There are numerous repairs that can be carried out on handmade Persian and Oriental rugs’ fringes. These range from fairly quick fixes that prevent further damage to major restoration work to worn, damaged or rotted rugs.
This page will explain in further detail the types of repairs are possible on handmade rugs:
The fringe of a handmade rug (or tassels as some call them) are actually the foundation that the rug is woven on to. They are not, as some believe, decorative additions to the rug but a key part of the rug itself. They are also the first part of a rug to generally need maintenance and care.
Fringes can be damaged by vacuums, pets and general foot-traffic. They can also be permanently damaged by over-zealous rug and carpet cleaners who attempt to whiten them by using harsh bleaches. The level of damage and quality of a rug will determine the repair work that is needed on a rugs’ fringe.
Securing a fringe is, as with so many aspects of rug care, an example of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. The fringe of a rug will often gain a little wear at parts which causes it to start to unravel, spotting this early and having it repaired will prevent any further damage and costly repairs. It is a fairly quick an inexpensive repair and is something that you should keep an eye on and aim to have done every so often to keep you rug in top condition.
Sometimes, if left too long, the fringe will wear down and parts of the carpet’s pile will be lost. In this case the cheapest option, and one which is fine for rugs that aren’t extremely fine or valuable and have a good sized ‘guard border’ (the plain pile of a rug before the decorative border starts), is to remove a few rows of knots to level off the damaged area and then secure the fringe. This leaves the ends of the rug straight and the fringe looking natural and intact. This repair is a bit more involved but won’t break the bank. If the rug isn’t really worth spending too much money on it can simply be secured in line with the damage without removing knots but this will leave the ends uneven.
If you do not wish to lose a couple of rows of knots there is the option to have new fringes woven into the rug. This involves intricate work where each individual strand of fringe is interwoven and locked a couple of inches into the rugs’ pile and out the end which allows a longer fringe to be created (even if the rug only originally had a short fringe). Carrying out this repair means that even if parts of an original fringe have worn away the pile of the carpet does not need to be lost. This is for rugs that in repairing by removing knots would disturb its appearance, effecting its border; or for more valuable rugs which are perhaps investment quality and you would like to keep in as original condition as possible. By nature this is extremely intricate and time-consuming work and therefore can be more expensive however the results are well worth it.
Further to adding new fringes, it is possible to restore some rows of knots that have been lost due to fringe damage. Adding on a longer fringe then re-weaving lost knots before securing the fringe to bring the rug back to its original appearance. The colour, age and type of wool will determine how close a colour match can be achieved while re-knotting. Again, this is even more time consuming work than adding new fringes from within the rug’s pile and is reserved normally for high-end rugs or rugs which have so much damage that they need additional pile to be re-knotted to maintain the carpet’s appeal.