Persian rug part 3: tying knots!

Yay! we’re finally there! A Persian rug consists of layers of knots, heavy weight weft and lightweight weft. Oh.. and cutting.. very important!

Let’s start! First thing you should know is this. Another difference between the Fars and Tabriz style is the following:

I hope you’ll excuse the crappy drawing, but I hope it conveys the difference between the knots. The left is the Tabriz style knot (for which you need a hook), and on the right you can see the Fars style knot. They are both fine, but the Fars style is harder to do for smaller projects, and therefore the finest of the Persian rugs are made using the Tabriz style (because of the hook). The double loop (on the left) also makes for a more square shaped (pixel like) knot.

Persian rug weaving part 2
Step 1. Grab the warp (the one that’s in the back) with your hook. (also: don’t hold the hook too tight, it needs to move around a lot)

Persian rug weaving part 2
Step 2: bring your yarn behind the warp and allow about 1.5 cm to stick out.

Persian rug weaving part 2
Step 3: with your left thumb, hold the part that was sticking out flat. Make sure that the tip is higher than the rest of the yarn (make a triangle).

Persian rug weaving part 2
Step 4: stick the hook through the triangle you just made, and grab the other warp (the one in front) and catch the tip of the yarn (the part you’re holding with your thumb).

Persian rug weaving part 2
Step 5. Slowly pull the yarn through.

Persian rug weaving part 2
Another picture just to make sure it’s clearly visible!

Persian rug weaving part 2
Step 5: pull on the ends, adjusting the length (you don’t want to make them too long, because you’d have to cut off more), and pull the knot downward.

Persian rug weaving part 2
Step 6: using the sharp knife part on your hook, cut the end.

congratulations! you’ve just tied your first knot! Now finish the first layer!

When you’ve finished the first layer the first thing you need to do is to make sure all of your knots are secure. You can do this by pulling (on both ends!!) with your hands. You just grab the ends (with both hands, thumb and index finger) and pull. When you’ve pulled on all the ends you need to beat them flat.

Remember that there are 50 layers in 7 cm, so make sure you don’t beat them too gently or to hard.

When we’re done beating we can pull the weft through and beat the layer some more.

Don’t worry about the wonkiness of your knots. As you can see the heavy weft flattens them nicely.

While you work on the knots you may notice that the warp is being pulled close together (because of the knots). You can see how the heavy weft pulls them apart again and opens up the space between the warp threads once more.

When you’re done with the weft and the beating it’s time to cut the ends. This is by far the hardest part of the entire process. It’s crucial that you don’t cut the fiber too short! It’s really not a big deal if you leave them too long, or if you don’t cut them perfectly even, there are ways (find your local Persian rug shop) to shear the top layer, resulting in a perfectly even rug. But if you cut your ends too short you won’t really be able to fix it.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and let me know if there are any questions 🙂

Let me know if you’re in the Netherlands and you’d like to see the weaving/ knotting in live action 🙂

Happy summer!

Persian rug part 2

Before we start I’d like to say something about what the Persian rug actually is. There are two main types of rugs, there’s the gilim and there’s the (what we in Persian call) ghaali/ farsh. The difference between these two is that the gilim is a woven rug, and the ghaali/ farsh is a knotted rug. The rugs I was talking about last time (the difference between Fars and Tabriz style) was about the knotted ghaali/ farsh.

So last time I mentioned the crossing of the warp and the difference in setup between the Fars style and the Tabriz style. Now I’m going to show you what you need to do when you’ve finished the two rows of ‘chain’.

Persian rug weaving part 2

You can see the chain is a bit wonky, this will be corrected during the beating. A Tabriz style rug has a gauge that is measured in squares of 7cm. A finer rug will have a higher row count (for reference: the standard rugs vary between 20 and 35 knots, the higher the row count, the finer the detail in the carpet).

For a ‘tableau rug'(it’s not meant to be walked on, just for decorative purposes) like the one I’m working on right now, a row count of 50×50 is the set standard. There are silk tapestry rugs that have row counts so high it will make your head spin, but let’s move on.


Here’s an image of what this actually means. There are 50 knots (2 warp threads per knot) in 7cm(horizontal). This means that there should be 50 layers of knots + heavy weight weft + lightweight weft = 7cm (vertical).

So when the chain and the beating is done, it’s time to make a layer of weft in preparation of the knotting.
Persian rug weaving part 2

The job of the heavyweight weft is to keep the structure of the crossed warp.

Persian rug weaving part 2

I added this picture just to show how the warp threads are crossed. This is not the way one would normally weave!

Persian rug weaving part 2
One of the tools is a very long and flat hook. This is used to pull the heavyweight weft through the warp.

Like I’ve already mentioned in the previous post, the Tabriz style loom only has one cross beam, so it’s not possible to alternate the cross. So we use a very lightweight weft instead, and allow this weft to go around all the warp threads loosely.

Persian rug weaving part 2

This lightweight weft should be very thin, compared to the warp. Unlike the heavyweight weft, this layer should be practically invisible.

Persian rug weaving part 2

Where passing the heavyweight weft is a very quick and easy job, the passing of the lightweight warp is some serious work. The lightweight weft is passed above the cross and is worked slowly down by using the beater in a very gentle fashion. If this weft becomes too tight, it will pull the warp together and the cross will disappear (which means you can’t work until you’ve fixed this problem).

Persian rug weaving part 2

This picture shows how the thin weft is passed and it shows the crossed warp (the cross is right underneath the weft)

Persian rug weaving part 2

It’s important to repeat this step at between 8-15 times for a sturdy layer. It should like this:

Persian rug weaving part 2

You can see I’ve already added a few knots. This is turing out to be a very picture heavy post, so I’ll post about the knots next time! 🙂

Tour de Fleece 2013

I feel very stupid writing this down, but I’m usually more excited about tour de fleece than about Christmas/ new years. For starters: because it’s during the summer months and it involves spinning/ dying and playing with fleece I guess.. I’m more of a fall/ winter knitter than a summer knitter, so spinning during the summer for knitting during the winter seems like a good deal to me.

I’d like to share a crazy cat picture with you first.
seriously.. my cat is realllly interested in the neighbors...
This is my cat. I live on the 4th floor. Either the pigeon is back, or my neighbor is cooking pigeon..

Anyway, back to the spinning. I have some plans for this years’ tour. This year I’m setting a goal: I’d like to focus on creating even yarns using spindles. I’m going to spin on the wheel as well, but I’d like to get some more practice using my spindles.

During the knit and crochet fair I bought a 100 grams of mohair locks. I placed the spindle on top for scale, not because I’m already intending to use this spindle 🙂

I’m still trying to learn about different types of fleece, so when I found about Manx Loaghtan I knew I had to try it. During the previous years’ I sometimes only had about 100 grams to spin, and I’m always finding it difficult to knit something out of 300m/ 100 grams of yarn 🙁 So this time I went for 500 grams of each.

I guess the same can be said for the Corriedale. I’ve seen it all over the internet, but I had to try some for myself. I’m not sure if i’m going to dye this fleece just yet. I may want to braid the commercial top and dye it in a pot this time instead of my standard microwave thing. Who knows what will happen 🙂

I didn’t want to start just yet, but a month is only 4 weeks, and I have a lot of spinning to do this year, so I decided to make a little sample of the Manx Loaghtan first to see what it wants to be.

This was seriously some of the easiest spinning I’ve done in a while. I was very rusty though, I dropped my spindle at least 5 or 6 times in this little bit of spinning.. I definitely need some practice this year.

I decided to make a chain plied yarn and make a little swatch. I don’t have any pictures of the swatch at the moment, but you can find them on my twitter if you’re interested. I’ll be sure to post them next time.

I’m happy with the results. The yarn is very easy to spin and feels good. It also smells good, but I may be biased.. I really like the smell of sheep haha. I think it also may be due to the awesome appearance of the Manx Loaghtan sheep. Seriously. Go check them out on Google images… worth it.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated in case of any dying this week. What are you working on? Are you preparing any fleece this year?

Persian Rug, part 1

I may (or may not) have mentioned that I’m working on setting up my business as an interior and knitting designer. This means that, at the moment, I’m having some trouble with updating and posting interesting things. I’m working on setting up administration, and websites etc. and unfortunately, none of those activities contain knitting.

So I can’t show you any knitting today, because honestly, there is no knitting *sadface*. But to keep my sanity I’ve been (slowly) setting up the rug loom and I’d like to show you the things I’ve managed to do (and the things I’ve learned in the progress).

I’m not going to lecture about the types and styles of Persian rugs (even though I find it very interesting), I will tell you that, in Iran, there are two main types of knotted rugs. The Fars style and the Tabriz style. Though both types of rugs are knotted, the difference in the whole process and the product is rather big. The first difference being that the Fars style rugs are knotted by hand only, while the Tabriz style rugs are knotted using a hook (similar to a crochet hook). The cutting of the yarn is also different. Once the knot has been made the yarn is cut with either a standard knife (Fars style) or the knife that is attached to the hook (Tabriz style).

Here you an see the materials used for the Tabriz style. The hook/ knife is a tool that is held in the right hand and is used both for the grabbing the warp (for the knots) and for cutting the yarn. Because of this hook it is possible to make very fine knots, which result in very fine rugs.

The second main difference is that the looms are different. The Fars style loom is comparable to a rigid heddle loom where the warp is concerned (though it doesn’t look the same). What I’m trying to say is that the loom has two heddles, where a Tabriz style has only one heddle.
This is a huge difference when it comes to the weaving. I’m not sure if you are familiar with the way Persian rugs are knotted, but every row of knots is followed by one row of weft to keep the knots from sliding up and down.

Let me explain:
The most basic form of weaving is when you use a rigid heddle loom to separate the warp (up and down) so you can pass the weft in between. This will create a fabric. The main difference between weaving and the knotting of rugs is, however, that the ‘fabric’ is not on the same level.

Weaving on my new loom
When you use a loom for weaving, the crossing of the warp is created by the heddle, in rug knotting the crossing of the warp is created by the weft, right on top of the ‘fabric’.

I’m not sure if it’s really visible or not, but the warp crosses between the heddle and the ‘fabric’. It’s also visible in this picture:
The loom I’m using is a Tabriz style loom, so unlike the Fars style loom I need to make sure that my weft creates, and maintains the crossed form of the warp.

This brings us to the third big difference between the Farsi style and Tabriz style rugs, but I’ll tell you next time 🙂 Let me show you some difference in preparation first.

setting up the loom
I’ll tell you more about patterns next time, but this is a part of the preparations before you begin. Counting, and marking (1000+) warp. Another step is to secure the beginning. Just like in weaving the weft (and knots) must be beaten into position. Unlike weaving however, the beating of knots is not a delicate matter. It’s more like ramming everything in place. So you can imagine what would happen if the bottom wasn’t secure.

setting up the loom
This is a picture of what the bottom of a Fars style rug would look like. Because this style loom has two heddles, it’s very easy to alternate the warp for the weft. I did this on a Tabriz style loom by accident and it was not a happy moment in my life..

setting up the loom
This is how you begin a Tabriz style bottom. You take the same yarn you used for the warp (or something comparable), and take a length that is seven times the width of your warp. Double this and tie it to one end of your warp (on the bottom). Loop around pairs of warp until you reach the other side, and then repeat the process, looping in the other direction.

setting up the loom
The previous picture was the first round, and this is me working on the second round. Another difference between the Fars and Tabriz style is the weft. As I’ve already mentioned, the crossing of the warp needs to be maintained by the weft (for the Tabriz style). This means that there’s two types of weft used. A heavy and light weft. The thick weft should be heavier than the warp so it maintains the the crossed form of the warp. The lightweight weft is really lightweight and is so light that is passed above the cross, but is loosely brought down so it will not affect the crossing of the warp. (Don’t worry I’ll show you all of this in the next part, I’m just trying to explain).

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’m hoping to be able to give you an update on the smaller rug test as soon as possible 🙂


I’ve been trying to post for a few days now but life is getting in the way. To explain the title, last tuesday I celebrated my 29th birthday. I’ve been blogging for a while now and it still feels weird to write something like this down for an internet audience. I don’t think I can explain why this year is different (maybe because it’s the last year of my 20s), but I’m actually very excited for my 29th year. Maybe even more than all the years before my 29th.

I remember reading in magazines how famous women (and not so famous women) mentioned how they felt more confident, happy and peaceful once they hit 30, but (obviously as a 16-17 year old) I couldn’t believe that life was going to get any better. I thought, like so many teens, that life was all about high school, popularity, who is going to which college/ university and how ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ life was.

Guess what.. the famous (and not so famous) women were all right about everything. So here’s a little list of things I’d like to say to my 19 year old self. Maybe there’s people who can relate, but this list is intended for me.

1. You are not ugly.

(Seriously, waxing eyebrows can do miracles..)

2. You are not fat.

Seriously, in the next 3 years you’ll gain and then lose 20 pounds. ha.ha.

3. Learn to let go.

My favorite (fake) Buddha quote: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison everyday and expecting the other person to die.”

4. Stop caring about what other people will think of you! Follow your dreams! As in get off your lazy butt and stick to it!

This is going to take some time and some effort.


This is a seriously horrible habit. It took a while to get rid of this one, but it was totally worth it and I’m still very happy I managed to stick to this last one.

So now that I’m 29 I thought it was time to start some things I’ve wanted to do for a very very long time. Making Persian rugs!

rugMy parents bought me a carpet loom for my birthday this year and I’m very excited about it! The picture above shows the total amount of yarns (115 colors, and it’s quite heavy) and the design.

rugThis is a picture of the loom and the “cheleh” or warp. I haven’t started yet because I wanted to try it out on a smaller scale just in case I was going to mess up.

rugHere’s a close up of the loom, showing the warp and the crossing of the warp. Here’s where the magic happens!

rugAn aunt of mine has been making Persian rugs since she was a child in Iran, so she’s going to help me set up the loom. These are the tools used.

rugThis is my little experiment. I decided to try it out for myself so I could get the hang of the tying and the cutting before I’d mess up my rug. I decided to abuse this poor dish rack 😛

rugProud as I am of my geekness I decided to go for the mushroom pattern.

rugHere’s a picture of the yarns I’m using.

I might do a little tutorial on how to tie the warp and how to make the knots 🙂
I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on the rug business. Meanwhile I’m still working on some other things (real life related and knitting), so I hope to have an update soon 😀