Hand Knotted Rugs – Intricate Creations Weave Beauty through the Home

handknotted_230An exquisite handmade rug is easily identifiable by its beauty. While machine-woven creations are attractive, nothing compares to the unique look of hand knotted rugs. Styles that are typical of this type are Persian rugs and Oriental rugs. Hand knotted designs are prevalent in the Oriental rug design, which was the most popular type of rug to be found with knots created by hand. Certainly other styles are available, however for both the first-time purchaser and rug connoisseur, hand knotted rugs are preferred.

How are these intricate creations made?

Techniques used to create hand knotted rugs are very old, dating back several centuries. Some techniques may vary slightly by hand movement and method; usually these variances are personal preferences passed down from a former weaver to a family member or apprentice.

Rugs are made of a pile and base. The base consists of the threads running along the carpet’s length, while the pile is the visible thread part of the rug, used to create the attractive designs. These rugs are created using a loom or frame-like instrument and cotton and wool threads. Wool and cotton combinations are the most commonly-used method, but there are rugs made completely from one type of either thread.

Another type of rug is a rug made completely from silk threads thus making it more expensive. First, the cotton warp threads are constructed on the loom, followed by weaving of wool weft threads through them. One at a time, the weft threads are knotted to the warp. Using a small hook knife called a gallob, the weaver pulls the weft pieces through the warp. After completion of each row, a comb is raked across to ensure the knots are tight and brought together thoroughly, making the rug durable. This meticulous process must be completed until the entire rug is constructed. Loose or long threads are trimmed by hand with scissors.

Hand knotting normally involves three different types of knots. Depending on the type of pattern chosen and its complexity, the type of knot used will vary from one rug to the next. Also the type of knot used depends on the preference of the artist creating the piece. Persian knots are commonly used because they allow the flexibility to create complex designs. Most rugs that have various shapes and intricate details are made with a Persian knot. Also called a “Senneh” knot, the Persian knot is asymmetric. This means that the weft threads are open either to the left or right. To put into perspective the amount of knots used, some types of Persian creations may have up to 700 knots per inch.

Turkish knots, also called “Ghiordes” knots, are another style commonly used. This type of knot takes up more room per inch on the rug, meaning that there is less possibility to create an intricate design. These types of knots are thicker and yield a more plush result. The Turkish knot is symmetrical; wefts are wrapped around two warps, meeting together in the middle.

Similar to the Turkish knot is the Jufti knot. Their similarities are actually almost identical, except a Jufti knot wraps the wefts around four warps, as opposed to the traditional two warps used in a Turkish style. Although it is not as common a technique, Persian knots are sometimes expanded to wrap around four warps; the result is also called a Jufti knot. This type of knot was formed to save time and increase the number of rugs a weaver could produce.

Quality and price are lower in a Jufti-made rug, making it an acceptable choice for people who are not concerned about the lifetime of their new purchase. Because this style also creates an uneven look, the rug will wear oddly. For rugs purchased with the intent of long life, a Persian or Turkish knot style is preferred; normally the price will reflect the knot style.

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