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Introduction to Kilim 101

Introduction to Kilims 5Something I’ve been asked frequently, as a Turkish gal, is helpful info on kilim shopping – how much is it worth? What is the difference between a rug and a kilim? What are the types of rugs and how can you identify the area of a rug/kilim? Now I’m no expert on it in anyway but I have some general knowledge enough to give a brief course on introduction to kilims.

First things first; the difference between a rug and a kilim. Kilim is a lot easier to make (excluding some precious handmade kilims), thinner, lighter, made for a nomadic life whereas rugs are heavy and thick. Kilims are made with braiding yarns (woven with hemp, cotton and also wool threads) to produce a flat surface with no pile however when making a rug, the yarns are cut after every knot. Finally rugs have framed patterns though kilims are more free with the prints.

Turkish kilim is still probably the most famous of all, most of which are slit woven. With a freakishly ancient history and a land that hosted hundreds of ethnic groups and nations – Turkish kilim prints are inspired by a variety of things that make each one really different from the other. You can find detailed info on Turkish kilims here.

I’m very bad at distinguishing Kurdish, Armanian and Afghan rugs simply because they are all really similar but I do know a thing or two about Afghan rugs. Many patterns and colors are used, but the traditional and most typical is that of the octagonal elephant’s foot (Bukhara) print. They are also famous for the Baluch rug, which is known as the prayer rug, most of the time consisting of  dark red and blue colors.

Pakistani and Indian rugs have densely weaved ethnic patterns as an earmark and finally, probably my favorite of all, the Moroccan rugs. With a characteristic primitivism, Moroccan rugs look like they came out of the hands of Picasso. Super colorful and perfectly chaotic – they are the woven equivalent of an abstract masterpiece.

eBay has a great guide on rugs, explaining the history of each and different weaving types. Never buy a rug/kilim at a pretentious flea market or an overpriced hipster store not knowing your stuff again. I got you covered.

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Introduction to Kilims 15image sources: apartment therapy, myparadissi, design milk, by bjorkheim, homegirllondon, row house nest, urban outfitters, veneer designs, the design files, apartment34, desire to inspire, the style files, design sponge, house tweaking, at home in love, centsational girl, sulu design, pinterest

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