Believe it or not, most modern-day rugs are made with the same techniques used by master weavers for hundreds of years. The finest hand-woven rugs still require considerable time and attention to detail. And while machine-made area rugs can be made more quickly, the same basic techniques remain in place. In most cases, the quality and price or your rug will be determined by the construction time and the talent of the weaver. But don’t forget to consider texture and appearance when shopping. To help narrow your options, take a look at the unique features of these common rug types.
Hand-knotting is the most labor-intensive rug-making technique. Master weavers tie individual knots to the warp yarns that make up the length of a rug. Together, these knots form the actual surface, or pile, of the rug. In general, the more knots, the more durable and valuable the rug. Also, no two hand-knotted rugs are exactly alike.
Easier to manufacture, tufted rugs are created without knots. Instead, loops of yarn are simply pulled through a rug’s backing material, either by machine or hand-held tool. The loops are then sheared to create a smooth, cut-pile surface. Since less work is involved, even the highest-quality tufted rugs can be produced relatively quickly and inexpensively. Note that tufted rugs tend to shed more than other rugs, which may require more frequent vacuuming .
Hooking is just like tufting, except the yarn loops stay intact. In a hooked rug, loops of yarn are pulled through the rug’s backing material by machine or with a hand-held hooking needle. But instead of being sheared, the loops are left alone, creating a knobby, embroidered look.
Unlike the rugs above, flat-weaves do not have a pile. Instead, the rug’s vertical yarns (warps) are simply woven through the horizontal yarns (wefts). Flat-woven rugs, such as Kilims and Dhurries, can be produced by hand or machine.
Braided rugs, like flat-weaves, do no not have a pile and are usually reversible. Yarns are braided into one continuous rope that is then sewn together in a spiral fashion. The result is a very strong, durable piece that holds up in nearly any environment.