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Techniques and weaving processes

In all the main carpet weaving centres of Iran, the fundamentals of carpets weaving are the same. The warp and the welt are often referred to as ‘Foundation”. The warps are the strands of the material that run length ways from top to the bottom of the rug and form fringes at the ends. The welt runs width wise. Normally both the warp and the welt are made from cotton material and white colour but some nomads such as Ghashgha’i, Baluchi, Lori, Bakhtiari etc. use wool as a foundation. In the early stages of carpet weaving, the first two centimetres (maximum 4 cm.) were woven as ordinary textile and in Persian terminology was called “Gilim-baff’. After this phase the basic part of carpet weaving begins. According to the design selected, the fibres that could be the wool, silk or cotton and composed of coloured and numbered skeins are laid adjacent or hung from the pile. After the first row of knotting is executed every other line, one or two weft threads are passed through the warps. As a hook has separated the warps from each other, it is therefore easier to pass the welt through the warps. The function of the welt is to press together and firmly unite the knotted parts to the body of the carpet. The knots are combed downwards by means of a special metal comb, to press the knots into the carpet. Most of the Persian carpets are usually two wefted and the tribal carpets are one wefted. After weaving a few rows, the senior artisan carefully cuts the head fringes with special scissors. When the knotting of the carpet is completed, again a few centimetres of the carpet are woven as “Gilim-baft” as was done at the beginning. Then the wraps are cut just a little. Following this, the carpet is laid on the ground or on a flat cylinder were the surface is sheared and smoothed. Machines do the shearing at some of the modern weaving centres of Tehran and Kerman.
The height of the pile, the width of the selvage, number of welts, length of the fringes, etc is variable depending upon the local custom and traditions.
After some wear the pile of the carpet gets gradually reduced, leading to a better view of the carpet design and pattern. Consequently the high-pile carpets are woven by tribesmen specially in colder regions; exception being in some weaving centres such as Kermăn where the carpets are generally high pelted in response to the demands of the local and foreign markets. The high piled carpets are generally favoured by people in cold regions of Iran, Europe and America; and short piled carpets in warmer zones of the Arab Countries and some countries in Europe.
The beginning and the end part of the warps that protrude out of a carpet are called fringes.
The length of these fringes depends upon the local practice and preference. these fringes are left loose or divided and tied together. The ancient Sanandaj carpets
are known to have fringes of ten centimetres having different colours, but this practice is no longer prevalent..

Knots (Ghereh)

In Persian Carpets, tying a short length of yarn around two adjacent warp strands so that the ends of the yarn protrude upwards and form the surface (pile) of the carpet creates the pile.
This process is referred to as knotting. The proximity and density of the knots contribute to the fineness and the long wear of the carpet.
With more knots, the pattern and design of the carpet are highlighted.
In the Persian Carpet weaving two main types of knots are used, the Ghiordes Knot or (Turkish) and the Senneh (Persian) Knot. Each has it own advantages and disadvantages and in practice both are considered equally good and the choice of the knot does effect the overall quality of the carpet.

Ghiordes or Turkish knot (symmetric)

The knot is formed by looping the pile yarn across two warp strands and then drawing each end back through the inside of both the warps.
This type of knotting produces extremely compact carpets. The Turkish knot is used in north-western parts of Iran, mostly by the tribes and in the provinces of Azarbaijan, Kordestan, Kermanshahan, Hamedan and Zanjan.
Senneh or Persian knot (asymmetric)
The knot is formed by looping the pile yarn through warp strands and then drawing back through one.
It’s also referred to as “asymmetrical” knot, because the pile yarn may be drawn to either the right or left of the warp strands.
The Persian knot is mostly used in Eastern, South Eastern and the Central Provinces of Iran and in the cities of Mashhad, Yazd, Kerman, Arak, Ghom, Esfahan, Kashan and Tehran.

Jofti knot

It’s a fraudulent knot used by some dishonest weavers.
The knot is produced by tying the pile yarn around four or six warps strands rather than the customary two. It improves the speed at which the carpet is woven but result in poor structure and is less compact and durable.

Finesses of knotting

This refers to the number of knots in length is referred to as (Raj) viz a 50 (Raj) carpet has in length 50 knots in every seven centimetres.
In some weaving centres of Iran, one of which is Azarbăijan, the counting is done on an area of 49 square centimetres (7x7 cm)but in reality the best method is to multiply the counted knots on the surface of the carpet in one square centimetre.
If the carpet is woven accurately and with precision the number of knots in length and width should usually be the same but it often happens that the number of knots along warp is more than along the weft.
The number of knots is one of the main indicators of the fineness of a carpet. The higher the number of knots per square metre, the finer the weave is considered to be. Carpets are often classified by
fineness under following scale:
1. Coarse carpets known as “kershak” 36 to 50 thousand knots per square metre
2. Medium coarse carpets 50 to 100 thousand knots per square metre
3. Ordinary/medium 100 to 200 thousand knots per square metre
4. Medium/fine 200 to 325 thousand knots per square metre
5. Fine 325 to 500 thousand knots per square metre
6. Extra-Ordinary/Fine 500 thousand to 1 million knots per square metre
7. Exceptionally rare Woven with silk filaments and have more than one million knots per square metre
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