Oriental Rug by Ronna Erickson

The following pictures were uploaded by Ronna Erickson in response to several questions that appeared on the OSWG Discussion Board. Ms.Erickson was kind enough to not only send us a picture of her beautiful rug, but a series of pictures showing the steps required to do this type of weaving. She also included a picture of the rug on the loom.

Finished Rug

Click on the following thumbnails for a larger picture.

Creating a single knot

Closeup of a row of knots

Putting in a row of weft

A second row of weft

Closeup after 2nd weft

Closeup of flat weave

The rug on the loom.

Exerpts from the Discussion Board and email conversations with Ms. Erickson

"I learned how to weave oriental rugs from a master weaver from Tabriz. The "student" loom I have will make a rug that is about 2x3 feet. It was made for me by some friends. It is relatively simple. My loom is basically just a frame with the uprights of 2x4's. The bottom bar is fixed, and the top bar is adjustable so you can tension the warp. The rug warp is continuous, so the circumference around the frame will be the total length of the rug."

"The shed is separated by wooden dowels. One first lays in a warp stick to have something to beat against. Then just flat weave for about two inches. Then one ties the first row of knots. I have a tool that is used by Tabriz weavers, but in other weaving areas, they just use their fingers to manipulate the yarn and warp while making the knots. The tool makes it faster to tie a Ghiordes or Turkish knot, but it is not essential. I have a long flat tool with a hook on the end that allows me to slide between the warp threads when laying in the foundation wefts. This is basically a piece of sheet metal and can be made by anyone with metal working capability (basic shop). In the Tabriz weave, between each row of knots, there is a large weft (which is often the same as the warp)laid on top of the row of knots, and then in the next shed, two thinner wefts laid in the same shed and allowed to conform to the warp (i.e.; looser). Then one starts on the next row of knots."

"You could make the rug using any simple frame loom. The tapestry loom would probably serve well enough if it is one where you can adjust the warp tension. Just remember that this will take a while!"

"While weaving the rug, it took about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour for each row of knots. This included the time for laying in the wefts. The selvedge is overcast with the blue yarn as you go along. I think that the fastest time for a row (with little pattern in it) took about 15 minutes. You might notice the "shreading" of the warp in the pictures. Unfortunately, Majid had just come to the US, and didn't know of a source for really good warp cotton. It should have more twist in it. The silk I have chosen for the next warp has a really good twist!"

"If there are any questions regarding the rug, I would be most happy to answer them! I am now thinking about the next rug..... I have to come up with a design. I am leaning toward an Isfahan or Nain type design. The warp for this one will be silk....and will give me about 16 warp pairs per inch. This will result in a rug about 256 knots per square inch. I have forgotten to count the knots in the rug pictured in the images above..... hmmm.... I seem to remember something like 81 kpi*. (It has been a while since I last counted them). I'm glad you think that others will benefit from the pictures. It was a lot of fun to weave such a rug."

"My current project (one of many... isn't that always the way???) is on a new floor loom I bought in October. It is a scarf of 60/2 silk in a two-block broken twill pattern. It is sett at 48 EPI and has 65 PPI. I have warped enough for two scarves 60" long and 14.25" wide at the reed. I will be sure to send a picture to you when I'm done.... I think it is coming out pretty well! I love the look of the silk. This is the third project on this loom and I just love it! It is a Glimakra Ideal loom (100 cm wide)." (Visit our Scarves & Shawls page to see the photo of the finished scarf project)

* Ms. Erickson recently counted the knots in the rug and says that the number in this rug is 121 kpi.

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