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.

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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! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Persian rug part 2

  1. What do you mean by this statement: “It’s important to repeat this step at between 8-15 times for a sturdy layer”.
    My understanding is that every layer of knot is followed by a heavy weft and a light weft. What did you mean by 8-15 times?
    Also, I’ve a question regarding tools, such as long hook, beater, and hook knife. Where did you get the tools?

  2. thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right, however for the FIRST layer you need to make sure that the bottom is secure. As you know every row is followed by a series of beating the knots, if you don’t have a very secure underlayer, the bottom layer will not be able to hold and your knots will slip down. You’ll end up with a disformed rug.
    So the first time you do only a layer of heavy weft and light weft (no knots!). After this base layer you will start adding the knots. I hope this answers your question 🙂

  3. Thanks for your prompt clarification. I’m new to weaving rugs, currently warping my loom for the first time. I’m learning using information available online. By repeating 8-15 times, you mean 8-15 layers of heavy weft + light weft without any knots? I believe this weaving without knots is called ‘kilim’. Finally, I asked you about some tools, especially beater. I was unable to find it online. There are few tapestry beaters but their edges are thicker. Where did you get the tools?

  4. No problem, sorry my reply was incomplete. I got my tools in Iran, where I purchased the whole package (including the pattern, the yarns and the warped loom). Honestly the tools are not very difficult to make at home or have built for you. The beater is arguably the most difficult (https://flic.kr/p/eEtDzP). This link: (https://youtu.be/PtMESfH9ZBw) helped me a lot when I was starting out. It’s a Persian educational show on youtube (it has 15 episodes) where every step is explained and showed. Even if you don’t speak the language, it should become very clear what she is doing and how to do it. She explains (and shows!) everything so it’s a really nice tutorial. I hope this helps and good luck with the weaving!! Do you have a blog or social media, I’m curious to see your progress!

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