By Jessica Allan
Remember that "A stitch in time saves nine," and the earlier you catch damage to your rug, the less involved the repair will be. With time, carpets can become worn from everyday use. The earlier a repair is made the more likely you are to prevent the damage from getting worse.
Generally, the edges and ends of carpets need attention before anything else. To prevent holes along the edges, make sure that the edges are properly wrapped with wool and are securely attached to the rug. If the fringe is breaking off and your rug is shedding colored knots of wool then it should be overcasted to prevent further damage. New fringe may be added to the carpet to prevent more wear and tear on the damaged ends.
Careful vacuuming of your carpet can also extend the life of your Oriental carpet, please see our page on “How to vacuum an Oriental rug” for further guidance. If you have a housekeeper vacuuming your rugs, be sure to tell them to avoid the fringe. A simple shake and a quick combing with your fingertips will suffice when cleaning the fringes. Your rug is an investment and will need only simple attention to provide you with many years of pleasure.
Rug reweaving can be costly depending on how large an area is to be rewoven. If a rug has several holes, it may be less expensive to mend the holes rather than reweave them. To protect the warp threads (foundation threads) from being broken, but still keep the cost of the repair to a minimum and make the rug useable without reweaving the holes, a rug should be mended. A flat stitch can be used to cover the warps. At a later date, this stitch can be removed and the hole can be rewoven to restore the carpet properly and bring back its value.
Re-dyeing an Oriental rug can bring back some of the life and appeal your rug had before years of use wore it down. Several circumstances in which dyeing an Oriental rug may be an option include lighter colored stains on your rug from sun-fading and spills, or unattractive wear. More recently it has become popular to over-dye carpets. This practice consists of using a single color, such as purple, and dyeing the entire carpet.
Applying new fringe to an Oriental rug can really make your rug look stunning. Re-fringing is a lower-cost repair which can protect the ends of your rug from wearing down any further.
Overcasting is a method which includes sewing the fringe ends of an Oriental rug. The stitching is done in such a way so that it is not visible from the top of the rug, only the back. When the ends of a rug wear down and the knots begin to come off the ends, overcasting is employed to prevent further wear. Overcasting is also a preventative technique on new rugs so that the fringe ends are protected from wear.
This is an antique Persian Oriental rug. As seen in the photos the fringe ends have become worn down with time. This is a great example of an Oriental rug which would do well to be overcasted.
Although it is difficult to notice, this antique Caucasian Oriental rug has been professionally overcasted. The fringe ends have been evened out and no more knots will fall off.
With consistent traffic, the edges of an Oriental rug can become worn and begin to unravel. It is important to catch unwrapping before it becomes too severe. If left untreated, the edges can begin to wear down and re-wrapping becomes more difficult and expensive.
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