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Bands of Oblique Interlacing

Oblique interlacing has been used for durable end finishes that protect both the warps and wefts. Such a band is finger-woven after a rug is removed from the loom.

Starting at one side of a rug, the weaver holds a few warps taut and interlaces each warp yarn through them sideways in turn. Instead of working with single yarns, as in the diagram, she may use two or more together as a unit, packing them tightly. With this finish, the loose warp ends can be left where they emerge inward, toward the body of the rug. These may appear on either the front of a rug or the back, depending upon which side was up when the interlacing was done.

At the beginning of an obliquely-interlaced band, the first interlaced warp unit lies parallel with the end of the rug. The next warp units begin to slant upward, and soon they are consistently diagonal. The back and front of these bands look about the same: the yarn segments are all neatly aligned, and the outside edge has a trim, braided look.  The beginning end of such a band slopes downward, while the other slants outward and may be finished with overhand knots or braids.

To distinguish an obliquely-interlaced band from other types, simply tug at one of the loose projecting warp ends and see what moves within the band. You should be able to follow the path of an individual yarn as it travels diagonally toward the edge, weaving over and under the warps it intersects. It may help to fold the band on a slight diagonal to more clearly expose the interlacing yarns.

West Perisan Kilim
4'11" x 10' (232 cm x 473 cm).  Late 19th century.

PRIMARY STRUCTURES:  Dovetailing (1/1) and slit tapestry (dovetailed field, slit-tapestry borders).
SECONDARY STRUCTURES:  Narrow borders of 3-span, 2-color twining with heavy groups of 3-4 wool singles.  Soumak wrapping of pattern outlines in the border.
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  2-ply ivory wool; 7 per inch (28 per dm).
WEFT:  2 wool singles;  20-26 per inch (79-102 per dm).
SELVAGES:  1 pair of warps.

UPPER END FINISH:  1.5 cm-wide obliquely interlaced band.
LOWER END FINISH:  Twined heading cord. (See Heading Cord page for photo.)

[MM-1825.  M. Mallett]


This obliquely interlaced band is narrow, but sturdy because each pair of warps has been woven sideways through nine warp pairs.  The back looks the same, except that it has no emerging warp ends. The edge has a neat 'braided' look.  The two-colored borders above are twined with thick groups of wool singles.  (Front)

At the end of an obliquely interlaced band, something must be done with the last warp ends. Here they have been braided in four separate groups, then finished with overhand knots.  Other times they are made into a single braid or are simply knotted. (Front)
"Kars/Kazak" Knotted-Pile Rug. Northeastern Turkey or South  Caucasus
44" x 75"  (173 cm x 295 cm).

STRUCTURE:  Symmetrical knots.  H: 5.5, V: 8,  44 per square inch. (H: 22/dm, V: 32/dm, 704 per square dm.)
No warp depression.
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  3-ply gray wool.
WEFT:  2-ply blue wool;  4 picks, crossed between sheds.
PILE:  2 wool singles.
ATTACHED SELVAGES:  3 warp units (one free-floating [2] and two integral), interlaced in 2 groups by rust, ivory or blue 2-ply wool in sections. The blue ground wefts cross the selvage yarns in some areas.

UPPER END FINISH:  Obliquely interlaced band.
LOWER END FINISH:  Warp loops.

[AA-3225.  Allan Arthur]

Rugs from the northeastern part of Anatolia and the southern Caucasus present many problems of attribution, as do Kurdish rugs from the Caucasus.  Structural features like crossed wefts and attached selvages are used in only some production from  these areas and along with specialized end finishes may eventually prove helpful in isolating groups. 


3-warp groups interlace here with 4 units.  As with the kilim above, this band was worked from the rug's front, and so the warp ends emerge on the front.  The end of the band where such interlacing began is always slanted. 
West Anatolian Rug.
4'2"x 6'7" (127 cm. x 200 cm.)  Second half, 20th century.

STRUCTURE:  Symmetrical knots.  H: 5.5, V: 7, 38 per square inch (H: 22/dm, V: 28/dm, 618 per square dm). Severe warp depression and ribbed back. 
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  3-ply ivory wool.
WEFT:  2 dark brown wool singles; 2 shots.
PILE:  2 thick wool singles; height: 1 cm.
SELVAGES:  1 warp (free floating) and the first pair of integral, knotted warps, are interlaced by red wool singles.

UPPER END FINISH:  Plain weave;  narrow band of oblique interlacing (with heavy groups of 5-6 warps), finished with a thick, heavy three-strand braid.
LOWER END FINISH:  Plain weave; 2/1 soumak; long warp loops. (See the Warp Loop page for photo.)

[DD-104.  Daniel Deschuyteneer]

Here a narrow band of oblique interlacing has been worked with heavy groups of warps--5 or 6 together.   Because each group is woven sideways for a very short distance,  only interlacing with two warp groups, this band is not secure.  This example is included to show a degenerate form of the construction;  older rugs typically display more intricate interlacing.   (Front)


The back of the same interlaced finish, with the warps upward, as they emerged after interlacing.  This finish was worked from the back.

Interlaced bands this narrow are easily confused with the much more secure half-hitch finishes.  See the page on Half-Hitch Bands for comparisons.
Meshkin or Ardabil Knotted Pile Carpet. NW Persia
4'4" x 9'5" (205 cm x 445 cm).  Circa 1930.

STRUCTURE:  Symmetrical knots.  H: 4.5, V: 6, 27 per square inch (H: 20/dm, V: 24/dm, 480 per square dm). No warp depression.  Stacked knots used for design articulation.

SECONDARY STRUCTURE:  2-color, 2-span twining for narrow borders.
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  2-ply ivory wool.
WEFT:  2 blue or red wool singles; 2 picks, crossed between sheds.
PILE:  2, 3 or 4 wool singles; primarily 2, but varied to equalize uneven spinning.
SELVAGES, LEFT: 5 warp units, RIGHT: 5 warp units; reinforced in two groups (3,2 and 2,2) with red wool singles. Incomplete coverage of the blue ground wefts in many places.

LOWER END FINISH: Band of oblique interlacing; 2-color, 2-span twining and plain weave.
[AA-21085. Allan Arthur]

This narrow band of obliquely interlaced warps is secure  because its 3-warp groups interlace sideways over and under 5 groups of warps.  The fringe emerges on the upper back side of the band.

As in the kilim above, two-color twining has been used decoratively. This red and yellow twined row is edged with two blue plain-weave wefts.  The artisan has effectively repeated the red and yellow twining sequence in a narrow pile border.
Malatya Cicim. Eastern Anatolia.
6' x 10'5"  (284 cm x 493 cm).  19th century.

PRIMARY STRUCTURES:  Overlay-underlay brocade, with 3/1 interlacing predominating;  weft-faced plain-weave bands; slit tapestry bands. Woven in two panels.
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  2-ply brown wool; 12 per inch.
GROUND WEFT:  Wool singles; 2 picks between rows of brocading.
BROCADING WEFT:  2-ply wool; 19 per vertical inch.
TAPESTRY WEFT:  2 wool singles. 

SELVAGES:  1 set of paired warps.
END FINISHES:  Obliquely interlaced bands, 3/4" wide. Warp ends are corded, then pairs of cords tied, then cabled, and finally finished with overhand knots.
[MM-1509.  M. Mallett]


For this interlaced band, 4-warp groups interlace a long way sideways-- through 12 groups of warps-- making this a very secure band.  In this rather elaborate finish, the groups of the short upward- emerging plied warps have been corded, pairs of cords have been tied together, then they have been cabled and finished with overhand knots. 

South Persian Moj ('Jajim')
5' x 7'5" (236 cm x 351 cm)

STRUCTURE:  Double-interlocked twill tapestry. Woven in two panels.
SECONDARY STRUCTURE:  Countered rows of 2-color twining. 
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  2-ply wool, in dark blue, rust, ivory, light blue green and gold;  23 warps per inch (91 per dm).
WEFT:  2 wool singles.
SELVAGES:  4-warp unit, overcast by the variously colored wefts.

FINISH ON ONE END:  5/8" band of oblique interlacing.
[AA-3802.  Allan Arthur]


On this South Persian moj, the variously colored warps make an attractive obliquely-interlaced band.  The diagonal path of the interlacing is especially clear here:  notice the path taken by the group of yellow-orange warps on the right, for example. Or the red or white warps.  The ends all emerge on the back of the weaving.  In this piece, 4-warp units interlace with 6 groups of warps.
Kurdish "BabyBag." Van/Hakkari area of SE Anatolia.  36 cm. wide by 38 cm. high, plus 55 cm.-long fringe

STRUCTURE:  Warp-faced plain weave (with vertical, warp-wise stripes).
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  2-ply wool, various colors; 33 per inch.
WEFT:  2-ply gray brown wool; 10 per inch.
SELVAGE:  No special treatment.

END FINISH: Band of oblique interlacing. Warp ends corded to make long fringes. At each side, 3 groups of warps are braided together.
[DD-143.  Mehmet Kiliç, Tribal Gallery
                 Analysis:   D. Deschuyteneer]


This very trim obliquely interlaced band was made after the woven panel was folded and stitched together to form a triangular shaped bag. Since the band crossed the seam, it strengthened the construction.

Large groups of the two-ply warps were corded to make long fringe, while groups at the sides formed sturdy three-strand braids.
Kurdish Knotted-Pile Rug. NW Persia
3'7" x 5'9"  (169 cm x 272 cm)

STRUCTURE:  Symmetrical knots.  H: 5, V: 7, 35 per square inch. (H: 20/dm, V: 28/dm, 560 per square dm.) No warp depression.
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  2-ply tan wool.
WEFT: 4 tan/gray wool singles; 1 shot.
PILE:  2 wool singles.
SELVAGES:  2 warp units (2,2), overcast with light brown wool singles.

UPPER END FINISH:  Thin and flat 1.5 cm obliquely interlaced band. 3-span, 2-color twining decorates a brown, balanced plain-weave band.
LOWER END FINISH:  Twined heading cord. 3-span, 2-color twining decorates a brown, balanced plain-weave band.

[AA-9744.  Allan Arthur]


Although this is a coarsely knotted rug, the obliquely interlaced band is very refined.  It is a thin, flat and superbly constructed finish.   Pairs of warps interlace with 12 warp units. 

A balanced, plain-weave band above the warp end finish is decorated with 3-span twining.  

"Kars/Kazak" Knotted-Pile Rug. Northeastern Turkey or Southern Caucasus
4'5" x 6'6" (209 cm x 307cm)

STRUCTURE:  Symmetrical knots.  H:6, V: 8, 48 knots per square inch. (H: 24/dm, V:32/dm, 768 per square dm.)  No warp depression.
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  4-ply gray wool.
WEFT:  2-ply rust wool;  2, 3 or 4 picks; crossed between sheds, sometimes crossing the rows of knots.
PILE:  2 wool singles.
ATTACHED SELVAGES:  4 warp units, 2-free-floating units (2,2), and 2 integral units (1,1), interlaced by variously colored 2-ply wool yarns in 3 pairs.

UPPER END FINISH:  1.5 cm obliquely interlaced band.
LOWER END FINISH:  1½" warp loops.

[AA-10-1053.  Allan Arthur]


3-warp groups interlace sideways with 5 units to make this band, emerging on the rug's front. 

Beyond its warp and weft materials, the combination of several features in a rug like this are notable:  its interlaced band, warp loops, crossed wefts, and attached selvages.   AA-3325, toward the top of this page,  shares these structural features.   
Malayer Knotted Pile Carpet.  Iran
51" x 82"  (129.5 cm x 208 cm)

STRUCTURE:  Symmetrical knots.  H: 8, V: 9, 72 per square inch.  (H: 32/dm, V: 35/dm, 1120 per square dm).  Lavish use of weft inlays. No warp depression.
SECONDARY STRUCTURE:  2-color, 3-span twining in several rows. 
YARN SPIN:  Z.
WARP:  6-ply white cotton.
WEFT:  multi-ply cotton; 1 shot.
PILE:  2 wool singles.
SELVAGES:  3 warp units (2,3,1), overcast with lavender wool singles. 

UPPER END FINISH:  ½" obliquely interlaced band.
LOWER END FINISH:  Twined heading cord. (See the Twining page for another photo.)

[KK-25745.  Ken Kashani]

Here pairs of thin cotton warps interlace sideways through 7 warp units, making a very tight, small band.  These warps lie in nearly horizontal positions.  The ends emerge inward on the back, where they have been left about ¼ inch long.  The starting point on such a band is always slanted or curved.

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