Weaving and Carpets in Turkey
Cleaning and Daily Care of Rugs and Kilims
Cleaniness is the first and major step towards the preservation of a hand-made carpet and it is the best care of to damage. There are no hard or fast rules to stipulate when and how often to clean a carpet since every had-made carpet is different and every hosehold exposes a carpet to different amounts of wear and dirt. There are many professional books on the care and cleaning of carpets that one may consult if one is interested in doing a professional cleaning. However, the following advice and information are basic general instructions that the average home owner may exercise in the care and cleaning of an Oriented carpet. The best recommendation is regular brushing with an old fashioned handbroom with natural bristles or the use of an electric carpet sweeper. Remember that it is just as important to brush the underlay of the carpet and floor beneath. One caution, the regular use of a vacuum cleaner will eventually start to loosen the knots andpull the fibers out of the pile, also never use the revolving brush attachment on a carpet for it will actually pull the fibers apart. The nozzle attachment is the best and may be used once a month.
Hand Cleaning at Home
Prepare a mixture of the following proportions; half a cup of carpet shampoo to four and a half cups of warm water and add one tablespoon of vinegar to prevent the colour from running. Lay the carpet with the pile up on a hard flat surface. Dip the brush in the liquid and apply it in gentle even vertical strokes. Vigorous brushing or scrubbing will not clean throughly and is likely to damage the carpet in its wet vulnerable state. Start in one corner, brushing up and down, with and against the pile with even overlapping movements. The amount of shampoo applied and the pressure of the bruh should be as constant as possible over the entire carpet surface. Once the carpet is brushed vertically (lengthvise) then brush horizontally or from side to side across the pile, with the same gentle overlapping strokes. The pile should be throughly cleaned by now. Finally, brush gently in the direction of the pile as the carpet dries, so that the pile is lying in the right direction.
Preferably use a room where there is a warm air current heating system. Do not drape the carpet, it must be allowed to dry flat, and don’t walk, or place anything on it until it is completely dry. The warp, weft and pile of a completely dried carpet should feel soft and pliable. Remove the dried dirt and shampoo powder by gently brushing with a soft dry brushing.
Things to Avoid
Washing machines and spin dryers should never be used for any delicate hand-made item. With carpets the vibration, water temperature and harsh detergents will cause irreparable damage; posibble colour-run from the hot water and the detergents and a cement-like wool once dry. It may even reduce the carpet to shreads. Again dry cleaners sometimes advertise themselves as carpet cleaners. Their services may be useful for machine-made carpets, but an Orientel Hand-made masterpiece should never be subjected to the strong chemicals that these firms use. The damage may become apparant only after several months and the damage is irreparable.
Wool carpets and kilims are subject to moth damage. The dark areas of the carpet should be inspected for signs of moth damage, which will result in a weakened foundation or in the knots eventually pulling out where the nap has been eaten away. New carpet and kilims are treated with insecticides before exportations and onces in a dealer’s shop they are frequently moved about to avoid this problem.
Although no one knows presicely when and where the technique of weaving first started, There is no doubt that the weaving art, in general, started in Central Asia. A popular explosion coused the inhabitants of that area to migrate to the western parts of Asia in order to find more presperous land. These migrating tribes were caled yoruks or nomadic tribes. During their migrations, these nomads, who were exposed to severe weather conditions, learned to use goat hair in the making of their tents. Goat hair is longer and much siffer than sheep’s wool. The flatweave technique was used in the making of nomadic tents.
Just as with a little girl’s braided pony-tail where strants of the shorter and stiffer hair stick out, the goat hair sticks out of the woven fabric, gets wet, drops and partially cover the holes in the flatweave, thus making tent almost waterproof. Later on, these nomadic people felt the need to isolate themselves from the humidity present in the earthen foolrs of their tents. They then applied the very same techniques of flatweave to the making of of floor coverings and called them “Kilims”. Since this was the area of paganism, most flatweave designs reflected stylised depictions of the worshipped sembols.
Over a period of time, the art of weaving improved and many items usefull in every day life were woeven-for example saddle bags for horses and camels that could be used in the transportation of many types of items. The Yoruks also wove kilims with goat hair and used them as warm blankets since the fibers were so long-just as in today’s Siirt blankets. It’s thought that these early blanket were woven in imitation of actual animal felts. Kilims were also woven as room dividers in the tents, as well as for cradles, with the corners tied to the overhead tent poles so that the cradle could be swung back and forth to rock the babies to sleep. These many types of woven products improved over time with additional uses developed on an evolutionary basis. At first the nomads, who strictly lived in tents, stacked dried leaves and lay them in the corners of their tents and used the soft stacks as beds. Under the weight of the sleepers, the beds rapidly turned into dust and provided little comfort, thus causing frequent replacement. Then in a further inspiration of using animal pelts as a model, the nomads started to add pile to the basic flatweaves. These first pile rugs were very supple, the nomads would simply fold and throw them on a horse’s back to be used as a sleeping bag during their long voyages.
As we mentioned before, no one knows exactly when and where the first knotted-pile carpets were woven; however the oldest “surviving” pile carpets was descovered in the grave of a Sycthian price in the Pazyryk valley of the Altai mountains. In Siberia by Russian archeologist (Rudenko) in 1947 and is presently displayed in the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad. The carpet was woven with the Turkish double knot and contains a surprising 347.000 knots per suquare meter (255 per square inch); it is 3.62 square meters (6 x 6.5 feet) and has been carbon dated to have been from the 5th. century B.C. It was loaded and subsequently flooded and froze to a wait discovery by Rudenko. The Pazyryk, or Altai carpet, is rather sophisticated, thereby showing that it is the product of a long history and tradition of weaving.
In flatweaving there are a number of different types of loom and weaving techniques but for purposes herein, the various types can be catogorized into two general groups. The first grouping contains the basic flatweave technique, or “kilim weaving”. In a kilim, the pattern is formed by passing a yarn of a particular colour over and over and under the vertical yarns (known as warps) for the duration of the particular colour or design motif, then the same horizontal yarn (known as weft) is turned on the same path (next row) along the edge of the same coloured motif. This process is continued until the individual motif is completed. Then the next motif is started where the initial one finishes, but the two yarn colours are not normally joined together in anyway, thus causing a slit to appear between the two respective yarns. Each block of colour is then woven succesively until the whole kilim is completed. When you hold a kilim woven in this way up to the light, you can easily see the slits where two patterns meet but do not join. The second grouping contains flatweaves which employ the technique of way wrapping or brocading.
A motif is created by adding a third yarn to the warp and weft yarns which is wrapped arround the warp yarns in several configirations depent upon whether the intent is to weave Cicim, Zili, or Sumak. In Cicim, the motifs are usually scattered or in series, with no organic relationship between any two motifs, and the basic ground weave (warp and weft) shows through so that the Cicim motifs appear to be embroidered. In Zili the entire surface of the ground weave is normally covered with the design yarns and vertical lines, somewhat like cords, protrude to give Zili its distinctive appearance. In Sumak, the entire surface is also normally covered with the design yarns. All three techniques may be employed together in one flatweave if desired. Each of the 4 basic types of flat-weave also has a number of sub-groups with variations in technique .
There are two principal types of knots that are used in rug weaving. The first one is called double knot, Turkish knot, or Gordes knot and naturally given a firmer weave yielding to a stronger and more durable carpet. The second one is known as the single knot, Persian knot, or Sennah knot.
The Turkish knot is standart of yarn encirling two warp threads, with the loose ends rawn tightly between the two warps. The Persian knot is a strand of yarn that encircles one warp threads and winds loosely around the other warp. One loose end pulled through the two warps, while the other end goes to the outside of the paired warps.
Rugs and the various flatwaves are made from five basic materials; sheep wool, goat hair, cotton, floss silk, and silk. The quality of wool varies according to the climate, the breed of sheep, and the time of year of the shearing. Wool from sheep that live in warm and arid regions is normally dry and brittle, and since it breaks so easly, it ends up being short and feels lifeless. Good quality wool comes from helthy and well fed sheep found in cold regions or at high elevations with good grazing lands and lots of water. In the colder regions, sheep grow a full fleece to keep warm and their bodies store fat which then translates to a high lanolin content within the fiber which reaches lengths of 10 cm. and more. The wool so obtained feels silky smooth and yet springy. Wool from the higher elevations (cooler also) and from the spring shearing is considered to be the highest quality. Wool is hand-spun by using primative utensils called kirmen (drop spindle) and by spinning wheels. Women usually spin the wool during idle moments and the street while spinning. In hand-spun wool, the original length of the fiber stays the same through the spinning process – a fiber tahat measured 7 cm. before spinning will still measure the same after spinning. Wool can also industrially spun, but the hard twisting of the fibers by the spinning machines tends to berak some of the fibers. Although the broken bits and shorter fibers can be made to adhere together through the use of oils during the spinning process, the fiber will have lost some of its strength, which, in turn, will shorten the life spun of the rugs to be woven.
In rug and kilim weaving, cotton is used mostly for the warp threads, as well as for the wefts. Compaired to wool, cotton is generally considered to be a more residant fiber and it is less elastic. So, tighter knots can be tied on cotton warps as opposed to wool. If very tight knot are tied to a wool warp, the fiber will break much more frequantly than if the warps were of cotton. Consequentl, woolen pile rugs with high knoting density counts will normally have cotton warps, for example, in Hereke, Ladik, and Kayseri Bunyan carpets.