Monday, June 30, 2014

Persian Rug Repair - Before

The fringes and selvages of Persian and Oriental rugs are usually the areas most vulnerable to damage.   The picture above depicts a damaged area of selvage with the warp still somewhat intact.  The rug is a modern Iranian rug from the Shiraz region.  

Above is a picture of the damaged area as seen from the back of the rug.  In our next post, we will share the result of this Persian rug repair.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chinese Art Deco Rug Cleaning and Repair - Result

After removing all the damaged and compromised yarns from the Chinese Art Deco rug, we strengthened all the compromised warp and weft and reknotted the pile.  The picture above shows the reknotted area before we cut the yarns to the same length as the rest of the rug.  

 The final step in our repair was to cut down the yarns of the reknotted area.  The photo above shows the final result of our repair of the worn and damaged area of this fine Chinese Art Deco rug.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Chinese Art Deco Rug Cleaning and Repair

Chinese Art Deco rugs are generally brightly colored and bold additions to a room.   Similar to Persian, Turkish, Moroccan, Nepalese, Tibetan, and other handmade rugs, these Chinese rugs benefit greatly from regular professional cleaning and prompt attention to worn and damaged areas.  We recently provided professional cleaning and repair services for the Chinese Art Deco rug pictured above.  First, we thoroughly cleaned the rug to ensure, in part, that all the yarns we used for the repaired areas matched the clean yarns of the rug.  Second, we proceeded to repair the various damaged sections.  One worn section we repaired is pictured above.   The first step in repairing this area was to remove all the damaged and compromised pile (the light greenish beige area at the center of the photo above).  We were fortunate to have the warp intact so were able to use the structure for the reknotting.  In our next post, we will share the next phase of this handmade Chinese rug repair.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning Tips: How To Minimize The Risk of Moth Damage in Your Wool Rugs and Kilims

If you live on the East Coast and survived this difficult winter, you - like me - must be happy that spring has finally arrived.  The snow finally has stopped falling, the weather has begun to warm, and there are even hints of flowers and greenery blooming.  Amidst all the wonderful beginnings that spring brings, there is one danger that peaks around this time that threatens to damage - even destroy - our beloved wool rugs, wool kilims, and wool textiles.  What is this silent and deceptively tiny danger?  Moths.

Moths have the potential to silently, but thoroughly, eat through your most precious wool rugs.  What can you do to prevent moths from damaging your wool rugs?  Below is a list of tips to minimize the danger posed by moths:

  1. Thoroughly inspect your wool rugs and kilims at least once every three months.  Know what to look for.  Below is a picture of a live moth infestation.  Look also for loosened knots of wool.  Loosened and compromised knots might indicate that moths have begun their destructive activity.  Note also that moths seem to have a preference for certain colors (actually, a preference for the dyes used to create certain colors).  Therefore, sometimes moth damage will look like someone has carved out certain colors but left others alone.
  2. Vacuum your rugs regularly.  Professionally clean your rugs every two years or so, or more often if the rug is in a highly-trafficked area.  Clean rugs that enjoy a bright and well-ventilated space are rarely subjected to moth damage.
  3. Avoid storing rugs for any extended period of time.  If you must store your rugs, do so in an area that allows the rugs to breathe and be exposed to light and air.  Never wrap your rugs in plastic and store them in a dark closet.  This is the worst way to store rugs as the dark, oxygen-deprived, humid environment creates the perfect environment for moths to flourish and begin their destructive activity.
  4. Isolate any rugs that show signs of a live moth infestation to avoid spreading the moths to other rugs or woolen products.
With minimal care and occasional monitoring, you can protect your rugs, kilims, and other wool textiles against the small and powerful moth.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Antique Turkish Tulu Rug Restoration - Final Result

As we highlighted in our recent posts, after professionally cleaning the antique Turkish Tulu rug, we reconstructed the missing warp and weft.  We then started knotting the Tulu pile and left the yarns loose in the same "shag" style of the original Tulu.  The pictures below were taken in different lights and therefore appear to be of different colors, but they are of the same area of the rug.

Below is a picture after we started knotting the missing pile.  As you can see, there is still visible warp and weft on which we had to knot more pile.

Finally, below is the final result of our antique Turkish Tulu rug restoration.  Again, the different light that we used to take the pictures makes the rug's colors seem different, but they are the same color.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Antique Turkish Tulu Rug Restoration - Mid Process

As is our recommended and usual practice, the first step in our antique Turkish Tulu rug restoration was to professionally clean the rug so that the yarns used in the restoration would match the cleaned rug.  The next step was to rebuild the warp, which helps to form the "backbone" of the rug.  Pictured below is the reconstructed warp.

The next step was to reconstruct the weft, which with the warp will hold the Tulu "pile" in place.  Pictured below is the reconstructed warp and weft.

Seen from the reverse side of the Tulu, below is another picture of the reconstructed warp and weft.

Seen from the front side of the Tulu rug, below is a picture of the reconstructed warp and weft on which we will knot the Tulu pile in the next phase of our restoration.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Antique Turkish Tulu Rug Restoration - Before

Turkish Tulu rugs wonderfully characterize what is so fantastic about handmade textiles.  These weavings - which date back centuries - are at once modern and traditional.   They can bring a touch of whimsy to a traditional decor, or bring a sense of history to more modern or contemporary spaces.  Tulus have influenced a great number of weavings, including the recent shag craze of the 1960s and 1970s in this country.  The antique Tulu pictured here is a typical Tulu - monochromatic and seemingly simplistic.  The somewhat random texture of the front of the Tulu is what gives it its beauty.

This Tulu had several worn areas, more visibly seen from the reverse side of the kilim pictured below.  After professionally cleaning the Turkish Tulu rug, we began the search for an appropriate mustard yarn to use for our restoration.   We will share the next steps of the restoration in our upcoming posts.

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. -