“Ancient Olympians” was a topic on BBC Radio 4 this morning, and it inspires your scribe to present Patricia Urquiola’s delightful horse motif rug from her Sardinian collection for Moroso. The human/horse bond is ancient as is the weave technique specified by Urquiola. But there is a third “ancient” reason for today’s motif.

We are giddy after yesterday’s silver medal win by Britain’s five-member equestrian eventing team. Team member Mary King isn’t “ancient” but she is older than the average Olympian and shares the same birth year as Urquiola. We say Tchin Tchin Mary and team mates!

Urquiola’s rugs are handmade in the classical Sardinian technique “pibiones” and “monolevel”, according to the myriad websites mentioning the collection. The words are accurate, but they don’t fully explain the technique. Classical Sardinian carpets – “artigianato tessile Sardo” – are woven on ‘monolevel” or horizontal looms, and “a pibiones” (in English “grains”) describes a technique used in the central and eastern areas of the island where rows of high relief tight loops lie on a same colour or contrasting shade background. The loops are prominent and do indeed look like neat rows of “grains”.

The website of ISOLA, the association that represents Sardinian weavers, describes “a pibiones” as “twisting the yarn around a needle which is arranged in a horizontal position on the loom; the needle is then pulled away, thereby creating a raised effect (grains). These grains are fastened by the weft threads and are fixed in position by one or more strokes of the beater.” Your scribe thinks this description sounds similar to the embroidery technique “french knots” where raised lines and shapes are created by holding the needle parallel to the fabric while pressing and holding the knot as the thread “tail” is pulled through the fabric. DJ

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