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).

rug
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’.

rug
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:
rug
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 🙂

3 thoughts on “Persian Rug, part 1

  1. Hi. Do you know where can I buy this scissor and this comb that are shown in your picture? I need these tools to improve my rugs quality and I cant find where to buy them on the internet. Congratulationa for the amazing posts!

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