Friday, July 17, 2009
How Area Rugs are Made Part 2
Most handmade rugs are woven by tying knots on the warp strands.
The type of knot used in weaving and the knot density are discussed next.
The two predominant types of knots are asymmetrical and symmetrical.
Asymmetrical (Persian or Senneh) Knot: there is none finer.
The asymmetrical knot is used in Iran, India, Turkey, Egypt and China.
To form this knot, yarn is wrapped around one warp strand and then passed under the neighboring warp strand and brought back to the surface.
With this type of knot a finer weave is created. A fine point worth noting.
Symmetrical (Turkish or Ghiorde) Knot: there’s beauty in symmetry.
The symmetrical knot is used in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran by Turkish and Kurdish tribes.
To form this knot, yarn is passed over two neighboring warp strands.
Each end of the yarn is then wrapped behind one warp and brought back to the surface in the middle of the two warps, forming a beautiful symmetry.
If your decorating style is equal, even and matched, this is your knot.
Knot Density: thick with numbers and measurements.
Knot density refers to the number of knots per square inch (called KPSI) or square decimeter in a handmade rug.
Knot density is measured in the imperial system in square inches and in the metric system in square decimeters.
Every decimeter is equal to 10 centimeters and approximately 4 inches.
Knot density is measured by counting the number of knots per linear inch or decimeter along the warp and weft (visible on the backside of the rug) and multiplying the two numbers.
Since the two numbers are usually the same, one number can simply be squared.
KPSI, (knots per square inch), is sometimes used to indicate value.
The higher the number of knots per square inch, the higher the quality, and thus the price, of the rug.
The process of changing the natural color of materials such as wool, silk and cotton is called dyeing.
There are two types of dyes: natural dyes and synthetic dyes.
Natural Dyes: plants, animals and minerals to dye for.
Until the late nineteenth century only natural dyes were used for coloring weaving yarns.
Natural dyes include plant dyes, animal dyes and mineral dyes.
Plant dyes come from roots, flowers, leaves, fruit, and the bark of plants.
Woad, a plant of the mustard family, and indigo, a bush from the pea family, are used for blue dye.
Yellow is produced from saffron, safflower, sumac, turmeric, onionskin, rhubarb, weld, and fustic.
Madder has been used since ancient times for reds. Redwood and Brazilwood are also used for reds.
Browns and blacks come from catechu dye, oak bark, oak galls, acorn husks, tea, and walnut husks.
Henna is used for orange.
For green, indigo, over-dyed with any of a variety of yellow dyes, is used.
Some animal sources of dyes include insects such as Cochineal, found on cacti in Mexico; Lac, a wild version of Cochineal, found in India and Iran; and Kermes, found on Oak trees near the Mediterranean.
All three produce a range of reds. Kermes was used in Europe, and Lac in Egypt and Persia until Cochineal, the cheapest of all three, gradually took their place.
Kermes, the most ancient of all three, has been used even before the 16th century. Can you believe that?
Mineral dyes come from ocher (yellow, brown, red), limestone or lime (white), manganese (black), cinnabar and lead oxide (red), azurite and lapis lazuli (blue), and malachite (green).
Dyers are able to get a variety of colors and shades from the same source depending on the type of material used, the characteristic of local water, and the use of different mordants.
Today, natural dyes are still used in some traditional dye-houses and villages where natural sources are readily accessible.
Synthetic Dyes: chemistry comes to the aid of consumer demand.
In the mid-nineteenth century, as the demand for handmade rugs increased in the West, their production increased in the East.
The need for easy-to-use and less expensive dyes with a wider range of colors caused the development of synthetic dyes in Europe and especially in Germany.
Synthetic dyes were soon imported to Persia (Iran), Anatolia (Turkey) and other Eastern countries.
The first synthetic dye, Fuchsine (a magenta aniline), was developed in the 1850s.
Shortly after, other synthetic aniline dyes followed.
Synthetic aniline dyes made from coal tar were brilliant, inexpensive, and easy to use; however, they faded rapidly with exposure to light and water.
In 1903 Nasser-e-Din Shah, the Persian king of Qajar Dynasty, banned the use of aniline dyes in Persia (Iran).
Persian weavers discontinued the use of synthetic dyes until the modern synthetic chrome dyes were developed in the years between the First and Second World Wars.
Chrome dyes are colorfast, they retain their intensity despite exposure to light and water, and are produced in an infinite variety of attractive colors and shades.
Today, mostly chrome synthetic dyes are used for coloring weaving yarns.
Natural dyes are used in places where they are easily obtainable.
But one thing is certain. If you buy an area rug made from natural or synthetic dyes, you can be confident that it will only improve with time.
In fact, even rugs made with aniline dyes in the late 19th century are valuable today simply because of their age.
All information is taken from World Floor Covering Association.