Archive for February, 2012

Oriental Rugs, Persian Rugs, Area Rugs: Protect Your Investment

Protection and Maintenance of Oriental or Persian rugs is not a difficult task as opposed to some other pieces of furniture exposed to daily wear and tear. A rug is in fact a “living” object which wears with time, and precautionary measurements should be respected for its careful maintenance. Just like regular oil changes for a car, regular cleaning of hand-knotted rugs is the easiest, least expensive method of giving them a long and healthy life. A constantly dust-free pile simply means a happy rug to be enjoyed for several years into the future.

Walking on a rug  deposits dirt and dust from shoes into the body of the fibers. The dust particles gradually accumulate and act as sharp razors to cut these fibers, resulting in premature worn spots on the pile. Vacuum clean your area rugs often, at least once a week, and just avoid getting the fringes pulled out by the suction of the cleaner. Unnecessary pressure on the fringe or side bindings of a rug can seriously damage it. Rotate your Oriental or Persian rugs twice a year to make them receive even traffic and natural sunlight on all areas of the pile. Have your valuable investment professionally cleaned every five to six years depending on the volume of traffic you get on them. Rub your hand back and forth with relatively strong motions on the pile of the rug several times, and if your hand gets dirty, it is time for the “wash by a specialist”, whose services may be a bit expensive, but are absolutely essential.

Chinese rug with an open field pattern

Chinese rug with an open field pattern

As far as the color combination and the quality of a rug are concerned, it should be selected carefully according to the space in which it will be used: Fine carpets in lighter shades are perhaps more suitable for sitting rooms, studies, or libraries while a thicker, darker colored carpet may be more appropriate for a high traffic hallway or an entrance. Likewise, as stains will be unavoidable in a dining room, a colorful rug with a busy design might just work better than a beige rug with an open field pattern. Heavy pieces of furniture as well as table legs that rest directly on top of your beloved Oriental or Persian carpet can easily create a dent in the pile. While a piece of glass or plastic disc can be placed between the rug and the furniture in order to minimize the potential damage, such “dents” are normally not permanent. Just spray a bit of water over the dent, and the pile will start rising back up very soon. More practical yet, move the furniture a couple of inches on regular basis, for example every time you vacuum your rug.

As a final step toward protecting your Persian rugs and Oriental area rugs, an “appraisal certificate” may prove to be a valuable piece of document should they get damaged, lost, or stolen for whatever reason. Please refer to our article about appraisal certificates for further information on this subject and to learn how you should go about obtaining one. Rugs do not require constant attention, do not break, need no feeding, are easy to move around, and they certainly warm up any space a lot better than any other piece of furniture. With all the advantages these works of art have to offer, they are really easy to protect and maintain. Just give them ten minutes of your time each week, and they will be around for many many years.

Dark colored Persian Tabriz

Dark colored Persian Tabriz

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Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs: Basic Facts On Repairs

Repairing Rugs

Repairing Rugs

Repairing an Oriental or Persian rug is undoubtedly a job to be performed by a professional mender. Fringes and selvedge bindings around a carpet are most often the main areas that will need repair work before any other parts of a rug. Afterall, these are unprotected and exposed to regular wear and tear, as well as suction of vacuum cleaners by careless rug owners, and therefore subject to premature damages. However, menders sometimes repair a selvedge or a fringe, and at other times, they may repair part of the warp or weft in order to fill a gap and re-tie the required knots with a hook or by bare hands to replace the missing pile. As repairing a rug is a matter of immitating the original work as closely as possible, the mender needs to master all the skills of a master weaver. For this complex and difficult craft, the only way to train is to be apprenticed to a master and to work under his supervision for many years. The master is likely to have very little patience, so the student may be left on his own to practice and go through a trial and error process, learning to be somewhat innovative.

The repairman needs to be fully knowledgeable not only in the structure of a rug, but also different techniques of making rugs as well as various types of knots. Just by studying the backside of a rug, they need to determine what type of knot has been tied on the rug (symmetric or asymmetric), how many shots of weft – and with what thickness – passes over each row of knots, what is the material of the foundation, and whether or not the pile has been dyed by natural or chemical substances. They need to have stocks of different types of wool which they often must dye themselves to recover the exact colors of fiber to be used on their repair projects. Remember, a professional repair needs to come as close to the original work as possible.

Working conditions are often very harsh for carpet repairers most of whom prefer to do their work on the floor rather than on comfortable tables. Sitting cross-legged for several hours in a row, the mender handles carpets, which although dusted and washed, still contain certain amounts of residue. With time, sand, loose particles, and even gravel are lodged inside the pile, within the very body of the carpet through which the needle and thread must inevitably be passed. He has to use pliers to pull the infected needle through the thickness of the carpet causing many needles to break, often puncturing his own fingers by which all sorts of contamination can easily develop. In many cases, repairs need to be carried out before a rug is sent out for dusting and washing. This makes the potential for infections so much easier to take place. Although major repairs on an Oriental rug or a Persian carpet can be quite costly, every penny paid for such a difficult work will be “money well spent”. A repairman can do magic in saving your beloved piece of artwork.

Repair tools

Repair tools

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Oriental Rugs and Persian Carpets: What Is Right For Your Space?

Your time and effort in selecting the rug that is right for your space will prove to be worth it as this is going to be the major element in the interior design of a room. First thing you want to consider when choosing an Oriental or Persian rug is the fact that the size of a carpet should be consistent with the size of your room. As a general rule, your carpet will look its best when it covers one third to one half of the room’s surface. With your furniture placed around the carpet, you are not only complimenting the rug, but you are also showcasing this work of art as a centerpiece. Pages of a newspaper can be placed on the floor to help you measure the surface that the rug is going to take up. If a rug covers the whole surface, your room is going to look too busy and less spacious.

Experience shows that you will always achieve best results by picking your rug before you select any furniture, drapes, as well as the color of the walls. However, this is not always very practical. If the existing furniture in your room are visually impressive – antique or majestic – a traditional rug with an intricate pattern and rich colors may be the best fit with the surrounding. On the contrary, a carpet with a more simple and repetitive design and delicate colors may be a better choice for small apartments. Modern furniture demand contemporary rugs with open field backgrounds or geometric designs.

Old Persian Kashan

Old Persian Kashan

No matter what the environment, Oriental and Persian rugs must have their own internal harmony in colors and pattern. Motifs must be in relation to the size of the rug, colors should work well next to one another, and the width of the borders should be in proportion to the center medallion. This harmony is observed in traditional and older rugs more often than in many modern carpets. Although proper attention should be paid to the fineness of the weave and the number of knots per square inch (KPSI), you should avoid taking this element into too much consideration and be overwhelmed by it. There are many beautiful carpets of medium quality with relatively large knots that could bring life to your space for many years. At the same time, there are many high quality rugs with KPSI of over 600 that lack harmony of colors and the overall beauty one would expect of them.

Make sure you select your rug from reputable dealers who will let you try a few pieces in your room before making a final decision, and those who offer a generous return policy should you decide against a piece you might already have purchased. Having made all the above points, you are the one who is going to live with the rug of your choice for a long time, so make it “your choice”.

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Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs: How is a double-sided rug made?

Persian carpets and Oriental rugs come in many different sizes and shapes, but a double-sided rug would be considered very rare and is therefore often displayed at exhibitions and shows. For most rug merchants, to own such a rug is a matter of respect and admiration, and such works of art are seldom publicly offered for sale. They may not be practical for everyday use, but by just being so unique, they are special pieces that will normally be used as a wall hanging where they can be viewed from both sides. A double-sided Oriental or Persian rug always astonishes rug lovers, and even more so if the two sides are of a different design. Here is a brief explanation of how such a rug is woven.

Traditional Vertical Loom

Traditional Vertical Loom

Although the techniques of weaving a double-sided rug may seem relatively easy in principle, it is rather delicate to weave. It does not emerge as two separate pieces of rug placed back to back by means of some type of adhesive. Weaving such a carpet can be done only on a vertical loom and by tying Turkish knots, the number of which in the width have to be identical, and the two cartoons (design laid out on a paper) need to be exactly of the same size. There is one single set of warps on which both rugs will be knotted. There are two weavers each sitting on one side of the loom; the first one starts the first row of knots along the width of the loom and inserts one or two shots of weft (depending on the style of the weave) over each row of knots. Now the second weaver on the opposite side does the first row of his own design, finishing again by inserting the one or two shots of weft over this row. Now the work goes back to the first weaver who will tie the knots for the second row of his design. The task is carried out in this manner up to the last row which is where the rug ends. The two weavers are, in fact, sharing one single loom, each producing his own work.

A double-sided rug needs to have a relatively high KPSI (number of knots per square inch) because the back of either side should be hidden by the pile of the other side. In other words, the back of the knots will be alternating row by row on the warp lying deep inside and is hidden by the two piles, and a coarse weave would simply not provide this “protective layer”. Incidentally, it would not make sense to produce such an amazing work of art in the quality of a commercial grade carpet. The drawback here is that two weavers are spending their time on a rug, and one of them is always idle. This is why such rugs are almost always woven in smaller sizes (not exceeding 5 by 7 feet) which will not take very long to finish, and also, one of the weavers will have higher skills to coordinate the work, whereas the other can be a beginner, and not very costly to employ.

Although a double-sided, hand-knotted rug may not capture the attention of general public, those who know a bit about the technical aspects required by such sophisticated work will not only appreciate it but will also be impressed and fascinated by it. Now you know that such pieces are not created by placing two rugs of identical size back to back and have hopefully learned to  get more amazed should you come across such a rug in the future.

A Double-sided Rug

A Double-sided Rug

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