Hand-knotted rugs are truly works of art. Each is as unique as a Rembrandt, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece made of love, sweat, and fabric. These wool or silk rugs are creations you can be proud to add to your estate and pass down to the next generation as family heirlooms.
Some people insist that a hand-knotted rug is impractical because they have young children or pets. Others claim that only the colors and patterns of their rugs are important, not the source. Still others decry the price of a hand-knotted rug and question the value.
As you rifle through a rack of hand-knotted rugs, consider the work that went into each piece. A skilled weaver may have spent as long as a year tying each knot. Large hand-knotted rugs often require a team of experienced weavers working for months to achieve the intricate patterns found in these tightly knotted floor coverings. If you don’t want to throw just anything onto your floors, a hand-knotted rug can add grace to any surface.
In addition to the superior workmanship, you will find other benefits associated with hand-knotted rugs:
Ever wonder how rug weavers create the intricate designs in hand-knotted rugs? Our friend and supplier, Jaipur Rugs, has put together this short video that shows how their weavers use songs to convey the proper colors and design sequence to be used while hand knotting these beautiful masterpieces!
Handmade Rugs 101 Series
The Whats of Weave
Skilled weavers create handmade rugs, not machines. And, as we mentioned in earlier articles, it’s a complicated process. With this post, we wanted to give you a peek at the weavers’ loom lives and try to briefly explain the different ways a rug can be woven.
But before we dive into the topic, there are a few bits of rug lingo you may need to know:
Pile: The visible surface of a rug. It’s also known as the “face” or “nap.”
Tuft: The projections of yarn that create the pile of a “tufted” rug.
Warp and weft: Warp refers to the parallel yarn strands that run vertically on a loom. Warp threads that extend beyond the edge of a rug create stylistic fringe. Weft refers to the yarns that are woven horizontally through the warps to form the face of the rug.
We’ve pasted some handy diagrams below to help better explain, too.
Handmade Rugs 101 Series
What is Knot Density?
Knot density refers to the number of knots per square inch, or square decimeter, of rug. (A decimeter is 10 centimeters, or roughly 4 inches.)
Handmade rugs with high knot density can take even a highly trained weaver months or longer to create alone. A skilled rug maker can tie a knot in about 10 seconds, which translates to an average of 360 knots per hour. Imagine that an experienced weaver needs to create a 9’x12’ rug with a density of 150 knots per inch. He or she is looking at a 6,480-hour endeavor! (Rugs of this size are normally completed by two or more weavers.) Handmade rugs can have a knot density upwards of 1,000 knots per inch, although these are rare. Talk about a labor of love!
Should knot density influence my rug search?
It’s always a good idea to inquire about the knot density of a rug you’re considering purchasing, as it can give you a feel for that rug’s journey. But remember that while knot density can be an indicator of quality or durability in many handmade rugs, it’s not definitively the case. It is, however, a big factor in regard to rug pattern, specifically an intricate pattern like a floral design. A patterned rug with a low knot density tends to look “pixilated.” In other words, the curves of the pattern look choppy, not smooth. If you’re shopping for a rug with a simple pattern or none at all, knot density need not be as much of a concern during your selection process.
This post is part of our “Handmade Rugs 101” series. To see all posts in the series, CLICK HERE.