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The Blog

2019 Annual Summer Sale!


In order to keep our showroom fresh and ever evolving, we have to clear out the old stock. As the years pile up so does our inventory. From Monday, June 17th through Saturday, June 29th we are offering all of our in-stock area rugs at 20%-80% off. Hooked rugs, modern Moroccans, flat weaves, chunky textures and vintage Persians, there will be something for everyone and something for every space. We are always blown away by the number of familiar faces we see these two weeks each year, don't be a stranger, come take advantage of these once a year deals!

We hope to see you soon!

Brad, Beth, Courtney, and Abby

Here is a small sampling of our excellent deals:


Plus so much more!

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A Guide to Buying Ethically Responsible Rugs

Whether you are concerned about child labor, fair wages, human rights, or environmental impacts there is a lot to think about if you are trying to purchase a product you feel confident was made in an ethical way. In today's consumer society most buyers are looking for cheap, fast, and easy, which can be the enemy of ethically made products. But, there are still those who want to take the time and use their money to make a positive impact, and promote a healthier world for all.

Unfortunately, their is no one simple answer for all of us, this blog hopes to provide a jumping off point for those of you who wish to delve deeper into making sure you are making a purchase you feel good about. Each of us has our very own set of values and beliefs, making certain specific ethical concerns very individualWhile we at Bradford's Rug Gallery try to be as knowledgeable as possible about the different companies we work with and the products they provide, including their environmental and social impacts, we cannot possibly know the answers to all specific ethical concerns because of their subjective nature. What we can do is use our vast knowledge to direct you once you have identified your personal ethical concerns and have determined exactly what you are looking for.  

Photos courtesy: 


Below are some of the most common ethical concerns we hear our customers voice, as well as resources to help you educate yourself more on buying products that you can really feel confident align with your personal set of ethics.


Made Without Child Labor:

Child labor has historically been prolific in the textile industry. Part of the challenge of eliminating illegal child labor has been the international nature of the carpet industry and the difficulty of monitoring every single manufacturer - from large weaving facilities with hundreds of looms down to cottage industry weaving facilities with 3 or 4 looms - in multiple countries. There are also the challenges of addressing cultural differences. Carpet production and the use of child weavers on family looms has a long and legal tradition in India and Pakistan dating back to the 15th century. As UNICEF points out - not all child labor is bad or illegal.

'Not all child labour is bad, because day-to-day child co-operation is for many families a necessity to survive.'

There are several organizations that have stepped up to combat the issue of child labor in rug production. The Oriental Rug Importers Association (ORIA) is a national trade association that was formed in 1958 to foster ethical business practices in the United States and the oriental rug making countries.

The ORIA is absolutely opposed to the use of illegal child labor and, accordingly, their members have taken affirmative steps to avoid the procurement of carpets made with illegal child labor. The ORIA members, through the ORIA Charitable Fund, have committed funds to assist with schools in Pakistan and India. There is a clear link between child labor and a lack of available education, providing children with the alternative of schooling helps eliminate illegal child labor practices.

'Wherever the social situation has improved and children have had a school they could attend, child labour has disappeared.'

ORIA membership includes area rug importers and manufacturers all of the rug companies that we at Bradford's Rug Gallery purchase from. To learn more in detail about ORIA's stance on child labor please read their position paper:

ORIA Position Paper on Child Labor

Also combating child labor is the European based organization Care & Fair. They are an alliance of retailers, importers and exporters that has been committed to creating humane living conditions in carpet knotting regions, especially for the youngest members of those societies. The focus of their work includes abolishing illegal child labor in India and Pakistan, creating better living conditions for carpet knotting families, producing goods in a socially acceptable manner, and being a positive example for others to follow. ORIA is a member/sponsor of the Care & Fair organization. While ORIA has no certifying logo - members of Care & Fair have the ability to use their logo as a certifier of products made without illegal child labor. If a rug has a Care & Fair tag you can be sure it was made without child labor, but on the flip side a rug does not have to have a Care & Fair tag to still be assured that it was made without child labor. The best way to know for sure is ask your retailer (that's us!) or look at the ORIA member list to see whether the manufacturer of you rug is a member - if they are you can be assured your rug was made without child labor.


Environmentally Friendly:

There are many different ways in which to look at the environmental friendliness of a product: How was product the made? What is it made of? What happens to it after it is thrown it away? What are the environmental impacts of the harvesting and processing of the core materials? Is it energy or water intensive to produce? What is the intended life span of the product? Does it contain any harmful chemicals? Does it require harmful chemicals to clean it?

To find a truly eco-friendly product you would want to consider all of those questions at the same time. "A life cycle assessment, or LCA, identifies opportunities for quantifying the impacts that a product has on the environment throughout its full life cycle – from production and manufacturing to the disposal phase. A full LCA is also known as a “Cradle to Grave” sustainability assessment." - Heritage Paper Blog

"'Cradle to Grave' thinking not only considers the impact of products during their use or disposal stages, but introduces the fact that many products have significant impacts throughout their entire lives. Beginning with the extraction of the raw materials that actually comprise the product, to its manufacturing, use of energy and water, its waste and emissions, transportation impacts, the actual use of the product and finally, ending with the ultimate disposal of the product — thus, from cradle to grave." - 

Whether you are looking for a product that contains no chemicals or you are looking to find a product that adheres to the "cradle to grave" principles we will use our knowledge of our products to best to direct you to a product that meets your needs.

At Bradford's Rug Gallery we are fond of wool for many reasons (which is why we primarily carry wool products), but from the environmental perspective it is a particularly eco-friendly product. Recent research conducted by the wool industry shows that wool’s environmental footprint is low when it comes to the consumption of energy and water during the consumer use phase. This makes wool products more sustainable compared to other fiber products. Wool is a durable, renewable, biodegradable, stain resistant, and fire resistant material. It requires no flame retarding chemicals like all synthetic (man-made) materials do.

Photo courtesy Woolshire Carpet Mills Inc.

In the textile industry the most energy, water, and pollutant intensive process is dyeing, especially dyeing with synthetic dyes. Buying rugs made with natural dyes or with yarns that are un-dyed will drastically reduce the negative environmental impacts of an area rug. To view some rugs made with un-dyed yarns click here.

It is also important to consider that buying a vintage or antique rug may be the most eco-friendly choice you could make. Choosing an existing product eliminates any environmental impacts of production and lessens the disposal impacts as well. Remember, the 3 R's: Reduce, REUSE, and Recycle. Check out our Vintage and Antique collections here

Further Resources:

For additional reading on ethical concerns specifically related to the rug industry and beyond please explore the following websites:

  • UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.
  • While child labor has historically been prevalent in the textile industry, children are exploited in many other industries, such as sugarcane, banana, and flower production. For more information please visit the International Labor Organization website  and learn about their International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labor.
  • For more information on the environmental and ethical impacts of wool please visit the International Wool Textile Organization website.
  • If you are interested in the environmental impacts of the textile industry check out the following article: Clothing to dye for: the textile sector must confront water risks. - The Guardian
  • In their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart presented an integration of design and science that provides enduring benefits for society from safe materials, water and energy in circular economies and eliminates the concept of waste.
  • In the news today we're hearing a lot about PFAS. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s, and are (or have been) found in many consumer products like cookware, food packaging, and stain repellants (especially prevalent in textiles). For more information visit the following EPA weblinks: Basic information on PFAS and


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    2019 Pantone Color of the Year

    We are totally ready to embrace Living Coral, the Pantone 2019 color of the year, are you? Pantone describes living coral as "an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge." Are you?



    "Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities and this is particularly true for living coral. With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial PANTONE Living Coral hit a responsive chord." -


    Are you someone who has a hard time choosing color and likes to stick with more traditional decor, yet you still want to stay on trend. Stripes are a classic, but add in the lively and interesting Living Coral and you've got the best of both contemporary and traditional!

    From : "For 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product, packaging, and graphic design.

    The Color of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention."

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    Caring for Your Wool Area Rug

    You've just purchased a lovely area rug from Bradford's Rug Gallery, you've taken it home, laid it out, and now you're terrified to walk on it because you don't want to ruin it. It's a story we've heard many a time, but rugs were meant to to lived on, we don't want you to be shy about enjoying the coziness and comfort that your new rug provides. A wool rug is very resilient and very easy to live with, with just a few basic maintenance techniques, you can easily keep your new rug looking beautiful.

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    Rug Speak: Knot Count

    What is "knot count" and how important is it? 

    Although knot count is an important factor and is good to take into consideration, it is not the end all be all when determining the quality of a hand knotted rug. There's a lot more than meets the eye. 

    Knot count, also known as knot density, is the number of hand tied knots within a certain area of a rug. Determining knot count must be done by close examination of the back of a rug. Understanding knot count requires some understanding of how rugs are constructed. Hand knotted rugs are made up essentially of three elements, the warp (A - the vertical fibers), the weft (B - the horizontal fibers) and the knots (C - which create the pile).

    Counting Rug Knots

    The warps of the rug usually lie in the same plane, and when this is the case, each knot will appear on the back of the rug as two squares (nodes) of the same color next to one another from east to west on the rug. Sometimes the warps lie offset, this causes the second node of the knot to be hidden from the back. When both nodes are visible, they are counted as one knot. It is a common mistake to count both nodes as two separate knots. 

    The two most common knot types used in rug making are the Persian knot and the Turkish knot. The offsetting in warps can occur with both Persian knots and Turkish knots. See the illustration below to compare the structure of both knot types. You can easily see how if the warps are lying in the same plane the knot will have two nodes. (Persian on left, Turkish on right)

    A good general rule to follow when counting knots is: If you only see colored elements in pairs, you need to count each pair as one knot. If you see many single colored elements, the rug has offset warps and each element should be counted as one knot.  

    Now that we know what we are counting, the knot count is the actual number of knots in a set area, typically that area is one square inch. To determine knots per square inch (KPSI), count the number of knots within a one inch vertical and one inch horizontal area then multiply the two numbers. A rug with 10 knots horizontally and 10 knots vertically will have 100 KPSI.

    What's in a Number?

    It is a common misconception that if the knot count increases, the quality of a rug increases. In actuality, good quality Persian rugs can range in knot count from 85 KPSI (Like this Heriz) to over 500 KPSI (Like this Qum). It can be assumed as a general rule, that as the knot count increases, the cost of the rug will increase - especially when buying a new rug. The more knots, the longer it takes to make. For example compare a 50 KPSI and a 100 KPSI rug, there are two times the number of knots per square inch in the 100 KPSI rug, that means it will take twice the amount of time to create the same one square inch of rug, this increase in time equates to a higher price. 

    Finest knotting (440 KPSI) on the left to the chunkiest knotting (20 KPSI) on the right.

    Knot count does tell us the fineness the rug, this is important in that it tells us the level of detail a rug will have. The finer the rug the more curvilinear the design can be. Like pixels in a photograph the higher the count, the smoother and less pixellated the image becomes. Whether the pattern is a fine, curvilinear floral (like the rug on the left below) with a higher knot count, or a less fine, geometric pattern (like the rug on the right below) with a lower knot count, just knot count alone does not imply that one rug is better quality than the other. Both rugs are attractive, good quality examples of their types. 

    Knot count can often tell us a lot about where a rug was made. Typically rugs with a higher knot count are made in city environments, where weavers are sedentary and the rugs are being made to be sold. Less fine rugs were often made by nomadic tribal groups and were being made for their own use (this isn't always the case with newer rugs). Experts use knot count as one of the factors (along with many others) to help them determine the origin of an antique rug.

    Knot count is not always a direct indicator of cost/value. True antique Persian rugs are valued for their age, condition, and appeal, in addition to their knot count. As with most things, looking at just one element instead of the whole does not give you an accurate sense of quality and value. It is the coalescence of multiple aspects that attest to the quality and value; including age, colors, condition, and general appeal of the rug. In other words don't make any rug buying decisions based on knot count alone. There are many other aspects of a rug that should be taken into consideration. As we always say, buy a rug because you love it not because it has a particular knot count.


    Thank you to the following sources for contributing information and/or photos:
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    Protect Your Rugs from Moths

    It's clothing moth season once again. It happens twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, moths become especially active. This is the time you will start to notice evidence of moth activity. If you see clothing moths in your home, that means you already have a problem and it's time to do something about it. If you don't see evidence of moths, it is a great time to think about taking actions to prevent them.

    Known as the Common Clothing Moth (Webbing Clothes Moth or Wool Moth), Tineola bisselliella can become a serious pest if proper measures are not taken to prevent or eliminate them. Adult moths are golden in color and the wings are fringed with golden hairs. They are small, approximately 10mm-20mm long, with a wing span of approximately 15mm wide.

    Photo courtesy Wikipedia


    The larva of the clothing moth eat and digest the keratin proteins in wool and other natural fibers, including silk, fur, feathers and hair. They prefer to feed on items contaminated with organic materials such as spilled food, body fluids, fungal spores or pollen, so a clean rug is the first step in protecting your natural fiber carpet agains clothing moths. 

    Life Cycle of a Clothes Moth

    The female Clothes Moth can lay up to 200 eggs at any one time. Once the eggs hatch into moth larvae they begin to feed. The clothes moth larvae will eat until they have sufficient energy to pupate. This usually takes 2 months; however, if food is scarce or temperature are low, then they can survive for up to 2 years before spinning a cocoon. The larvae will then stay in the cocoon for between 1 and 2 months before emerging as an adult. 

    Contrary to what people say adult clothes moths do not eat, the male clothes moth spends their time looking for females to mate with and the female moth looks for favourable conditions where she can lay her eggs. The adult clothes moth does not cause any damage to clothing (or rugs), it is the larvae that are responsible for causing the damage as they are constantly looking for food.         -

    Development from egg to adult usually takes two to three months, but can take years, depending on environmental conditions. Clothes moths thrive in high humidity. Storing un-wrapped rugs (especially rugs that haven't been professionally cleaned) in an attic or basement is a bad idea when trying to prevent moths.


    Best Preventative Measures

    • Vacuum your wool rugs regularly - including areas underneath furniture, in infrequently used rooms, and rugs that are stored for any length of time.

    Unlike other household moths, clothes moths are not drawn to light, instead they prefer dark or shaded areas, which means they can usually be found in the corners of rooms, under long-standing furniture, or in rolled up and stored rugs. Rugs can be of particular interest to them as the larvae can crawl underneath and cause damage from there. The clothes moth can also crawl under skirting boards or into other cracks and crevices to feed on any debris that has gathered and then lay its eggs there.

    • Rotate rugs every 6-12 months, this will help rugs fade evenly as well as get areas of the rug that are hidden away underneath furniture out into the sunlight. As noted above, clothes months prefer the dark and seek out areas away from direct sunlight.
    • If you have any major spills, or your rug is heavily soiled from use, have your rug professionally cleaned. Clothes moths are especially attracted to rugs soiled with organic materials.
    • Store rugs wrapped in paper or plastic with desiccant packets to prevent condensation and maintain dryness.
    • Be vigilant - prevention is the best medicine - continually follow the steps above.
    • A note for those of you who love vintage and antique rugs like we do: assume that any vintage or antique rug purchased at a flea market, yard sale, or antique shop already has moths. Have it professionally cleaned and treated for moths before you bring it into your home and you will save yourself dealing with a moth infestation down the line.

    Steps for Treatment

    Often the damage done by these pests is our first indication of their presence because they often go unnoticed until large numbers are present and damage is apparent. Once you discover you have clothes moths

    • Immediately vacuum the top and bottom of any rugs with signs of moths or moth damage, paying particular attention to the most affected areas. Promptly remove the vacuum bag and discard outside the house.
    • Take your rugs to a professional cleaner and have them washed and treated for moths. If you cannot take your rugs directly to be cleaned, store them in air tight bags until you can get them to the cleaner.
    • Vacuum your home throughly - including under furniture, in small cracks and crevices, and places that are likely to collect dust and other particles.
    • If you have the ability freezing your rug, thawing it and re-freezing it will help ensure that any remaining eggs are killed.
    • Once the active infestation has been taken care of, follow the prevention steps listed above to avoid future infestations.

    Moth Balls & Cedar

    Moth balls are not 100% effective at preventing moths - they are merely a repellant - you can still get clothes moths while using moth balls. We recommend avoiding them as they have harmful chemicals. Instead use cedar blocks, like moth balls, cedar is only a preventative, but is as effective as moth balls and contains no harmful chemicals.  

    If you have any questions about moth prevention or treatment please feel free to contact us. We are always here to help.

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    Rug Repair Basics


    Rug repairs can range from the simple over-casting of the ends or sides of a rug, to the complicated, time consuming rebuilding and repiling of whole sections of the rug. Regardless of the level of repair required the exact same principles apply for each repair. The repairer must study the structure of the rug they are repairing, they must match the materials (yarns) as closely as possible to the original materials, and finally the repairer must make the repair appear as integrated with the original rug as possible - altogether the result should be a nearly invisible repair. 

    Rugs are made entirely with yarn, it is one of the most important element to consider when repairing a rug. A good repair starts and ends with the right yarn choice. There are several factors to consider when choosing the appropriate yarn: color, structure, fineness, and origin.

    Color: Yarns can be dyed any number of ways, but there are two major categories of colors - those created with natural dyes and those created with synthetic dyes. There are many arguments for and against each dye process, but we will not discuss that here (you can read more about it on our blog Natural vs. Synthetic Dyes), the results from dying with natural materials and those from dying with man made chemical formulations vary greatly. When repairing rugs not only must you find the right color match to your original piece (which can be very challenging) but you must make note whether the original color was achieved with natural or synthetic dyes so that the yarn you choose for the repair blends with tone and shade of the original piece.

    Structure:  Yarn is made of multiple fibers spun together, then to create a stronger yarn these single ply yarns are spun together to create a multi-ply yarn. The direction in which the fibers are spun, the direction in which the plys are spun together, and the number of plys used are all important to note so that when repairing the rug you can chose (or create) a yarn that replicates those in the original piece.

    Fineness:  As mentioned above yarn can be single ply, or multi-ply, but even within those specifications there is great variability. A chunky, single ply yarn could be coarser or thicker than a very fine 3 ply yarn. You must match the fineness of the original yarns or choose a slightly finer yarn to make sure the repair does not stand out.

    Origin:  It may be impossible to replicate a yarn's origin, but understanding what kind of sheep the wool came from and where it was raised can be invaluable in making your yarn decision. There are many different breeds of sheep with varying types of wool, differences in length, crimp, fineness, and color will make a difference in the appearance of the yarn. The closest you can come to replicating those qualities of the wool in your repair yarns to those of the yarn used in the original piece the better and more invisible the repair.

    The visual appearance of the yarn is drastically different when looking at the side of the yarn (the fibers running side to side in the same direction) as you do in a flat-woven rug, versus when you look at the ends of multiple cut strands of yarn (the cross section of the yarn - ends point towards you) as you do with a hand knotted or hand tufted rug.

    Finding the right yarn to do a repair means making many small but important choices. If you have a rug your are interested in having repaired please contact us or stop by our gallery at 297 Forest Ave. in Portland, ME.

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    Kilims, Soumaks, & Dhurries

    What is a flat-weave?


    In the most basic terms a flat-woven rug is created with the use of a loom to interlace two sets of threads, the lengthwise warps and widthwise wefts, thus producing a flat surface with no pile.

    "The interlacing of strands to create a textile evolved from the simplest finger-plaiting to the fixing of warps on a loom making possible the efficient and rapid construction of tightly woven cloth... The oldest illustration of a loom is on the side of an Egyptian bowl of c.4000 BC, but most probably the loom developed with the earliest civilizations." - Kilim: the Complete Guide by Alistair Hull and Jose Luczyc-Wyhowska


    "The possibilities open to the weaver for free expression in flat weaving are limited, however, by the techniques of weaving; this is in contrast to the more versatile work of the knotted carpet makers. As the pattern on a knotted pile carpet is made up of colored wool tied round the hidden warp threads, and forms no part of the structure, each knot may be a different color. In this way free-flowing compositions taking any form can be drawn. Not so with flat weaving, for the disciplines of integrating color changes into the structure limit the variety and dimension of the patterns that can be drawn. The weaving technique used, therefore, has a direct and conclusive influence on the patterning of the rug."       - Kilim: the Complete Guide by Alistair Hull and Jose Luczyc-Wyhowska


    Flat-Weaving Techniques:

    Slit-weave: utilizes a weft-faced plain weave but incorporates blocks of color leaving a vertical slit between the boundaries of the two colors. This technique results in patterns that are geometric and diagonal to maintain the structure of the rug. "All flat weaving people use slit-weave extensively as the basis for floor rugs, covers, and bags."  Kilim: the Complete Guide by Alistair Hull and Jose Luczyc-Wyhowska

    Dovetailing weave: similar to the slit-weave technique ,except the wefts at the edge of each block of color share the same warp, eliminating the slit between color borders. The dovetailing of the two colors leaves more of a blurred division of colors.


    Weft-faced Patterning: a technique that produces patterned color change in a way that is fundamentally different from slit-weave and dovetailing. "In weft-faced patterning, colored wefts are woven so that they only show on the front face of the weave when they are needed...When the weft is not being used on the face of the weave it floats freely on the back of the rug." ( Kilim: the Complete Guide by Alistair Hull and Jose Luczyc-Wyhowska) This technique results in a rug which either has a face and back that have a reverse image, or a back with long floats of yarns that make the rug non-reversible.

    Weft wrapping: also known by the eponym Soumak weave (though not accurate), with this technique the weft is wrapped around the warp in any number of complex mathematical combinations which allow for interesting textures and directions in the weave.

    These are only a few of the most commonly used flat-weave techniques, there are a multitude of other techniques that have not been included here.

    What's in a name?

    Kilim versus Dhurrie versus Soumak:

    There are many names for flat woven rugs, most often the name they are given relates to where they are woven. Kilim is the name given to most all flat-woven rugs made in Persia - the actual weaving technique used can vary. Dhurrie is the name given to most all flat-woven rugs made in India - again the weaving technique can vary. Soumak, the name derived from the Caucasian town of Shemakha (also known as Soumak) as noted perviously is incorrectly assigned to flat-woven rugs made with the weft wrapping technique, and it assumes that this technique was only employed in Shemakha itself. When in actuality this technique has been used for centuries in locations all over, including Peru, Egypt, and Persia. Soumak is now more commonly used do describe the technique used to weave the rug.


    "The essential aim of any flat-weaver is to create patterning with wool threads that are exposed on the face of the rug by alternating and varying the colors of the threads, whilst at the same time maintaining both structure and rigidity."

    Kilim: the Complete Guide by Alistair Hull and Jose Luczyc-Wyhowska


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    Roger Oates Design

    “An eye for colour,

    authentic woven flatweave runners and

    an instinct for everyday luxury

    is the hallmark of

    Roger Oates Design.”

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