Archive for July, 2010

Azerbaijani rugs

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Azerbaijani rugs are a product of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has been known as a place with a large variety of rug crafts. The archeological dig on the territory of Azerbaijan testifies to them having a well developed agriculture. These include, live stock raising, metal working, pottery and ceramics, and last but not least carpet-weaving that dates as far back as the 2nd millennium BC.

The most ancient carpet ever discovered was the famous Pazyryk carpet of the VI-V century BC which was found during the excavations in the Altai Mountains. The Gultapin excavations discovered carpet weaving tools which date back to the IV-III millennium BC. For many centuries during the historical existence of our nation both settled and nomadic ways of life were of importance. A carpet per se is democratic, however its real folk character is about something else. A carpet was meant to unite people, to cultivate the sense of collectivism, mutual aid, and friendly cohesion. An Azerbaijani carpet, which embodies numerous and various functions, is in fact something more that just a combination of these purposes. An Azerbaijani carpet is not only one of the most important elements in the national way of life, not only a variety of the arts and crafts, but also a key link to the ethical and moral principles and customs of the people’s existence.

The carpet making was born in rural huts and with time ranked among the most essential arts. It was highly valued by the heads of states, and the gifted weavers were glorified by the greatest poets. The carpet history is assumed to be divided into the following four main periods:

  • I period – the early stage of the carpet development. The carpet ware is very simple, without any motifs and patterns. The first palas and djedjims appear.
  • II period – introduction of the kilim weaving practice by the intricate threading technique.
  • III period – weaving of shadda, verni, sumakh, zili. The period of simple and complex whipping techniques.
  • IV period – introduction of the knotted pile weaving. Both from the technical and artistic standpoints this stage can be considered the acme of the carpet making.

Rug Hooking

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Rug hooking is both an art and a craft where rugs are made by pulling loops of yarn or fabric through a stiff woven base such as burlap, linen, or rug warp. The loops are pulled through the backing by using a crochet-type hook mounted in a handle (usually wood) for leverage. In contrast latch-hooking uses a hinged hook to form a knotted pile from short, pre-cut pieces of yarn.

Wool strips ranging in size from 3/32 to 10/32 of an inch (2 to 8 mm) in width are often used to create hooked rugs or wall hangings. These precision strips are usually cut using a mechanical cloth slitter, the strips can also be hand-cut or torn. When using the hand-torn technique the rugs are usually done in a primitive motif. Sarah Nickerson is a famous rug hooker from Maine who uses this technique.

Designs for the rugs are often commercially produced and can be as complex as flowers or animals to as simple as geometrics. Rug-hooking has been popular in North America for at least the past 200 years.

The author William Winthrop Kent believed that the earliest forebears of hooked rugs were the floor mats made in Yorkshire, England during the early part of the 19th century. Workers in weaving mills were allowed to collect thrums, pieces of yarn that ran 9 inches (23 cm) long. These by-products were useless to the mill, and the weavers took them home and pulled the thrums through a backing. The origins of the word thrum are ancient, as Mr. Kent pointed out a reference in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. However in the publication “Rag Rug Making” by Jenni Stuart-Anderson, she states that the most recent research indicates “…the technique of hooking woolen loops through a base fabric was used by the Vikings, whose families probably brought it to Scotland.” To add to this there are sound examples at the Folk Museum in Guernsey, Channel Islands that early rag rugs made in the same manner where produced here off the coast of France as well.

Tibetan Rugs

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Tibetan rug making is an ancient, traditional craft. Tibetan rugs are traditionally made from Tibetan highland sheep’s wool, called changpel. Tibetans use the rugs for all sorts of reasons ranging from flooring to wall hanging to horse saddles, though the most common use is seating carpet. A typical seat carpet around 3ft x 5ft is called a khaden.

The process of making a tibetan rug is unique, the knotting method is different from that used in many other rug making traditions. With the introduction of modern technology some aspects of the rug making processes have been taken over by machine, in particular yarn spinning and trimming of the pile after weaving. This is primarily because of cost, disappearance of knowledge etc. Nevertheless, the finest carpets are those still made in the traditional method, by hand.

With Tibet’s occupation by Chinese communists during the 1950s, Tibetan refugees started migrating to India and Nepal. With them they also brought their knowledge of rug making. Currently in Nepal the rug business is one of the largest industries in the country and there are many rug exporters. Tibet also has weaving workshops, but the export side of the industry is relatively undeveloped compared with Nepal and India.

Greek Flokati Rugs

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Flokati rugs have been around since the fifth century, originating in a Vlach village in the Pindos mountains of Greece. Shepherds raised the sheep in these mountain regions and the women weaved the wool into sensuous, elegant, handwoven rugs. The Vlachs perfected the process, and over time created a worldwide market for these traditionally made products. After a surge in popularity during the late sixties and seventies, the Flokati rug is once again emerging as a product for the modern home, dorm room or even as wall décor.

Shag rugs are made of a variety of materials, both natural and synthetic. Wool, nylon and cotton are among the most common materials, but others are frequently used as well. One famous kind of shag rug is the, Greek Flokati which is made of goat’s fur. Other varieties are made of leather or angora, but these are less common because of the immense difficulty of cleaning them.

Making flokatis is a long-time tradition of the Vlachs in the Pindus mountains. The natural color of a flokati rug is off-white, but they may be dyed different colors. The entire rug is wool, including the backing from which the tapered shag emerges. After the rug is woven, it is placed in the cold water of a river to fluff the shag. They continue to be handmade in the mountains of Greece and are desirable in American modern decor and children’s rooms.

Crafting your own rug

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

There are many different ways of creating your own rug, one of the ways to make your own rug is by braiding scrap pieces to fabric together. Braided rugs can be constructed in a variety of different ways including a banded braid construction, cloth braid construction, flat braid construction and yarn braid construction. Banded braid constructions boast wide bands of either solid colour or variegated braids made from predetermined patterns to offer an appealing, thick look. A cloth braid construction is indicative of a time when outgrown clothing was cut into strips and then hand braided into rug. This particular construction is unique to one manufacturer, Thorndike Mills. During Colonial times, very little went to waste, and a second use for outgrown or worn out clothing was to turn them into floor coverings for the cold wood floors.  The old garments were cut into strips. The strips were hand folded and braided.  These braids were then hand woven into braided rugs.

A flat braid construction is a common construction as it’s one of the easier and more classic methods. Simply intertwine three ropes of fabric and/or yarn, and you’ll have yourself a braided rug. A yarn braid construction evolves from yarn in its initial state to a uniquely finished area rug.

Sunny days with rugs

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Supposed to be the hottest day of the year and it certainly feels like it. The cats have been avoiding the shaggy rug today, perhaps they are feeling the heat too. They have been suffering with allergic reaction to something, perhaps pollen like us. Can cats take antihistamines?

Whilst lounging in the garden today I began to think about days gone by when the rich landed gentry would bring all their furniture, rugs, chairs everything out into their gardens and spend all day drinking tea and eating scones whilst their staff waited on their every need.

In those days they had large hand made Axminsters and Wiltons rugs with their complicated patterns and intricate designs. They must have looked fabulous in their expansive gardens.

An excerpt on Persian rugs

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

The Persian carpet is a part of Persian (Iranian) art and culture. Carpet-weaving in Persia dates back to the Bronze Age.

The earliest surviving corpus of Persian carpets come from the Safavid dynasty (1501–1736) in the 16th century. However, painted depictions prove a longer history of production. There is much variety among classical Persian carpets of the 16th and 17th century. Common motifs include scrolling vine networks, arabesques, palmettes, cloud bands, medallions, and overlapping geometric compartments rather than animals and humans. Still, some show figures engaged either in the hunt or feasting scenes. The majority of these carpets are wool, but several silk examples produced in Kashan survive.

Iranian carpets are the finest in the world and their designs are copied by weavers from other countries as well. Iran is also the world’s largest producer and exporter of handmade carpets, producing three quarters of the world’s total output and having a share of 30% of world’s export markets. Iran is also the maker of the largest handmade carpet in history, measuring 60,546 square feet.