There are many different ways of weaving a rug, and while hand knotted is the most prestigious and well know rug construction, the majority of rugs in our homes are less expensive constructions, such as hand tufted or machine woven. Each construction has their own respective durability and defining characteristics.
The original and authentic method of production that is still followed today. Every piece is unique and reflects the individual skill and technique of the weaver. The quality and very often the cost are determined by the number of knots per square inch. Complex patterns require very dense knotting and it can take a long time to produce. Hand knotted rugs will last for many years and are ideal for high traffic areas.
This is a more affordable alternative to hand knotted rugs. The quality and price depend mainly on what quality of fibre is used. Hand tufted rugs are made using a ‘gun’, a hand operated tool that punches strands of yarn into a stretched canvas. The design of the rug is stencilled onto the canvas and the weaver fills in the pattern with the appropriate colour of fibre, just like painting with numbers. These yarns are secured with a latex glue and finished with a cloth back for a neat appearance. This type of construction gives a neatly unlimited variety of patterns, colours and textures. The most common types are wool and viscose.
This is a precise manual weaving technique that can produce shaggy rugs, flatweaves or piled rugs. The main yarns used for this type of construction are wool, polyester and cotton. Sometimes also know as hand loom rugs, the basic premise of the weave is to intersect vertical warp threads with horizontal weft threads. To create the pile, the fibre is wrapped around a special rod during the weaving process and then cut to ensure equal pile height. Designs tend to be more limited due to the linear nature of the weaving process.
This is the most affordable rug construction, it is most commonly associated with synthetic yarns like polyester and polypropylene. Rug patterns are held on computers which control the design, colour and texture so there is little chance of error in production. Modern machines are capable of creating highly complex designs but there are production restrictions. In a machine made collection the rugs restricted to a particular set of colours so that the machines can run at maximum efficiency. Common machine types include Wilton and jacquard looms.
In more recent times additional techniques have been established to enhance weaving constructions. Most common of these is printing. There are 2 main printing processes that can be used to add design to base carpets.
A series of fine mesh screens are created to represent the colours in the design. There is one screen for each colour. The mesh is placed on the rug and then a selected dye colour is passed through the mesh onto the carpet below. The ink penetrates the exposed area of each screen and leaves a replicable design on the surface of the rug. This process is repeated for each colour until the final design is completed. This process allows for relatively complex designs to be added to basic carpets.