Hand-Knotted Rugs: Expectations vs. Reality
If your aesthetic is on the finer side, you need a hand-knotted rug in your life. With thousands of tiny knots handwoven into place, this rug construction is a nostalgic ode to timeless tradition. Durable and long-lasting, a hand-knotted rug is a gorgeous accent well worth the investment.
How a Hand-Knotted Rug Is Made
Rather than using a punching tool to speed up the weaving process, a hand-knotted rug is born from pure artistry. One or more masterful weavers craft the rug’s raw foundation on the loom, stringing up vertical strands of yarn and weaving more strands through them. Each intricate knot is then hand-tied to each supple thread. Finally, it’s all shaved down for a flat, walkable pile.
Every decorative embellishment on a hand-knotted rug is put into place by the weaver’s hands – no glue, no gimmicks. The months, sometimes even years, that go into the ornamentation of this masterpiece results in rug strength from the bottom up.
You can tell if your rug is hand-knotted when its meticulous design shows through on either side. The more vibrantly the colors and patterns appear to be, the higher the quality of yarn, material, and dye.
Exceptional Quality and Lifelong Durability
Hand-knotted rug construction is literally quality you can see. From the lack of latex backing to the extended fringe dangling at its edges, the honest make of a hand-knotted rug is visible in every inch.
In fact, knot density, or how many knots are woven within each square inch, is an indicator of quality. A lower-quality rug has about 160 knots per square inch, while an outstanding rug has about 1000. The average hand-knotted rug has about 400 knots per square inch. The texture of your rug will vary based on the different heights of the knots and how tightly they’re woven together.
Knot placement also helps to preserve the rug’s weave. A hand-knotted rug will last longer than a hand-tufted rug, for example, because it doesn’t rely on a dissolvable backing to hold it together. Each knot is secured to the threads themselves, so they won’t rip or wear as easily. If cost and comfort are a priority, consider a hand-tufted rug, which has a construction and pile that’s cheaper and deeper.
Luxurious Look and Feel
Hand-knotting is a superior rug construction to many other methods because of its immaculate detail, authentic texture, and durable quality. Most commonly, this method uses natural wool, which makes for a strong, tight, yet flexible weave. This cozy material is also hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial, perfect for a family-friendly floor covering.
While silk shares similar qualities to wool and is used in hand-knotted constructions – it’s more expensive and less durable, so it’s typically brought in as a wool blend to give the rug some shine.
Hand-knotted rugs are soft, but their short, flat fibers give them a decorative feel rather than a homey vibe. This type of rug is prized more for its durability and long lifespan than a plush pile. There may be initial shedding, but this will decrease over time, and it will be minimal compared to other natural rug constructions. A rug pad can help stabilize the rug and lessen the amount of shedding.
Types of Hand-Knotted Rugs
The type of knot used to make your rug will reflect the weaver’s culture, but it will also impact the rug’s durability and design. There are three main types of knots: Persian, Turkish, and Jufti.
Rounded Persian knots are fit for royalty, commonly used in rugs for elaborate floral embroidery. It’s the most popular style of knot and results in the most elegant and visually complex rugs. Tough Turkish knots create a bumpy, boho surface. Their use of a double knot gives rugs an extremely sturdy structure. These rugs tend to have tribal geometric designs because of their regional influences and the limitations of the straight weave used to make them.
The shortcut Jufti knot takes less time making it a more affordable option – it requires four threads to be tied together at a time instead of two, which makes the rug less durable but easier on the wallet.
There’s a rich, storied quality to the hand-knotted rug method, having been passed down for generations and adapted throughout regions. Careful skill and antiqued designs intertwine for a truly thoughtful piece of decor. For more on the hand-knotted technique or to explore other types of weaves, check out our Guide to Rug Constructions.
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