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  

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Semi-Antique Moth Damaged Moroccan Rug

Moths can inflict significant damage to a wool rug if they are left undisturbed in optimal eating conditions - namely, dark, warm, enclosed spaces with little or no cross ventilation.  Such was the case with the semi-antique Moroccan rug pictured above.  Moths managed to eat not only the pile of this vibrant Moroccan rug, but also the warp and weft thereby destroying the rug's foundation.  We first had to ensure that the moths were completely eliminated by a thorough professional cleaning and separate special wash.  Following the cleaning, we eliminated all damaged yarns.  Next, we rebuilt the rug's foundation before undertaking the intensive task of reknotting the missing and damaged pile.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spring Cleaning - What You Do In Between Your Rug's Professional Cleaning

We certainly had to wait a very long time for it, but it seems that spring has finally (finally!) arrived.  I am so glad to be able to open the windows wide and let the fresh air in.  As we freshen up the house in anticipation of summer parties and lazy nights, we want to make sure that the house is clean and ready for us and our guests to enjoy.  Spring cleaning is a fantastic opportunity to deep clean all the areas that go neglected or unnoticed during the cold winter months.  If you have a no shoes household, you generally can go longer between professional cleanings of handmade rugs and kilims.  If you wear outside shoes on your rugs, then generally it is recommended you professionally clean your rugs and kilims every two years.   
In between professionally cleaning, however, you can still take some steps to ensure your rugs are fresh and ready for summer.   We recommend you remove your rug from its regular location and mop the area beneath it.  Ensure that the area is dry before putting the rug back in its place.  Vacuum the underside of your rug while you await the mopped area to dry.  When you return the rug to its original location, ensure that it is rotated (this is important so that any sun exposure is distributed throughout).  If you use a rug pad underneath your rug, be sure to shake it out to it is dust free before returning it to its original location.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Examples of Moth Damage in a Hand Knotted Wool Rug

It is hard to believe with snow still on the ground, but spring is just around the corner.  It is the perfect time to refresh our houses, do a deep cleaning, and inspect all of our woolen treasures.   A springtime inspection is a perfect opportunity to spot any current or past moth infestation that may have damaged your rugs during the cold winter months.   
We get asked quite often how to spot moth damage.  Sometimes moths are easy to recognize because they're still living and devouring your wool.  However, other times, moths have died away for one reason or another, but the damage they caused is left behind.  All of these photographed rugs are examples of moth damage.  In the photo above, you can see how the moths have eaten away the woolen pile at the edge of the rug but have left the cotton warp and weft untouched.  Moths clearly have no interest in devouring cotton when so much wool is available.  Below, the moth damage is more subtle - the hole was caused by something else, but the white sticky areas are evidence of a past moth infestation.

Below, the white glue-like areas are examples of a live moth infestation in this Persian rug.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - Final Result

Above is a photo of this beautiful antique Persian rug after our restoration.  (As a reminder, below is a photo of the area before we began our project.)  As always, we attempted to match the color and motifs of the original rug as much as possible.  A good restoration and/or repair tries not to call attention to itself.  The biggest compliment a restorer can receive is when a client needs to look extra closely to distinguish the original from the new.  Luckily, with this restoration, we were able to blend in the new yarns with the old.  With any luck, this beautiful antique rug will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Antique Persian Kerman Rug Restoration

The picture above is of our restoration of this gorgeous antique Persian rug in progress.  Luckily, most of the warp was intact so we could start reknotting fairly readily.  A challenge when restoring antique rugs is not to use yarns that are too vibrant to avoid having the restoration look years newer than the rug itself.   When this photo was taken, we had begun reknotting the floral motif in the center of the photo.  Below is a photo of the rug before we commenced our restoration as a reference point. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Antique Kerman Persian Rug Restoration

Some believe in the beauty of newness, which I admit, can be exhilarating.   Some of my happiest memories from my childhood are playing among the carpet and kilim "farms" of Anatolia where weavers laid out their newly woven goods so that the sun could mute the newly dyed colors and the smell of the fresh wool could dissipate.  The newness of all the rugs was dizzying and the beauty of the vibrant colors, I still believe,  rival that of any painting in any museum.  But the beauty of older rugs can match, and in many ways, even exceed the beauty of anything new.  Their muted, rich colors, their worn coarse texture, and evidence of lives lived combine to make some older rugs truly spectacular.   I see no reason or need to replace older rugs when they begin to show wear or their age.  Quite the contrary, I only see need to repair or restore that which is torn or worn to the point of compromising a rug's structural integrity. In my opinion, a rug's signs of age are something to be coveted and not replaced.    
This beautiful antique Kerman rug had significant tears and wear along a path where I assume generations of a family walked.  In our next posts, we will show how we extended the life of this old beauty. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

When Your Rug Has Been Damaged by a Flood

I sympathize if this sounds familiar - you are away from your home for a few days and return to find that a gutter failed and your roof is now leaking; or a pipe burst and your living room is sitting in a foot of water; or your washing machine got angry and your basement flooded.  Not only do you face thousands of dollars worth of repairs to your home, but also probably lose a good amount of furnishings in the process.  Every year, we receive a number of calls from clients who have suffered a similar fate and are desperate to find a fix for their beloved flooded rugs.  If left wet, wool can lose its shape and smell quite badly.  Moreover, a wet rug can have its colors run and bleed into each other as is visible in the photo above.  If left for an extended period of time in sitting water, a rug can even rot (for which there is no remedy unfortunately).
If you should ever suffer such a fate as a flooded rug, it is important to remove the rug from the wet area as soon as possible and lay it flat somewhere dry.  In addition, it is best to have it professionally cleaned as soon as possible.  If you are lucky, a professional cleaning will suffice to address all of the rug's problems associated with the flooding.  However, sometimes it is necessary to do more than just a professional cleaning, including an additional soaking (which is ironic, but note this is a controlled soaking).  A soaking may help with the odor and even sometimes the color run.  Of course, if possible, avoid putting rugs in any areas you know are in danger of getting flooded.

Sunlit Rugs

I would rather live in a sunlit shoebox than in a dark castle.  My family and I live without curtains in most rooms just to squeeze out as much sunlight in our home as we can.  I'm fortunate enough to live in a southeast facing home - an optimal position in my opinion.  But as much as I relish the sunlight, I'm also acutely aware of the precautions that I have to take with my furnishings and especially my beloved rugs.  When rugs are left in the same position for too long, the sun can start to fade certain areas of our rugs.  Fading is somewhat inevitable, but what can be prevented is uneven fading.   For this reason, on this longest day of the year, take a moment to rotate your rugs so that any fading of your rugs is as even as possible.   And then, take time to enjoy the sunlight.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Antique Turkish Kilim - Final Result

After professionally cleaning this lovely kilim and ridding it of an unpleasant pet odor, we removed all weakened fibers and rewove the areas that our client's puppy tore out.  Pictured above is the result of our kilim repair project.  To compare, please see below the photo of what the kilim looked like when we first started our work.  We hope that our clients - and all their beloved pets - will enjoy this lovely kilim for many years ahead.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Antique Turkish Kilim Repair - Mid Process

Luckily, the professional cleaning of this lovely Turkish kilim removed the smell of pet urine and got it ready for the next step of our repair project.  Our client's new puppy took a good chunk out of the kilim's central field and border and it was our job to recreate the beautiful weaving that was done dozens of years ago when the kilim was first made.  We attached the kilim to a table loom, rebuilt the warp, and started the weft recreation as well.  Matching yarns to the existing kilim is always a challenge, but luckily we were able to find just the right muted palette.  
Working on kilims can be more challenging than working on hand knotted rugs because a rug's pile can conceal some of our repair or restoration imperfections.  In a kilim, there is really no place to conceal any errors.  All the weaving is immediately visible.  I find them a joy to work on as results are immediately visible.  There is something about a kilim's texture that I find immensely pleasing and I sense that many owners of kilims appreciate this feature as well.  It's hard to believe that kilims were once looked down upon - even used as wrapping material for more valuable hand knotted rugs! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Antique Turkish Kilim Repair

Normally, rugs and kilims provide a beautiful backdrop to our everyday busy lives.   But every now and then - especially when a new family member arrives (two legged or four legged), kilims and rugs become a tasty, irresistible, and costly snack.  The beautiful antique Turkish kilim pictured above was one such snack.  A new puppy grabbed onto this fine kilim and didn't let go until it tore through a significant piece of the kilim's field.  When undertaking this kind of kilim repair project, it is of utmost important to match the yarns so that they blend into the rest of the kilim as much as possible.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Spotting Moth Damage - Tis the Season

The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and there is a certain buzz in the air with the flowers blooming and the mosquitoes biting.  Mosquitoes aren't the only things eating.  This is a particularly dangerous season for all of our beloved woolen goods, especially our wool Oriental rugs.  One of the questions we are most often asked is how to spot moth damage in an Oriental rug (followed by, what can I do to prevent moths from attacking my Oriental rugs in the first place?).  In this post, we will share some of the ways feasting moths make themselves known.

Above is a photo of a rug pad that has become home to a large moth infestation.  This can happen when a rug is not allowed to breathe separately from its rug pad for an extended period of time.  The moths are the white glue-like residue on the pad.  It's a good habit to occasionally separate your rug from your rug pad and vacuum both to ensure that both are cleaned (and inspected) periodically.

Sometimes the moth damage is quite evident as there will be a hole (or holes) where there was once your rug (see photo above).

Other times, you know moths are eating your rugs by the dotted appearance that your rug suddenly has as in the photo above.  If you see any of your rugs get similar damage, take care to isolate your rug immediately from all other woolen goods and have your rug professionally cleaned as soon as possible.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Moth Damage Persian Rug Repair - Final Result

As we shared in our last posts, the great vibrant rug pictured above was damaged by moths in several areas.  We cut down the newly reknotted pile to reveal the result - above is a photo of our final product.  As a reminder, below is a photo of what the area looked like when we brought it to our workshop (sorry about the flipped angle).  The warp and weft were intact (as cotton isn't attractive to moths) but the wool pile was completely devoured in several sections.  A reminder to all our readers - this is moth season so be sure to protect your valuable woolen goods - especially beloved Oriental rugs!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Moth Damage Persian Rug Repair

We professionally cleaned this great vibrant rug to remove the moth larvae and subsequently began our repair.  We reconstructed the warp, weft, and pile.  The shaggy section in the pictures above and below are the reknotted pile before we cut down the yarns.  It's hard to tell from the pictures, but beneath those extra long yarns is our attempt to match the pattern and color palette of the original rug.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Moth Damaged Persian Rug Repair

Spring is upon us and many of us are getting ready to do our biannual or annual deep cleaning.  It's a perfect occasion to lift heavy furniture off our handmade rugs for a thorough rug inspection and to retrieve all rugs from storage to make sure they're still moth free.  Minor moth infestation can be readily eradicated with a thorough professional cleaning.  Once an infestation is allowed to continue unaddressed, moths can eat through significant areas of the pile, as with the rug pictured above and below.  In the next few posts, we will show how we repaired this moth damaged Persian rug.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wine Stain on an Oriental Rug - What Can Be Done

Spilling anything on an Oriental rug can be a very stressful experience.  But occasional spills are almost unavoidable, especially if you are lucky enough to enjoy Oriental rugs in a family room, living room, and, particularly, a dining room.  Over the years, we have helped clients with a wide range of spills and resulting stains - juice, milk, chocolate, coffee, cleaning products, and more.  Among the most challenging stains are those caused by red wine - the culprit that caused the stain in the rug pictured above.   

What should you do when you spill red wine on a beloved Persian rug (or any other kind of hand made wool or silk rug)?  First, and most importantly, blot up the excess liquid immediately.  Use a white towel or paper towels.  Do not rub.  This is particularly important if the spill covers a multi-colored area.  Rubbing may not only set the stain into the rug's fibers, but may also cause the rug's dyes to run.  Second, lift the rug and dry the area below the rug.  You do not want to allow the wine to stain the rug from behind.  Third, contact a professional oriental rug cleaner immediately.  

 For the wine stain pictured above, we first addressed the stain though a rug stain removal process.  Subsequently, we professionally cleaned the entire rug.  Sometimes clients will ask if we can treat just the affected area only and forego cleaning the entire rug, but that is not possible as the cleaning of the entire rug allows the treated area to blend into the rest of the rug.  Below, is a photo of the same area after our stain removal process and professional cleaning of the wine stained rug.  While there is no way to guarantee complete removal of a stain as difficult as one caused by red wine, generally stain removal and a professional cleaning can greatly minimize the appearance of the stain.  

As for that glass, or bottle (!), of wine that was spilled - it's too bad that there's nothing that can be done about getting it back!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Dog Bit My Rug - Final Results

So to recap, here is what the rug looked like after being bitten by our client's dog.

Below is a photo that captures our rug repair mid-process while we reconstructed the warp and weft.

Next, below is a photo of what the rug looked like as we knotted the pile.

And, finally, below are photos (from the front and back) of the repaired area.  Let's hope the repair isn't tasty to anyone!