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Colour Variations in Rugs: Abrash

One of the things that makes handwoven rugs so beautiful is their visual texture. Part of this texture comes from the natural “abrash” of the rug.

What does Abrash mean?

Abrash is a word that describes the natural colour variations that occur between the strands of wool used to make rugs. This causes a striped appearance in areas of the same colour on a rug, these stripes are not considered a flaw in the rug but a natural result of the way the rug is woven. Abrash is a result of natural variations in the wool, as well as variations in the dyes used to colour the wool.

If you were to look closely at a herd of sheep on a hillside, you’d notice that they weren’t all exactly the same colour. Each sheep’s wool has a different texture, similar to the way that different people have different types of hair. When the wool is dyed, even if it’s dyed in the same batch of dye in the same way, the wool will still have subtle variations in colour and texture. The wool also changes seasonally from year to year.

Colour variations can also be caused by the dye process. Each batch of dye is slightly different, and this can cause each batch of wool to have slightly different colours. This can happen even if the wool is the same and the dye comes from the same place.


What kind of rugs are affected?

Abrash is in every hand knotted rug but is generally more noticeable with 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 variations in colour from batch to batch. It is less noticeable in city rugs because these are generally made in larger facilities, and often use wool that is more processed and often dyed with commercially produced dyes.

Abrash is usually more visible on the front side of a rug because it’s exposed to higher traffic and the elements, it can also become more visible with age. Cleaning can also make abrash seem more visible because of the removal of dirt that can dull the rug and cause the colours 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 gives your rug its own unique personality.

If you have any questions about abrash, or any other colour variations in your rugs, give us a call on 01269 842497 or send us an email to

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