Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What to do if you spot moths in your handmade rugs or carpets

Few things threaten a handmade rug or carpet like moths.  Normally, with just a minimal amount of care, a handmade rug or carpet can last generations.  But if moths attack a rug, they can cause extensive - and, often, expensive - damage.   What should you do if you spot moths on your rug?

First, it's important to know what to look for.  Pictured above and below are pictures of moths doing what they do best - feasting on wool.

The white, almost glue-like, spots are a live moth infestation.

In this instance, moths moved from eating the rug to eating the pad (or it could have been the other way around).

In the rug below, the moths attacked the edge of the rug, eating their way through entire sections of pile.

Note how the moths appear on the floorboards beneath the rug.

After you identify that you have a moth problem, it is important to isolate any affected woolen products, including your rugs and kilims.  Do not put any affected woolen products next to your moth-free rugs (or other woolen goods).  

Next, you should have your rugs professionally cleaned as soon as possible to eliminate the moth infestation from your rugs before any other damage can ensue.  Be careful to choose a service provider that specializes in cleaning handmade carpets and kilims.  Do not allow any service provider to steam clean your handmade rugs.

In addition, you should mop all floors thoroughly to eliminate moths.  If the infestation is extensive, it might be necessary to engage professional cleaning and/or extermination services for your home.  --

Monday, May 27, 2013

Repairing a Turkish Kilim - Final Result

After professionally cleaning this Turkish kilim, we attached small wooden frames on the sections needing to be repaired and rewoven.  Next, we wove in warp, the vertical white strands pictured below.

Next, using yarns that match the original colors of the kilim, we rewove the missing motifs following the original design.  Below is a picture of the weaving in progress.

Finally, pictured below is our latest Turkish kilim repair.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Repairing a Turkish Kilim

Our latest kilim repair and restoration project was on a handwoven kilim from Kayseri, a city in central Anatolia, Turkey.  The kilim is made of fine hand-spun wool, and exhibits the fabulous and perhaps surprisingly harmonious vibrant color combination of red, orange, black, blue, and white, among others.  As with most other large projects, we first professionally clean the kilim before commencing any repair or restoration.  Next, we stretch out the kilim and focus on repairing the holes and compromised section, one of which is pictured above and below.  --

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My New Rya Rug

One of the aspects I love about rugs is that they can be so versatile and vibrant.  I recently purchased this Scandinavian Rya rug for its fantastic blue and green color palette.  It is at once modern and traditional.

As this picture highlights, the yarns of this Rya rug are longer than most of their Middle Eastern counterparts.  In many ways, they remind me of the Tulu rugs made in native Turkey.

Pictured from the back, the Rya rug resembles a flat woven kilim.

This Rya rug, woven in the 1960s, feels as modern today as when it was originally woven.  This is the beauty of hand made pieces - they seem to never be out of date.   --

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to care for oriental rugs

I know that I am biased, but I firmly believe that there is no one item that can complete a house - a home, actually - like a beautiful hand woven kilim or a hand knotted rug.  A fine rug, with its beautiful texture and exquisite color palette, can instantly warm a room and connect it to a rich, distant past.  It is true that fine rugs can be costly to purchase, but given that they can last decades - centuries even - their initial cost should be balanced against how many years they can enrich our homes, and, moreover, our families.  Nevertheless, because fine rugs can be costly to purchase, it is important to take some steps to ensure that they stay as beautiful as long as possible so that future generations are able to enjoy them.  How does one properly care for an Oriental rug?

(1) First, it is important that you regularly vacuum your rug, taking care not to use an overly high suction setting.  It is imperative also to not vacuum the fringe as this can quickly compromise the integrity of the fringe and pile.

(2) Depending on how much traffic the rug is subjected to, take the rug to an outdoor space every 6-12 months and either shake it thoroughly (if a smaller piece), or vacuum it on both the reverse and front sides.  Again, it is important to not vacuum any fringe.

(3)  Rotate the rug every six months so that wear and sun exposure is more evenly distributed.

(4)  Every two years, have the rug professionally cleaned.  Vacuuming alone can not eliminate all the embedded fibers that will eventually wear on the pile.  Only a professional cleaning can eliminate embedded fibers thereby preserving the piece for longer.

(5)  Avoid storing any wool rug in dark, humid conditions for any extended period of time.

(6)  Avoid allowing repeated stresses on the pile (for example, dragging heavy furniture repeatedly on the same spot on a rug).

(7)  Periodically check your rug for signs of moth damage and/or infestation.  This is especially important if your rugs have been in storage.

(8)  Periodically inspect your rug for any damage.  Often, repairing damage when it just starts to occur or appear is significantly less difficult and costly then waiting until the damage has worsened.

By following these simple steps, a fine Oriental rug will be among the longest lasting items you will have to treasure.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Handmade Turkish Rug Repair - Final

The first step in our recent Turkish rug restoration was to professionally clean the rug, then attach it to a wooden frame loom, and then slowly rebuild the warp, as shown below:

Our next step was to rebuild the weft, the horizontal strands shown below:

Once the warp and weft were built (the grid like structure above and below), we began knotting the pile.  Below, the long yarns are the newly knotted pile:

Below is a picture of the completed reknotting before we cut down the yarns:

And, finally, below is the final result of our recent Turkish rug restoration:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Handmade Turkish Rug Repair - Before

This hand knotted rug is from a region of Turkey not far from my hometown in central Anatolia.  It is from Taspinar, Turkey which is known for finely knotted rugs decorated with marvelous geometric motifs, and colored in dynamic blues and vibrant reds. This Taspinar rug was damaged along the border and selvage by both moths and undue stress along the selvage.

From the underside of the rug, the moth damage is more apparent, in particular along the selvage.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Water Damaged Indian Rug Repair - Result

The first step in repairing this water damaged hand knotted Indian rug was to lay out the rug in full sunlight for approximately twenty days - alternating exposing the front side and back side to the sunlight.  We did this to ensure that the rug would be completely dry.  Even though it sounds odd, we had to dry out the rug to prevent further damage before we professionally cleaned the rug.  This helped us identify the full extent of the rotted fibers and damaged sections.  After professionally cleaning the rug, and thoroughly drying it (for a second time) as well, we cut out the damaged sections.  Below is what the rug looked like after we extracted the rotten and damaged fibers.  

After cutting out the damage, we recreated the warp and weft, and reknotted the pile consistent with the rug's original colors and motifs.  This reproduction hand knotted rug should now last for many years.  It is a good thing to keep in mind that sitting water is never good for any organic or living product, including wool and cotton.