A traditional type of carpet named after an eponymous city in England, where a specific weaving machine called wire loom was invented in the 18th century. Wilton carpets are double-weft woven and made with a variety of different wools, which ensure size stability and allow heavy-duty applications.

* The Wilton weave follows the same basic principle as Axminster carpets, in which the wool for the pile also becomes the backing.

* Carpet manufacturers today often talk of the Wilton type–meaning the carpet is woven in the same manner but not by the Wilton or Axminster looms, and sometimes without the depth of backing wool

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

* In contrast with Axminster carpets, Wiltons continuous weft pile only allows three colour combinations: a Wilton carpet can only be plain, with a small motif (a single or two toned scroll), or striped.

* For a carpet that will last, there’s nothing to improve on this traditional technique. We’ve come across Wilton carpet laid in old country estates almost a century ago, which only needed a good clean. Even where there are signs of wear, this type of carpet allows patching, which will bed in and disappear within a couple of years.

* The traditional velvet pile, moves in the direction of the walk, giving it a luxurious look, though there are those who find it untidy and prefer it vacuumed like a newly mown lawn.

* Wilton and Axminster 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.

* Wilton and Axminster carpets were initially woven on a 27″ body-loom (see bodyweave) 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 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 princess seams that are intended to be visible in a dress.

* Mostly cut velvet pile, also available with looped pile ( Brussels weave ).

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

* 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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