How Rugs are Woven

Hand weaving is much more labor intensive and time consuming than most folks realize. It can take months and in some cases even years to make a good hand woven rug. Today, we’ll talk a little bit about the processes weavers go through to bring you these beautiful works of art.

 

The first step is materials prep.

Weaving a rug isn’t as simple as plopping down and tying knots. Long before the weaver even sits in front of the loom there is intensive work put into preparing the materials used in the carpet. Proper preparation and grade in materials can make all the difference in a rug’s quality, so care and time are taken.

First the wool is harvested from the sheep. Believe it or not, proper harvesting along with the sheep’s diet and climate factor into wool quality in a big way. The age of the sheep, the part of the body from where the wool was harvested can also make a big difference in the feel and durability of the rug. Generally speaking, sheep from colder climates have thicker coats with softer wool while sheep from dry hot climates have shorter denser coats.

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Once harvested, the wool is cleaned, carded, then spun. Cleaning is as simple as it sounds. It eliminates dirt and grime from the freshly harvested wool.

Carding is the technique by which the wool is separated and straightened in its texture. To do this, the weavers take two brushes with many small metal bristles and work the wool between them.

Once carded, the wool is spun. It can be spun either by hand or by machine. Hand spun wool will tend to absorb dye at uneven rates and can give the rug a variegated look in the color. Machine spun wool is much more consistent in its tone and thus often used by larger production houses. In terms of quality, neither technique is superior to the other.

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From there, the next major step is pattern planning and wool dyeing.

Some rugs are woven without a pre-planned design. A lot of tribal rugs are done from memory or even as a free flow pattern that evolves as the weaver progresses. However, most rugs are planned knot by knot in advance. Their patterns sketched out on graph paper or written out in detailed instructions. As a general rule, the more colors a rug uses, the more difficult it is to weave and the more time went into the planning of it.

Once planned, the wool is dyed to the proper colors. Generally speaking, the weavers don’t dye their own wool as dyeing is a process that is reserved for masters. One could study dyeing techniques and methods for years and still not know everything there is to know about dyes and how to properly set them into the wool. If a rose color is too bright, it will look pink and garish. If a blue is too deep, it will read as black and overwhelming in a dark room. Getting the color right makes all the difference in how the rug looks.

dyeing wool

 

Once these processes are finished, it is time to start weaving.

The first step in this is stringing the loom. There are different types of looms, but the basic concept is similar from one to the next. The weaver starts with the warp threads.  Warp threads run from end to end on the rug and generally are the thicker stronger threads onto which the knots are tied or wool is woven through. They need to be strung at set intervals and put under tension in order to keep the rug in proper shape, so while it sounds simple, it is a very important step for the weaver to get right.

 

Once the loom in strung, the weaving process can finally begin.

Most rugs are either “Knotted” or Flat woven”. Knotted rugs are tied, one knot at a time, building slowly from the bottom of the loom toward the top. Each knot wraps around two warp fibers, ensuring a strong hold and creating tremendous strength and durability in the rug. Knots are added one at a time, horizontally across the width of the rug.  Once a whole row has been tied, a weft thread is worked zig zagging between the warp fibers. This is then pounded down to hold the knots in place. Some rugs have multiple wefts between each row of knots. Most traditional Persian and Turkish rugs use this technique.

Flat woven rugs don’t have knots at all.  Rather their pattern is created by the wefting. In most flat woven rugs, the colored wool is strung zig zagging through the warp threads. These interweaving strands of colored wool creates the pattern in the rug. Much like knotted rugs, flat woven rugs are usually woven one line at a time, though there are techniques that don’t require this. Kelims and Native american rugs are the two most common types of rugs woven using this technique.

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This step is by far the most involved. The more finely woven and complicated the rug, the longer it takes. Some of the finest Persian rugs can easily take upwards of a year or two to weave. Once the weaving is complete, the rug is cut down from the loom and the finishing processes can begin.

 

Lastly the rug goes through the final finishing steps.

Finishing includes three major steps, shearing, detailing, and washing. Shearing is done to make the surface of the rug nice and even. Once taken off the loom, the weaver will slowly go over the whole surface of the rug with electric clippers, specialized scissors, or in some cases even curved knives. Using one or more of these tools, they will lightly trim the surface of the rug to ensure the fibers are all even and the surface of the rug is flat.

Detailing is simply the process by which the weaver slowly goes over the surface of the rug checking for any additional work or attention that the rug may need. Is this phase, the weaver may put extra work into the finish or fringe. They may decide to tie extra tassels onto the end, braid the fringes, or even use bits of colored wool to add some depth to ends or sides. Details like this can make a rug stand out as a little more unique and individualized.

As the rug is woven on the loom, it gathers dust, odors, and small bit of debris from its surrounding. As such, it is always important the rug be cleaned before it is taken to market. Cleaning is usually done by a specialist as a final step.  Once all of these steps are done, the rug is finished and ready to take to market.


 

17203026_1387415551330649_398135536548218379_n By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

Rugs of the World – Baluchi

The Baluchi (alt. Baloch) people inhabit the southern areas of Afghanistan, and the traditional rugs woven by these people are known as Baluchi. Modern Afghani weaving has become more diverse, but traditionally two main types of rugs have come from the country. Turkoman from the north and Baluchi form the south. Both used tribal motifs and dark colors but were separated by a few distinct variables.  

17-030637First, Baluchi rugs tend to be woven without using cable wefts. This gives them a more pliable hand and lightweight feel. They are ideal for rolling up and packing which worked well for many in the region as many Baluchi people tend to be nomadic.

Second, Baluchi rugs tend to use a broader range of colors than their northern counterparts. Where Turkoman rugs are almost always done in reds and blacks, Baluchi tend to also use dark blues, browns, tans, and even sometimes greens.

Third, while there are exceptions, most Baluchi rugs are woven in smaller sizes. This goes back to the idea that they need to be made to be easily transported.

Lastly, many Baluchi rugs use prayer motifs, which are much less common in the Turkoman weaving. Prayer designs are asymmetrical and have a distinct top and bottom. When used in prayer, the top is pointed toward Mecca.

While the look used in most Baluchi rugs is similar, they don’t have a very defined design. They are woven by individuals, and as such have a broad variety of patterns. There are a few motifs that are worth a little extra attention and discussion.

The first is Koudani. These are prayer designs that tend to be more detailed and finely woven. Distinct “towers” dot through the field of the design. These represent prayer towers and always are oriented so that the tops of the towers point toward the head space on the rug.

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Koudani rugs are almost always prayer designs.

Second on this list is Moshwani. Where most Baluchi rugs use traditional knotting through their field, Moshwani are distinct in that they combine three or more types of weaving throughout the field of the rug. Traditional hand-knotting, soumak flat-weaving, kelim style flat-weaving, and in some cases even float stitch flat-weaving. This technique gives moshwani a unique texture and depth that you don’t see in most rugs.

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Moshwani rugs use a variety of weaving techniques.

Next is, Dohtor e Ghaz sometimes called “The Judge’s Daughter”. Again a prayer design, what sets these rugs apart is the distinct head and hand spaces on the top are of the prayer motif. The head space is usually shaped like a head and he hand spaces will even often use design reminiscent of hands. These rugs are less common than most, but very distinct.

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Always done in prayer designs, these rugs have a very distinct shape to the head and hand spaces.

Lastly, a very unique weaving to Baluchi are War rugs. Literal tanks, guns, planes, and grenades are often woven into war rugs. Sometimes these motifs repeat throughout the field, and sometimes they are pictorial pieces depicting a battle between Afghan and Russian forces. Modern Baluchi war rugs will even incorporate drones in their designs.  In these areas, the people weave what they see, and unfortunately, they have been exposed to all too much war and violence. While a tragic reminder of a difficult life for these folks, war rugs make for very interesting and unique designs as no other style of rug embraces these motifs.

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An interesting consequence of the unfortunate amount of war this region has seen over the years, “War Rugs” use distinct war motifs all throughout their designs.

17203026_1387415551330649_398135536548218379_nBy: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

How to pick the right pad for your rug – 10 quick tips

Finding that perfect rug for your home or office can feel like the end of the rug buying process, but it is important to never forget pad for your rug and floor below it. The right kind of pad will help to keep your rug looking great, keep it from slipping on your floors, and even protect the floors themselves. The important question to ask is “What is the right pad for my needs?” Here are a few tips, straight from the professionals at Serafian’s.

 

1 – Always Use Natural Rubber

A lot of pads in the marketplace use a synthetic rubber. This is less expensive to produce and can cost a little less, but unfortunately, these pads can have some unintended consequences on your floors. With time, pressure, and heat, these synthetic rubber pads can “sweat” a sort of oil that can stain your floor beneath the pads. They can even chemically bond to some floor finishes, leaving a huge difficult mess to clean after they are removed. For these reasons, we always recommend using natural rubber pads. If you are uncertain which your pad uses, consult a professional.

 

2 – “Sticky” pads can work for wall to wall carpet, but can leave a difficult to clean residue

Certain pads are designed with a “Sticky” glue that will help them keep a rug from moving. These are designed specifically for carpet and can quickly and easily cause damage to hard surface floors. However, it is important to keep in mind that these pads can leave a sticky residue on your wall to wall that once removed can attract dirt and dust. Professional carpet cleaning could be needed to remove this residue from both your wall to wall carpet and the back of your oriental. As long as this doesn’t bother you, “Sticky” pads can work well for your floors.

 

3 – A pad should be cut to be a little inside the measurements of your rug

Over time, pads tend to stretch out a little. As such, it is a good practice to cut any pad a little smaller than your rug. We recommend at least 1 inch inside the measurement of the rug around all sides.

 

4 – “Solid” pads provide much better protection than “Waffle” pads

One of the main reasons to have a pad under your rug is to protect the floor beneath it and unfortunately the “Waffle” style pads with holes in the construction just don’t provide that protection. With time, dirt will work its way through your rug and grind away at the floor underneath. A “Solid’ pad constructed with no holes will prevent this from happening. A waffle pad will allow that dirt to grind away at the floor and can even ultimately sand the surface of your floor, leading to expensive floor refinishing.

 

5 – Never ever use horsehair pads

Horsehair pads are almost never used in the modern rug industry, so there is little risk of coming across one these days. However, if you happen across one, it is best to throw it in the garbage before using it on your floor. Originally touted for their long life span, horsehair pads have the unique problem that they attract moths. Once infested, these pads can cause years of headaches trying to eliminate the moths. For this reason, we recommend never using a horsehair pad.

 

6 – The pads designed to be used under your wall to wall carpet won’t work for your rugs

A lot of folks think that the rugs pads that are used under wall to wall carpets are just as effective for your oriental rugs. Unfortunately, their construction is too soft for oriental rugs. The squishiness of these pads can cause the foundation of your rug to stretch and even possibly tear. A more robust and stiff pad is ideal for your rug.

 

7 – All pads eventually wear out and need to be replaced

Most pads are made to last 4 to 5 years. Some of the best pads in the marketplace will last closer to 10 years, but eventually, all pads need to be replaced. As a rule of thumb, when your pad starts loose its gripping power, it is time. Occasionally look at the underside of your rug, if you can clearly see the rubber on your pad becoming a fine powder, your pad has aged enough, and a replacement might be necessary.

 

8 – If your rug is going under furniture, a thinner pad works better also, use furniture cups and even possibly put tile under your pad

The weight of furniture can cause the foundation of your rug to stretch and become uneven over time. If the furniture is heavy enough it can even punch holes in your rug. With this in mind, when furniture is going on top of your rug, we recommend a thinner pad for under it. An important side note, even with a good pad underneath, it can be necessary to use furniture cups to help distribute the weight of your furniture into the rug. Also, it may sound a little strange, but if your rug is on a wall to wall carpet, we often recommend setting small tiles (say 4”x 4”) between the floor and pad beneath the legs of your furniture. This will create a more solid foundation for your rug, helping to prevent the foundation from stretching due to the weight of the furniture.

 

9 – If you have a tile floor, a thicker pad is better for your rug

The grout lines in tile can eventually cause your rug to wear unevenly. With time, you will even begin to see the line of the tile wear into the body of your rug. This is best prevented with a pad that is a little thicker and less prone to settling into these lines. If you have both heavy furniture and tile, talk to a rug professional to find out which pad is right for your situation. In those cases we generally recommend the thicker pad, but it is important to factor in all the variables of your particular space before deciding which is right for you.

 

10 – Radiant heat floors can affect the life span of your pad and even cause some pads to stick to your floor

While very energy efficient, radiant heat floors will cut the lifespan of a rug pad down to about half of normal. If possible, turn the heat down a little. Even a few degrees will help your pad to last longer. Fortunately, the rug itself will help to insulate your home more, reducing the need to set the temperature higher. Also, it is very important is the case of radiant heat floors to use exclusively natural rubber as the synthetic we talked about earlier will be very prone to reacting to the heat from your floor.

 


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

Rugs of the World – Hamadan

Nestled in the foothills of the Alvand Mountains in Iran, Hamadan is one of the major weaving centers in the middle east.  Hamadan city is the capital of the Hamadan region, so when it comes to rugs, Hamadan is a very broad term.  There are a large number of smaller villages that surround the city of Hamadan, each has its own style of weaving, all are considered to be Hamadan rugs, but all are a little different and in their designs.  

Hamadan are generally coarsely woven using low knot counts, single wefting techniques, cotton foundations, and are woven with Turkish (or Symmetrical) knotting techniques.  These factors are the quickest and easiest way to identify if a rug is a Hamadan.  Also, Hamadan are tribal rugs, and like most tribal rugs, generally tend to use more geometric motifs.  This is a much less reliable identifier however as there are many notable exceptions.  More often than not, Hamadan use strong reds contrasted by deep blues set in geometric patterns.

 

 

Hamadan City – The quintessential rug from Hamadan uses a red medallion offset by a navy border and ivory secondary field.  On occasion, these rug will feature three medallions.  Two of one color and the center of another.  Despite being a major city, most Hamadan rugs are tribal and geometric in their motifs.  

 

 

 

 

Lillihan – South of Hamadan is the village of Lillihan.  Generally considered to be on the lower end of quality, most Lillihan use low knot counts, drab colors, and will often have design inconsistencies.  While certainly not the case for all rugs from this village, It is common that a weaver will start with one shade of a color, run out midway through the rug, and switch to another very different color.  Most Lillihan use simple repeating design motifs.

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Nehavand / Ushvan / Tuiserkand – Nehavad is a region, Ushvan and Tuiserkand are villages.  Rugs from this area have much in common with only subtle differences from one type to the next.  Typically very geometric in their motifs, what really set these apart from most Hamadan is their use of Black.  It is common that these rugs will use a primarily black field or medallion offset by strong reds and bright ivories.  Most often, rug of these types will use central medallions.

 

 

 

 

Hosienabad – Generally from villages to the southeast of Hamadan city, Hosienabad  often use the Herati pattern usually seen in the North Western parts of Iran.  This distinct design repeats through the field of the rug.  Most often, they are woven with red fields, though occasionally done in blue or ivory.  They can, but usually don’t have central medallion or motifs.

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Mehriban – North of the city of Hamadan is Mehriban.  Theser rugs are very floral and in fact use motifs most often associated with Sarouk, another major Persian weaving center.  However, the construction of Mehriban is distinctly hamadan, defining them as such.  Unlike most of the design mention in this article, Mehribhan uses very floral motifs.  Small disconnected groups of  flowers spread throughout the field of the rug.  

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These represent only a small handful of the different types of Hamadan one can find from Iran.  The patterns in these rugs are truly as diverse as the myriad of small villages they come from.  Thick, soft, and colorful, Hamadan rugs are a classic mainstay of Persian weaving in both the modern and old world.


17203026_1387415551330649_398135536548218379_n By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

How to hang your rug on the wall.

Rugs are art and great art hanging on your walls can give your space warmth and depth.  There are five main options to consider when it comes to hanging your rug.  Today, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

 

Option 1 – Carpet Tack Strip

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This is a wooden strip with little nails that stick out of it at an angle.  The stripping is generally used to hold wall to wall carpeting to your floor.  It is very inexpensive and very effective at hanging many rugs.  You simply screw the strips into the studs of your wall.  For most rugs the total cost to hang your rug will be under $10.00  

This process usually works great unless you rug is very fine in which case it could potentially cause some damage.  If that’s something you are worried about, we recommend option #2.

 

Velcro

 

Option 2 – Sew Velcro stripping to the back of your rug

This is how many rugs are hung in museums. It is very effective and simple to hang. A strip of Velcro is sewn to a strip of canvas which is then attached to you rug. Then the opposing strip is attached to a 1×4 board which is screwed into the studs of your wall.  The total price will vary depending on the size and quality of your rug, generally anywhere from $30 to $50 per linear foot of stripping.

 

 

 

Option 3 – Have a sleeve sewn onto the back of the rug and use a rod to hang it

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The sleeve is made of canvas and hand sewn to the back to your rug.  You could pick up a rod from any home supply store or buy one specially designed for rugs.  This creates a very strong hold against your wall that will work for years.  Also, it leaves a decorative finish at the top of your rug giving it a little more of an accent.  The price for the sleeve is much like the Velcro, $30 to $50 per linear foot.  The cost of the rod will vary greatly depending on the size of your rug and the style of the rod.  

Clips

 

Option 4 – Hanging clips

Here at Serafian’s we generally recommend against this option as long term it can damage your rug.  We can however well you some simple metal clips which can be used to hang your rug over a 1×4 attached to your wall.  It is a simple process but with time, the rug will sag between the points where it is clipped.  On average, you can expect to pay around $2.00 to $5.00 per clip and will need 1 clip per foot on the rug.
Hanging Boards

Option 5 – Hanging Boards / Clamps

Similar to clips, but much safer for your rug are hanging boards or clamps.  In short, these are two decorative boards designed to be clamped together and hung.  The rug in squeezed in between them along the top.  This can add a decorative and unique look to the rug as the boards themselves can be shaped, carved, painted, or stained to add interest and depth to the rug.  Hanging boards can work very well for thinner weaving techniques used in Navajo or Kelim rugs, but aren’t always effective when it comes to thicker “Pile” weaving styles.  Prices for these can vary greatly.  Generally they run between $10 to $100 per linear foot.

When you are getting ready to hang your rug, take a little time to asses you desires and budget.  It is important to note that the prices we are quoting here are good general guidelines.  They can vary depending on locality and material availability.  Ultimately the right choice for hanging is up to you, the customer.

 


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

Meet our Mor Machine – The most advanced of it type.

Serafian’s always looks to the industry to find new and better techniques to clean your rug.  A few years ago, we found an old piece of rug washing equipment which we redesigned.  The changes we made to this now advanced machine have given us one of, if not the single most advanced piece of rug washing equipment in the industry.  With it integrated into our wash floor, we can clean your rug faster and more effectively than ever before.

Mor Machine - Lots of rugs

 

Delivery was a huge undertaking.  It took a team of people and specialized equipment just to get it into our facility.

Mor Machine Delivery

 

It was such a big thing for us that we actually hosted an event that included delegates from the city and had a ribbon cutting and everything.

Mor machine Event

 

This machine is massive.  It’s so big that it wouldn’t have even fit in our wash plant before we expanded.

Mor Machine - Form the side

 

It does a few really neat and useful things for us.

Mor Machine - Jet Rinse

 

It was built with an advanced set of controls allowing us to customize the number of jets used, water pressure, water consumption, and more.

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The gentle jets thoroughly rise your rug, effectively removing soil, grime, and shampoos.

Mor Machine - Rinse form close up.

 

Once rinsed, the rug is squeezed in heavy wringers.  In addition to removing most of the moisture from the rug, it also squeezes out any remaining dirt, much like an old wringer in a washing machine.

Mor Machine - Rug squeeze

 

The whole process is gentle, yet very effective.  This machine save us a tremendous amount of time and effort in cleaning your rugs helping us to get your rugs looking the best they can.

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17203026_1387415551330649_398135536548218379_n

By Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

 

Hand woven rugs, a dying art form in a changing world

The one thing you can say with certainty about the world today is that it is changing so quickly that very little is truly certain. The last hundred years have seen significant changes in nearly every industry. Modernization happens fast and with it comes great benefit to our society. Unfortunately, this benefit is often coupled with the loss of skilled labor, hand crafted goods, and traditional techniques. As sad as we at Serafian’s are to say it, weaving is proving to be no exception to this.

Right now, the question is not “Will traditional hand-weaving die off?” so much as it is “When and how will hand-weaving die off?” In the last ten years alone, we have seen significant dropoff in production from China, Persia (Iran), and India. The internet has changed the game of retail in ways few could have predicted. The impact of globalization is being felt keenly by the weaving industry. War, politics, and economics have created vast changes and challenges and there is little doubt that weaving has been heavily impacted by these factors. By far, the biggest factor in this change is the blooming and modernizing economies of the Middle and Far East.

Woman working at the loom. Oriental Muslim national crafts. Focus on the fabric.
Hand weaving is one of the most time consuming and labor intensive art forms on the planet..

Economic realities change fast. This is doubly true for countries with emerging economies. As an art form, weaving is very time consuming. Rugs are built literally one knot at a time, each thoughtfully placed and tied in by hand. A large hand woven rug can easily take over a year to make. By contrast, that same rug may only ever command a top price of a few thousand dollars. When you take into account the markups of various retailers and wholesalers, for an entire year’s worth of work, a skilled weaver may end up taking home less than one thousand dollars. It becomes easy to see how in a burgeoning economy the job of weaving eventually makes less and less sense.

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Every step in the weaving process takes both time and skill.  Even the “simple” act of dyeing wool is an art form in and of itself.

On the other side of the coin, but equally devastating to the hand weaving industry, are machine woven rugs. A large machine woven rug can be finished in a matter of hours instead of months or years. A machine woven rug will easily cost a third or less the price of a similarly sized hand woven rug. While the quality is not the same, their rapid, repetitive, and commoditized production actually lends itself to our modern internet driven marketplace. This creates even further pressure on the hand weaving industry, forcing many weavers to look elsewhere for employment.

While it is difficult to predict exactly when hand weaving will die out, it is easy to see its end on the horizon. There aren’t many art forms out there that are as time consuming and labor intensive and weaving. With so much time and effort behind the weaving industry, modernization, simplification, and change become inevitable. While it will be sad to see these treasures of the middle East disappear, it is easy to understand the forces behind this change. Time keeps moving forward, the world keeps changing, and one thing that is certain certain is that the weaving industry will change with it.


17203026_1387415551330649_398135536548218379_n

By Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

 

Keep your favorite rug looking its best for decades.

In our modern world, not much is built to last. Most furnishings are made to last between 5 and 15 years, after which they start to look a little worn and ragged. Fine Oriental rugs however stand out as a shining exception and can last for generations. This is especially impressive when you consider just how rough the traffic most rugs receive really is. Like most things, proper care plays an important role in preserving the life and value of your oriental rugs. Here are some quick tips to keeping your favorite rugs in great shape.

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When properly cared for, a rug can look great for decades.  Believe it or not, this rug is about 125 years old.

Keep your carpet clean
Dirt is the worst enemy of fine Oriental rugs. Dirt is abrasive, and when it gets packed into the base of the knots it will actually cut off the fibers from the pile. We recommend vacuuming your rug at least weekly. Your vacuum should have an agitator or beater bar, set so that it beats the surface lightly. Excessive pressure of the beater bar can cause extra wear. Also, we recommend every two years having your carpet professionally washed. Proper washing removes all dirt that has collected in the carpet, restores the original colors of the rug, and rehydrates the wool in dry climates. Professional washing can only be done outside your home, so never allow anyone to come to your house and do a surface cleaning on your rug. Most services that come to the home are set up to clean wall to wall carpets, and your Oriental rug is very different. It is especially important that you never allow anyone to “steam clean” your Oriental rugs as this can cause the colors to bleed, and strips vital lanolin from the wool.

Walk on your carpet (Barefoot if you can)
Oriental carpets are made to be walked on. In the Middle East, most people remove their shoes when they enter a home, leaving the dirt on their shoes outside. In America we generally don’t do this, so timely cleaning becomes essential. Rubber soled shoes are hard on rugs, and tear at the wool fibers, wearing them prematurely. Bare feet or stocking feet are best for the rugs whenever possible. Walking on the carpet massages the lanolin through the wool, giving the carpet a beautiful luster. It also discourages moths from laying eggs on the carpet.

Moth Resist vulnerable areas
Moths look for dark, moist places to lay their eggs. It is actually the larvae which do the damage to any wool garment or rug, not the moths themselves. At Serafian’s, we spray a colorless, odorless solution that discourages the moths from laying eggs on any susceptible areas. Whenever a wool rug is hung on the wall it needs to be sprayed with this moth repellent.

Rotate your rug to even out wear
It is common that we walk through rooms in certain ways, establishing traffic pattern that receive more wear. With time, this can cause uneven wear patterns to form in your rug. Rotate your rug 180 degrees every six months to keep the wear and tear looking more even and less pronounced.

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Eventually, a hole can wear right through the foundation of your rug.  Rotating it 180 every 6 to 12 months helps to prevent this.

Prevent Sun Fading
The desert Southwest has particularly harsh sunlight which can fade the rug. Many rugs get exposed to sunlight unevenly, causing fading only on part of the rug. Turn your rug 180 degrees in the room periodically to avoid uneven fading. This also helps your rugs wear more evenly. Close shades and blinds when you are not in the room to reduce the direct sunlight on your rugs. There are also window films available that reduce the ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. These films are applied to the window surface, and help block harmful rays. Look for “Low-E” films.

Blot up spills with clear cold water
Spills and stains are an inevitable part of a rug’s life. You should clean spills immediately, as many drinks can permanently dye the rug. Blot up the spill with a fresh towel, and use a little clear cold water to dilute the stain. Keep rinsing (not too much water) and blotting until the stain is gone. If someone spills milk on the carpet, it is probably a good idea to have the rug professionally cleaned, as the milk can sour and leave an unpleasant odor. Coffee, red wine, blood, and dark sodas can all leave permanent stains, so get to them as quickly as possible. If you have a “wet/dry” vacuum you can use it to suck out excess water from the rug.

Pet stains
Our beloved pets sometimes have “accidents”. Urine is particularly bad about staining, because it is acidic, but becomes alkali when it dries, which can cause dyes to bleed. Also, left untreated, urine will leave an odor that is very hard to remove. For urine stains, use the same procedure as above, but mix in about 50% white vinegar and be sure to rinse thoroughly. A thorough professional washing is required to sanitize the rug after a urine incident.

Repair any damaged areas quickly
Most repairs are very simple when they first appear. Attend to any tears or damage quickly. When we wash rugs at Serafian’s, we often see major repairs that would have been very minor if they had been attended to just six months sooner. Left unattended, many simple repairs become major repairs.

With these simple guidelines nearly any rug can last for decades if not generations. It is not at uncommon for us to see rugs come into our store that are over 100 years old and have been in use for their whole life.


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

Rugs of the World – Kashan

When you think of rugs from the Mid East, what is the first image that pops into your head? For me, the image is magical flying carpets of legends and fairy tales. I picture Aladdin flying through the air on his magic carpet, the sprawling desert expanse unfolds below him as the horizon is dotted with the rooftops of ancient Persian castles and homes. It is a pretty fantastic visual, I know, but inextricably, I always picture him riding a specific type of rug, Kashan, one of the most classic Persian rug designs. One steeped in tradition from the city of its namesake.

In truth, Kashan is one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is thought to be one of the primary centers of civilization in prehistoric times. During the 11th century Sultan Malik Shah I ordered the building of a fortress, Ghal’eh Jalali, that still stands. The Sialk ziggurat, a man made structure over 5,000 years old is nestled comfortably in the suburbs of the Kashan. Even the name of the city comes from it original inhabitants, known as Kasian, whose remains date back as far as 9000 years.

In more modern times, the city of Kashan has become a major center for textile production, and rugs are one of its leading exports. Since the city of Kashan is one of the main weaving centers in Iran and its design traditions date back well over a century, the patterns found in Kashan rugs are considered to be among the most classic of Persian designs. They are defined by flowing, connected floral motif. Long, rounded tendrils, known as Islimi, span the body of the rug. These draw ornate curves connecting groups of large flowers, known as Palmettes. Many Kashan rugs have a strong central medallion, usually oval in shape. Some, however, lack a central motif and opt for an “All Over” design.

As with most weaving centers, many different levels of quality come from the city of Kashan. However, a common trait among most Persian Kashan is the use of high grade materials. As such, Kashan rugs are generally woven to last for generations. Persian Kashan use specific and traditional colors sets. Red or Ivory fields are offset with Navy medallions and borders. This creates a striking pattern where the body of the rug is sharply framed in contrast to its border.

 

One of the more recent trends in weaving is for other countries to adopt the designs of Persian rugs. Weavers in India and China will often copy the Kashan motif, working these classic Persian structures into into their more modern and mass produced rugs. This is not to say that these rugs are always of lower quality, but they are different. Kashan patterned rugs from India or China are often woven using non traditional colors sets. Blacks, browns, golds, and even greens will usually distinguish these rugs from their true Persian counterparts.

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Many rugs from both India and China copy the Persian Kashan design.  They are woven in different colors than their Persian counterparts, but are often just as high quality.

Whether you have a traditional Persian or copy from India or China, a good, hand woven Kashan is the type of rug that will last for generations. It is not uncommon at all for us here at Serafian’s to see such rugs come in for cleaning still looking good after a century’s worth of use. Steeped in tradition and classic motifs, Kashan rugs look great in nearly any space. Unfortunately, even with the best Kashan available in the marketplace, you probably won’t find yourself magically flying over ancient Persian ziggurats or expensive desert vistas, but you will have a little piece of Persian history in your home.


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

How to Protect your Rugs from Moths and Carpet Beetles

While spring brings welcome rain and flowers blooming, it also brings bugs. Lots of them. Wool moths, Tineola Bisselliella and carpet beetles, Anthrenus Verbasci. If any creatures on the planet can be called the enemy of oriental rugs, it’s these little buggers. These pesky intruders literally eat through the wool of your rug, causing damage quickly and quietly.

Too frequently, beautiful hand woven Persian or Navajo rugs come to Serafian’s for cleaning only to find the rugs have been destroyed by moths or carpet beetles. Worse yet, they often move swiftly, leaving a trail of damage in their wake.

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The damage in this rug occurred in about 1 to 2 weeks time.

The lifespan of the average carpet moth is very short, the larvae phase lasts on average about two weeks to a month, and the adult phase about another month. Only the larvae eat wool, so while you are more likely to see the adults fluttering through your home, it’s the larvae that do the real damage. Unfortunately, this means that a rug can go from undamaged to having a huge hole in just a couple of weeks. Carpet beetles, however, do damage over more time, with a much longer lifespan and some subspecies living as long as three years. Unlike their moth counterparts, carpet beetles will eat at your rug for their entire life. In either case, quick identification, elimination, and prevention are the keys to keeping your rugs safe.

For a little more information on Moths, check out our very “Tongue-in-cheek” video here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvgxRnEqJKg

How do you identify them? For wool moths, keep an eye out for the adults flitting around your home or the eggs laid on the surface or on the back of your rugs. The large moths that we see every year here in the early months of summer are no threat to your rugs. Adult wool moths are small, about the size of a grain of rice. They are tan in color with no particular design or pattern on their wings. The eggs look like grains of sand held together by spider webs.

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The eggs themselves are tiny, about the size of a grain of sand.  The silky webbing from the parents hold the eggs in place.

Carpet beetles are tiny, about the size of a pinhead. You can identify them by finding either the beetles themselves or by finding small black or brown husks or shells. In both cases, the insects like to attack dark and undisturbed areas on your rugs. So look for them under your furniture, rolled up in your closets, and on the backside of any rugs hanging on the walls.

Moth and Carpet beetle larva
These critters are pretty tiny. – Pictured above, the larval forms of each.

Elimination is a little trickier. You need to not only eliminate the moths, beetles, and eggs on the rug itself, but also any that might be in the surrounding area. Most insecticides are effective at killing any living infestation, but unfortunately not that great at killing off the eggs. Also, any use of insecticides in the home comes with risk to one’s own health and safety. Instead, we recommend you have your rugs professionally washed by a cleaner who knows how to eliminate these infestations. Proper temperature control and handling will eliminate any eggs that have been laid into the foundation of your favorite carpet. As for your home, thorough cleaning of any area exposed to infestation is very important as the eggs can slips into the cracks of your wood floor or down into your wall-to-wall carpet. As with your rugs, we recommend utilizing professional cleaners. If after taking these steps, the moths or beetles persist, it’s time to get in touch with an exterminator.

As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Various sprays can help to repel moth infestation, regular inspection goes a long way to identifying a problem before it spirals out of control, and proper wrapping and storage of unused rugs can easily prevent infestation. Always remember that if you take a little time to ensure that your rugs stay moth and beetle free, it will ensure your favorite rugs stay beautiful and valuable for many years to come.


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com