How Oriental rugs are made
(Posted on 27/08/13)
All oriental rugs are made in one of two ways: they are either hand-woven (kelims) or hand-knotted (pile rugs). individual weaving groups may adopt slightly varying methods of construction, particularly in the type of knot used to form the pile, and it is often these slight differences in weaving and structure, taken in conjunction with their appearance, that enable carpet experts to attribute individual rug correctly. the fundamental of construction are basically the same, however, and before discussing the two methods of weaving in detail, it is important to clarify some universal weaving terms. Warps and weftsThe warps and wefts are the basic constituents of all textiles, and are often referred to as the 'foundation' of a rug. The warp describes the strands of material that run length ways from the top to the bottom of a rug and form the fringes at the ends; the weft runs width ways and form the selvedges, or sides. Normally both the warp and the weft are made from the same material, but it is not unknown, particularly in village and nomadic rugs, for contrasting materials to be used a woollen warp may be used in conjunction with a cotton weft, for example.Selvedges and fringesThe selvedges are the outer edges of the rug where the weft strands have been wrapped around the last few warp strands in order to hold the rug tightly together across its width. The fringes are continuations of the warp strands, and are secured at the top and bottom of the rug to both bold the weft strands in place and add the final decorative touch to the rug.Selvedges are more or less the same on all items, but the fringes are secured in a number of distinctive ways. Tied fringe Probably the most common and found in rugs from abroad cross-section of weaving groups. Two or more warp strands are tied together to form a knot which presses against the final weft strand and holds it in place. The process is repeated across the entire width of the rug.Kelim (or Plaited) fringeThe weft strands are continued beyond the edge of the pile and interwoven with the warp strands to form a short length of kelim at either end of the rug. This method is also extremely common.Woven fringeA narrow strip of pile material is added to a kelim fringe. It may be continuous or broken into segments, and usually runs along the top and bottom fringes approximately mid-way between the end of the fringe and the beginning of the main body of the rug. Woven fringes are usually found only in workshop and master-workshop rugs.LoomsWeaving looms differ considerably in size and sophistication, but all operate on exactly the same principle, which requires a secure frame on which to tie the warp strands. This is achieved by constructing a rectangular framework, usually of wood, which may be either of fixed dimensions or adjustable in size. On fixed frames, the weaver can only make rugs in sizes smaller than the inner dimensions of the frame; adjustable frames allow one or more of the beams to be extended so that larger items can be woven. On most adjustable looms the vertical beams are fixed and one or both of the horizontal beams, which hold the warp strands in place, can be moved up and down the frame. Needless to say, the type of loom used is a crucial factor determining the size and structural quality of the rugs woven by each weaving group. ToolsWeaving tools consist of a knife, a beating comb and shears. These may vary a little in size and construction, and individual weavers may have several slightly different versions of each, but they are always basically the same.Knife Used to cut the threads of the pile and foundation material; it usually has a hook on the end of the blade to assist in the formation of the knot.Beating combConsists of a series of metal blades which are splayed to form a set of sharp teeth. It is used to tighten (or beat) the threads of the weft against the line of knots tied around the warp strings, ensuring the compactness of the rug.ShearsUsed to clip the pile to an even level once the weaving has been completed.