Rug manufacturing methods
There are three different methods in which a rug is constructed:
Hand Knotted – This ancient technique has been used for over 1,000 years. Made famous by Turkish and Persian artisans, these rugs are woven on vertical looms. The rug is created by knotting the yarn to a cross section of warp (threads of the rug running vertically) and weft (threads running horizontally) tightly wrapped to a wooden or metal frame (the loom). The knotting process is incredibly slow and requires years of training and experience. An average weaver can tie about 10,000 knots a day. Master rug makers are artists in the truest sense, and their work should be viewed as such.
Hand Tufted – This technique was developed as an alternative to hand knotting, greatly speeding up rug production. First the design is stencilled on to a piece of canvas tightly stretched across a frame. Then, using a Tufting Gun, yarn is passed through the canvas in a ‘V’ shape. Once the tufting is complete, the rug is removed from the frame and a scrim fabric is glued to the back to hide the tufting ends. Cheaper than their hand knotted cousins due to the lower labour and skill requirements, they are also in turn less durable.
Machine Made – The fastest and most efficient way to make a rug using modern machines and technology, Machine-made rugs are constructed through thousands of reels of thread that are fed into one giant mechanical loom, which quickly weaves the rug in the chosen pattern. Multiple rugs can be made at the same time, though there are limits to the amount of colours that can be used in one rug (usually about 8-10 colours). Machine made rugs range in price and quality and have served to make it an affordable luxury in your home.
How do you differentiate between rug types?
Simple – Grab a corner of the rug. Fold it first one way and then the other.
What did you notice?
Machine made rugs are easy to fold in one direction, but not the other. Hand knotted rugs are soft and supple and fold easily in either direction. They nearly always have a natural fringe, or edging, which is woven into the rug and not sewn or glued on. Tufted rugs are the easiest to identify – just look for a plain cloth covering the entire back of the rug.
Pile Rugs and flat weaves
Pile is the soft projecting surface of the carpet or rug, made up of many individual threads. Rugs and carpets made without pile are called flat weaves.
- Pile Rugs (like plush carpets) feel soft when you run your hand over them. The longer the pile, the softer it feels, but the design and patterning can lose some definition.
- Flat-weave (No pile) – are easy to make and hard to the touch. They are lightweight, durable and inexpensive. Suited better for entrance ways and high traffic areas.