I’m sure that ever since humankind first wiggled toes on a bare floor, and decided that something colorful and soft would be nifty to stand on, no rug dealer has ever lost money on a transaction. That being said, I am quite satisfied with value we bargained for today.
Our apartment here in Pune is very white. White unadorned walls, hard white marble floors, neutral color furniture and curtains, all blend together to make the comfy but totally featureless box in which we live. I did bring bright color sheets and towels, but we certainly could use more visual contrast here. So today we went out looking for area rugs to bring some color and brightness to the place.
After a minor comedy of misunderstanding with our driver (“rug” here means bed covering or bedspread), we ended up at a store specializing in Kashmiri handcrafts, where we looked at lots of small and mid-size carpets (aka “Orientals” in local English). We ended up selecting two items, to use here and then to send home to use there. Both are about 6’ x 9’.
One is an all wool hand-knotted rug in a traditional pattern:
The main colors are oxblood, steel, and tan, with accents of celadon and ecru. It’s plush and thick, and a joy to walk on. I can’t remember the knot count, but from the unofficial hierarchy of all-wool rugs, this is an A-grade. There were a couple that were even finer, but not in all wool. I really like the minor variations in the pattern repeats – something that brings the design to a life not achieved by machine made rugs.
The other is a type less commonly seen in the USA. It’s all cotton, done entirely in tambour (ata needle) embroidery. The stitching is so dense that it totally covers the ground cloth with work that closely resembles chain stitch:
Also handmade, it’s backed with a second layer of heavy cotton. The colors are garnet, sapphire, gold, and orange, with accents of leaf green, baby blue, brown and white. It’s no where near as thick as the wool rug, but it shines like a jewel. It won’t last as long as the knotted rug, and isn’t suitable for heavy traffic areas or for under chairs that move around, but it’s perfect for our living/sitting area with its fixed furniture.
Next I go to a textile vendor to buy some similarly brilliant yardage, to sew new covers for the brown and ecru throw pillows on our sofa (or have them sewn by a local sewing-shop).
I feel brighter already!