Rug Making Techniques

Flat Weave Rugs
Rugs can be broadly classified into Flat Weave Rugs and Pile Rugs. Flat weave is the earliest known method of carpet-making and is based on a simple weaving of vertical (warp) and horizontal (weft) threads. These rugs are generally thinner than pile rugs and with a flat surface. Examples of traditional flat weave rugs include Dhurries, Kilims and Sumaks. Tapestries and textile wall hangings are also types of flat weaves.

Hand-Knotted Rugs
Pile rugs developed from flat weave rugs and involve a lengths of yarn being tied by hand around a “skeleton” of warp and weft threads to produce a thicker, more textured carpet. The weaver works on an upright or horizontal loom frame, and the rug is later sheared to produce an even pile across its surface.

Hand-knotted rugs are still made today using traditional techniques, and usually working with traditional designs.

Being completely handmade, these rugs can take a huge amount of time and skill to produce, and are usually the most expensive type of rug. Quality is often related to the number of knots per square inch (the denser the knots per sq inch, the better the quality). In many cultures, the best hand-knotted rugs represent Fine Art, and not a craft as might be the Western view. Designs tend to be traditional, based on motifs centuries or more old, while antique rugs (usually defined as more than 100 years old) have an added historic and rarity value.

The main sources of hand-knotted rugs at present are India, Iran, China, Turkey and Nepal. It is also worth remembering that broadly speaking, any traditional-style rug is often generally described as an Oriental rug, regardless of its actual country of origin.

Hand-Tufted Rugs
Tufting was developed earlier in the last century. Rather than hand-knotting, the pile is pushed through a fabric backing, where it wraps around the fabric’s threads, and is fixed in place by a latex-type adhesive.

Tufted carpets now dominate the world carpet industry. Tufted rugs allow for much easier production of a pile rug using faster production methods. Our rugs are usually hand-tufted by craftsman using a tufting “gun” to push the lengths of pile through the carpet backing.

Hand tufted rugs can have a pile similar to that of hand-knotted carpets, though many contemporary style rugs have much thicker, deeper pile textures. Tufted rugs come in both traditional motifs and contemporary designs using the full spectrum of modern colour ranges. They are made using both wool pile and synthetic fibre pile. The latter tend to be more common overall in hand-tufted rugs, though Apple Rugs' ranges are heavily geared towards 100% wool pile.

The faster production techniques of hand tufted rugs, their lower prices and their more modern designs have led to them growing faster than Hand-Knotted rugs in recent years.

Machine-Made Rugs
Machine-made rugs cover a wide range of rug types and qualities. Their modern automated technologies also extends production beyond the traditional Eastern world regions, to include factories in North America and Europe. In Europe, Belgium and the Netherlands have a particularly strong position in machine-made rugs.

Although automated systems continue to improve, the basic production methods can still follow long-established techniques such as woven Axminster or Wilton rugs. The style of rug may also be contemporary or traditional, and the materials may be natural wool or synthetic fibres.

Some European rug-makers in particular machine-weave top quality, cutting edge designer rugs in both wool and synthetic fibres, selling at the premium end of the market. However, in broader terms, machine-made rugs tend to be at the more affordable end of the market. For example, machine-woven traditional rugs in both wool and synthetic fibres (generally polypropylene) offer a similar look to original hand-made traditional rugs at a fraction of the price.

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