Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year and a Repaired Hand Hooked Rug

As the year winds down and we prepare for a new one, it is with gratitude that we reflect on what we do and love.   So much of what we have and accumulate is disposable - meant only to fill a temporary need or temporarily fill a permanent need.  What I personally love about my job, about this great craft that I have both inherited and nurtured, is that it allows for permanence.  When something is made with love and care, by the virtue of one's own hands, it is timeless and forever.  As decades pass by, it might need some care, with an occasional repair, but the essence of it will be with us forever.

I am so grateful to spend my days marveling at the craftsmanship of artists from other generations and preserving their work so that future generations can enjoy it.  So much of what I do - of what anyone who enjoys this craft does - can seem minute to the occasional observer.  After all, we spend hours, sometimes weeks and months, focused on mere inches of someone else's creation.  But I've never felt that way.  It makes me acutely aware of the space I occupy in the time continuum of life, and perhaps because of this, grateful for the moment that I am enjoying.  At least I try to be.  As 2017 begins, I am grateful for the ability to do what I love and hope that the future brings us all health, peace, and happiness.

Above:  A section of a restored hand hooked rug

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Moth Damage Caused By Layering Rugs

The layered rug look is a lovely design choice that's been around for centuries and has graced countless homes around the world.  It instantly infuses a sense of eclecticism into a space and can transform a bland room into one that is enticing and warm.   In my own home, I have several small rugs layered on top of a large rug in various spaces (perhaps too many ...).   While this design choice can be beautiful, it can also be slightly risky if proper preventative measures are not taken.  Namely, it is important to periodically inspect the layered rugs because placing one rug onto another can lead to possible moth infestation.   Moth infestation can occur when rugs are layered undisturbed for extended period of times and especially when the spaces are dark and do not benefit from cross ventilation.  For these reasons, we advise clients to regularly vacuum the rugs separately (not just the tops of the rugs exposed to walking).  In addition, we always advise clients to undertake a regular inspection schedule that gives clients the opportunity to identify any possible moth infestation at the earliest stage possible before costly damage ensues.  If there is any sign of infestation, we recommend clients to isolate the affected rugs are professionally clean all rugs to minimize the risk of further damage. By following these simple steps, one can safely layer as many rugs as desired.  --

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pet Urine Stain on Rug

In the vast majority of cases, pets and Oriental rugs can coexist quite peacefully adding beauty and warmth to a home.  There are occasions, however, when an unfortunate pet accident can damage an Oriental rug.  Usually, this happens when a pet is either very young or very old.  Pet urine can threaten the color fastness of the dyes in a handmade rug so attending to any accidents is imperative.  When you have pet urine accidents, it is important to blot the spot immediately with a damp white towel (to avoid any color transfer) and have the rug professionally cleaned as quickly as possible.  If proper attention is paid quickly, stains can be averted (and any associated bad odor can be avoided as well).   If pet urine is allowed to settle for an extended period of time, any stains will be more difficult to remove although it is quite possible to ameliorate the stain if not remove it altogether.  It is much easier to avoid the stain from setting in the first place which is why we recommend immediate attention to any pet urine accidents.  --

Undoing an Old Repair - Afghan Rug Restoration Project Final Result

After many hours of weaving and knotting, we completed our Afghan rug restoration project.  Pictured above is the result.  You will note from the final result picture (as well as from our in progress pictures) that the restoration is integrated into the original structure of the rug thereby making it both more aesthetically pleasing and significantly more durable.  With time, the very slight variation in the red yarns should appear even more like the original rug once the rug is exposed to some sunlight.  The photos below show the original patch before repair.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Undoing an old Repair - Afghan Rug Restoration Project In Progress

As is almost always the case, we first professionally cleaned the rug before we began our latest Afghan rug restoration project.  We then extracted the old patch so that we could restore the area properly.  Next, we carefully reconstructed the warp (the white vertical strands in the photo below).

Subsequently, we reconstructed the weft (the brown horizontal yarns).  Once the warp and weft were reconstructed, they formed a grid-like structure upon which we then reknotted the pile.  Below is a photo of the weft reconstruction in progress.

The photo below illustrates the benefits of this kind of restoration.  The warp and weft are not superficially attached to the rug; rather, they are integrated into the structure of the original rug making this kind of restoration both more aesthetically pleasing, but also more long-lasting.  Indeed, absent any extraordinary stress on the area, this restoration will last the life of the rug if not longer.   

When the warp and weft reconstruction were completed, we began reknotting the pile.  The long red vertical yarns (the fuzzy section in the bottom right hand corner of the photo below) is the reconstructed pile in progress.

Below is a view of the reconstructed pile taken from the back of the rug.

Below are photos of the reconstructed pile before we cut back the yarns.

Below is the completed pile before we cut back the yarns so that they are the same length of the original rug (the restored section almost looks like a Turkish Tulu which are very much in vogue these days).   In our next post we will share a photo of the result of this Afghan rug restoration project.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Undoing an Old Repair - Afghan Rug Restoration Project

Occasionally we come across rugs that have been repaired in the past but need to be repaired again, or rather restored, due to the earlier repair's failings or an aesthetically unpleasing appearance.  The Afghan rug pictured above and below is an example of an old repair that might have solved an immediate structural problem, but ultimately was temporary at best and certainly detracted from the beauty of the rug.  This Afghan rug was repaired with a patch that was sewn into a section of missing pile.  The patch, while it was specifically woven for this rug, was not integrated into the original rug except for a superficial sewing around the perimeter. We have seen worse examples of this patch approach to repair/restoration, especially when the patch is taken from another rug altogether and therefore the motifs and colors do not blend into the original.   Sometimes restorers opt to repair rugs with a patch so as to stabilize a rug in the most cost effective way as this kind of repair work takes a significantly shorter time than a proper restoration (hours versus weeks if not months).  Our task for this project was to remove the old repair and undertake a restoration that would be integrated into the original structure of the rug rather than a mere sewing in of a patch.  Below are more photos of the patch that we were charged with replacing.

Note in the photo below how simple it was to extract the patch.  It was affixed to the rug only around its perimeter; it was never part of the original structure of the rug.   In our next posts, we will share how we restored this lovely Afghan rug.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Worn Persian Rug Repair - Result

After professionally cleaning the rug and removing all compromised fibers, we were able to assess the complete extent of the wear and damage of this fine Persian rug.  We reconstructed the missing pile striving to match the colors of the original rug's yarns and motifs.  Above is a photo of the restored rug.  
We have heard from some clients in the past that they actually favor the worn look, and we can definitely see the appeal.  However, some wear, while aesthetically pleasing, might compromise the stability of the rug and allow for too much loss of the rug's original weaving.  In these instances, it is always best to restore the rug to stabilize it and to ensure that it can be enjoyed for decades to come.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Restoring a Worn Persian Rug

After decades of steadfast service to its owners, this fine Persian rug had begun to show its age when it made its way into our workroom.  The white worn sections marked areas where the warp began to show through after sections of the pile, and therefore the rug's motifs, had succumbed to years of foot traffic and, we hope, fun family chaos.  As with nearly all of our projects, we first carefully professionally washed the rug to remove all the dirt embedded in the fibers and to have a clean palette  for our restoration project.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

How to Store Your Oriental Rugs

Many of the restoration projects that come our way are caused by improper storage of rugs and kilims.  Often, a little care taken before placing rugs in storage can go a long way to help preserve them and fight off the most threatening of creatures for a rug - the hungry moth.  At the outset, though, it must be said that the best way to store a rug is not to store it at all.  That is, a rug often is best cared for when it is used out in the open where it can benefit from mild sunlight and cross ventilation.  But if storing a rug is absolutely necessary, there are important steps that should be taken.  First, have your rug or kilim professionally cleaned.  A clean rug is not as appetizing to moths as a dirty rug.  Second, store your rug away from all other soiled woolen projects, including other rugs if possible.  Third, do not store a rug in a plastic wrapping of any kind.  If you must wrap your rug, use a cotton blanket that allows the rug to breathe.  Or, if possible, store your rug without any wrapping at all.  Fourth, store your rug in a well ventilated space that receives some sunlight.  If possible, use a cedar closet or cedar planks to help minimize moth damage.  Lastly, be diligent about periodically examining your rugs in storage.  Every few months, take the rugs out to let them breathe and conduct a thorough inspection for any signs of moth damage.  If you spot any signs, have the rug cleaned immediately before further damage is done.  Following these simple steps will help you provide a safe storage environment for your rugs and kilims.  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mexican Kilim Repair - Final Result

Above is the final result of our Mexican kilim fringe repair.  As we detailed in our last post, we first professionally cleaned the kilim, then removed all compromised fibers, rebuilt the fringes (warp), reconstructed the damaged weft, and bound the fringe in the style of the rest of the undamaged fringe. If you look closely at the photo above, you may note that there is a slight difference between the red yarn we used in our repair of the weft right above the fringe and the red yarn of the original, but with time even this slight difference will dissipate.  Below, as a reminder, is what the kilim looked like before we started our repair project. --

Mexican Kilim Repair - In Process

After professionally cleaning the Mexican kilim and proceeding to eliminate all compromised fibers along the fringed edge, we began to rebuild the damaged fringe.  The white vertical cotton strands in the next photos show the reconstructed fringe (which, in essence is the repaired warp).   Our next step will be to bind the repaired fringe to minimize the risk of unraveling and reconstruct all compromised weft. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mexican Kilim Cleaning and Repair

Mexican and other Central and South American kilims and blankets are beautiful for their vibrant color combinations and fine quality weaving.  They are also subject to the same weaknesses as to their Middle Eastern and Asian counterparts, namely fringe damage.  The beautiful Mexican kilim pictured above had fringe damage that was beginning to extend into the field of the kilim.  We first professional cleaned the kilim and then removed all the compromised fibers along the fringed edge.  Our next step was to rebuild the damaged fringe and bind it to minimize the risk of future unraveling. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Isfahan Rug Project - Moth Damage and Damaged Fringe Repaired - Final Result

At the beginning of any restoration or repair project, we always professionally clean the rug.  This cleaning is especially critical when a rug has been damaged by moths as we try to be sure that any live infestation is eradicated.   It is often the case that the full damage inflicted by moths is not clear until after a professional cleaning is done.  After cleaning the rug, we then removed all compromised yarns (sometimes as easily by tugging at them as moths have already loosened them).  We then reknotted the missing pile and reconstructed the missing and damaged warp and weft.  Next, we bound the reconstructed fringe so as to minimize the risk of any future unraveling.  Below are additional pictures of our latest Isfahan rug repair project.

As a reminder, below are before photos of the damaged rug taken before our repair project. --

Friday, May 6, 2016

Isfahan Rug Repair - Damaged Fringe and Moth Infestation

This beautiful silk and wool Isfahan rug fell prey to two of the most common problems that plague our hand knotted rugs - fraying edges and fringes, and moth damage.  A rug often is most vulnerable at its edges, especially the fringed edges.  Aggressive vacuuming, dragging of furniture across the edges, or energetic pets or children who pull on the fringes can damage the fringes and eventually the pile itself (which is protected by the fringes).  Moth damage most often occurs when rugs are placed in storage or when sections of a rug are placed under heavy furniture for a prolonged period of time without regular cleaning.  In the photos above and below, one can see the moth damage in the red knotted pile that looks to be partly eaten.  Our restoration of this silk and wool Isfahan rug addressed both the wool pile that was eaten by moths and the damaged and missing fringe. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Afghan Kilim Chewed by Puppy - Final Result

After cleaning the kilim, reconstructing the warp, and reweaving the weft, we finally completed repairing this lovely Afghan kilim that was damaged by a ravenous dog.  Unfortunately, the photo above of the result of our repair is a bit overexposed, but we hope you can see that we tried to blend in the repaired section into the original kilim as much as possible.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Afghan Kilim Chewed by Dog - Repair in Progress

After professionally cleaning this lovely Afghan kilim, we began reconstructing the warp (the vertical brownish-greyish vertical fibers in the photos above and below).  The photo below shows the completed warp reconstruction.  

Once the warp reconstruction was completed, we began the weft reconstruction.  The weft reconstruction includes the motif reconstruction.  We always strive to be sure to use yarns as close in color to the colors of the original kilim so as to minimize the visibility of the repair.  A great compliment to us is when clients can't find our repairs.

Below is another photo of our weft reconstruction in progress.  This lovely Afghan kilim was almost ready to go home to its hungry puppy!