Understanding Hand-Knotted Rugs

by HFM Team on June 22, 2016

When you purchase a hand-knotted rug, this means that a skilled weaver has individually tied every single knot throughout each hand-knotted rug is unique, one-of-a kind, and an individual work of art. It is also the reason they cost more than other types of rugs. Depending on how many knots are in each square inch (50-160 per inch is typical and 400 knots per square inch is extraordinary), it can take more than a full year for one weaver to complete one 9 x 12 rug.  Hand-knotted rugs are considered an investment. They are able to withstand high levels of traffic and most will not show any signs of wear and tear for many years.

The primary materials used in making hand-knotted rugs are wool, silk and cotton The combination of these three materials produce the strongest rugs. Wool is the dominant material used in hand-knotted rugs. Silk is mainly used as an accent material due to its strength and overall cost. Cotton is often used within the foundation of the rug, but it tends not to be seen within the pile. If you are presented with a silk rug option and the price sounds too good to be true, there is a way to test it. Ask the rug expert to pull a strand of threat from the rug and burn it with a lighter. If it is a silk fiber, it will smell like burning hair. If it is cotton or rayon, it will smell like burned paper.

A quality look is the main piece of equipment needed to produce a straight and sturdy hand-knotted rug. Looms range in various sizes and complexities. Nomadic rugs are often made on a horizontal loom and other types or rugs are often made on vertical looms. After the loom is set up, the warp, or the vertical threads are tied on the loom. These are the threads that will eventually become the fringe on the completed rug. The weft runs horizontally and intertwines with the warp to create the foundation of the rug. The weft also creates the edges of the rug, which are also called selvedges. The selvedges actually hold the rug together. The knots are then tied to the warp threads. The weaver uses a special type of hooked knife, which is called a gollab, to cut the knot. They tie the knot with their hands, then tighten the knot with a comb-like tool called a beater. To finish the process they will evenly trim the piles o n the face of the rug with a pair of scissors. A very skilled weaver is able to tie around one thousand knots per hour.

There are two types of knots that are used to construct a hand-knotted rug-a Persian knot and a Turkish knot. Most countries will use the Persian knot, but it just depends upon the region where the weaver is located in addition to how the weaving tradition was passed along throughout the generations of weavers within that particular region.

The Persian knot, also referred to as the Senneth knot, is asymmetrical. These knots are open to one side and do not leave gaps, making it less bulky than Turkish knots and easier to make rounded or floral patterns on the rug. Persian hand-knotted rugs often originate from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet and China.

The Turkish knot, also referred to as the Ghiordes knot, is symmetrical and can be identified by two little bumps or nodes within one knot on the back side of the rug (also commonly called a double knot). Turkish and-knotted rugs originate from Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran and are often designed in unique shapes and sizes. They are great investment pieces to pass down to future generations.

The most important step in finding the best hand-knotted rug is to find a rug expert that you are able to trust. A good rug expert will be on the at is knowledgeable about their product and takes time to educate you on the quality and the story behind each rug. They should be able to answer any additional questions you may have before making your purchase.

For all your hand-knotted rug needs, visit Unique Oriental Rugs & More by David, Hickory Furniture Mart’s reputable and trusted fine rug gallery since 2002.

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