Thursday, December 9, 2010

Repairing a Hole in a Turkish Carpet - Before Picture

This beautiful large rug was damaged near its central medallion.  As you can see, an entire section of the rug was missing, including the pile, warp, and weft.  After cleaning the rug to remove the dirt embedded within the fibers of the pile, finding suitable yarns for the restoration, this rug is ready to be brought to its original glory.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How To Recognize Moth Damage in Your Handmade Rugs and Kilims

Moths present one of the most damaging, persistent, and costly dangers that exist for any woolen textiles, including, of course, rugs and kilims.  One of the most important pieces of advice I have for any client who is concerned about preserving their handmade rugs is that she or he make a habit of examining their rugs and kilims at least once every six months to make sure that moths have not been feeding on them.  Above is a picture of a carpet that has been eaten by moths.  Note how moth damage resembles a carving out of part of the pile of the rug.  Obviously, the longer you allow moths to feed on your rugs, the larger the "carvings" will be.  If you notice similar damage to your rugs, I highly recommend (1) immediately separating the rug from all other woolen rugs, kilims, and other woolen textiles; and (2) consulting a professional rug cleaner to remove all moths and/or moth larvae.  And while there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of moth damage, taking simple precautions can go a long way - periodically professionally cleaning your rugs and making a habit of looking for signs of moths at least every six months or so can help guard against what could be a sad and costly discovery of moth damage to a beautiful handmade rug --

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Moroccan kilim restoration - repaired edges

I took a break from blogging, but have been busy on various kilim and rug repair and restoration projects!  I'll share a few with you in the coming days, but wanted to share the final result of the repaired selvedge (selvage) of the beautiful Moroccan kilim I worked on.  Note how the binding of the selvage matches the color of the weft and warp in the various horizontal sections.  Now that the selvage is repaired, the kilim will not unravel and can be used for a few more decades without worry.  --

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moroccan kilim restoration - edges unraveling

The beautiful Moroccan kilim I recently blogged about had numerous problem areas, including a compromised selvage (selvedge).  As you see from the picture above, it was necessary to bind the edges of this kilim to prevent any (further) unraveling.   It is important to have these kinds of repairs / restoration of your rugs and kilims done as soon as possible to prevent the damage from getting more extensive.  As the old adage goes, a stitch in time ...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moroccan kilim restoration - after picture

A few days ago I posted "before" pictures of just one isolated area of my recent Moroccan kilim restoration.   As is usually the case with many of our restoration projects, we began the restoration process with a thorough professional kilim cleaning.  Generally, a professional rug or kilim cleaning is recommended before any repair or restoration can be done because the yarns used in the repair or restoration should match the clean yarns of the kilim and/or rug (ie, the yarns used in the repair should not match the dirty yarns of a dirty kilim / rug).  If you wait to do the rug or kilim cleaning until after the repair or restoration, the yarns used in the repair and restoration will seem very dull compared to the yarns of the cleaned kilim.  After the cleaning, we rewove the torn areas and bound the selvages (selvedges).  The picture above is the final result.   This kilim had many problem areas but I'll leave those for another day as I need to get back to a few other rug repairs that have been keeping me busy.  More to come soon ... -- 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Moroccan kilim restoration - before pictures

I've always enjoyed repairing and restoring Moroccan kilims and rugs.  Their earthy colors and textures are indeed quite beautiful and evoke images of their desert landscape origins.  My most recent Moroccan kilim restoration was on a piece that had a whole range of problems - from worn and torn selvages (selvedges), to tears, unraveling, compromised fringes, and missing warps and wefts.  The pictures above and below focus on just one of the many problem areas this Moroccan kilim had - as you can see, the selvage was torn and the kilim needed reweaving.  In my next post, I'll share how I repaired this problem by reweaving the compromised warps and wefts and securing the selvage.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Turkish Rug Repair - Final Result

Our latest Turkish rug repair is complete.  Above is the before picture.  Below is the final result of the rug repair.  The longer yarns of the repair have been cut and the repaired area now blends into the original knotting.  Stay tuned for our next project! --

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Turkish Rug Repair - Mid Process - Reknotting

The next step of the Turkish rug repair is complete.  The reknotting is complete.  As you'll see, the yarns of the repaired area are still longer than the rest of the rug.  The only thing left to do is shear down the yarns and the rug repair will be complete.  Stay tuned for the final result of this repair!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Turkish Rug Repair - Mid Process - Rebuilding Warp

The Turkish rug repair has progressed nicely.  I found matching yarns, rebuilt the warp, and am ready to start reknotting the torn area near the selvage.  The reknotting should not be very difficult as the knots in the rug are not very tight.  Once I reknot the torn area, the warp will not be visible.  The warp is there to provide a foundation for the knotting.  Stay tuned for the completion of this rug repair!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Turkish Rug Repair - Reknotting Torn Area - Before Pictures

This is a Turkish rug that was torn near its edge.  The client doesn't know how the damage was done, but I suspect that it was due to a piece of heavy furniture being dragged on a spot where the fibers had been compromised.  The selvage itself is intact, but the knotting, warp, and weft are completely missing in a section about 2" x 2".  The rug cleaning has been done, the yarns have been located, so it's now time to start the rug repair.  Stay tuned for the progress!  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Turkish Kilim Repair - Final Result

Here is the final result of my latest Turkish kilim repair project.  I reconstructed some of the missing warps, rewove worn areas, and reconstructed the missing selvage.  I hope the client enjoys it for many years to come.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Turkish Kilim Repair - in progress

Progress has been very slow on my latest kilim repair - but mostly because it has been so incredibly hot and uncomfortable these past few days here in NYC.  Anyway, above is a picture of the rebuilt and stretched warp and some reweaving in progress.  Stay tuned for how this kilim repair project turns out.  --

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Turkish Kilim Repair

Above is a picture of my latest kilim repair project.  The kilim cleaning has been completed, and sourcing the right yarns was quite easy compared to my last few projects.  The kilim is from Turkey ca 1960 so it's not that old but it has, in some parts, missing fringes and its selvedge was almost completely missing.   This kilim has definitely seen better days.  Stay tuned for how this kilim restoration progresses. --

Saturday, July 3, 2010

An Atelier For the Past, Present, and Future

I have just spent the past couple of weeks in my native country of Turkey.  Above is a picture of Turkish carpets and kilims hanging in a Caravansaray in central Anatolia - what was once a stop on the famed Silk Road.  It is here that I, when I was a young child, learned kilim and rug restoration from some of the finest most skilled restorers in the world.  This building has been home to carpet stores and ateliers for centuries  - the faces may have changed over the years, but the spirit one feels while surrounded by the stone walls and magnificent carpets and kilims is, in my opinion, a direct link to a glorious past.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Antique Turkish Oushak Carpet Restoration

We recently restored an exceptional antique Oushak carpet (ca. 1890).  You can see in the picture above that much of the pile had been worn by years of wear - and, I hope, enjoyment - of this magnificent carpet.  Below is the final result of the restoration.

This kind of restoration is hard to photograph as so much of the motif and design is exquisitely muted and delicate.  Look closely and you'll see that we reknotted the pile around the golden flower (the grey area) as well as the edges of the golden flower itself and other soft pinkish and golden areas in the background.  This kind of carpet restoration is very time consuming (especially if the original knotting is as tight and magnificent as it was with this antique Oushak), but I honestly can't think of a more rewarding experience for a restorer of antique textiles - just knowing that we can contribute to preserving something so beautiful that could potentially endure at least another century.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kilim Restoration - Result and a Recipe to Follow

This is the completed kilim restoration (taken from the back side of the kilim).  Unfortunately, I did not photograph the front side before returning it to my client!  Still, it gives you an idea of the final product.  If you recall, this is what it looked like before:
So, if you're taking notes, these are the steps I took:  1) kilim cleaning; 2) matching the yarns; 3) rebuilding the warp; and 4) weaving.  Follow those 4 steps, invest lots of time, lots of patience, and lots of love for the art and kilim itself, and you'll be restoring pieces for future generations to use and treasure.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kilim Restoration - After the Kilim Cleaning - Mid Process

After the kilim cleaning has been completed, I rebuilt the warp (the horizontal white lines in the picture above), and am weaving in the weft to recreate the missing pattern.  Matching the yarns exactly was not possible, but I'm happy with the result so far.  This kilim is a beautiful tightly woven kilim from the Caucasus and a joy to work on.  Come back for pictures of the "after" shot once the kilim restoration is completed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Kilim Restoration - The Before Picture

I recently completed another kilim repair/restoration project.  This time, I repaired a beautiful kilim from the Caucuses.  As you can see, the entire warp and weft were missing in a section of the kilim.  As I have written in earlier blog posts, the beginning of any rug repair or rug restoration (or kilim repair or kilim restoration) begins with finding the right yarns.  But, generally, it's also important to make sure that repair and restoration is done after any necessary rug cleaning or kilim cleaning.  This way, the yarns used in the repair or restoration match the clean rug or kilim.  Come back soon to see how this project turned out!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rug Cleaning - Fringes

If you own a handknotted rug that has cotton warp (and therefore cotton fringes), you'll know that the fringes are the first part of a rug that will need to be cleaned as they become dirty, grayish in color, and seem to catch all the dust from your home.  When you send your rug to a rug cleaner, please ask him or her how they will wash the cotton fringes.  Beware of anyone who guarantees you shockingly white fringes after rug cleaning - they may intend to use bleach to clean your rug.  Using bleach in the rug cleaning process may damage the cotton and may make the cotton fibers more vulnerable to fraying.   It's better to have clean, albeit not strikingly white, fringes, and have your rug last you a lifetime.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Restored Kilim - Back at Home

I recently returned a kilim I restored to its owners.  The kilim restoration was quite a big project - just one area took me an entire week to finish (and was the subject of a few blog entries).  My clients were very pleased and agreed that I could share with you the final results of the kilim restoration.  It's a very nice kilim and should be ready for the family to use and enjoy for at least a couple more generations.  This is just one of the reasons that I love rugs and kilims - there's nothing disposable about them.   It's rare these days to have anything that's made to last longer than us, don't you think?  --

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to Avoid Costly Rug Repair Due to Moth Damage

As I wrote a few entries ago, one of the most common reasons my clients send me their rugs for rug repair or rug restoration is because of tiny moth larvae that love nothing more than to devour the tasty woolen knots of your valued rugs.  Here are pictures to illustrate areas of rugs eaten by moth larvae - notice how the moths concentrate their eating to discrete areas, and sometimes, even discrete colors.  Also, notice how the cotton warp and weft are left intact - moths aren't interested in eating cotton - they only have a taste for your woolen knots.   While there is no way to completely safeguard again moth damage to your rugs or kilims, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk.  This includes (1) never to store soiled or dirty rugs; always have your rugs cleaned before putting them away in storage; (2) never store your rugs in plastic bags or in dark and humid locations; always store them in ventilated areas (ie, no dark closet); and (3) always give your rugs the chance to "breathe" - so if you have a rug under some big heavy furniture for most of the time, every once in a while, let the rug air out and check for moth damage.  Taking these precautions can help you avoid costly rug repairs and some stressful discoveries.  If you suspect that your rug or kilim has been damaged or is being damaged by moths, separate the rug or kilim in question from your other rugs, kilims, or other woolen products; open it completely in a dry clean place where it can be exposed to cross-ventilation and lots of sun; and send it immediately to a professional rug cleaner.  --

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Color Run in an Oriental Carpet - help!

My Oriental Carpet was damaged in a flood - can it be saved?  This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from worried clients that have the unfortunate experience of having rugs damaged in a flood.  One of the worst things that can happen to a rug is to leave it sitting in water - which is by definition what a flood entails.   One of the biggest problems for a rug in a flood is that quite often, the colors in the rug will run and colors will bleed into each other.  The pictures illustrate this problem.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rug Cleaning and Spring

If you're like me, you are absolutely thrilled that spring has arrived.  And if you're like me, you're not so absolutely thrilled that spring cleaning time has arrived!  Today, I'd like to share a tip for how to keep just one "spring cleaning" item off your list.  If you take some small but important steps throughout the year, you can avoid having to send your handmade rugs or kilims to a professional cleaner for several years.  If you consistently follow this advice, you can go quite a long time between professional rug cleanings.   First, you should vacuum your handmade rugs and kilims regularly to dislodge dirt particles that settle between the fibers.  Second, you should remember to occasionally vacuum the backside of your rug or kilim (if no loose yarns are present).  Please note, however, that it is never advisable to vacuum anything fragile; and never vacuum delicate embroidery or rug and kilim fringes.   Even better than vacuuming is the old fashioned but very reliable hand beating and/or shaking - a great stress reliever and workout too!  If you vacuum your carpets regularly, and you take care not too walk on your carpets with very dirty shoes (or if you're really committed, take care not to walk on your carpets with any shoes at all!), you can go years in between professional carpet cleaning.  It's a way to preserve your pieces, save some money, and avoid yet something else to worry about during spring cleaning time!  -  

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Beauty of Imperfection

This past weekend, I went to my favorite used bookstore near my house and found this great stack of beautiful carpet, rug, and kilim books - many of them now out of print, and collectibles in and of themselves. I love looking through these kinds of books - another nerdy obsession of mine. Anyway, as I was looking through them, I found myself reading all the "how to buy an oriental rug" guides that many of them offered. On almost every list, the writer advises buyers to avoid curled edges, asymmetrical patterns, and crooked rugs. Then I thought about my own private collection and the collection of most of my colleagues who collect and sell fine antique handmade carpets and kilims. We all have been collecting carpets and kilims for years (generations, actually) - and I don't think any of us own these seemingly "perfect" carpets. In fact, we all seek out imperfections in the carpets and kilims we collect for ourselves. I personally love the beauty in the asymmetry of rugs like the one pictured above. For one thing, the asymmetry is a sure sign the rug is not a mass produced reproduction, but a true product of artisanal skill, creativity, and yes, imperfection - beautiful crooked imperfection. -

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kilim Restoration - Result

Here is the final result of my most recent kilim restoration. On the left is the "before" picture. As you can see, the warp of the kilim is partly damaged and the weft is completely missing. Below is the "after" picture with warp and weft restored. Onto the next project!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kilim Restoration - Mid Process

Here is the kilim restoration mid-process. I have already rebuilt the warp (the "backbone" of the kilim; in the second picture, the white vertical lines are the warp). I am wrapping beige yarn around the warp to create the weft of the kilim in a "slit-weave" design. "Slit-weave" is the type of weaving that leaves little "slits" or holes in the weft. It is a beautiful type of weaving typical in many Turkish and Persian kilims. -

Monday, March 22, 2010

All A Weaver Needs

I've been a little slow to update you on my progress on the restoration project of the Gocmen kilim and can actually show you some nice progress shots already. However, I want to back track a little bit because I want to share the restoration process step by step. I left you off with yarn selection so I'm going to post pictures of what I thought were the best suited yarns for
the project. When restoring a kilim, choosing the right yarn is critical. It's virtually impossible to match the yarn perfectly, but a fantastic repair is one done with yarn close to the original in terms of color, texture, shade, material, and age.

Bright colors are actually easier to match than the beige neutral colors, partly because of photo oxidation. That's why I have a HUGE supply of lighter colored yarns.

That's it - once I collected these yarns, I had all I needed for my restoration. The right yarns, some nails, some needles, wood to build a loom around each hole, and time. Lots and lots of time. The perfect recipe for a weaver! -

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Hello! So, I found quite a few different yarns that are all potential candidates for my restoration project. It's dark right now so I'll wait until it's daylight to take pictures to show you what I have to choose from - it's never a perfect match, but with any luck, I'll be able to closely match the kilim colors. The best restoration is one that you have to struggle to find once it's done. And to achieve that, the right yarn is key. Stay tuned for more soon.

I was the bearer of some bad news for a client today. I thought I'd write about it to you because it's a problem that so many of my clients have had and a problem that's very easy to avoid. My client inherited some rugs from her grandmother a few years ago. They were truly beautiful rugs - over a century old - and very unique. My client couldn't use the rugs right away so she put them in plastic bags and stored them in the back of a closet. A few days ago, my client took the rugs out and found entire motifs carved out - eaten by moths! The carpets are entirely ruined. It would be possible to restore them, but the damage is so extensive that restoration would be much more expensive than the underlying value of the rugs. Of course, the sentimental value is still there - which is why I was so sad to have to tell her that this problem could have been avoided had she properly moth proofed the rugs before putting them away for so long. Never ever store any wool products in a plastic bag - it just provides the right hot and humid environment for moth larvae to damage your items. And a closet is a terrible place to store rugs - rugs are textiles that need to breathe. So, here's a tip for the day - although there is no 100% protection against moths - try to minimize potential damage and store rugs (after they have been cleaned) in a place where there is cross ventilation and never use plastic bags for storage. -

Monday, March 15, 2010

A New Time and A New Project

The day is rainy, dreary, and we all lost an hour of sleep last night thanks to daylight savings time. Still, I hope you're all doing well out there. I want to share with you news about my latest project. I am repairing a nice Gocmen kilim that has a significant number of tears, holes, and wear. I like big projects like this and I want to share details of my progress. So here it goes - here are some "before shots" of the first major hole I'm going to repair.

Quite a job, but should be a lot of fun. Tomorrow, I'm heading to my storage place where I have my secret stash of what I think are the most beautiful yarns of almost every color and every age. -

Monday, February 22, 2010

welcome to my new blog.

Hello everyone,

Welcome to my new blog. I am excited about creating a new forum to meet people, exchange ideas, and just generally share information about some of my passions in life - carpets, kilims, cecims, orchids, and antique watches. Nerdy, I know. But it’s what I grew up with and what I love.

So let me start today by talking about my first passion – the kilim. The word kilim, or “kelam,” literally means a letter or composition in the Arabic language. And the kilim itself is a letter, a woven letter, of various motifs filled with meaning, history, and hallmarks of an ancient tradition. One of the most popular motifs still in use today, and what is believed to have been the first known motif is known as “hands on hips,” an example which can be seen here.It represents female power and it’s believed to have been developed to symbolize the female role in reproduction (early Anatolians didn’t know that males have a function in reproduction, when that was discovered, the second known Anatolian motif was developed, appropriately called “the ram horn” motif). Usually the hands on hips and ram horn motifs are used together – they symbolize a union of man and woman, a joining of two great powers. I’ll take the next few entries to share more about kilim weaving, motifs, and dyes, but I’ll leave all that for the upcoming days.

If at any point anyone out there would like to share pictures of their kilims, please do so. I love to see what’s out there, what people have preserved, and what has made its way to different corners of the world. Thanks for joining me here – and I look forward to sharing much more with you all. -