Abrash is the naturally occurring horizontal, shade or color variance in rugs. You may or may not notice right away in a newer rug. We here at The Specialists would like to take a look at what it means and why it is not something to panic about.
When weavers are making rugs, especially in regions where wool fibers are dyed in small lots, often times weeks or months apart causing the dyes to have a lot of variants. This is often due to limited resources on substances they use to dye wool. It can also occur from natural aging of a rug, sun-fading or some chemical treatments (such as a tea-washing) in an attempt to age a rug prematurely.
It is seen in hand knotted rug and woven rugs. Many times, it is purposefully woven into machine made rugs to give it a more authentic look. You can see in a rug with true abrash, that is almost looks like horizontal stripes or bands in the solid colors on a rug. In the pattern portion, it is often more subtle shade change. If you see it done boldly, it more than likely was done intentionally to celebrate it. Abrash is nothing to fear, it is to be celebrated as it can enhance the beauty of your rug and its uniqueness.
A lot of times the abrash can be covered up by the pile getting compacted or soiled with time and use. When the rug is cleaned and the soil removed and groomed, you will see some abrash. This can be due to the dye lots of the wool and it naturally will occur with cleaning and use.
To determine if the rug is sun-faded or if you have abrash, you will need to flip your rug over. If you see no signs of color variation, you will more than likely have sun fading, as that does not penetrate the rug, but it affects the just the surface of the rug. You can also spread the piles out and if the color is darker toward the base of the fibers, that is a sure sign of sun fading.
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