RUG INFORMATION

Rug making is an ancient craft, and covers a variety of techniques.

Braided rugs are made by sewing many little strips of cloth together into longer strips. The long strips are then braided together, sewn at the ends, coiled around in a circular or oval pattern, and sewn together at the edges to hold it in its circular pattern.

Traditional rug hooking is a craft where rugs are made by pulling loops of yarn or fabric through a stiff woven base such as burlap, linen, rug warp or monks cloth. The loops are pulled through the backing material by using a crochet-type hook mounted in a handle (usually wood) for leverage.

Rag rugs were commonly made in households up to the middle of the 20th century by using odd scraps of fabric on a background of old sacking.

Using either yarn or strips of cloth, you work with the punch tool from the back side of the pattern. The Monk’s cloth backing is tightly stretched on to a frame. Every time you punch the needle down through the backing, it makes a long thread on the right side of the rug. Then, as you lift the needle, it automatically makes it into a loop. These loops pack together to create a rug so solid that chewing dogs and clawing cats are its only enemy. As long as you use the tool correctly, it will automatically make all the loops the same length. Sometimes referred to as "speed hooking", this method of rug hooking is loved for its ease and speed. One student described it as "instant gratification with wool.

Proddy rugs are made, as the name implies, by prodding or poking strips of fabric through burlap or linen from the back side. Rag rugs made this way have many names; clippies, proddies, stobbies, pricked, and in Scotland they are called clootie mats. They were often made for more utilitarian use such as by the backdoor; their pile hiding dirt well.

Woven rugs include both flat rugs (for example kilims) and pile rugs.

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Afghan Carpets are a variety of Persian rugs with intricate detailing mainly using designs from Turkoman tribes such as the Yomut, Ersari, Saryk, Salor, and Tekke. Many dyes such as vegetable dyes are used to give the rich colors. The carpets come in many patterns and colors, but the traditional and most common example of an Afghan carpet is the octagon-shaped elephant-foot (Bukhara) print shown in the picture. The rugs with this print are commonly red in color. Other countries like Iran and Pakistan re-make the Afghan Bukhara print. Afghan carpets are pricey, but are extremely durable and gain more value as they get older.

An authentic Oriental Rug is a handmade carpet that is either knotted with pile or woven without pile. Oriental-design rugs made by machine or any method other than hand knotting or hand weaving are not considered authentic oriental rugs. These rugs normally come from a broad geographical region extending from China and Vietnam in the east to Turkey and Iran in the west and the Caucasus in the north to India in the south. People from different cultures, countries, racial groups and religious faiths are involved in the production of oriental rugs. Oriental rugs are organized by origin: Persian rugs, Antolian rugs, Kurdish rugs, Caucasian rugs, Central Asian rugs, Chinese rugs, East Turkestan rugs and Tibetan rugs.

The Persian Carpet is an essential part of Persian art and culture. Carpet-weaving is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished manifestations of Persian culture and art, and dates back to the Ancient Persia (c.3,500 BC). Persian carpets can be divided into three groups; Farsh / 'Qalii' (sized anything greater than 6x4 feet), Qalicheh (meaning rug, sized 6x4 feet and smaller), and nomadic carpets known as Kilim, (including Zilu, meaning rough carpet). The art of carpet weaving existed in Iran in ancient times, according to evidences and in the opinion of scientists, the 500 B.C. Pazyric carpet dating back to the Achaemenid period. With the passage of time, the materials used in carpets, including wool and cotton, decay. Therefore archaeologists are rarely able to make any particularly useful discoveries during archaeological excavations. What has remained from early times as evidence of carpet-weaving is nothing more than a few pieces of worn-out carpets. Such fragments do not help very much in recognizing the carpet-weaving characteristics of pre-Seljuk period (13th and 14th centuries AD) in Persia. Historical records show that the Achaemenian court of Cyrus the Great at Pasargade was decked with magnificent carpets. This was over 2500 years ago. By the sixth century, Persian carpets of wool or silk were renowned in court circles throughout the region. The Bahârestân (spring) carpet of Khosrow I was made for the main audience hall of the Sasanians imperial Palace at Ctesiphon in Sasanian province of Khvârvarân (nowadays Iraq). It was 450 feet long and 90 feet wide and depicted a formal garden. From the yarn fiber to the colors, every part of the Persian carpet is traditionally hand made from natural ingredients over the course of many months. This arduous process is shown in the Japanese/Iranian film Carpet of Wind, directed by Kamal Tabrizi. In the 8th century A.D. Azarbaijan Province was among the largest centers of carpet and rough carpet (ziloo) weaving in Iran. The Province of Tabarestan, besides paying taxes, sent 600 carpets to the courts of caliphs in Baghdad every year. At that time, the main items exported from that region were carpets, and small carpets for saying prayers. During the reigns of the Seljuq and Ilkhanate dynasties, carpet weaving was still a booming business so much so that a mosque built by Ghazan Khan in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, was covered with superb Persian carpets. Carpet designs depicted by miniature paintings belonging to the Timurid era lend proof to the development of this industry at that time. There is also another miniature painting of that time available which depicts the process of carpet weaving. During that era dyeing centers were set up next to carpet weaving looms. The industry began to thrive until the attack on Iran by the Mongol army. There is much variety among classical Persian carpets of the 16th and 17th century. There are numerous sub-regions that contribute distinctive designs to Persian carpets of this period such as Tabriz and Lavar Kerman. Common motifs include scrolling vine networks, arabesques, palmettes, cloud bands, medallions, and overlapping geometric compartments rather than animals and humans. Figural designs are particularly popular in the Iranian market and are not nearly as common in carpets exported to the west. Although carpet production is now mostly mechanized, traditional hand woven carpets are still widely found all around the world, and usually have higher prices than their machine woven counterparts. Many fine pieces of the Persian carpet are to be found in The Carpet Museum of Iran in Tehran. Wool is the most common material for carpets but cotton is frequently used for the foundation of city and workshop carpets. Silk carpets date back to at least the sixteenth century in Sabzavar and the Seventeenth century in Kashan and Yezd. Silk carpets are less common than wool carpets since silk is more expensive and less durable; they tend to increase in value with age. Due to their rarity, value and lack of durability, silk carpets are often displayed on the wall like tapestries rather than being used as floor coverings. The major classical centers of carpet production in Persia were in Tabriz (1500-1550), Kashan (1525-1650), Herat (1525-1650), and Kerman (1600-1650). The majority of carpets from Tabriz have a central medallion and quartered corner medallions superimposed over a field of scrolling vine ornament, sometimes punctuated with mounted hunters, single animals, or animal combat scenes. Kashan is known for its silk carpet production. The Kashan carpets are among the most valuable in existence. The Herat carpets, or ones of similar design created in Lahore and Agra, India, are the most numerous in Western collections. They are characterized by a red field with scrolling vine ornament and palmettes with dark green or blue borders. Turkbâf (Ghiordes)The difference between Anatolian (Turkish) and Persian carpets is today largely one of tradition. Typically, a traditional Persian carpet is tied with a single looping knot (Persian or Senneh Knot), while the traditional Anatolian carpet is tied with a double looping knot (Turkish or Ghiordes Knot). This means that for every 'vertical strand' of thread in a carpet, an Anatolian carpet has two loops as opposed to the one loop for the various Persian carpets that use a Persian 'single' knot. Ultimately, this process of 'double knotting' in traditional Anatolian carpets results in a slightly more block like image compared to the traditional 'single knotted' Persian carpet. The traditional Anatolian style also reduces the number of Knots per sq cm. Today, it is common to see carpets woven in both Turkey and Iran using either of the two knot styles. When comparing carpets the only way to definitively identify the knot used is to splay open the pile by bending the rug against itself and looking at the base of the knot.

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