Saturday, December 29, 2012

Silk rug cleaning and strength

Contrary to popular perceptions, silk is not a delicate material.  In fact, silk rugs are very durable and can withstand much of what a home can bring it.  Professional silk rug cleaning, however, does present numerous challenges.  Many silk rugs are prone to dye run, that is, the colors of a silk rug may bleed into adjacent colors thereby ruining the beautiful intricate motifs common in silk rugs.  It is therefore imperative that a professional rug cleaning begin with a spot check to test the color-fastness of the dyes.  While this will not eliminate the risk of color run altogether, it will certainly minimize the risk.  With the proper care and occasional professional cleaning, silk rugs, like wool rugs, can last for generations.  The fineness of the silk fibers belie the fact that silk is undoubtedly a strong material, beautiful in its durability and seemingly delicate nature.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Persian kilim restoration - in process and final result

We left you with a "before" - actually a "just started" picture of a recent Persian kilim repair we did.  

We first recreated the warp which acts as the "backbone" of the kilim.

Next, as shown in the picture above, we started reweaving the weft and recreating the motifs as they once were - note the completion of the star motif outlined in blue.

And, lastly, above is a picture of the completed repair.  We always strive to blend in the repaired or restored area to the original kilim as much as possible.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Restoring a Persian Kilim

This lovely Persian kilim was in great need of repair to various damaged areas, including to a hole in the center field of the kilim.  The picture above shows the missing warp and weft of a section of the kilim just as we started restoring the missing warp (see the white horizontal threads right beneath the hole).  As you can see in the picture, reweaving the section required finishing the orange motif as well as the beige motif and outlining each with blue.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nepalese silk rug repair - Final Result

Our silk rug repair required us to first rebuild the warp to replace the missing corner section.  We then reknotted and rebuilt the weft.  We used silk to match the original materials used.  Working with silk is always a challenge - not only because of the intrinsic fineness of the material, but also because silk - and therefore silk rugs - have a tendency to reflect light in a particular way.  Our goal was to ensure that the our newly knotted section reflected light consistent with the original rug.  Below is a picture of our completed silk rug repair.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Nepalese silk rug repair

The silk rug pictured below was handknotted in Nepal.  It is a modern piece suitable to many tastes, including that of puppies which apparently took a bite out of the corner as seen below.

Below is an image of the missing and damaged corner of this silk Nepalese rug.  The repair project included reknotting the missing areas, replacing the missing warp and weft, and binding the selvage and fringes.  

The silk rug is monochromatic, although as with all silk rugs, the colors look different depending on whether you view the rug along the pile or against it.  Stay tuned for the results of our Nepalese silk rug repair.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - Final Result

In an earlier post, we shared images of a beautiful antique Persian rug that was in desperate need of restoration.  As shown above, the rug had been cut in half and had to be joined and reknotted in various different areas.  In addition, the edges had to be reinforced to prevent unraveling or further damage to the rug.

Here is a picture of the joined pieces after we reknotted all of the compromised areas.  Below is a picture of the restored Persian rug.

Below, is a close up of the area where the rug had been cut in two.  As with all of our professional rug restoration work, we hope the result is that our client will enjoy this beautiful Persian carpet for many years to come.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Flooded rugs

While some losses caused by superstorm Sandy can never be replaced, many communities on the East Coast are coming together and slowly rebuilding.   With respect to the damage caused to peoples' rugs and kilims damaged by flood waters, we have recommended that all our clients resist the temptation to roll up their damaged rugs and wait to have them cleaned.  Our suggestion is for all affected to leave their rugs to lie flat and have them professionally cleaned as soon as possible.  A rug's colors can run when there is a flood, as is shown in the pictures below.  However, with a proper cleaning and some stain amelioration, flooded rugs can be restored.  Our best wishes to all our neighbors who were affected by superstorm Sandy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - in progress

We made rejoining the two halves of this fine antique rug the first step in our Persian rug restoration.  This required recreating and joining the warp from each side of the halves and reknotting the pile in the "seam" area.

Of course, sewing the two pieces together is an option for repair, but it is not an option for an authentic restoration.  When working with an antique rug of this quality, we always recommend clients do a proper rug restoration to bring back the rug to the way it was when it was originally hand knotted and to preserve it for generations to come.

This last picture above shows the Persian runner as one piece as it was knotted originally.  Of course, there remained a lot to do after this point in our restoration as the worn pile throughout the field of the rug clearly indicates.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration

Our rug restoration projects have been keeping us busy, and we've sadly taken a long break from blogging.  We intend to rectify that.  One of the recent projects we took on during our blogging hiatus was an antique Persian rug restoration.  The Persian rug, seen here, had extensive damage, including a clean tear along the middle.  Perhaps the two pieces of this runner were torn apart to be used in separate spaces, but the client, understandably, wanted to restore his beautiful Persian antique runner to its former glory.  The rug required extensive restoration, including joining the two pieces that had somehow been separated.

The restoration also required that we reweave extensive wear and several holes that had occurred over a century in the field of the Persian rug.

Below is another picture of the worn field of the antique Persian rug.

This was a fantastic challenge for us.  We will share our progress and results of this damaged, but beautiful, antique Persian rug in blogs to come.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Moroccan Berber Rug Repair - Result

Our Moroccan Berber rug repair project's final result is shown below.  The color of the yarns used in the repair closely match the original rug's color.  

A close up of the knotting process highlights the area that was affected.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Moroccan Berber Rug Repair - Mid Process

As I explained in my last post, we recently completed a professional cleaning and repair of a fantastic Moroccan Berber rug for a client.  Below is a picture of the hole in the center field of the Berber rug.  

The first step was to professionally clean the Berber rug.  Cleaning is important so as to ensure that the yarns used in the repair will match as much as possible the color of the cleaned rug.  In addition, it is preferable for a restorer to work on a cleaned rug free of dust particles that inevitably become embedded in the pile of a rug subject to foot traffic and normal ambient dust.  The next step, as seen below, was to recreate the missing warp (the vertical white fibers in the middle of the tent (triangle) motif).

After recreating the warp of the Berber rug, the next step was to recreate the weft (the horizontal strands pictured below).

Below is a picture of the reconstructed warp and weft from the back side of the Moroccan Berber rug.  The warp and weft is the structure upon which the knots are constructed.

Below is a picture of the reconstructed warp and weft from the front side.  The loose fibers surrounding the area are compromised knots that we removed before we started the knotting process.

The next step was to begin knotting the missing pile as seen in the picture below.  The process is a bit long, but the reward is well worth it.  At this stage, this Moroccan Berber rug restoration was almost complete and ready to return to what we hoped would be a very happy client who could enjoy it for years to come.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Moroccan Berber Rug Cleaning and Repair


We recently completed a Moroccan Berber rug cleaning and repair project.  Moroccan Berber rugs have enjoyed a recent increase in popularity due to their timeless design that seems to fit in with just about every style of decor - from the traditional aesthetic to the more modern.  This particular Moroccan Berber rug, as is typical with all Berber rugs, have minimal motifs, longer piles than their Persian and Turkish counterparts, and are infused with vibrant fantastic color.   After cleaning this Berber rug, we were asked to bind the fringes of the rug so as to prevent any unraveling as well as repairing and reknotting the hole pictured above that was in almost the very center of the rug.  To show the extent of the damage, we took pictures of both the front side of the damage (top picture) and the reverse side of the rug (bottom picture).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Moth Damage in Rugs

Moths are peculiar little creatures.  They are small, relatively slow, strangely finicky, and able to cause an incredible amount of damage to any rug, including those exceptional rugs and kilims so many of us treasure in our homes.  Moths work in the dark, in closets, in garages, under sofas, under beds.  Moths work in humid areas where there is little cross ventilation.  Moths prefer soiled rugs to clean rugs.  And moths have their very specific tastes - note in the top picture above how moths "ate" just certain sections of the rug's pile.  Moths simply left certain colors alone.  They are carvers, eating only those woolen knots that they prefer.  Moths can cause an incredible amount of damage - just take notice of the bottom picture taken from the back side of the carpet.  Those little white "dots" are intersections of warp and weft where a woolen knot once was but was eaten by a moth.  Rug repair and rug restoration will be able to remedy the damage caused by moths in most instances, but prevention can go a long way.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Antique Caucasian Kazak Rug Repair - Result

This picture above is of the antique Caucasian Kazak rug after our restoration (just as a reminder, the picture below is what the section of the rug looked like before our restoration project).  We reknotted the missing section and restored the compromised border area.  Now that the antique rug has been restored, we hope that it will be enjoyed for decades to come.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Antique Caucasian Kazak Rug Repair

This antique Caucasian Kazak rug is of gorgeous quality.  Its fine wool, exquisite knotting, and sublime color palette make it among the most beautiful pieces we've worked on recently.  The damage in the antique Kazak rug was readily apparent:  it had a significant section missing; worn out pile along the border; and compromised fibers throughout.  This antique Caucasian Kazak rug restoration project was significant, but the reward of bringing back the structural integrity of this beautiful rug was just wonderful.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Is An Antique Rug "Worth" Repair or Restoration?

Quite often, we are asked whether a particular rug or kilim is worth repairing or restoring.  It is a very difficult question to answer for many reasons, including the very significant factor of any sentimental value it has for its owner.   To answer this question, we usually advise clients of what the cost of repair and / or restoration would be and then give them a rough estimate of what the retail price would be of a similar rug purchased today.  Often what this calculation omits, however, is the very real and underestimated value of preserving our common heritage and conserving a part of the past for the future.  The absolutely exquisite antique Turkish rug pictured above, before restoration, was probably the cost of only half of the cost of restoration.  It is, of course, worth much more now after its restoration - not only in terms of its "retail price," but also because through its restoration, more generations will be able to appreciate it, enjoy it, and treasure it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rug Stain Caused by Pet Urine

As many owners of beloved pets know, even the most well trained puppy, kitten, or other pet can sometimes have accidents.  A common victim of these pet accidents are rugs, carpets, kilim rugs, and other flat weaves.  Pet urine, which is intrinsically acidic, can damage the fibers of rugs and kilims if left untreated.  Sometimes, a regular professional cleaning can remove the pet stain, but often a special treatment is required on the rug or flat weave.  In any case, it is best to have the rug treated as soon as possible.  The longer the acid is left to damage the fibers of the rug, the less likely it is that the stain (or the smell, for that matter) can be removed.  Upon discovering a pet stain on your rug, if a thorough professional cleaning can not be done immediately, blot up any excess liquid as soon as possible; note that one should blot, not rub.  Take a damp towel and natural soap and blot it clean - be careful to not put too much water on the rug as you will increase the likelihood that the colors will run and bleed into adjacent colors.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Damage to Rug Caused by a Potted Plant

Potted plants in our indoor living spaces are a wonderful way to bring the outdoors in.  Those beautiful plants, however, can cause a significant amount of damage to rugs, kilims, and other flat weaves.  Actually, it is not so much the plants or their pots that can cause damage, but owners who enthusiastically water their plants without due care of what rest beneath them.  In the case of the picture above, a potted plant was left on a rug for an extended period of time.  The owner did not move the pot and did not notice the damage that increased over time.  The yellow areas are rotted fibers and an entire section of the corner was lost.  Take care to make sure that no water or moisture is reaching a rug or kilim on which a potted plant rests.  Furthermore, be cautious and examine beneath pots to assess whether any damage has occurred.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hungry Moths

Moths can do an extraordinary amount of damage to wool rugs.  One of the most remarkable things about moths is that they have strong preferences for certain wools.  Notice how the "carved" out areas (actually the areas eaten by moths) are all concentrated in what was once the light blue curvilinear motifs.  The dark blue background, also made of wool, was largely unaffected.  The white warp and weft (the white grid like structure), which are made of cotton, didn't entice the moths' appetites either.   Repairing this kind of moth damage is possible, after a thorough professional cleaning to ensure that the active moths and their larvae are eliminated.  However, prevention would go a long way to ensure that this moth damage doesn't occur again.  We've written about this before but we can't stress enough how just a few steps can help owners minimize the risk of moths damaging their valuable rugs:  (1) always professionally clean any rugs or kilims before storing them; (2) never store rugs in plastic or in dark humid areas such as closets; (3) periodically inspect rugs for active larvae; (4) expose your rug to sunlight and well ventilated areas; and (5) never place your rugs where there is a known moth infestation.  --

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oriental Rug Cleaning Tips and Precautions

Clients often ask us, "Can I clean my own Oriental or Persian carpet at home?"  And the answer we always give is, "Absolutely, but be careful."  The truth is that in most households in the Middle East and in other carpet weaving regions, few people use professional oriental rug cleaning services.  In many of the households in my native country of Turkey, carpet and kilim cleaning is an annual or biannual chore akin to the American "spring cleaning" tradition.  The reason I generally do not recommend clients to clean their own Oriental carpets at home is because if clients do not have experience and knowledge in how to care for the natural fibers of their rugs, or knowledge of how to control possible dye-run (and ability to recognize fugitive dyes that will "bleed" into other colors), or knowledge about how to properly dry rugs or kilims, it can be a very risky and ultimately costly endeavor.  The truth is this kind of knowledge is most easily acquired through trial and error, which means that the first few times one tries to thoroughly clean a certain kind of piece, one may make a mistake that may permanently damage the Oriental rug, kilim, dhurrie, or soumak.

If a reader is willing to take the risk, however, there are steps that may be taken to minimize the chance of damaging the piece (and again, I am not recommending that readers clean their own rugs if they do not have experience and knowledge in the necessary cleaning process):

  • First make sure the rug has been thoroughly vacuumed both on the front side and the reverse.  If possible, shaking a rug is an even better way to dislodge dust (depending on how large or heavy your rug is, you will need the help of an additional person or persons for this step).
  • Next get ready for cleaning the rug - ideally you will work in a space large enough to fit your rug and allow you to brush off water - an outside (clean) patio is ideal.  
  • In a large bucket, mix cold water, soap, and a drop of vinegar.  The vinegar minimizes the risk of color run (again, this is not a guarantee - there is no guarantee against color run!!).  However, it is a traditional technique (a secret, if you will) that aids to minimize (NOT eliminate!) the chance of colors bleeding.  Take special care when cleaning Oriental rugs or kilims with red or black dyes that have a higher tendency to run or "bleed" into adjacent colors.
  • Only use cold water (never subject a wool rug to hot water!). 
  • With this mixture, take a brush made of natural fibers to start cleaning the rug.  When cleaning the pile of the rug, take care to gently brush against the pile (that is, in the opposite direction in which the carpet was originally knotted) so as to dislodge any embedded dust particles.
  • The last brushing should be in the direction of the pile. 
  • Rinse with water to remove all traces of the soap used (if any soap is left over, it will leave a discolored or splotchy look in the rug).  Again, be careful about how you rinse the rug - if you leave water sitting on the rug for even a few extra minutes, you may cause color run damage that will be very difficult, if not impossible, to repair.
  • Make sure that any excess water is removed from the rug as soon as possible:  one can do this by brushing away the water quickly and thoroughly.  
The drying process is just as critical as the cleaning process:
  • When the cleaning process is completed, it is imperative that the rug be moved to a dry and clean space to dry.  Depending on how large or heavy the rug is, this is usually at least a two person job.
  • The rug - which should have very little water - should be placed flat.  Never, ever hang a rug to dry.  A mistake at this stage in the process may cause the rug's shape to be compromised.
  • The best way to dry a rug is by leaving it in the sunlight for a few consecutive days; summer time is an ideal time for this.
  • People should take care to dry the rug completely before bringing it indoors; if a rug is left slightly wet, it is at a higher risk for its fibers to rot.  
While I recommend readers inexperienced in the cleaning process to clean their own rugs at home because of the inherent risks involved, cleaning Oriental rugs (and drying them!) at home is certainly possible with the proper precautions (including those set out above), experience, knowledge, time, and space.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - Final Result

Our antique Persian rug restoration is complete.  The picture above shows the rug before the restoration; the pictures below show the restored rug.  It was a wonderful project to work on and we are grateful that both we and our client were pleased with the result.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - In Process

Above are pictures of our recent antique Persian rug restoration in process.  As we blogged yesterday, this beautiful antique Persian carpet had a tear along its side as well as compromised sections of its selvage.   We reconstructed the missing and damaged warp and weft, as highlighted in the first couple of pictures, and then reknotted the pile.  The next stage in the restoration process is to cut the excess yarns which will reveal the reknotted motifs.