Friday, March 19, 2021

Restoring an Antique Turkish Rug

 




The old adage is an eternal truth - a stitch in time does indeed save nine.  And so we always recommend that a client have a small hole or tear restored as soon as they can.  But lives are busy and things get in the way, and inevitably we sometimes come across beautiful rugs that have large sections of pile that are completely missing, damaged, or torn.  These kinds of projects are quite time and skill intensive (and much more costly than repairing a small hole).  But they are challenging projects that are quite gratifying once done as we know a piece of history has been preserved for future generations. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com


Thursday, March 18, 2021

From the Desktop of an Antique Rug Restorer


This is one of my favorite views in the entire world.  And I am beyond grateful that it is of my own desktop.  I know that I am beyond blessed to love my work as much as I do.  I don't know what cosmic lottery I won to get to do what I love - to do for work what I would do anyway as a hobby.  But I remind myself every day that this is truly a gift.  Especially this year during what was such a challenging year for so many, I am grateful that I had this craft to turn to - to drown out all the worries.

It is hard to put into words what I love so much about restoring rugs.  Part of it is purely sensorial.  I love the different textures.  I love feeling the yarns between my fingers - the coarse wool, the smooth silk, the delicate antique yarns, the robust freshly dyed yarn.  I love seeing the vibrant electric colors of Moroccan rugs against the muted rich jewel tones of antique Persian rugs.  I even love the quiet hush of my hand rubbing against the knotted pile of a beautiful hand knotted rug.  I feel a deep sense of gratification as my work is slowly visually manifested into a pattern replacing a hole or a tear that had long ago compromised a beautiful piece.   And I feel a strange, but strong, connection to the weaver whom I will never meet, but whose work I hold in my hands for weeks, sometimes months.  I think about her life (because it is almost always a her) and wonder what her life was like, what she wanted to express in her art, what each placement of a motif meant to her.  I wonder if she meant to sell this rug - if she helped pay for something for her home with what she got for it, or if somehow this rug was meant for herself or her family and over the years, a grandchild sold it for something for his or her home.  It is almost always impossible to ever know, but I imagine all these scenarios through each knot and each loop.  And for hours, weeks, months, and years, this is what I do.  And it is among my life's greatest gifts. ---www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Final Stage of a Rug Restoration Project - Shearing Reknotted Sections

 


When a rug is knotted, or reknotted in the case of a rug restoration project, a weaver will use long yarns to knot wool motifs against a grid-like warp and weft.  The yarns have to be long-ish for a weaver to be able to manipulate them.  Because of their length, the knotted motifs close to the base of the rug are not always very clear to a weaver.  Only after the reknotting is done will a weaver cut the excess yarn down so that the pile is of a uniform (short) length.  The shearing can be done either with scissors or with a mechanical shearing tool shown above.  No matter how it is done, the shearing allows for the pattern to reveal itself more clearly.  This is a very enjoyable part of a restoration project as the shearing makes it look like the pattern somehow magically appears (and it also signifies the project is almost done!).  ---www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Moth Infested Rug Care

 


There is nothing appetizing about this photo, unless you're a moth.  We've witnessed the incredible destructive power of moths over the years, but photos like this still astound me just by the immense power that tiny moths can exert over beautiful wool rugs.  One look at this photo will stun most people into wanting to do what is necessary so that their rugs avoid such a fate.  The good news is that it is relatively simple to do.  First, a regular cleaning schedule is necessary.  This includes regular vacuuming - once a week or even once every two weeks depending on how trafficked the area is where the rug is located.  This also includes periodic professional cleaning - once every two or three years depending on how trafficked the area is where the rug is located.  Next, regular periodic inspections are recommended.  An inspection can take just a few minutes to look over the rug to be sure that no moths are present, and no damage is starting to ensue such as near the fringes.  Regular inspections should coincide with a rotation of the rug so that any wear or sun exposure is even distributed.  These small steps are enough to having your beautiful rug avoid a fate similar to the photographed rug. --



Monday, February 22, 2021

Moroccan Rug Cleaning

 



Cleaning Moroccan rugs is a critical part of their ongoing care, which can minimize the risk of damage that comes from daily wear and tear.  Professional cleaning can remove particles that become embedded deep at the base of the pile, which in the case of Moroccan rugs is very long and plush.  Professional cleaning, coupled with regular vacuuming, removes the particles between the pile that when brushed against the fibers of the pile eventually wear them down.  The long term result of the particles brushing against fibers is general weakening of the fibers which eventually become holes.  Therefore, vacuuming and professional cleaning is not only recommended for hygienic purposes, but also to extend the lifespan of the rug, which could be generations long if done properly.  --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Thursday, February 18, 2021

How Often Should I Have My Handmade Rug Professionally Cleaned?



Every circumstance will be different, but in general we recommend handmade rugs be professionally cleaned every two years if the rug is subject to average foot traffic.  We recommend antique rugs be cleaned every three to five years, again depending on how much traffic the rug gets.  The reason a professional cleaning is important for handmade rugs is that regular vacuuming is insufficient to extract deeply embedded particles that can lodge themselves deep in the pile.  These particles can wear on the base of the pile causing friction that could eventually damage the yarns and, over time, damage the rug causing holes or worn areas.  
If a rug is not in a heavily trafficked area, and if no outdoor shoes are worn in the home, a professionally cleaning can be done less frequently.  Conversely, if outdoor shoes are worn in the home and the rug is subject to more foot traffic, then a yearly professional cleaning is recommended.  In between professional cleanings, we recommend weekly vacuuming (taking care not to damage fringes and edges), and periodic rotations of the rug to even out any wear or sun exposure. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com
 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Removing a Stain from a Moroccan Rug

 


As any owner of a beautiful hand knotted rug knows, spills and stains are an inevitable part of having these beautiful pieces be the foundation of our home spaces.  If you ever have an unfortunate spill, we recommend blotting the excess liquid immediately.  Please take care to blot.  Do not rub as that may cause color run.  Then take a damp (not wet) white towel and natural soap and carefully try to remove any stain.  Be careful not to rub too hard or across colors.  Also be sure that the cloth is damp, not wet.  If you can not remove a stain, a professional cleaning may remove the stain.  If the stain has been left to sit, or if it is a stain of red wine or other difficult stain, a separate more in depth cleaning process may be necessary.  In the worst instances, if the stain is very prominent and a cleaning can not eliminate it, you can reweave that area.  But in most instances, a cleaning can greatly reduce the appearance of nearly all stains.  Even if  small evidence remains, it shouldn't detract from the beauty of a handmade piece.  --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, February 1, 2021

How to Save a Rug's Fringe - Binding

 



Rugs are most fragile at their edges, in particular, their fringed edges.  This is because fringes can get sucked by vacuums, pulled by heels, kids, or pets.  Fringes are merely extensions of the warp which, together with the weft, form the backbone of a rug.  When a weaver finishes knotting a rug and cuts the rug off the loom, she or he leaves a little warp at each edge of the pile.  This is not merely decorative, the fringe is left so that the pile is protected a bit.  The fringe acts like a barrier between the piled section and external stresses, in a sense.  For this reason, it is important to protect the fringes, so that they, in turn, can protect the knotted pile.  One way of protecting the fringes is to bind the fringes so that they remain intact.  One way of binding is as shown, vertical zig zag threads which hold the fringes and anchor them back into the pile.  This is one way of ensuring the fringes remain intact and can preserve the pile of a beloved rug for decades to come. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Moroccan Rug Cleaning - Cleaning a Work of Art

 



Professionally cleaning any authentic handmade rugs can be a challenge.  One must be sure to clean the rug thoroughly, but also be sure neither to damage any sensitive fibers, nor cause any color run.  For Moroccan rugs, this last consideration is especially important.  Many Moroccan rugs, such as the very popular Beni Ourain rugs, have very pale backgrounds against more graphic dark designs.  This is a perfect recipe for unsightly color run if a dark color is allowed to seep into white or cream wool pile.  For this reason, doing a color run test in a small discrete area is of paramount importance.  While there is no full proof way to prevent color run (because it is impossible to assess definitively if dyes are color fast before testing them all), a color run test can go a long way to help prevent damage.  Damaging these beautiful works of art would be a shame, and it is important to take the utmost preventative measures to ensure that a professional cleaning is done as safely and properly as possible. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Goat Hair Kilim Repair Project - Before and After

 





Goat hair is a difficult material to work with because it is very coarse.  Despite that, however, goat hair kilims can be very beautiful as their natural color and texture lend themselves to wonderfully stark contrasts and graphic patterns.  This kilim restoration project compelled us to work with goat hair.  As the photo above shows, an area of goat hair yarns was damaged.  We reconstructed the goat hair warp and weft, and embroidered the missing motifs.  Below is the after shot of the damaged section.  Another enjoyable kilim restoration project completed! 





Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Turkish Kilim Restoration


One of the most enjoyable aspects of working on Turkish handwoven kilim restoration projects is the immediate improvement that one can see as the project progresses.  When restoring a hand knotted rug, the result is somewhat delayed until after the newly knotted sections are shorn down.  But with a kilim, the restoration results are immediately visible and gratifying.  Restoring a kilim almost feels like painting in that way, albeit much, much slower.  Kilims are a delight to live with, as are the more ubiquitous hand knotted rugs.  Kilims are flat woven and tend to have more geometric motifs because of the nature of the weaving process.  The designs can be wonderfully bold and intricate, making them look like paintings for your floor.  They are a treasure to behold, and a gift to restore. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, December 28, 2020

Navajo Rug Cleaning

 




Navajo rugs are among the most beautiful and unique rugs in the weaving world.  Their bright colors, their bold motifs, and the beautiful composition of countless pieces are what have cemented Navajo rugs as timeless works of art.  The beautiful Navajo rugs above, with its vibrant blue and beige color palette, and its striking geometric motifs, would look stunning on a wall, floor, sofa, or virtually anywhere.  Similar to any hand woven rug, Navajo rugs should be professionally cleaned every few years.  A professional rug cleaning, even if it is done every few years or so, will go a long way in preserving these beautiful rugs for generations. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, December 14, 2020

Moroccan Rug - Binding Comes Undone

 


A rug can withstand decades of daily life with minimal maintenance.  Occasionally, however, a rug will need a little more than a good cleaning to keep it as beautiful and structurally sound as it needs to be.  This is usually in the form of reinforcement of the edges, especially the fringed edges.  Over the years, the original binding that most weavers place along the fringed edges will start to come undone.  This is sometimes hastened by aggressive vacuuming, or children or pets tugging at the edges.  If this is repaired before any of the pile becomes compromised, this is a straightforward repair.  And it will take considerably less time, and money, to repair a binding along a fringed edge than it would to reknot a missing or damaged area of the pile.  This is the reason we always recommend that binding is always done as soon as it becomes damaged - namely to avoid more significant damage to the rug itself.  As the old adage goes, a stitch in time saves nine (and sometimes more!).  --www.traditionalrugrepair.com 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

What To Do When Rugs Have a Very Bad Odor or Are Very Stained or Very Dirty


 

A good thorough professional cleaning about every two years for the vast majority of hand knotted rugs will help ensure that a beautiful rug can last for decades, maybe even longer.  A cleaning can remove dirt particles that can become embedded deep in the pile of a rug, particles which even the strongest vacuum can not reach.  There are times, however, when a rug needs a deeper cleaning beyond the standard professional cleaning.  Deeper cleanings are warranted in various instances, such as when a rug is kept in a very high traffic area, such as an office or main entry hall, has many stains, or is kept in storage for many years in humid conditions.  In these instances, we do a deeper cleaning which begins with soaking a rug for a day or so in a pool of water and soap that helps dislodge particles and odors.   The soaking is followed by a thorough brushing, rinse, and vacuuming.  The rug is then thoroughly dried.  In the great majority of instances, this deep cleaning can clean even the dirtiest rugs, although there are stains that can be impossible to remove.  --

www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Kilim Repair

 


After all these years, I still get excited when I start a new kilim restoration project.  I enjoy every stage of the process, including the yarn selection that is so critical to how the restoration looks when it is completed.  While it is never possible to find a perfect match, we generally have success in making sure that the shade we choose will allow the restoration to blend into the original piece as much as possible.  Whenever I start something new, I always marvel that it takes so few tools to create, or in this case, restore, something that will likely outlive our generation by so many years.  It's a way of connecting to the past, and to the future.  And in that fact, I find great peace and beauty. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Moroccan Rugs - A Symphony of Color

 


When some people think of Moroccan rugs, they think of the beautifully graphic Beni Ourain rugs that have resided in gorgeous interiors for decades.  They think of plush rugs with pale backgrounds and bold sparse graphic designs.  But those monochromatic rugs are just but one kind of rugs in what is a wonderfully diverse and rich catalogue of Moroccan rugs.  There are some Moroccan rugs that blend a symphony of color into rich and exquisitely vibrant designs.  The rug above is an example of one such rug.  The designs can be equally graphic, but the color palette is anything but simple.  Colors that one would think of as clashing blend beautifully to create these stunning works of art.  And like all other beautiful hand knotted rugs - they are usable art that adorn our homes and elevate our every day.  

www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Antique Turkish Kilim Cleaning


 

It is no secret to readers of this blog that kilims hold a special place in my heart.  It is not that I don't love rugs, but maybe it's because kilims have historically been underappreciated that causes me to love them so.  Their motifs can be as graphic and detailed as the finest hand knotted rugs, and their thin nature makes them perfect for hanging on a wall like the art that they truly are.  Caring for kilims is similar to caring for hand knotted rugs.  Regular vacuuming (without the beater bar), rotating and inspecting are all that is needed to keep them looking as beautiful as they can be.  Every two years or so, we recommend professional kilim cleaning.  The cleaning process, as shown above, involves soaking the piece in water, shampooing it thoroughly from the front and back, and rinsing it all the while controlling for any color run.  Equally as important, the kilim must be thoroughly dried so as to prevent any wrinkling or shape loss.  With these minimal steps, kilims can be preserved for decades, and even longer.  --

www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, September 14, 2020

How Can I Tell if My Rug Has Moths?

 






One of the most common questions we receive is what moth infestation on an Oriental rug looks like.  Sometimes worried clients point to a small speck of dust worried that it could be a sign that their beloved wool rug is under attack by moths.  But more often, it is undeniable when a beautiful wool rug is being devoured by voracious moths.  Sometimes the evidence will be glue like white strings as in the first top photo.  Other times, dark black specks resembling dirt are the obvious evidence.  Regardless of how one can identify a moth infestation, the most important step to take is to isolate the rug and have it professionally cleaned as soon as possible.  Only through a professional rug cleaning can moths be eliminated.   If the rug has a rug pad, that should be discarded and a replacement should be ordered.  The floor beneath the rug should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.  Lastly, any wool products in the home should be examined carefully for any signs of moth infestation.  With quick action, a wool rug can be saved and restored for future years of enjoyment.  Any delay just gives hungry moths time to continue their work destroying beautiful wool rugs. --


353 W 48th street, New York, NY 10036

212 300 3348


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Antique Kazakh Rug Restoration

 


Kazakh rugs are among my favorites.  Their bold geometric motifs make such a strong statement in any space, and the muted colors found in antique Kazakhs are rich, warm, and beautiful.  For this reason, I love working on restoring antique Kazakh rugs.  This rug above had some worn sections after a century or so of love and wear.  We first professionally cleaned the rug, and then removed all compromised fibers.  Next, we rebuilt the warp and began reknotting the missing pile and weft.  Restoration projects such as these can take months, but they are well worth it.  They can bring back a beloved piece for another century or so.  And it's an honor to think about the original weaver of the rug and to imagine all that the rug has witnessed in its century of adorning a family's home. 

www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Business Address: 353 W 48th Street New York, NY 10036

Phone: 212 300 3348

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Persian Rug Restoration - Before and After


In our last post, we shared the photo above of a worn area we were restoring in a beautiful Persian rug.  After professionally cleaning the rug, we extracted all the compromised knotted pile (though most of it had been worn off a long time ago) and removed the damaged warp and weft.  We rebuilt the foundation and started to reknot the missing pile.  Below is a photo of our Persian rug restoration in process.  



Finally, after several days of reknotting, below is the final result of our Persian rug restoration.  The worn area is once again beautiful and blends into the rest of the rug without calling attention to itself - always the goal of a good restoration. --www.traditionalrugrepair.com




Sunday, August 16, 2020

Persian Rug Restoration - Before Photo

 



This beautiful Persian rug had a damaged area that had been worn down over many years most likely through regular wear and tear.  The pile had been almost completely rubbed off and the underlying warp and weft was beginning to come undone.  We first professionally cleaned the Persian rug and extracted all the compromised fibers.  The next step was to rebuild the damaged warp and weft and reknot the missing pile in the manner and style of the original.  In our next post, we will share what our final result looked like. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

How to not store a wool rug.

 


You are planning a renovation.  Or you simply tire of the rug you have had out for a while.  You decide you want to put the rug in storage for a few weeks.  Or simply roll it up or put it in the back of a closet.  You vacuum it and roll it up.  It'll just be a few weeks or months you think.  Maybe you stick some cedar chips or a few mothballs in between the folds or rolls of the rug.  Weeks become moths (and maybe years) and one day you see a moth flying around.  You get this pang in your memory as you quickly calculate how long it's been since you last inspected your rug. Has it been that long?  You go to the closet and pull out the rug.  You open it and see holes where there was once a beautiful motif.  You see white gluey trails where there was nothing but black beautiful wool.  While you were thinking of anything but moths, moths were eating your beautiful wool rug.  This can be prevented by taking a few simple steps before putting a rug into storage.  Most importantly, you must have your rug professionally cleaned before putting it in storage.  Moths will always choose a dirty rug over a clean rug for their meal.  Secondly, it is important that rugs are stored in a well ventilated area.  Closets are among the worst places for storage.  And thirdly, regular inspection is necessary.  If moths are caught early, rugs can be cleaned and saved from costly and unsightly damage.

353 W 48th Street, New York, NY 10036
212 300 3348  

Monday, July 20, 2020

Turkish Kilims


This stunning Turkish cecim is a feast for the senses.  The embroidered motifs give it a beautiful texture that instantly warms a space.  The fabulous range of colors create a lively portrait for a floor or a wall.  I could stare at this cecim for hours (and I have) and still find something new to discover.  It is one of the joys of spending time with beautiful rugs and kilims.  
Cecims can be used in a great variety of ways.  They can, of course, be used as floor coverings similar to other kilims.  They can also be used as wall hangings as their great detail and beauty can rival any painting or other form of art.  Cecims can also be used as a regular textile draped over a sofa or ottoman, covering a table, or a bench.  Caring for cecims is very similar to caring for a kilim or a rug.  If a cecim is used as a floor covering, professional cleaning should be done approximately every two years or so. If it is a wall hanging, professional cleaning does not have to be done with nearly as much frequency.  A good cleaning schedule can extend the life of a beautiful cecim so it can be enjoyed for many, many years.  ---

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Caring for Moroccan Rugs


Moroccan rugs are so popular now for a very obvious reason - they’re beautiful and their simple yet graphic patterns can be used with nearly any style of decor.  They almost immediately enhance a room’s features and warm even the starkest decor.  
Caring for Moroccan rugs includes regular vacuuming, periodic rotating, and professional cleaning every two years or so.  It is particularly important to have Moroccan rugs regularly cleaned because the pile tends to be longer and can therefore trap more embedded dirt or particles that can eventually grind down the foundation (or worse, harbor moth larvae).  With a regular cleaning schedule, Moroccan rugs can be enjoyed for decades. 
353 West 48th street, New York, NY 10036

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

What Does Moth Damage Look Like in an Oriental Rug



The hot weather brings so much joy to so many of us, especially hungry moths who thrive in hot, humid, and dark environments where there is little cross circulation.  If you store your wool sweaters in a closet or wardrobe, now is a good time to take them out to inspect them.  If you store your rugs in a dark closet, we would recommend an immediate inspection.  Even if you do not store your rug but have it out in the living room, perhaps a section of it has a heavy peace of furniture on it or is under a sofa.  Moths can damage those sections if left undisturbed.  
Many clients reach out when they suspect but are not certain of moth damage.  The photo above shows what advanced moth damage looks like. Moths ate entire little areas of wool pile as a section of the rug was left under furniture undisturbed for an extended period of time.  --www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, June 15, 2020

Summer 2020

We hope that you and your families are healthy and safe during this incredibly challenging time.  As we transition to our newly emerging normal, we remain grateful to those who have helped heal us, support us, and provide for us in the fight against something that has robbed us of so many.  Our indebtedness to them is immeasurable.

Like so many businesses around the world, we have been temporarily closed in an effort to help control the spread of Covid19.  We remain hopeful that after lockdown ends, we will reopen in a way that keeps our customers and our team as safe as possible.  We are currently developing procedures and protocols to that end. 


In the meantime, we will begin weekly blogs to share some past projects and our musings on all things rug related.  We hope those that love textiles as much as we do will enjoy seeing how even the most damaged of rugs or cecims can be brought back to life for generations with just a little care and time.       

Kosker Traditional Rug Repair

353 West 48 Street New York, NY 10036

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Turkish Kilim Restoration - Before and After




This lovely Turkish kilim had several worn areas where the weft had almost completely disappeared. Luckily, the warp was largely intact.  We completed the restoration as shown in the top photo.  We tried to match the colors of the original kilim, and tried to recreate the missing motifs.  It's always a bit of a guessing game, but when a kilim is largely symmetrical we have a general guide.  
The kilim above utilizes a slit weave construction which lends the kilim a lovely look.  We hope the kilim's owners will use their restored kilims for many years to come.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Kilim Restoration - Before



There are some people who are afraid to buy kilims because they feel that they will not be as durable as other types of rugs.  The truth is that with proper care, kilims can last for generations.  Kilims can add a wonderful graphic element to a space and can ground an area with a wide range of colors, textures, and motifs. 
Restoring kilims is a challenge because it is difficult to "hide" any inconsistencies or errors in the reweaving.  But, I personally find kilim restoration to be wonderfully satisfying as the results of a restoration are immediately visible as there is no pile to be cut down.  Therefore, the fruits of a restorer's labors are immediately apparent.  The kilim above had several worn areas, but the warp was mostly intact.  It is a lovely semi antique Turkish kilim with vibrant orange, black, ivory, and pink colors.  In the following posts, we will share more about this recent kilim restoration project.  --www.traditionalrugrepair.com 
                                                     
                                                        Kosker Traditional Rug Repair
                                            353 West 48th street, New York, NY 10036

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Caring for Kilims - Cleaning



Some people think kilims only have geometric motifs, but kilims can be remarkably versatile as the kilim above shows.  Though floral motifs are usually associated with hand knotted Oriental rugs, this beautiful Moldovan kilim has a fantastic floral border and center field.  I find these kinds of kilims almost fun, and can lend a room a very dynamic and vibrant feel.
Caring for kilims is similar as caring for rugs.  It is important that a kilim is regularly vacuumed though without the use of a beater bar.  A kilim should be rotated every six months or so so that any wear or muting by the sun is evenly distributed.  In addition, it is good practice to have a kilim professionally cleaned every two years.  With these minimal steps, a kilim can last just as long as a handknotted rug, which is as long as a few generations.  ---


353 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Oushak Rug Repair - After a/k/a Final Result


Pictured above is the final result (or the "after") of our recent Oushak rug repair project.  This is a zoomed in photograph but you can see that we tried to match the light pastel shades of the original Oushak rug.  To review, the photos below show the longer yarns we used to reknot the damaged pile, the reconstructed warp, and the last photo is the "before" of what the damage looked like before we started our Oushak rug repair project.  Please note that the bottom two photos are of the back of the rug while the first photos are of the front of the rug.  --www.traditionalrugrepair.com