21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C.

"...the geometry is the light..."

You can't truly practice the grid arts until you fall in love with the knot, the stitch, the slow rhythm of emerging creation, the endless amount of time it takes to manifest the colors, the structure, the pattern, one unit at a time. In Notes on Carpet Knotting and Weaving, Tattersall begins his analysis of knotting: "Geometrically considered, [carpet] knots are of three kinds, which, however, have several minor modifications." p.15. He clearly illustrates each step of his enquiry with hand drawn illustrations:

Single Warp Knot
Ghiordes or Turkish with one level warp
Ghiordes two level warp
Ghiordes two level warp
Sehna or Persian knot, right hand, one level warp
Sehna left hand, one level warp
Sehna right hand, two level warp
Sehna left hand, two level warp
Tapestry, two lines weft
Selvage twined weft, ends of carpets
Soumak right to left
Soumak left to right
Uncut velvet pile, "Brussels"
Cut velvet pile, "Wilton"
Machine-made carpet pile
Warp thread taken singly to weave in metal thread
Slightly sinuous weft, one level warp
Very sinuous weft,two level warp

Following are several passages that will give you the pragmatic flavor of this excellent little book on


"In order that carpets may efficiently answer the purposes for which they are required, they must be substantial fabrics specially adapted to resist hard wear. They must be strong enough to withstand the stresses which handling and moving about causes in a heavy object, as well as the continual pressure and friction to which the surface is subjected when in use." p.7

"The labour of making a carpet depends rather on the number of knots it contains than on its actual size, and so wide is the variation in texture that one carpet may entail more than twenty times the work of another of similar dimensions. There is little advantage in pushing the fineness very far. Pleasing textures can be obtained with 25 knots to the square inch; 50 will meet all ordinary requirements; while 100 may be regarded as the limit that can be reached under Western ideas of the value of time." " p.20

Tattersall's Carpet Knotting and Weaving

is one of those elegantly penned, utterly simple fine old books
written on exotic subjects. Read it if you have a chance. It is in a class with

Kates' Chinese Household Furniture
Means' A Study of Peruvian Textiles

-- three treasures of leisurely understatement, modest percision and old-fashioned grace.

Images copyright © C.E.C. Tattersall 196l

C.E.C. Tattersall's work was first published in 1920; the Fourth Impression with amendments in 1961


The Victoria and Albert Museum

In his graceful modesty, Tattersall's name is not even noted on the cover

Other Websites that deal with knotting and weaving include:
Weaving and Knotting
Knotting in DNA
Eastrn Persia,
Turkish Carpet Weaving Demonstration
and don't miss what the physicists have to say about knotting and linking at
Series on Knots and Everything

21st Century Art, C.E. - B.C., A Context

Copyright © Jan Haag 2000

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu