half a century later.  For sure, as far as rugs go, this piece is not particularly old or rare.  But for our family, it is as precious as anything we have or could ever have.  Style preferences may change with the decades and fashions may tempt us to follow what glossy pages from a magazine tell us are the hottest trends.  But if being green is truly what's in style now, then holding on to our past has never looked more fashionable - or beautiful.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Turkish Konya Kilim Repair 2 - After

Above is the final result of our repair project on this beautiful Turkish Konya kilim.  After affixing this area to a wooden loom, we rewove the missing and compromised weft.  As always, we strove to have the new yarns match the original yarns as much as possible.  A good repair or restoration will blend into the original as much as possible and will not attract attention to itself.  This can be a particular challenge  when a piece is older and its yarns have been subjected to wonderful years of muting from sunlight or wear from kind use.   As a reminder, below is a picture of what the area looked like before our repair.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Turkish Konya Kilim Repair 2 - Before

Above is a picture of another area of the vibrant Turkish Konya kilim that was the subject of a recent project of ours.   We had already cleaned the kilim before undertaking the repair of another section of the kilim so we needed only to affix the kilim to a wooden loom and remove all compromised fibers.  Luckily, the warp (the white horizontal threads pictured above) was intact, so we were able to use it for the foundation of our reweaving.  Matching the brown weft would be the next challenge.  --

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Turkish Konya Kilim Repair - After

After professionally cleaning the kilim, attaching the kilim to a wooden loom, removing all the compromised yarns, and sourcing a matching red yarn for the weft, we rewove the weft to complete the hands on hips motif.  The picture above is the final result of our repair of this section of this vibrant Konya kilim.  In our next post, we will share another section that we repaired in this same kilim. --

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Turkish Konya Kilim Repair - Before

The kilim pictured above is from the Konya region of Turkey.  The beautiful bright blues, greens, and reds make Konya kilims particularly vibrant pieces.  This kilim had wear in various areas, including in the "hands on hips" motif pictured above.  After we professionally cleaned the kilim, we fastened it to a temporary wooden loom.  We then removed all the compromised weft and ensured that the warp's integrity was intact.  The next step was to find matching red yarn and reweave the missing motif.  --

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turkish Kilim Repair - Result

After professionally cleaning the kilim, we removed all the compromised warp and weft along the diagonal slit weave design.  We then rebuilt the compromised warp while sourcing yarns for the weft that would match the original kilim's colors.  We then rewove the weft while striving to maintain the beautiful varied abrash of the red colored yarn in particular (i.e., the wonderfully non-uniform red color along the diagonal).  Above is a picture of the result of our Turkish kilim repair; below is a picture of the piece before our restoration.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkish Kilim Repair

Sometimes after years of wear and tear, kilims can start to show damage where the warp and weft have been compromised.  In the Turkish kilim above, the warp and weft along the diamond slit weave design has started to wear through.  In most areas, the warp (the white vertical strands) were still intact, but the weft (the horizontal colored yarns) were either completely missing or compromised.  When an owner or collector of kilims begins to notice this kind of damage, it is advisable to have the piece repaired or restored immediately so that further damage does not ensue.  Alternatively, we recommend the piece be removed from use until a proper repair can be done.  This way the kilim is not further subjected to the stress from normal foot traffic, or worse, the pulling or dragging from chairs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Antique Persian Worn Rug Repair - Final Result

Pictured above is the final result of our repair of the worn section of this fine antique Persian rug.  After cutting down the newly knotted wool pile, the pattern revealed itself.  As always, we aimed to match the colors, motifs, and knotting of the original.  As a reminder, the picture below is what the area looked like before our repair.  --

Monday, November 25, 2013

Antique Persian Worn Rug Repair - in progress

As we already had professionally cleaned the rug before commencing our last repair, we were able to proceed directly to removing all the compromised wool pile that had been affected by the worn areas.  Because the warp and weft of the rug had not been compromised, we were able to use the existing structure for our reknotting.  Pictured above is the reknotted section before we cut down the wool knots.  --

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Antique Persian Worn Rug Repair - Before

In this and the next few posts, we will highlight another area that we repaired in the same antique Persian rug about which we wrote in our last posts.  After years of use, repeated foot traffic, and continued stress on the knotted pile, sometimes certain areas of handmade rugs become worn, as shown in the picture above.  To minimize the risk of such wear from occurring, it is recommended that owners of handmade pieces rotate their rugs at least once every six months as people tend to follow the same traffic patterns day after day thereby causing wear to the same rug areas.  Rotating rugs helps the wear distribute more evenly.  In addition, rotating rugs allows any sun exposure to the rug to be more evenly distributed.

The wear on this antique Persian rug had not yet compromised the underlying warp and weft - the underlying grid-like pattern under the knotted wool pile.   In our next post, we will highlight how we repaired this section.  --  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - Final Result

After cutting down the reknotted pile and recreating the compromised fringe, the final result of our antique Persian rug fringe restoration is pictured above.  Note that we cut down the fringe along the edge of the entire length of the rug so that the fringe length would be uniform.  This was done for aesthetic reasons only.  We bound the fringe to minimize the risk of the pile unraveling.  As a reminder, the picture below is what the area looked like before the restoration.  In our next posts, we will highlight our restoration of other areas of this beautiful antique Persian rug.  --

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Antique Persian Rug Repair - In Process

We last left you with a moth infested Persian rug that had severe damage along its fringe and several areas of the pile.  After we professionally cleaned the rug to rid it of moths, we extracted all loosened and compromised pile.  Luckily, the warp and weft was left mostly intact as it was made of cotton and the moths left it mostly untouched.  We next began reknotting the missing pile on the original warp and weft structure.  The picture above shows the reknotting in mid-process.  Below is a picture of the reknotted pile once it was complete, but before we cut it down to match the length of the rest of the rug.  The final step was to reweave the fringe so that it would be uniform along the edge of the rug.  In our next post, we will share the final result of this latest antique Persian rug restoration project. -

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Antique Persian Rug Fringe Repair - Before Picture

Persian rugs are exquisite, timeless, beautiful, and amazingly durable works of art able to withstand generations of wear, tear, and memories.  One of the only true threats to fine Persian rugs are tiny beings nearly invisible to the naked eye.  What are these powerful tiny threats to fine wool Persian rugs?  Moths, of course.  Any collector of Persian rugs will know that preventing moth damage is key.  Regular professional cleanings and avoidance of storing rugs in humid and dark places can save a collector lots of heartache.   The owners of this beautiful antique Persian rug pictured above were unfortunately among the many unlucky people to find that their fine rug suffered significant moth damage that compromised various parts of the pile in the center field of the rug, as well as areas along the fringe.  Pictured above is the damaged area along the fringe.

Our first task when we receive a carpet that has been damaged by moths is to professionally clean the rug so that we ensure that all signs of moth infestation are eliminated.  The next step is to identify and isolate each area that has been damaged and compromised by the moth infestation.  For this project, after we professionally cleaned the rug, we removed all wool yarns that were damaged and compromised to reveal the underlying cotton warp (moths definitely prefer wool over cotton).  In our next posts, we will share how we approached repairing this section of the rug.  Fringe repair is critical as it literally binds the rest of the rug to hold its structure in place.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Turkish Konya Kilim Repair - Final

After professionally cleaning the kilim, we began restoring the damaged area (shown below). As the picture above shows, we rebuilt the warp and weft and rewove the missing and damaged motifs.  As always, we tried to use yarns that would match the original yarns as closely as possible.  With older kilims or rugs, such as this Konya kilim, it is particularly important that the yarns used in any restoration  or repair be similarly aged so that the color of the restoration is muted allowing it to blend in with the original.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Turkish Konya Kilim Repair

Various rug and kilim restoration projects have been keeping us busy and have prevented us from blogging more regularly.  One such recent project was repairing this lovely Konya Turkish handwoven kilim that had several damaged areas, including a significant tear along one of its fringe areas.  This Konya kilim has a very fine weaving density, and its beautiful hues of blues, reds, and ivories are a testament to just how more beautiful colors can become with the passage of time.  To repair this torn area, we had to reconstruct the warp and weft using materials that would blend into the older yarns.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Antique Soumak Repair - Final

After rebuilding the warp and weft, we then rewove the missing motifs in yarns that nearly matched the original colors exactly.  Above is a picture of the rewoven area (as a final step, we removed the excess warp (the white loose thread)).  As a reminder, the picture below is the same area before our restoration work.  This Soumak restoration was a pleasure to work on - the piece is so vibrant and lovely, we hope its owner will enjoy it for many years to come.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Antique Soumak Repair- Process

The first step we took on our recent project was to professionally clean this Soumak rug.  Generally, it is always advisable to clean a rug before undertaking any rug repair or restoration.  After the cleaning, we removed all the damaged and compromised yarns surrounding the affected area.  Next, we rebuilt the warp and weft, the grid-like structure in white pictured above.  With the warp and weft in place, the next step is to outline with a pencil the shape of the motifs that must be woven.  The next step, which we will highlight in our next post, will be to weave the motifs in colored yarns that will match the original yarns as close as possible.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Antique Soumak Repair - Before

Pictured above is an exquisite antique Caucasian Soumak that we recently repaired.  This piece was a pleasure to work on.  The weaving of this Soumak is beautiful, and the colors are vibrant, sharp, and wonderfully rich - because of (not despite of) being exposed to over a century of sunlight, family life, and all else that 100 + years brings.  Soumaks, in general, are wonderful examples of traditional weavings; they are different from hand knotted pieces that have a pile, and different from the flat woven kilims.  As you will see from the picture above, Soumaks resemble what I think of as carved art, with each motif seemingly "outlined" or carved into the piece itself.  They are truly special and always a joy to look at and study.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Afghan Rug Repair - Final Steps and Result

After knotting the damaged and compromised pile, the picture above shows what the repaired area looked like from the reverse side of the rug.

Once we removed the rug from its temporary loom, our Afghan rug repair was almost complete.

The only remaining step was to trim the fringe to the same length as that of the original Afghan rug.

And, finally, pictured above is the final result of our Afghan rug repair.  As a reminder, the picture below is a close-up of what the area looked like before our repair.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Afghan Rug Repair - in progress

As our last post showed, this Afghan rug's fringe was chewed by a puppy, causing damage not only to the fringe, but also to a section of the knotted pile.

Our first step in the Afghan rug repair was to eliminate all of the damaged fibers and then rebuilding the  compromised and missing cotton warp (the white vertical strands pictured above from the backside of the rug).

Above is a picture of the recreated and extended warp affixed to a temporary wooden loom.

Next, we rebuilt the weft, the horizontal strands that complete the grid like structure pictured above.

After completing the grid like base of the warp and weft, the next step in our Afghan rug restoration was to reknot the missing pile.  Matching the yarns to the original rug was a challenge, as the colors of the rug when viewed from one side look very light, but when viewed from the opposite side, the colors seem darker.  Many rugs have a similar color variation, but this variation is much more pronounced in some Afghan rugs, such as this one.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Afghan Rug Repair - Before

As many owners of fine rugs and kilims know, they are extremely durable and can last for decades with   just minimal care.  The most vulnerable areas of a handmade rug are its edges - both the fringes and selvages.  The edges are generally subjected to the most significant wear and tear, aggressive vacuuming, and, in this rug's case, the hungriest of puppies.  The puppy here managed to rip away the fringe's binding and pull out the knots of a portion of the pile.  Some of the cotton warp was ripped out as well.   In our next post, we will detail how we repaired the damage to this hand knotted Afghan rug caused by a puppy's appetite.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Antique Chinese Rug Restoration - Final

So after professionally cleaning this antique Chinese rug, removing all the compromised knots and other fibers, recreating the warp and weft, sourcing yarns that matched the original colors, and reknotting all damaged and compromised pile, our antique Chinese rug restoration is complete.  Above is a picture of the front side of the restored area.  Below is the same area seen from the underside.

And just as a reminder, below is a picture of the damaged area before our antique rug restoration.