How to make a Hand-Knotted Persian Rug
Have you ever wanted to make a Persian Rug?
Me neither!... at least not up until now. :o) An art teacher from Paces (Parent and Child Educational Services http://www.pacesinfo.org/), who knew I was interested in ethnic textile arts, told me that the one form of ethnic textile art no one ever does is Persian rug making. When I found out from researching Persian rug selling companies on the internet, that the authentic hand-knotted rugs take about an hour per inch to make by the best weavers, I thought...well no wonder!What crazy person would make a floor size rug at the rate of an hour per inch!!?? Well, as you probably know, if you know me at all...I am exactly that type of crazy. Except that I'm not about to make a floor size rug. I have some sanity after all. :o)
Well, I spent the next week and a half trying to figure out, via the web, how in the world you did such a thing. There was lots of info on weaving, but only poor resolution videos from companies who sell Persian or Turkish rugs of various Indian, Oriental, African, and Middle eastern men and women tying rugs at blinding speeds. It's rather difficult to figure this out by trying to watch moving blocks of poor grade movie when they won't even show a close up of their hands! I did find a drawing of a piece of yarn tied in a "persian knot" and a "turkish knot". This was info provided to customers to help them verify that their $2,000.00 (4'x9') to $10,000.00 (floor size) rug is actually authentic and quality.
Well, trying to learn Persian knot-tied rug making, is a lot like trying to learn how to make cheese, by first discovering you need to learn how to raise cows. I have a diagram of a knot and blurry video. So what to do first? Well the video shows them tying colored pieces of string on a floor loom. Occasionally they weave string back and forth, bang it with a comb, and then tie knot after knot, but I can't see how, though I can see sticks with 4-5 colors of yarn spooled on them dangling over their heads and it looks like they are using one of the spindles of yarn to tie the knots.
Well before I can even begin to try to figure out the little diagram of a turkish knot and how to tie it while leaving one end attached to the skein of yarn, I've got to learn how to weave. No problem of course!
And gee, where do I get a loom from? Oh my, well...there they are and boy are they expensive. Next question, do looms for weaving work the same way as a loom for making carpet? What is a shuttle anyway, or a heddle stick...warp?? weft?? If you can believe it, after nine days of sporadic searching in the wee hours, I did finally figure out how to make a homemade loom, from a picture frame of all things. My first efforts were a mess, but there are websites that teach how to do this on a small scale with minimal expense (my kind of art!!) though it took me a very long time to winnow them out of the mass of info out there! This evening, I'll upload links and step by step pictures (all 24 of them) for every part of this process from making the loom, to warping it, making or buying cheap tools (several from one 3' long ruler!).
I've even done some videos. I started with a 11 x 14" frame and have begun a nicer 26 x 24" frame. I'm in heaven!! This is oh so much fun, though I'm just learning the basics. My attempts at actual design are quite abstract at the moment. My diamonds look more like smudge lines, but the back looks pretty nice!
I hope you enjoy this learning process along with me.... with God's help and a big dose of 'can do attitude', I hope to learn this ancient art and actually produce something resembling a turkish rug (1-2 square feet of it) in time for next year's art show. I sure hope it works, but I'm having a blast learning how to do it.
Happy Persian rug making!!