Everything You Need to Know about Turkish Rugs - Part 2
In last week's post (Part 1), I showed you the Turkish rug weavers at the women's cooperative that I work with which supplies Souks du Monde with new Oushak rugs. We saw how Turkish rugs differ depending on the region in which they were made and also how the rugs' motifs and patterns oftentimes express the weavers' inner-most thoughts.
Today, we'll explore five more aspects of Turkish rugs that make them such valuable pieces in your home. As promised last week, I'm also bringing you on a trip to the rug hospital to see how vintage rugs are brought back to life from the masterful rug doctors in Cappadocia, Turkey.
1. Type of knot
Using a loom, weavers tie threads of either wool or silk are onto the warp (the threads that run vertically on the length of a rug), then cut and finally beat down to compress the knots on the weft (the threads that run horizontally or across the width of the rug). You can see more of the hypnotizing weaving process in this video of the women's cooperative that we work with.
Turkish weaving techniques are different from anywhere; each thread is looped through the weft twice, making the rug stronger and more durable. In the rug doctor video at the bottom of this post, you can see his demonstration of the difference between Turkish double-knots and the Oriental rug's single-knot.
Three materials are used in Turkish rugs: cotton, wool, and silk. The softest and most expensive variety of Turkish rugs is made of silk on wool. Less expensive while still very soft are rugs made of wool on wool (meaning that wool threads are knotted on to wool warp and weft), with wool on cotton being a little more rigid.
3. Number of knots
One tell-tale sign of the quality of Turkish rugs is the number of knots in the pattern. A higher count of knots will have a tighter weave and will, therefore, last longer. Just as with the number of pixels in an image showing more detail, the more knots, the better.
A rug’s color determines its price and also its lifespan and resistance to fading. Natural dyes, compared to the less sought-after chemical dyes, will retain color better, are less prone to fading, and are therefore more valuable.
As is the trend of late to have lighter-colored traditional rugs, many of the muted Turkish rugs have spent time sun-bathing, to tone down their bright colors.
Vintage Turkish rugs may be overdyed with a solid color if there has been too much fading to the rug, or if the original colors are simply not sought-after. Overdying is a clever way of upcycling vintage rugs that allows for the pattern to stay on the rug while tinting the piece a single color. Overdyed rugs have become very popular in home decor lately.
Today, you can find Turkish rugs that are vintage, antique (more than 100 years old), or brand new. Vintage and antique rugs, while more expensive, have lived a life before finding its way into your home. These older varieties might have spent most of their lifetimes safely kept away in the trunk of a home since being gifted as a wedding present. As a result, they are generally in excellent condition. Thankfully, there are a number of rug hospitals, especially in the Cappadocia region, for the rugs that have been used and loved. Worn-out rugs and small holes or tears can be easily fixed, making the rug as good as new. Rugs should be professionally cleaned before you purchase them, as well (ours are!).
I got to see a rug doctor at work repairing a rug that had a bit of distressing (check out his handy work in the video below!).
If you have any questions or comments about Turkish rugs, please leave them in the comment section below!
If you follow me on Instagram, you can also find more rugs and rugs inspiration on the daily, as well as highlights from our travels.
Thanks so much for reading and sharing!