Rug Types

Gabbeh Rugs  

Where do Gabbeh rugs come from? 

Gabbeh is a local term used in Iran meaning raw, unfinished or unclipped. The namesake Gabbeh rugs were woven by tribal weavers with hand-spun Persian wool in the areas near the Zagros Mountains in Southern Iran. Also, Gabbeh rugs were woven  by the Qashqai, Bakhtiari, and Lors, and a few other tribal groups of Iran. In general, Gabbeh rugs were woven primarily for the personal use of the tribespeople themselves 

Over time because of the demand and simple nature and design of the rug, the trade has spread to Pakistan and India. Most gabbeh rugs are made India today.  An Indo-Gabbeh replicates the original of the Persian Gabbeh and is woven by weavers in India. These rugs are much stiffer in body and usually have less variation of color as they do not use the same hand-spun wool and vegetable dyes used in the Persian Gabbehs.  

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Uniqueness

What is unique about Gabbeh rugs? 

Gabbeh rugs can be divided into two distinct groups: the more common ones which have simple geometric patterns without flowers and leaves, and few that depict lions. Some Gabbehs will have small animal figures  placed throughout the field. You may see a simple rendition of the tree of life design,  camels crossing the desert, a stylized sunset, or the colors of the ocean with each rug having its own individual qualities.  

The structural aspects of Gabbeh rugs are as follows: 

Very soft, flexible and thick, rugs of the gabbeh type have piles left much longer than normal rugs woven on a cotton foundation - characteristics which make them very thick and heavy floor covering. 

The most salient characteristic of the gabbeh is the number of wefts between two rows of knots. Sometimes there are as many as sixteen shoots. The large number of wefts in some cases creates a space of about one centimeter of plain weave between two rows of knots. As long as the gabbeh rugs are not badly worn out, these wefts lie hidden below the long pile, but once the pile is worn down they soon become visible.  

Another interesting fact is, that the ends of Gabbeh that depict lions differ from the end of gabbeh rugs with geometric designs. For the latter the two ends are finished in balanced plain weave. For the Lion depicting Gabbeh rugs there are four to six centimeters on balanced plain-weave which are turned under and sewn in place. Sometimes one end is finished by gathering and knotting the warp ends into group. On one or both ends two-strand weft-twining in two colors is also seen.  

Recognize Gabbeh Rugs  

One of the most important factors influencing the beauty of any Gabbeh rug are the colors. Some of the most magnificent color creations have been and are being achieved on a regular basis in Persian Gabbehs. Handspun wool,  combined with old school dyeing techniques have given Gabbeh rugs its uniqueness. The reason for Gabbeh rugs' color variations goes back to its  producers -  the Qashqai weavers who are famous for their love of color. Only a very small number of older Gabbehs were woven with undyed wool; the colors being ivory, beige, and browns.  

  

Knot count in Gabbeh rugs 

Knot size in Gabbeh can differ widely and Gabbeh rugs can have both lower and higher knot counts. Independent of the knot count, meaning whether a rug is finely or coarsely woven, the pile in Gabbeh rugs will always be long. This is because there is very little, if any, trimming of the pile once the knots are tied. As a consequence, the pile is sometimes as much as four centimeter in length, long enough to cover numerous wefts with ease.  

 

Gabbeh rugs in todays homes - how to maintain them? 

With their simple design elements, they are perfectly suited for modern interiors in contemporary homes.  Over time  - despite their high quality - Gabbeh rugs will collect dust and will require regular maintenance. In order to clean all the fibers of the rug, Gabbeh rugs need to be soaked in water  for a long time period and subsequently rinsed multiple times. The final rinse and brush need to be in the direction of the pile flow.  

In order to get your Gabbeh rug cleaned you should rely on experts and rug artisans who understand the material and color composition of Gabbeh rugs. Bearing in mind that Gabbeh rugs are mostly vegetable died and the colors are not very stable, care must be taken to prevent color bleeding. To prevent potential color bleeding of vegetable dyes it is essential that the rug is cleaned in a pH and temperature controlled water. 

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Braided Rugs 

Braided rugs are known for their comfortable “welcoming” feel in your house. They have a longstanding deeply rooted history which makes individuals appreciate them even more as they learn about it.

What is the origin of braided rugs?  

Braided rugs were produced by the Native Americans who were the first ones to start the braided rug design using their unique weaving techniques. This Native American weaving technique was initially used to make heavy and sturdy saddle blankets out of wool and scraps for horses as well as ponchos and ceremonial rugs. When colonists and settler families arrived, the indigenous people taught them how to weave in the same fashion. Later, Braided rugs began to be used in the new American colonies, during the late 1500s to early 1600s. Women settlers leveraged the scraps of material left over from their sewings to craft the braided rugs.  

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Material & Fabric
What is the Material and Fabric of braided rugs and how are they plaited? 
 

Strips of wool, cotton and burlap were often the fabrics used to create a braided rug.   The rug crafters used  cloth braids, made from strips of cloth r, Yarn braids, braided from yarn or Tube braids, or braids made from loose tubes of fabric  Nowadays, braided rugs can get made from yarn, jute, polyester, or other materials ranging from the finest wool to recycled fabric. Several rows of the strips of different materials have been, and still are being plaited and subsequently stitched together to create the braided rug design.  

Braided rugs are known for their incredible versatility. They come in all shapes (rectangular braided rugs, oval braided rugs, square braided rugs, circle braided rugs) and sizes offering a unique set of colors which can be monochromatic or multi-colored ranging from bright colors to neutral tones. Braided rugs can be hand-woven or machine made.  

Repair and restoration 

Braided rugs are hand stitched or machine stitched. These beautiful normally colorful rugs are hold together by strong break resistance polyester thread to insure their longevity. However The threads holding the braids alongside one another can weaken and break over time due to heavy  foot traffic and wear. When these threads brake, braided rugs are going to fall apart. We recommend regular maintenance and rug repair to increase the longevity of these rugs. Especially, machine made braided rugs with a quality which is inferior to the handmade ones will require  to be repaired if a braid comes loose. Furthermore,  for machine made rugs, the borders  have to be maintained properly, which are not as tightly secured as other handmade rugs. 

Stitching the loose braids together requires an expert and craftsman. Each end piece needs to be laid over in a special way on top of each other to sew them together and restore the rug to its original form. Laying the braids over each other is very time consuming as they have to be secured by safety pins which will hold the braids steady while you work on the other braids.  

Flokati rugs 

Flokati is a pure wool rug having its origins in Samarina, Greece beginning in the 5th century.  For centuries, Greek rug makers have hand-woven Flokati rugs with a unique age-old process. The material they used and still use for the weaving is natural sheep's wool. Flokati rugs are rugs which are known not only for their beauty but for their longevity, keeping their softness year after year.

 

Flokati rugs were valued as family heirlooms and part of brides' dowries. They were also used as wall-hangings and bed covers as well as rugs.

Today, Flokatis are still unique. No other rugs are made the way Flokatis are, and no other rug looks like a Flokati with its deep thick softness of the pile. Today, the originally Greek art is used in contemporary homes with hi-tech or early American architecture adding luxury and warmth to any room they are placed in.

 

Similar to detecting quality of traditional knotted rugs by using the knot count, there is a quality indicator for Flokati rugs as well: Flokati rugs are measured by their weight in grams of wool per sq. meter.   The weight of the rugs ranges from 0,3 pounds per square feet to the heaviest at 0,8 pounds per square feet.  With increasing weight of the Flokati rug, its thickness and fluffiness increases as well - and so does its price.

 

The flokati rug is different than a shag rug. The latter can be made of virtually anything, while the  flokati rug is only made with sheep wool. The Flokati rugs indeed have  to fulfill the following specifications to be considered as real Flokatis  - they have to be made of 100% wool (warp, weft, and pile), with total weight of at least 1800 grams of wool per sq. meter.

 

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Weaving Process

Process of weaving Flokati rugs

Thew weavers of Flokati rugs start the process  with pure natural sheep's wool that's spun into yarn. The craftsmen weave this yarn to create long loops. The Flokati pile is then cut by hand. Now there is another unique step in the process of creating a Flokati rug: Each Flokati is carried to mountain waterfalls  and washed there for hours. The waterfall's swirling stream fluffs the long yarns and makes them very soft.  This original Flokati technique has never changed - and the fluffiness can only be achieved by the power of a waterfall, making it almost impossible for science to duplicate it.

 

Flokati Rug History

The villagers of Samarina, Greece, the birthplace of the Flokati rug were, shepherds.  The shepherds  raised goats and sheep as their primary source of trade and income, trading the dairy products such as cheese and milk. Around the 5th Century the shepherds began using the sheep’s wool outside  to keeo themselves warm and to help protect themselves during the cold winter months.  The first forms of the Flokati were like shag rugs - the shepherds had not yet realized the full potential of the sheep’s wool.  The unique process of Flokati rugs was discovered later, when the Samarina shepherds had left one of their woven wool Flokati blankets in the waters of the Pindus Mountains, for nearly two days. When they remembered  that they left the blanket and came back to the stream they saw the blanket and noticed that the backing felted. More importantly the wool had unraveled and became fluffier. This was the first, real Flokati.

Once this true Flokati was discovered, it quickly became a versatile product used for many purposes such as blankets, bedding, floor coverings and even clothing.

Later in the 1900s the flokatis were used as a rug. Today they are celebrating their comeback partly due to the fact that flokati rugs can be a greener way to enrich your floors than many other rugs.

 

Cleaning & Maintenance

The Flokati  rugs  need to be  shaken outdoors periodically to remove dust which gets trapped in over time. For cleaning we recommend to seek out for a professional cleaner.  The reason is that you must avoid washing your Flokati Rug in high water temperatures, chlorine bleach as well as dry cleaning.  In case you do not avoid these three things you risk destroying the protective fiber content of the Flokati's wool. A professional rug cleaner will properly treat the rug and will not damage your Flokati rug. On the contrary, professional cleaning will merely enhance its unique quality, appearance and fluffiness.

 

When you want to vacuum your Flokati rug don’t vacuum with a rotating vacuum head because the furry wool might get caught in the rotating brush of your vacuum cleaner. You should rather use the suction head of the vacuum (without a rotating brush) to vacuum your valuable Flokati rug.