Another big job of the winter clean is rolling the carpets. You will have seen the picture of us rolling the large central hall carpet in our blog post when we first started our winter clean. That carpet was the first of many in the house that needed to rolled and covered for the winter months. There are more than 20 rugs on display at Polesden Lacey and many more in storage. We roll each rug at the end of every season to give the pile a rest, after a bumper year of visitor numbers, they really deserve a good rest.
So whats so complicated about rolling a rug? When I told people how many attempts it took to roll the central hall carpet (approximately 3) they gave me a strange look and inquired why it took us so long. Imagine you have accidentally unwound a roll of wrapping paper, if you do not roll it back up correctly you may get squashed paper at the ends or creases in the middle of the roll. The same thing can happen to a carpet or rug, it is important that the carpet is rolled and stored correctly to prevent creases or folds damaging the pile.
The first thing we have to do when rolling a carpet or rug is to clean it. We give it a thorough vacumn on both sides.
Once the rug has been flipped and vacuumed on each side we can look at which way the rug needs to be rolled. It is important to roll the carpet in the direction of the pile from the top of the carpet to prevent damage during storage. You can tell which end is the top by stroking the pile, the pile can be stroked smoothly away from top to bottom. We then cover the rug in acid free tissue paper before we start to roll.
A plastic tube is lined up on the end of the rug, if the rug has tassels these are carefully smoothed out to ensure they don’t get squashed in the process of rolling. Then the carpet rolling begins. With any carpet it is important to keep an eye on it as you go. Tension is key when rolling a carpet, you want to keep it firm and make sure that you are rolling it straight to avoid creating any overhang or creases. At Polesden Lacey, many of our rugs are not quite rectangular or square, so often we need to put in a little padding (more acid free tissue paper) to make sure that the rug is still straight on the roll.
When you have completed the roll the rug is covered again in acid free tissue paper and covered with a clean dust sheet. We attach a photograph of the rug with the inventory number so we know exactly which rug it is. the end of the tubes are then supported on wooden blocks, keeping the roll off the floor.
It may seem like a simple job but rolling carpets is an important and time consuming aspect of our job. We have done over half of the rugs now, with the rugs in the Gold Room, Tea Room and Billiard Room still to go! One of the wonderful things about this particular task is how much it makes you appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of the rugs. Next time you pay us a visit, take a look down at the ground and admire the beautiful carpets -a work of art in their own right!