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The double white thread sewn just above the short fringe at the end of this rug is binding.  Binding is sewn into the ends of a rug to prevent unraveling and the loss of wool pile over time.  Excessive wear to the ends of a rug can occur when the same areas are walked across repeatedly.  In general, these wear patterns can be avoided by rotating the rug at least twice a year.  Putting the binding in place means that even if the end of a rug does wear heavily, the colored wool knots that compose the rug’s design will not pull off the ends of the warp threads.

Pictured is our craftsman, Eliseo, sewing binding onto the end of a rug.  In the upper left corner of the photo, you will see a block of wax.  Wax is used to treat the binding thread so that it will slide more easily through the rug.  Wax also gives added body and durability to the thread.

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Across the width of the carpet, bundles of warp threads are tied together with the binding thread.  This process is called Persian binding, which is a technique used in Iran to finish the ends of Persian rugs.  Persian binding, like standard binding, keeps the end of the rug from unraveling, however, Persian binding also nicely finishes the fringe without knotting.

In the case of this rug, the white flatweave at the end of the rug, known as the kilim, was wide, and the ends of the fringe were worn.  In order to create a more pleasing appearance, the fringe knots were untied, and the kilim weave was opened up to reduce the width of the white area at each end of the rug.  Persian binding was then used to finish the ends of the rug.  The fringe were wetted and combed to smooth them out, and, when dry, the worn ends were trimmed away.

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