Facts About Hand knotted Rugs

Materials

The main materials used in the production of hand knotted rugs are wool, silk, and cotton. Wool, from sheep, camels, or goats, appears in quality varying from short and wiry strands to fine, long, shiny ones, depending upon the area where sheep are bred and the part of the body from which it is shorn, as well as the way the wool is treated.

The fleece must be cleaned and carded and then converted into yarn by a process known as "spinning", and then must be piled (twisted) into thicker yarns.

Dyes

Once the yarns are spun and piled, they are dyed – unless the off-white color of undyed wool is desired. The traditional wool dyer was a sort of alchemist, turning basic woolen yarns into glorious colored yarns reflecting a multitude of hues.

Three types of dyes have been used in the making of hand knotted rugs:

  1. Natural dyes. The colors are derived from vegetable sources such as pomegranate peel for yellow and indigo plant for blue.
  2. Aniline dyes. These dyes are strongly acidic and not only destroy the natural oil in the wool and weaken the pile, but also run when washed and fade when exposed to sunlight.
  3. Chrome dyes. These are synthetic dyes which have been treated with potassium bichromate and are colorfast. They provide a wider range of shades and colors and will not fade when exposed to sunlight or washed with water or an alkaline solution. Chrome dyes are widely used in the dyeing of wool yarns.

Construction

A hand knotted rug is made on a frame called a loom, which can be either horizontal or vertical. Usually several weavers work at the same loom with the balls of various colored wool yarn hanging beside them.

On vertical looms, columns of thread are stretched from the top to the bottom of the loom. Each column is called a warp. Once the warps are arranged up and down the loom, the weaver makes the wefts, or sideways rows, by taking a thread and passing it alternately over the next and under the following warp along the entire width of the loom.

After initially making about 5 to 20 weft rows across the warps and pressing them close down to each other with a metal comb, the weaver starts making rows of knots. Using the spun yarn wool, she generally ties two adjacent warps together until she comes to the end of the row. Then, she makes another weft row and starts making a new row of knots.

After completing each row of knots, the weaver presses the wefts together tightly, using the metal comb. The weaver works knot by knot, row by row, until she completes a magnificent hand knotted rug.

Knots

There are various ways of tying the spun wool, or pile yarn around the warp threads:

  1. The Persian knot (or Senna knot). Used mainly in Iran, India, Pakistan, China, Romania and Egypt.
  2. The Turkish knot (or Ghiordes knot). Used principally in Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Romania, and Europe.
  3. The False knot (or Jufti knot). This one is a Turkish or Persian knot tied to four warp threads instead of two.

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