Oh, these rugs. I have collected these wonderful Swedish handwoven rugs in my own home for, I suppose, 15 years. I have one in my bedroom, the kitchen, two in the den, in my home office and other spots such as hallways. Their natural beauty, the fantastic colors, the unique weave of each rug is a reflection of the artist who created it. Each rug has its own personality, its own story. These rugs are comfortable in interiors that are modern, traditional, eclectic, natural/rustic and other stylistic interpretations. They are delightful to own!
All the cloth that our weavers use to weave the new woven rugs is recycled – we gather in cloth locally (bed linen, curtains, old clothes, for example jeans etc) and all cloth is washed until no more color will run from it, ironed and cut into long, thin pieces, that are rolled into cloth balls (as you would do with knitting yarn) and then used for weaving. This is also the way weavers worked 100 years ago, and therefore the small cloth pieces that are woven into the vintage rugs are all pieces of cloth that have been left over from clothes and textiles from homes here in Småland.
Earlier, weavers would mix all the types of cloth they had. Småland was very poor then and a good housewife/weaver would never throw out even the smallest piece of cloth. If you look carefully you will be able to see pieces of working clothes (blue), hand-spun and woven black or brown overcoats of traditional dresses from the 1800’s, summer dresses, flowery curtains/tablecloth and even small pieces of salmon-colored, silky undergarments. Around 1900, it became possible to dye cloth at home and some weavers would dye some cloth in bright reds, greens and yellows and weave them into their rugs to cheer them up.
Often weavers create the color-combinations and patterns as they go and depending on many things – weather, their mood, their training, traditions in their family, etc, so each rug is genuinely unique. Also you will find that no two weavers weave alike. What is very important in weaving rugs of fine quality is how hard the weaver is able to beat together the rugs in the process of weaving. Also, of course, which techniques she masters and how clever she is to combine cloth pieces and colors. How a weaver cuts her cloth before weaving is also important, how straight the borders are, etc. If you take a cheap rug and take a close look and compare with a genuine hand woven, new or vintage rug, you can clearly see the difference. And if you wash the cheap rug a few times, you will only have the warp left.
This tradition is slowly disappearing. Still fewer women know how to weave “properly” and if something is not done to stop this development, it will be almost impossible to purchase hand woven textiles in 25-30 years.