At long last, the tambour embroidered cotton rug we bought in India is on display! I have always wanted to put it someplace, but was loathe to use it on the floor. We did so in our apartment in Pune, and being fragile, keeping it clear of the sacred dust of the subcontinent was a bit of a challenge. I’ve been plotting and planning to hang it instead. But where? At one time I considered the stairwell or either the upstairs or downstairs hall, but when I began thinking about transforming the former bedroom of our now-independent Eldest into my office, greed overcame my desire to post it in a more public area of the house.

But how to do so? I asked the Interwebs, and got answers from a number of people including folk who have staged hanging textile exhibits for museums, private collections, and adjudicated fairs. Consensus was to back the top edge of the piece with 4-inch (10cm) Velcro, with the fuzzy side sewn to the rug. Then mount a board on the wall, staple the hook side of the Velcro to that, and suspend the piece that way.

So we did. It took a lot of effort to stitch the heavy mounting strip to the back of the rug. I had to go through the folded selvedge edge of the rug, the canvas the front was backed by (with its own folded down seam allowance), while avoiding piercing through to the front. I used a curved upholstery needle, abetted by the firm grip of a pair of pliers. I averaged about 6-10 inches per day, and the piece is just under 9 feet wide.

Affixing the mounting board to the wall went rather quickly. The Resident Male identified stud locations, leveled the thing, and used long screws for the install.

I then used a staple gun to affix the hook side of the Velcro to the board, and smoothed the two sides of the hook and loop tape together. No pix of that though, my hands were full of Velcro roll and the staple gun.

And the finished result!

It’s in a corner that’s well protected from direct sunlight, nestled between bookcases holding my needlework and knitting library. The Berber rug on the floor is something we’ve had for many years. I will need to empty the two small bookcases so I can unroll it fully, then replace the bookcases on top and re-fill them. But that’s another day.

In the mean time, a tale of experience.

This is what the rug looked like when we bought it, and what it looks like today.

The colors of both are true. The bright crayon reds, intense blue, and the near neon orange and yellow have darkened and muddied considerably. What happened?

Remember I said that when we brought it home it was thick with dust? We brought it to a respected rug merchant and cleaning service to have it cleaned. It came back to us rolled for storage and sat that way for about 9 years. My dye-wise apprentice thinks that the cleaning reagents used worked on the cottons, and the blue especially migrated. The very uniform way that this happened (no “hot spots” or streaks) indicates that this probably happened when the rug was washed and dried, and indigo dyed yarns do sometimes shed pigment. I wish that the rug people had “come clean” and told me about the dye migration when we picked the thing up, but on the whole, the difference isn’t fatal. I’ll just try to avoid ever having to wash it again.

Verdict? Project success. Next steps? Obviously letting the floor rug relax and tucking it under the bookcase. Then having an antique barrel chair recovered in deep indigo denim, to sit on that rug, perhaps with a small side table and reading lamp, so I have another cozy place to read and stitch.

3 responses

  1. Those original colours might be more ‘Indian’ but I prefer the muted folksy colours. Either way, it’s a beautiful piece and I’m glad you have found a suitable place to put it on display.

  2. It looks fabulous!! Glad it worked out well.

  3. Bummer on the rug color changes. It’s still gorgeous though. Well done on hanging it up, it’s not easy stitching through canvas or velcro by hand. It can be a task even by machine. Maybe when you take all the books off the shelves to unroll the carpet, you could share photos of what you have? I’m always interested in what books others find quite useful even in these days of nearly everything on the internet. Sometimes I’m happy I already have the books. Sometimes my wish list gets longer.

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