Kelims. Persian Rugs. Inspiration for Hand Knitting, Tapestry and Weaving

The Kilim (also known as Kelim, Gelim and Gilim) rugs are the most well known of the Oriental flat weaves, similar to the South American Najavo rugs. Their colour comes from the weft which is tightly intertwined with the warp. Rather than an actual pile, the foundation of these rugs gives them their design and colour. The weft is woven between the warp until a new colour is needed, then is looped back round and knotted. Between colours in most Kilim rugs there is a vertical slit, this is created when the weave pulls the warp strings away from each other and is unique to Kilims. This ‘slit woven’ design is loved by collectors who find the sharp etched designs, emphasising the colourful weave, mesmerising.  The weft is almost always wool, while the warp can be either cotton or wool.

Kilims and old woven textiles are a rich source of inspiration for colour and pattern. The designs are geometric, which makes them easy to interpret onto a chart. Because Kilim motifs are quite large, the designs are great inspiration for intarsia, multicolour knitting techniques, tapestry and weaving.


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