Many people have asked lately, "Carpetblogger! Where are all the textiles?" It is true, I have not bought one since October, in Afghanistan. There are many explanations for this, mostly related to the slide of the American Peso and sharp spending cuts dictated by the Central Bank.
Walking home this afternoon from a leisurely "Consultant's Lunch," I spotted a pile of textiles stacked on abandoned fruit stand, tended to by an old man. I pass this fruit stand nearly every day and I can say with absolute certainty it is a place where textiles usually are not. They called to me. I had no choice but to investigate further. I pawed through the piles.
He had a few woolly blankets and wall hangings folded up in old bags, which, when opened, released pungent sheepiness. I had never seen such textiles before; neutral colored flatweave on one side, soft furry wool on the other, brushed smooth into patterns.
I asked some basic questions but assumed my Turkish has regressed even farther because I didn't really good answers from the old guy -- only that the blankets are from Siirt. Truthfully, I had no clue where that is (it's in Southeastern Turkey and the old guy probably spoke Kurdish, but it's equally plausible that my Turkish is, in fact, unintelligible).
As it turns out, they are Siirt Battaniyesi, (Siirt Blankets) and the town of Siirt is famous for them. Made from local mohair with a cotton weft. As it's woven, the backside is brushed with a metal comb across the warp to make a geometric pattern of hairy pile, different from the simple pattern on the reverse. I like them quite a lot.
Although I know it doesn't exist and it is treasonous to suggest as much, my house currently smells very much like Kurdistan. Very, very sheepy.