Featured Rug of the Month
Note: there are three pages to this featured rug. If you have a slow computer (like me!) you might want to open all three pages, so all the photos load while you're looking at this page.
Leaf Rug, 59"x36" Ca. 1945, before repair. This rug was hooked by the client's grandmother, and had been enjoyed for some 70 years on the floor in her home, but had begun to show signs of wear, so she brought the rug to me for repair. Note the bare patches along the edges.
The first step in restoring this rug was to undo the hem and unhook around all the damage that I could see. There was more damage than met the eye in the original state of the rug, but not surprising, considering the 70 years of faithful service on the floor.
In order to avoid a "blotchy" look, and on the suspicion that the rug might have more damage than was first thought, the client decided to have me remove all of the dark background. This was fortunate, because sure enough, there was more damage that we couldn't see at first, which would lead to the rug falling apart in the future.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, most of this damage could have been avoided if the edges were bound. Binding the edge gives the backing some structure, allowing for traffic without weakening the backing. We planned to do a proper binding on the rug this time.
By the way, most of the old rugs that I've worked on were like this one, with only a tiny, turned under hem. Binding the hem just wasn't done in the 40's. Now it is considered necessary for any rug that is going to be put on the floor and last for generations.
If you are making rugs, or if you have old rugs in your home, get the edges bound now, so you can enjoy your rugs for generations!
At this point, I gave the rug a gentle cleaning. If you want to clean a hooked rug, put about two tablespoons of laundry detergent in about two cups of cold water. Liquid detergent is ideal, but granulated works fine as long as you make sure it has dissolved before you start scrubbing.
Using a rag in the soapy water, squeeze the liquid almost all the way out. What you want is a soapy surface on the rag, without getting the rug soaking wet.
Scrub the rug in a circular motion. Rinse the area with a clean rag in plain water, using the same technique, just enough moisture to rinse out the soap. Then do the same process on the back of the rug. Put the rug on a towel to dry, turning it over after one day, so the air gets to both sides of the rug.