Most rugs have white cotton fringe tassels, and others have wool or silk tassels (depending on where and when they were woven). Some rug owners like the look of the fringe on their rugs, to others it drives them nuts to always be straightening them, or keeping them from getting caught in the vacuum cleaner (that’s why you vacuum from side to side instead of from end to end).
But, the fringe is not just a “pretty” way to finish the rug – it is actually the foundation fibers of the rug. The rug’s “skeleton.” Each individual tassel that you grab in your hand runs through the middle of the rug all the way to the other end, emerging as another individual tassel on the opposite end. So when the fringes start unraveling there is danger of the damage reaching the design of the rug.
A proper overcast stitch (by hand) along the end of a rug will anchor the knots in place so that they will not “slide” off of the warps of worn rugs. This is a simple looking stitch (either a buttonhole or cross-stitch variety), but knowledge about how to properly anchor the stitch to a weft thread is key. A poorly executed stitch will lead to a tension inconsistency that can result in additional knots unraveling from the rug. So having it done by a professional is key. That's where we come in...
For the repair: A minimum of an inch of original fringe (exposed warps) tassel is needed for a correct overcast stitch, and it is ideal to have one consistent row of knots to anchor together from left to right – this many times means that the rug must be evened out beforehand to prepare it for the overcast stitch. With the proper conditions met, this leads to a superior overcast stitch, making the structure of the rug sound.
Taking a look at the picture above, both ends have been secured and the "cavities" that had developed on the rug have been taken care of. The difference is immediately noticeable on this Persian Nain Rug; and more than that the rug is in great shape, ready to be used and enjoyed again. If your rug is showing signs of cavities from the unraveling of the fringes, come see us so we can get the process started to putting the beautiful back into it.
Dr. Khosrow Sobhe (Dr. Kay)
Certified Rug Specialist (CRS)