A traditional type of carpet making producing hard wearing flooring designed for intensive use, available in a variety of patterns and colours, from Axminster in Devon, England.

* Axminster and Wilton( although vary in method)  are the carpet weaving techniques in which the wool for the pile also becomes the backing. When carpet manufacturers talk of the Axminster type, they mean the carpet is woven without the depth of backing wool.

* The Jacquard weaving loom was adapted in order to produce a greater variety colours and patterns: coloured tufts  of yarns are selected and strategically,  individually inserted, cut to the right length, and secured in the loom bed.

* The Axminster HQ is proud of seeing the operation through from ‘fleece to floor’–treating and spinning their own fleeces and dyeing their own yarn, as they always have. They started weaving as early as 1755 and quickly rose to popularity. When a fire destroyed everything in 1835 work carried on at the Wilton factory, and it wasn’t until 1937 that production in Axminster itself started up again.

* Axminster and Wilton carpet is graded by the row. A 7-row (per inch) will be a heavy domestic/general contract medium grade, a 10-row is a heavy contract.

* Axminster and Wilton carpets were initially woven on a 27″ body-loom (see body weave) with a selvedge at each side, and whole room,  wall to wall, carpets were always stitched together in the room.

* Body width carpet is still available and  27″ remains the traditional stair runner width.

* I like to see the joining lines in the floor-they do something very interesting in gently breaking up the surface, just as floor boards and tiles do, or the princess style seams that are intended to be visible in a dress.

* Woven into a jute weft  and a cotton warp, the tufts of wool wrap around the warp, held in place by the weft. This makes the carpet construction very tough–it is almost impossible to pull a tuft out–and soft, as the extra layer of wool on the back cushions the walk.

* These carpets should always be laid on a wool, or wool and cotton felt underlay so that the backing can bed in.

* If it’s allowed to move at all it will wear out faster. For this reason, all Wilton or Axminster area rugs should also be on a felt bed.

* Pure felt is the only type of underlay that has a chance of lasting as long as the carpet–especially if the floorboards are uneven, as the carpet will need this depth of protection.

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