Holes in handmade rugs can be re-woven. It takes skill and the right materials, but is not as complicated as one might imagine. The work is mostly sewing – it’s not really weaving – and is done entirely by hand. Progress is slow.
A good result depends on successfully controlling a range of variables. Color, design, and structure must be matched along with the size and spin of the yarns. Once in place, the new fabric must be treated to match the wear and patina of the original fabric around it.
The following images show the basic steps of a simple re-weave. The rug is about one hundred years old and from the Hammedan weaving area of Western Iran. A dog has torn a piece from the top end about 2 x 3 inches in size.
1. The edges of the hole are ragged. An area of pile and a decorative warp finish are gone. The rug has a cotton warp, the weft and pile are wool.
2. Damaged material has been removed and a new warp sewn in place. An effort is made to save as much of the original weave as possible.
3. Stretched on a work frame, all bits of damaged original material have been trimmed away from the edges of the area to be repaired.
4. A new brown wool weft has been sewn into the foundation. The first two rows of missing knots have been sewn in.
5. Long pile yarns are pulled to help tighten the base of the new pile knots.
6. Heat and pressure help set the new yarn in place.
7. While still hot and damp the foundation is hammered gently.
8. New knots are sewn in and trimmed to the correct height. An area of the warp finish has been woven back in.
9. From the back, the working threads of the decorative twining and new warp finish are visible.
10. The completed job from the front.
11. From the back. A slight irregularity in the weave is visible at the re-woven spot.
12. The completed job from the front.