Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Flat weave rugs are all the rage!

Flat weave rugs are a popular and less expensive alternative to a hand-knotted rug.  They are easily handled, light-weight and typically reversible.   In a flat weave rug, the colored weft strands of wool are woven across the loom over and under the warp strands.  Without any knots, flat weaves do not have a pile.  Due to their construction, they are thinner than knotted rugs and not as warm and plush.  Simple curves are achievable but stripes and squares and other more boxy shapes are rendered best in a flat weave.

Over the years, flat weaves have been used as wall hangings, saddle pads and prayer rugs.  Following are 3 examples of flat weave rug construction.


Here are a few fun flat weave designs.

Square Chains

Interlocking Rings


Genie Bottle

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Designing a Tassel Runner

Inspiration comes from lots of different places.  Most recently, a common drapery tassel inspired me to create a damask runner in 2 colorways:  taupe & cream and sky blue & cream.  A lovely bathroom, kitchen or bedroom rug with an updated traditional motif.

Tassel Damask Runner/Sky Blue & Cream

Tassel Damask Runner/Taupe & Cream


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rug Yarns

Preparing and dyeing woolen yarns for hand-knotted Tibetan rugs is labor-intensive.  First, the wool is sheared from the sheep (typically Tibetan sheep that live above 14,000 feet in the Himalayan mountains).  Sometimes New Zealand wool is used but currently NZ wool is much more expensive than Tibetan wool for the Nepalese carpet makers.  Once sheared, the wool is machine or hand-carded to separate and straighten the fibers, remove impurities and prepare the fibers for spinning.  Hand-carding is a traditional method where a pair of wooden paddles with wire faces is used to brush the wool.  The result is a batt or rolag of lofty wool that makes spinning easier.  After carding, the wool is hand-spun and then wound into balls.  The yarn balls are used to hand-knot the colors into a beautiful Tibetan wool rug. 

    Shearing sheep
    Brush for hand carding
    Spinning wool by hand
    Winding yarn balls and separating into colors
    Photo:  Courtesy of Goodweave
    Weaving of Concept Interiors Rug Design in Nepal

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    World Day Against Child Labor

    As a licensed importer with Goodweave, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C. which is working to end child labor in the rug-making industry, I am very aware that children are still losing their childhoods to the rug loom.  Despite pronouncements by the Indian government that child labor no longer exists in the country’s hand-woven carpet sector, there are still innumerable shacks and village huts where children are coerced to work 16 or more hours a day weaving carpets for export to Europe and North America. These children are either paid a pittance for their efforts, or are exploited through outright bonded and forced labor. 

    Goodweave is working to get these kids off the loom and back into school.  Each year, Concept Interiors Rugs donates a percentage of our profits to help their efforts.  By becoming aware of this issue and considering it in your purchase of rugs, you are helping children get an education and have hope for their future.

    Today is World Day Against Child Labor....


    Sangita was in 3rd grade when she was forced to leave school because her
    family could no longer afford the tuition. When her family lacked the money
    for basic necessities like food, Sangita had no other option but to travel to
    Kathmandu and work in a carpet factory to send money home.  She was
    only 12 years old.

    After a few months of toiling at a carpet loom in a dark space, with little
    to no food, pay or rest, a GoodWeave inspector discovered Sangita and
    rescued her. Once at GoodWeave’s rehabilitation center, Hamro Ghar,
    Sangita was happy to continue the education she had abandoned years
    ago and live in a friendly environment with other children who escaped
    a similar plight. One year after being rescued, she was reunited with her

    Sangita is now 16 years old and in 9th grade at Nava Jyoti Secondary
    School in Makwanpur. GoodWeave continues to  sponsor Sangita’s tuition,
    school supplies and food.  She says, “It is only because of GoodWeave
    that I am here to talk about my life. Otherwise I would still be a child laborer
    in a carpet factory. I want to give many thanks to GoodWeave and its family
    for everything they have done for me. Thank you.”

    Child working on a rug loom

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Designing a Paisley Rug

    A few months ago, an interior designer in my building approached me with a paisley inspiration that she drew for a rug.  With this drawing in hand, I created a 10 X 13 foot rug for a young couple's living room with bright, fun colors and paisleys that were positioned to have just the right "pop" under the homeowner's furniture.  The design firm is Lilu Interiors...I just LOVE their tag line..."we don't just throw a pillow at a problem and call it a day!"  Lilu has a wonderful team of talented interior designers that can add tremendous value to a design project and they are great fun to work with!