A hand-woven Persian Kelim with geometric patterns.

Kelim (Turkish kilim, from the Persian gilim; coarse woven blanket") is an expression for a common Persian weave but also the name of the technology used in its manufacture. Persian Kelims are produced primarily by nomads and are made as carpets (without pile), bags and tent curtains. The most common Persian Kelims are Kelim Sumakh, Kelim Senneh, Kelim Fars and Kelim Ghashghai .

Kelims are also manufactured in a number of other regions and you will find Afghan, Turkish and Moldovan Kelims in addition to the Persian variety on the market. Examples of Afghan Kelims include Galmuri, Maimane, Maliki and Golbarjasta. The border between Afghanistan and Iran is home to the Baluchi nomads who also weave Kelims, usually in a darker colour.

Golbarjasta Kelim with both woven and knotted details.

Some of the woven Kelims also contain details that are knotted, for example, Kelim Golbarjasta from Afghanistan, which creates an exciting raised surface on the carpet (see image to the right) .

The carpets come in a variety of patterns and colours. The patterns are mostly rectangular or flowery with pointed features which have to do with the weaving technique used. There is currently a high demand for Kelims as they are ideally suited in stylish, minimalist environments. They also look befitting in many homes thanks to a wide range of applications. Many people like to hang up their Kelims on the wall instead of a picture or use them as bedspreads to create an oriental atmosphere in the home. A great advantage with a Kelim is that some varieties are double sided and can be turned if they get dirty, which increases their lifespan.

The Moldovan Kelims are easily recognisable, mainly due to the special rose patterns that characterise the carpets. Often referred to as Rose Kelims they usually have slightly darker base colours, and the roses are red and pink with green elements in the leaves.

In Turkey there is also a long tradition of weaving Kelims and they are currently sold under a variety of names on the market today, such as Kars, Van, Balkan, Malatya and Sakröy.

Detailed photo of the back of a kilim Sumakh.

When making a Kelim the patterns are created by the weft yarns and the pattern in the carpet is created when you turn the actual yarn. When you turn the yarn a small cavity is created which should not be too large. Using this technique creates the traditional step-like pattern that characterises Kelims and the carpet looks the same on both sides. Normally the yarn ends are hidden, but there are other ways of producing Kelims where the yarns hang freely on the back of the carpet, for example, Kelim Sumakh (see image to the side).

When manufacturing Kelims only natural materials are used such as wool, and sometimes with a touch of silk in the slightly finer Kelims. The colouring of the yarn comes from plants and minerals that contribute to the natural and beautiful hues in the carpets. The choice of materials gives the carpets a long life and today you will find both antique and semi-antique Kelims although they may be a bit harder to locate.

Some examples of Afghani Kilims:

Some examples of Moldavian Rose kilims:

Some examples of Turkish Kelims:

Kelim Patchwork

Kelim Patchworks are hand-woven carpets that are formed by joining new and older Kelims, saddle bags, and sections from nomadic tents. These are cut into smaller pieces and sewn together in new and excitingly unique designs and sizes for both modern homes and older settings.

These carpets originate mainly from the nomads of Iran, but you will also find Turkish variations of these exquisite rugs. A common theme for the carpets is that the colours and patterns match and have been specially selected, and the beautiful designs also have a smooth back sewn on. The carpets, which are made of natural materials, have numerous applications and can be used to great effect on the floor, as bedspreads, picnic blankets or as wall hangings, which applies to all types of Kelim.

Some examples of Kelim Patchworks:

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