One of the things that make hand woven rugs so beautiful is the visual texture of the rug. Part of this texture comes from the natural abrash of the rug.
Abrash is a word that describes the natural color variations that occur between the various strands of wool used to make the rug. The difference in the texture of the wool being used and the type of dye can cause this variation.
When looking for abrash on your wool rug, it can be identified as a striped appearance in areas of the same color on a rug. These stripes are not considered a flaw in the rug but are a natural result of the way the rug is woven. Even if wool is dyed in the same batch of wool in the same exact way, the wool will still have subtle variations in color and texture. It’s usually more noticeable on the front side of a rug because the front is exposed to higher traffic. Cleaning can also make abrash seem more visible because of the removal of dirt that can dull the rug and cause the colors to look more uniform. Since handmade rugs are truly one of a kind pieces, you would expect there to be natural variations from rug to rug. Abrash is one of those characteristics that give your rug its own unique personality.
Abrash is in every hand knotted rug, but it’s generally more noticeable in tribal rugs. The dyes used in tribal rugs are often made of widely varying natural materials including plants and insects, so there can be great variation in color from batch to batch.
Abrash is less noticeable in city rugs because they’re generally made in larger facilities and use wool that is more processed and often dyed with commercially produced dyes.