The most popular of flat-weaves is called the Kilim. Kilim rugs (along with jewelry, clothing and animals) are important for the identity and wealth of nomadic tribes-people. In their traditional setting Kilims are used as floor and wall coverings, horse-saddles, storage bags, bedding and cushion covers.
Flat woven carpets are given their color and pattern from the weft which is tightly intertwined with the warp. Rather than an actual pile, the foundation of these rugs gives them their design.
The weft is woven between the warp until a new color is needed, it is then looped back and knotted before a new color is implemented. These are also flat woven rugs. The threads in a kilim are woven across the warp, not edge to edge. The threads are woven so closely together, that the threads are invisible. They are made primarily in Turkey and Persia. The material used in these rugs is wool with a wool foundation. The patterns are geometric.
They are used as coverings for floors, walls, tables and beds. As an added feature, because of the weaving technique, the rugs are reversible.
Various forms of flat-weaves exist including:
Flatweaves are made by tribe members or by villagers for daily needs. They are named after tribes, families, villages and towns that they are made in, or even after the motifs used on them. The Yoruks and Turkomans have also placed their tribal signatures among the patterns, making these weaves cultural objects as well. The difference between a kilim area rug and a carpet or a pile rug is that whereas the design visible on the kilim is made by interweaving the variously colored wefts and warps, thus creating what is known as a flatweave, in a pile rug individual short strands of different color, usually of wool, are knotted onto the warps and held together by pressing the wefts tightly against each other. In this case the whole design is made by these separately knotted strands which form the pile, and the patterns become clearly visible after any excessive lengths of the knotted materials are shorn off to create a level surface.
Having thus differentiated between a kilim rug (pileless) and a carpet (with pile) you might think that's all there's to it. Well, not quite.
All of you - all of us - interested in the subject have wandered the cyber byways and noticed that the seemingly simple matter of finding the proper definition of a kilim rug can lead to confusion. Let's take a look at 'kilim' entries in two online sources generally taken for granted as reliable,
"pileless floor covering handwoven by tapestry techniques in Anatolia, the Balkans, or parts of Iran. In the rest of Iran, the Caucasus, and Turkistan, the name for similar pieces is palaz. In most kilims, a slit occurs wherever two colours meet along a vertical line in the pattern, but in a few Karabagh or South Caucasian pieces, interlocking methods are employed in order to minimize these slits.
Iran, have produced the largest kilims, usually in two narrow pieces joined, as well as small ones and a multitude of prayer kilims. As a prayer rug, which is carried about with the worshiper, the light and extremely flexible kilim offers obvious advantages. In Irans kilims, cotton is often used for the white areas, and small details may be brocaded. such as the black, red, and white kilims of Pirot. The name kilim is also given to a variety of brocaded, embroidered, warp-faced, and other flat-woven rugs and bags."