Aug 8, 2018

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The Most Common Weaving Techniques of Handmade Rugs

The Most Common Weaving Techniques of Handmade Rugs

Rugs are made in a variety of weaving techniques, some of which are too unusual and esoteric to mention here, if you want more info see The most usual are handmade or hand knotted, hand or machine tufting and machine made or power loomed. See ‘Types of Rugs’ for more detail of each type.

Handmade piled rugs are just that- an artisan made type of floor covering where the design is made by weaving row upon row of individually tied knots. In between each row a locking weft thread is inserted and beaten down with a metal or wooden claw to compact the yarn and to make for a sturdy rug. There are four main types of techniques used involving the way the knot is tied.

The Turkish knot is used in Turkey, the Caucasus and the Turkic countries of Central Asia and the cut ends of the knot emerge between the middle of the two warp – longitudinal base – threads. For this reason it is also called a symmetrical knot.

The Persian, or asymmetrical knot, is formed by wrapping the yarn around only one warp thread and the other end is open to the left or right. This means that a finer closer weave can be accomplished as more knots can be woven in every square inch or metre.

Please note that the type of knot or the amounts of knots in a rug are no real indicator of price, quality or expected longevity. It is a factor but the quality of materials and dyes is far more important.

 A third knot is called Jufti and is sadly quite prevalent in lower priced – or unscrupulous sellers commissioning more expensive – rugs from many countries. Either the Persian or Turkish knot is tied around more than two warp – longitudinal – threads which makes the weaving process far quicker but results in an inferior floppier rug.

Lastly, the Tibetan knot forms a piled rug finish when the yarn is passed around a metal gauge rod before the continuous yarn thread is cut and the rod pulled out of the side of the rug so they fall into place. A weft thread is then inserted as usual before the next row is started

Flatwoven or non-piled rugs.

 This is a category of weavings which do not have a pile so the feel and texture is less luxurious. They are handmade by inserting the latitudinal weft threads between the longitudinal warp threads but go back upon themselves to form blocks of design and colour. The space in-between leaves a small slit (hence the name ‘slit-weave)’ so when you hold them up to the light you see these gaps.  There is also a variation called Soumak where the weft is wrapped around two or four warps which makes for a slightly raised oblique texture and look. Aubusson technique rugs and tapestries are made using the basic slit weave process..

Other rugs are woven using needlepoint and cross-stitching techniques which will be discussed in another article.