Another whirlwind Turkey textile shopping trip in the books! Somehow the last few years, the only time we have been able to visit this jewel of a place has been winter, which can certainly make things a little challenging. We were waylaid en route this trip by ferocious storms in Western Europe, getting stuck in Germany for two days. While it had its oddly charming moments, think tankers of beer, pretzels, and getting to know the Munich airport waaay too well - it was all worth it to be back in one of our favorite cities in the world.
As soon as we landed we got right to the serious business of textile shopping - trying to make up for the days we lost. We headed straight to the Istanbul location of our favorite rug dealers in Turkey before night fell. These bleached throw carpets are always popular - so great in a bathroom, kitchen, or next to the bed.
Because of our travel delay, our trip was rushrushrush. We already had tickets for the next morning to Konya, in Central Anatolia, and had to press on. Over the next two days I must have looked at thousands and thousands of rugs. Out of those endless stacks we pick dozens to make hundreds of beautiful pillows and kilim ottomans. From simple stripes...
To bold Soumacs...
To intricate cicims - here our dear friend and the very best rug dealer in all of Turkey, Huseyin helps with the endless measuring..
And even simple, vintage neutrals - here with a handwoven kilim patterned tent border that will be sewn on as trim.
To see what beautiful kilim pillows we have in stock online click here! But know we have sooo many more at TDL and will have piles more late spring when this shipment comes in!
At the end of the last day I dug through piles of these old carpet "maps." These boards have the plans for intricate rugs drawn onto grids, and are then hand-colored. This is how rug makers communicated with their weavers for ages - now of course it's all on computers - but what a waste - these are art! I am having a few of them framed for the shop - can't wait to see them hung up!
After all the rug fun we headed back to the big city and more fantastically long days of textiles and treasures. Beyond the main halls of the Grand Bazaar are myriad twisting lanes where the wholesale dealers dwell. From charming dealers tucked into centuries old, stone-lined shops, to tiny cubbies too small to even walk through upright, there are stacks of incredible finds from all over the world, not just Turkey.
Some of our selection of vintage Uzbek mirror covers we are having shadowboxed.
Meters of handwoven silk velvet ikat we are having made into lots of lovely pillows!
I bought stacks of vintage suzanis - hand embroidered Uzbek textiles that can be used as bedcovers or wallhangings.
Some, like this prayer style piece, we have cut into long lumbar pillows.
But don't worry - most we keep whole, like this big creamy one we hand carried back that is at TDL now! There are more where this beauty came in - I brought a couple of big suitcases home - come see in AZ!
We then traipsed over to Beyoglu to visit our incredible framer, who shadow boxes all of the smaller vintage textiles and other interesting oddities we find - we will have nearly 100 pieces in the collection this year! Cannot wait for them to come!
I have two of these segusha tasseled pieces that will be true showstoppers.
This one is a velvet and embroidered Turkoman child's collar - I found three of these, each unique - again - what an amazing conversation piece for the wall.
Lots of fantastic vintage tassels from Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan too - love how these end up framed - they are stunning with simple black frames and linen backs.
Now this last image might not be the most exciting - but it shows what our towel depot looks like! Piles and piles of soft Turkish towels - lots of which we already have in stock in the store - and online!
Hop over the webshop - you can see lots of lovely colors to shop there. They are perfect for spring and summer weather. I love to have a stack ready for poolside, and they make the most wonderful sarong once you're in lounging mode. When it's warm out I love them out of the shower too. They take up hardly any room in the linen cupboard and yet they are absorbent and soft.