Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When a Flood Causes the Colors in Your Oriental Rug to Run

The rug pictured above was left in sitting water due to a flood in our client's home.  The sitting water caused some of the dyes to run, or bleed, into surrounding fields.  Color run amelioration, while not completely perfect, can remove evidence of some of the color run.  The picture below shows the same rug after the color run amelioration process.   When the color run is less apparent, a traditional and time-honored home remedy may be the preferred method - that is,  allowing the sun to mute the color run often is the only remedy needed. --

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Savonnerie Rug Repair

Like Aubusson rugs, Savonnerie rugs originated in France.  Savonnerie rugs are hand knotted pile rugs most typically with floral, medallion, and flowing motifs (different from Aubusson rugs that are hand woven flat weaves).  As with other hand knotted rugs, Savonnerie rugs can be restored and / or repaired to remediate damage to the selvage (as in the case of the Savonnerie carpet pictured above).   It is extremely difficult to come across an authentic Savonnerie rug, but those collectors lucky enough to possess one have a rare privilege and hand knotted treasure.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Aubusson Rug Repair

Aubusson rugs are handwoven usually with floral and flowing motifs.  The Aubusson motifs and designs  are among the most significant rug designs to originate in Europe.  The picture above is an example of a fine Aubusson rug that from age and wear is in need of repair.  In certain sections, the warp and weft which comprise the structure of the Aubusson are in need of replacement and, in other sections,  reinforcement.  One of the great challenges when restoring Aubusson rugs of this quality is to source fine muted pastel yarns to match the original Aubusson rug.  When done properly, a restored Aubusson will retain the same elegance and fineness as the original.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Repairing Missing Fringes By Hand

The first step when rebuilding a severely damaged fringe is to mount the rug on a fixed base, such as a wood board.  Then it is necessary to stretch the rug, match the fiber of the warp (in this case, cotton), and start interweaving new warp approximately 4 inches above the edge of the rug.  It is a labor intensive process, but ensures that the fringe will become part of the rug itself and not merely attached to an edge (as in the case of sewing on machine-made fringes).  Below is a proper fringe restoration in process:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Machine-Made Fringes on an Oriental Rug - An Easy Fix?

Many of my clients seek out our services to repair rug fringes that have either unraveled, been shortened somehow, or suffered some pressure (such as a hungry puppy or vacuum) that has caused them to rip or shorten.  From time to time, we have encountered rugs that were "repaired" using machine-made fringes.  These machine-made fringes have the advantage of being very uniform (i.e., all the same exact length) and are very quick to sew on.  However, as the picture above shows, the fringes are sewn on and not integrated into the structure of the rug, making it very likely that they will come off quite easily.  In essence, they are a "quick fix."  They make a rug appear as if it is undamaged; but in reality the pile underneath is still vulnerable to damage (and the risk for the knotting being compromised is quite high).  As with most things, the only way to repair and/or restore a rug's fringes is to avoid the quick fix and opt for the most comprehensive repair - to rebuild the fringes by hand.  In my next post, I will show how that is done.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spotting Moth Infestation and Damage in Your Rugs

It is hard to underestimate how dangerous moths can be to our wool rugs.  Below are a picture and video (apologies for the ick factor of the latter) of just how extensive the damage can be if moths are allowed to attack a rug undisturbed.  This particular rug in question belonged to someone who most likely picked the rug up off the floor (without being professionally cleaned first), rolled it up, and stored it away for a while (undisturbed and quite likely in a dark enclosed and humid environment like a closet or basement).  Within a few months, the moths had devoured entire sections of the wool rug.  In my opinion, without considering any sentimental value this rug may have to an owner, it is not worth repairing this rug.  Had the moth infestation been spotted earlier, repairing the rug would have been much more feasible.  Do periodic inspections of any rugs you store for any extended period of time and look for any signs similar to those in the video below.  At the first sign of any moths, have your rug professionally cleaned as soon as possible.  It will be well worth it and may save your rug from further damage.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Missing and Short Fringes on a Oriental Rug

As my most recent posts have been about rug fringes and how to repair damaged rug fringes, I thought I'd share a picture of fringe damage that could have been prevented.  As you will see from the picture below, this rug's fringes in some areas is completely missing while in other areas, the fringes are extremely short.  While it is impossible to know what exactly caused this damage, it is most likely a combination of factors, which include a very aggressive vacuum and perhaps a rambunctious puppy or two.  Damage to the fringes of this rug could have been prevented from proceeding to this stage by taking care not to pull at the fringes during routine use and cleaning, and professionally binding the fringes to prevent further loss at an early stage when damage first began to be noticeable.  Not all is lost for this rug, however.  Thankfully, a prudent weaver wove a small flat woven section at the end of the pile and it is this flat weaving that saved the pile itself from being compromised.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to bind unraveling fringes when the fringes are very short

We recently got a question from one of our readers, Dave Wagner, inquiring how to bind fringes to prevent further unraveling when the fringes are already quite short, most often by years of wear and tear.  In these instances, I use cotton in between every few knots along the edge of the rug as shown in the picture below:

On the front side of the rug, the cotton thread disappears into the pile, but on the reverse the binding is more evident as the picture illustrates.  This binding technique is very effective, but as usual, clients must take care not to vacuum fringes or pull the binding out so as not to leave fringes vulnerable to damage.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to Protect a Rug's Fringes

One of the most common problem areas on rugs are the fringes, which are essentially extra warp fibers.  Most of the rug restoration work that I do is due to compromised fringes.  A simple preventative measure that many people can, but often fail to do is to bind the fringes so as to prevent any future unraveling.  Fringe binding is a bit time consuming, but is much less time consuming and certainly less costly than any restoration due to an unraveled fringe and field.  Binding should be done before any damage to the border of the rug. And, as a bonus, fringe binding often can give a rug a nice outline adding to, rather than taking away from, the rug's existing beauty.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Missing or Damaged Fringes in a Handmade Carpet

Repairing and fixing worn edges of a carpet is significantly easier if the carpet's fringes are still intact.  The carpet above has a common form of fringe damage - notice how much shorter the fringes are on the right side of the picture compared to the left side.  In situations like these, I always recommend clients to have a professional restorer bind the fringes so as to prevent the actual pile from being damaged.  Repairing fringes and binding fringes is much easier (and therefore less time consuming, and less expensive) than having to repair holes along the edges of the carpet pile.   I'm not sure what exactly caused the fringes of this carpet to become so shortened - I suspect that perhaps a careless vacuum cleaning may have been the culprit.  But sometimes it's just time and normal wear and tear that lead to damaged and missing fringes.  Regardless of the cause, if you notice that your rug's fringes are very short in one area and dangerously close to leaving an edge almost fringe-less, take your piece to a restorer who can help you prevent further damage to your handmade carpet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Completed hand hooked rug repair and cleaning

Repairing this wonderful hand-hooked rug was a great and fun challenge.  The beautiful abrash (variations in color) and texture of the yarns used to make the hand hooked carpet made this a fantastic repair project to work on.  We tried to keep the repair consistent with the original rug by using yarns that had varying levels of color saturation (see, for example, the original rug's black background where the abrash is clearly evident).  A great project to work on! Here are the after and before pictures of this hand hooked rug

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hand hooked rug cleaning and repair

Hand hooked rug cleaning and repair projects are among my favorite.  Above is a picture of one such hand hooked rug I recently worked on.  The round motifs lend the rug a fun, almost 1960s feel, but the black background give it a rich, nuanced, almost luxurious feel.  The solid colored motifs also allow the fantastic abrash (the color variations in the yarn) to shine through proving yet once again that nothing beats hand made rugs - whether they're hand knotted, hand woven, or hand hooked - handmade rugs are all works of art. --

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No Longer Unraveling - Repaired Edges of Persian Rug

So, after a short diversion, I am sharing now the final result of a recent Persian rug restoration.  As you can see from the photo below, the edge was coming undone and without due care, would have caused the motif of the rug to start unraveling.  When repairing the edge, I tried to maintain the nuanced color change in the original edge (if you look closely, the edge closest to the cotton is a slightly lighter shade of rose / orange than the color above the blue border.)  A small, but rich detail that makes this piece lovely to look at. --

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kilim Cleaning

Kilim cleaning differs somewhat from rug and carpet cleaning.  Because kilims do not have pile, there usually is no beating required.  Still, it's important to make sure that any dust particles wedged between the fibers of the warp and weft are extracted.  If dust particles are left between fibers for too long, eventually they will damage the fibers weakening the kilim and making it vulnerable to tears or similar damage.  When removing embedded dust and other particles, one must always take care not to damage kilims as they are generally more delicate than their pile counterparts.  Above is a picture of a traditional kilim being professionally cleaned.  The most challenging part of this part of the process is minimizing the risk of color run.  With periodic professional cleaning of kilims, they can last a lifetime - indeed, maybe several lifetimes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Persian Rug Repair - Edges Unraveling

The entire edge of this Persian rug was damaged by wear, tear, and it turns out, the occasional rambunctious puppy.  My task was to stop the unraveling and repair the edges.  First task was to professionally clean the rug and then work on matching yarns.  No easy task as this burnt orange has always posed a challenge to professional rug restorers ...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Turkish Rug Repair- Final Result

One of my new year's resolutions is to be better at updating this blog and share more of my kilim and rug restoration projects.  The last one I wrote about was a tear in a Turkish rug (the bottom picture shows the "before" image).  The top picture shows the result of the rug restoration after I recreated the weft and reknotted the pile.  I'm happy to say that the final result turned out quite nicely and my client was quite pleased.  She even had trouble spotting the restoration.