Today I’m continuing the Textile Series, and this month the spotlight is on one that dates back many centuries: the kilim patterns found in floor coverings and home accessories. Kilims differ from pile rugs because they are produced through a flatweaving technique that combines various colored wefts and warp wool threads and leaves no pile.
Kilim has a fascinating history, its origins dating back to 3000 BC, many scholars believe even earlier; like tapestries, woven kilims are one of the oldest textiles in history. Kilims are referred to as “slit woven” textiles, a technique of weaving that produces sharp geometric designs and symbols. They are produced by interweaving visible weft with invisible warp strands and are most often made of wool, though cotton and hemp threads are sometimes used.
Different kilims possess cultural meanings that change by region, and the colors and designs also change depending on where they originate. Some kilims are used as prayer rugs, others for decorative purposes. The popularity of kilim is growing in the West as we look to more exotic ways to decorate our homes with textiles from across the globe.
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Kilims are most often used as rugs, but also like a fabric to upholster ottomans or benches, or as a decorative pillow cover. While you can still find many suppliers of vintage rugs and pillow covers, retailers are also producing their own versions as the appeal of kilim grows.