This is a comprehensive guide to flokati rugs. You can listen (above) or read (below).
If you want to be an expert on this type of rug, then continue reading. At the end, you will know more than most people on earth! This is the joy of a specialized subject.
You will learn how to identify the best value flokati rugs from the huge variety that are available to buy today.
Use the menu to skip directly to the section that you find the most interesting.
What Is A Flokati ?
I was surprised to discover that it seems to be a modern invention. This is according to the various online dictionaries and encyclopedias.
From their definitions, a flokati must be a rug which is Greek, woolen and shaggy. It is not clear if it must be made in Greece or just of Greek style. Greece was where the design was first manufactured.
Merriam Webster : a handwoven Greek woolen rug with a thick shaggy pile — called also flokati
First Known Use of flokati rug
1967, in the meaning defined above
History and Etymology for flokati rug
Modern Greek phlokatē
English Oxford Living Dictionaries:
A Greek woven woolen rug with a thick loose pile.
1960s: from modern Greek phlokatē .
Dictionary.com: a thick, woolen rug with a shaggy pile, originally handwoven in Greece.
1965–70; < Modern Greek phlokátē a blanket or sleeveless cape of shaggy cloth < Balkan Romany; compare Aromanian flucat shaggy, fleecy < Vulgar Latin; see floccus, -ate1
The thing that separates a flokati rug from other shaggy wool rugs is that the pile also forms the base. A regular shaggy rug will usually have a base made out of cotton with the pile woven on to that base.
Origins And Etymology
Greece is the birthplace of one of the most influential and important historical works of all time: the flokati rug.
The story goes that some of the villagers of Greece, were merchants and shepherds. They bred goats and sheep as the main source of trade and goods. The shepherds have raised their flock of sheep for dairy products. Sheep produced high-quality products such as cheese and milk.
Around the 5th century, the shepherds began using sheep’s wool to protect themselves during the cold winter months, when the temperature could drop below freezing. The first forms of flokati were hairy or clump-like the modern rugs because the shepherds hadn’t yet realized the full potential of the wool.
The Greek shepherds left one of their woven woolen blankets unattended in the fast flowing waters of a mountain stream for nearly two days. When the shepherds remembered it, they returned to the creek. They noticed that the yarn had felted and, above all, made a thick fluffy layer.
This was the first fully flowering flokati carpet. The shepherds had the idea that the fluff they had relied on to stay warm would become a luxury to millions of people around the world over centuries.
Was is a discovery or an invention ?
When the real flokati was discovered, word of the new creation spread throughout Greece. Flokati quickly became a universal product. It has been used for many purposes, including blankets, linen, floors and even clothing.
Flokati were useful in villages by villagers in Greece for a long time before it’s popularity on the international scene exploded.
The islands and beautiful landscapes of Greece have become an increasingly popular place for tourists from all over the world.
As people flocked to the Greek islands, they were subjected to the customs and history of Greek culture, including flokati. As tourism grew in the mid-20th century and travel became easier, the rugs were introduced to the rest of Europe and the USA.
Flokati rugs in the UK and Sweden were held during the cultural upheaval of the 1970s, when a decade style was defined. These long pile rugs quickly became an artistic expression of the knowledge, history and contemporary design of the time. Since then, it has remained consistently popular, as we will see later on.
Flokati rugs remain an integral part of the style and design of the home textile industry. It was once a contemporary look, now it offers a retro look. It conjures stories of various traditions and customs from villagers in Greece to the revolutionary houses of the 1970s to the contemporary retro look of a modern day.
7 Properties Of Wool
1. Fire Resistant
Many of us have never had much reason to throw wool into a fire, but if you did you’d notice that it doesn’t burn well. The reason for this is that each and every wool fiber retains a certain amount of air moisture, even wool that’s several years old.
2. Moisture Wicking
It isn’t so much that wool retains moisture as it is that wool retains an ideal balance of moisture (regardless of how much or little water is exposed). In fact, wool can soak up to as much as 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling wet.
Scientifically, this can be explained as a result of the “‘crimp” design nature of wool that causes each fiber to butt up against the next, as opposed to simply laying flat in parallel with itself like other fibers. When each fiber of wool butts up against the next, air pockets form, creating a natural insulator.
3. Mildew & Mold Resistant
Another benefit of moisture wicking is that it creates a naturally anti-microbial environment. This prevents mold, mildew, and other undesirable “stinks” from ever infiltrating and destroying an otherwise luxurious fabric.
According to Woolrevolution.com, “Dust-mites don’t like wool. They prefer hot humid environments that are more common in synthetic or down products. Dust mites are on of the major causes of allergy and asthma suffering.”
5. Extremely Flexible & Durable
One wool fiber can be bent back and forth up to 20,000 times before it will eventually snap. For context, the same cotton fiber can only be bent about 3,000 times before the same will happen. The balance of air moisture retained by wool keeps it from getting brittle over time like other fibers.
6. Environmentally Friendly
Wool is essentially just the regrown hair of an animal. It is an entirely sustainable resource that requires no harm to animal or plant life. Unlike a lot of other man-made fibers, most wool is also produced organically without the use of any refinementchemical treatment along the way.
7. Wool Also Keeps You Cool
In the Sahara Desert, Bedouins wear thin wool clothing to help them keep cool in the scorching heat. The breathable “air pocket” characteristics of wool mean that sweat doesn’t weigh down your insulation layers. This causes you to feel consistently warmer the more you sweat.
While it may initially seem unorthodox to employ wool within the comfort layers of a mattress, the reality is that the same properties of wool that make it a highly versatile option for clothing designers are the exact reasons that make it such a great option for mattress building.
Spink & Edgar have been using wool as comfort layer material for over 130 years. It’s ability to regulate body temperature, wick away moisture, and prevent microbes from growing inside your mattress are all ideal factors in continuing to choose wool over more common (and less expensive) materials.
Quick Guide To Choosing The Best Value Flokati
Firstly you will need to consider what you want and how much you want to spend.
Practically, it is not impossible that a flokati made outside of Greece should not be just as good as one made in Greece. The main advantage of one from Greece is that the factory is going to have up to 50 years of experience.
A flokati made in China, might only have 10 years of experience and they might be using a more economical process to get a similar and cost effective result. I would suggest getting one that was made in Greece.
It has to be of at least 2000 grams per square meter for there to be enough wool that the base is strong. A lighter flokati is fine so long as it has an extra base layer, usually polypropylene. If you want just wool, then you will need to get a thicker rug.
Check the type of wool used. There are different qualities. Here is a full review of different types of wool (PDF).
So long as it is pure wool, the thickness you want and made in Greece, then you just need to consider the price. It is easy to compare like for like with flokati rugs because a 2800g/m2 rug which is made in Greece is likely to be almost identical to another one from a different shop. So once the characteristics are clear, then just get the cheapest.
Cool Or Not. Are They Fashionable Now ?
Although we can only look back to 2004, rather than the 1970s, it is still interesting to see that on a global basis, the popularity of the flokati has been slowly declining.
Maybe people are just searching for shag rugs instead. I noticed that a lot of people are searching for IKEA as well. It is hard to tell whether the demand for this type of rug has decreased or if people have become less familiar with the specific name for this rug.
The most popular countries seem to be Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Lithuania there is a popular home wares store called flokati.lt , which seems to be 10 times more popular than the item itself in the other countries.
How Long Will One Last And What To Do With An Old One
Basically, it will last longer than a human lifetime. It will get less fluffy over time, and the fibers will gradually become a bit shiny. It is a bit like anything made from sheep wool. Wool is also naturally fire resistant, so you might not be able to destroy your 20 year old flokati rug by burning it.
So, once you are tired of looking at the same rug on the floor year after year, even in the guest bedroom, then what can you do with an old flokati ?
- Cut it in half. Then you can use it in two new smaller locations. With a giant pair of scissors, it is easy to cut a flokati in half.
- Turn it in to cushion covers. This is really simple and the thick pile means that the joins are well hidden. You don’t even need to add a zip.
- A coat. If you want to dress like a 1970s pimp. This would be too heavy if you used a good quality thick flokati, and wouldn’t work very well in the rain.
- Dye it. It is easy to change the colour of an old flokati rug. Depending on the size of the rug, you can dye it in a washing machine or in the bath.
How To Clean A Flokati Rug
Like all fine household products, a flokati rug requires some care and attention. But not much. Due to its construction and good quality, a flokati rug deserves more attention than your simple hand-tufted and even hand-knotted carpet.
Because the size and weight (gram) of your flokati may vary, you may need another person to complete the cleaning details such as shaking your flokati carpet. Please be careful when moving a heavy rug. Look after your back.
The basics of caring for your rug include: metal brush, cold water, fresh air or outdoors. We recommend that you do not use a vacuum cleaner.
We recommend these three simple steps to get a vibrant and full flokati rug for many years to come!
For smaller flokati (up to about 24 square meters):
Step 1: Shake your flokati. Take it outdoors and shake it to remove any loose dirt that collects in the wool hair of the deep pile.
Step 2: Lift up your flokati. Let it breathe. Leave it outdoors for a few hours to eliminate smells of indoor space. This helps the wool recover its original oxygen and improve the wool fibers. Avoid direct sunlight.
Step 3: Wash your flokati. To revitalize and rejuvenate the thickness of your flokati carpet, place your flokati in a washing machine. Set your machine to a delicate cycle. Feel free to add a touch of milder soap normally used for wool fabrics. You can also add some fabric softener if you wish. When the cycle is complete, hang up your carpet until it is completely dry.
Do not put your flokati in a dryer. Remember to avoid sunlight as directly as possible. After drying, brush it with a metal brush (dog brush). Start in the middle and work your way outwards. This will help to make it look and feel full and plush! Please note that wool hair may be hanging while brushing. This is completely normal and does not harm your flokati carpet at all.
For larger flokati rugs – generally larger than 24 square meters:
Step 1: Shake your flokati. Take your rug outdoors and shake it to remove loose dirt that collects in the wool hair. Larger rugs may need two people.
Be careful when shaking your rug. Keep it in a safe environment. If your rug is too big to be shaken with the help of another person, you can hang it on a leash and shake off your flokati rug from the corners or sides to remove any dirt or dirt that may have been collected.
Step 2: lift up your rug and let it breathe. Leave it outdoors for a few hours to eliminate smells of indoor space. This helps the wool recover its original oxygen and improve the wool fibers. Avoid direct sunlight.
Step 3: wash your flokati to revitalize and rejuvenate the thickness of your rug, spray it with cold water. This is best achieved with a spray bottle. Then brush your rug with a metal brush (dog brush), start in the middle and work your way outwards.
After brushing, shake the flokati carpet at the corners. This allows the water to reappear and form fog. Let the carpet dry before putting it back in and walking. Please note that wool hair from your flokati rug may be hanging while brushing. This is completely normal and does not harm your rug at all.
If you follow these instructions, it will ensure that you will enjoy a thick, rug for years to come!
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