We inspect each rug to determine its pre-wash condition. Each rug will be measured. All natural fiber rugs will have a 24 hour dye stability test performed on each color to insure colorfastness throughout the cleaning process. Based on the results of this inspection and testing, we will determine the safest and best cleaning process for the rug. Most rugs will qualify for our full wash process.
Soil frequently covers up various conditions of a rug. this can include basic wear of previous damage such as staining and dye bleeding. These conditions may or may not be correctable. Other conditions that are weaving characteristics of hand woven rugs may also become visible.
The following are some inherent characteristics of many hand woven rugs.
The fringe on a hand knotted rug is actually the ends of the warp (top to bottom) foundation yarn. Cotton is the most common fiber used but some rugs are on wool or silk foundations. There are many variations to how the fringe is woven and finished. The fringe is critical to the structural integrity of the rug. If the fringe is damaged or worn down to where the pile of the rug starts, loss of the knots will start to occur. It is important to at a minimum have an overcast stitch sown on the ends of such a rug to prevent further unraveling of the rug.
Some cleaners use bleach to whiten the fringe. Aged cotton is not a bright white. Bleach is destructive to cotton. and should not be used. Bright white fringe is not worth damaging the fringe especially in light of the fact that the fringe is critical to the life of the rug. The same is true for hydrogen peroxide, though to a lesser degree.
The side cord on most hand knotted rugs is made from the terminal warps on each side. This is where the weft yarns (right to left) return back through the weave as each row of knots is completed. These terminal warps are then wrapped with finishing wool. There are many variations used in creating this cord. Some are much more durable than others. As this makes up 2 of the edges of a rug, they are also exposed to greater wear. As with the fringe, damage to this cord must be secured before knot loss begins.
Abrash is a variation of the same colors in a rug. It generally appears as a horizontal shading of color. It is often a result of different dye batches of pre-dyed wool or batches of dye used. This is not considered a flaw in hand made rugs. In fact, these variations add character and beauty to the rug.
As stated earlier, Most hand knotted rugs have a woven foundation of yarns, most commonly cotton. The warp yarns that run the length of the rug are the ones the weaver ties his knots to in making the pile of the rug. As the weaver does his work, from time to time these cotton yarns will snap, so he or she will tie the two ends back together in a knot. Generally , these knots in the foundation are lower than the wool face fiber and are not visible until the rugs wears down to the point that they become visible. The white knots often become more visible after cleaning. Dye can be used to hide these knots if desired.
Hand knotted rugs are generally not perfectly symmetrical. Tribal rugs are usually far less symmetrical than city rugs. Just as color variations contribute to a rugs character, the unique shapes of a hand made rug also add to its unique beauty. Many rug collectors prefer the more elemental tribal rugs for that reason.