Investing in a hand knotted rug is like buying a piece of art to walk on.
They are regarded as the best type of rug you can buy as a skilled weaver ties every single knot by hand to create intricate patterns and designs.
HAND TUFTED RUGS
Hand knotted rugs are not to be confused with hand tufted rugs.
Hand tufted rugs are produced by punching the yarn into a fabric backing and are together by glue. The design of the rug is traced on the backing and and the colours are punched through accordingly. Very little skill is required for this as it’s a bit like painting by numbers but can produce a quality rug much faster than doing it by hand.
HAND KNOTTED RUGS
Producing a hand knotted rug is far more complicated as the warp (vertical) threads are tied to the loom and the weft (horizontal) runs across, intertwining with the warp to create the basis of the rug. Knots are tied to the warp threads, cut and then tied again to form a secured knot.
The warp will eventually form the fringe of the rug.
Polonaise Euston by Jan Kath
There are a few different styles of hand knotted rugs and its usually based on where in the world they are produced from.
One of the most popular is a Persian rug. A Persian knot is unsymmetrical and open on either side.
This style is deal for high knot density rugs with extremely detailed patterns.
Rugs produced in eastern Iran, Afghanistan, India and Nepal will use the Persian knot in their designs.
Shibori by Shiir Rugs
The other popular one is a Turkish knot it's symmetrical and can be identified by two small loops within one knot, also known as a double knot.
This strong, symmetrical knot makes for a very consistent pile and is typically used in thicker carpets. Rugs produced in Turkey, norther Iran, Armenia & Azerbaijan will usually have this style of knot.
Neither type of knot is better than the other.
Both types of rug knot have advantages and disadvantages, with each being better suited for the style of rug that they are used to make.
The type of knot should not determine your choice of rug, but it's good to understand how it is made and where it from.
Magnolia Ice by The Rug Company
SILK & WOOL
Hand knotted rugs will usually be made with silk and wool or a combination of both.
Sometimes, rug dealers may try to pass off man man fibres as silk by using rayon and viscose.
Held against real silk, you will easily be able to tell the difference as they don’t feel the same or have a natural sheen such as silk.
Silk, is composed from cocoons mainly from the silk butterfly's.
The cocoons consists of rawsilk, which are mainly a fibre that binds with the surrounding sericin.
Some carpets have the warp of silk and pile of wool where some details of the pattern are made of silk.
Wool is always a great and durable choice as its antibacterial and hypo-allergenic.
The best type of wool to use is from New Zealand sheep.
When silk and wool are combined this creates an ultra durable product with a sheen running through it.
Some designs will have wool as the bulk and the silk in certain parts, depending on what you want to accentuate.
Other designs will have a twist fibre throughout containing both silk and wool.
Producers are using more Bamboo silk as its more environmentally friendly than naturally produced caterpillar silk.
Bamboo silk is a type of natural viscose.
Cellulose is extracted from the plant and formed into a sticky paste and then left to dry.
Once dried, it becomes a soft silky fiber.
The result is a fiber that feels like candy floor and is soft to the touch.
It is extremely durable and has hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties.
Skull 3 rug by Jan Kath
HAND KNOTTED RUGS - QUALITIES
When choosing or designing a rug, you can seek advice from the company you select on what type of material to use in certain parts of the rug design to best accentuate it.
Designs can contain anything from one colour to hundreds of different colours.
Weavers will work on average 8 hours a day and approximately 10,000 knots in that time.
Most rug companies will be able to produce a rug in 4 - 6 months depending on the design and the size of the rug.
Hand knotted rugs will always be of high quality but within that you can tell the quality of the rug by how many knots per square inch.
It can vary from 25 to over 1000 knots per square inch (kpsi).
Less than 80 kpsi suggests medium to poor quality. 100 - 200 kpsi good quality and anything more than 200 kpsi is exceptional quality.
Maybe hand knotted rugs aren't what you are looking for - why knot try my post on the 10 best neutral area rugs online under £500
Misty by The Rug Company
Before 1860 yarn for rugs were dyed using natural methods and vegtable dye.
In an effort to standardise and produce more even, uniform dye's, chemical dyes were produced. However, this does not mean that modern rugs will be chemically dyed as over the recent decades, suppliers have drifted back to using tradiotnal methods.
Most dealers have considerable experience in determining whether the carpet was dyed with natural or synthetic dyes.
This comes from years of experience and looking at thousands of carpets over their lifetime.
Chemical dyes tend to fade in light quicker than natural dyes.
If there is a considerable amount of fading at the tip of the pile, then it is probably a synthetic dye. Carpets produced using natural dyes have an inherent character that cannot be reproduced using synthetic dyes
Texture Collection by Bazaar Velvet
You will find endless designs on the market from super contemporary to traditional. Vintage rugs will have intricate designs and are often hang on the wall as pieces of art.
A hand knotted rug will last you a life time and beyond, often Persian rugs are passed down as family heirlooms as they retain their value and designs have become more rare over time.
Happy rug shopping!