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Knotted carpets and rugs

Often referred to as hand-knotted, knotted rugs and, very seldom, carpets, are always made by hand, by knotting each individual pile to the warp threads - usually cotton - spread on the loom. After knotting, the warps are woven together with a cotton yarn. The single pile placement allows for greatest pattern and color flexibility, but also requires greatest amount of time for production. A densely knotted mid-size area rug may take a year to make. Obviously, this makes hand-knotted rugs and carpets expensive.

Hand-knotted rugs are traditionally made of wool and/or silk, across the broad region from south-west to south-east Asia (also north-eastern Africa and parts of the Balkan peninsula). Their characteristics vary with the geographical and socio-cultural origin. Very broadly, properties of these rugs relate to the sophistication and complexity of the society they are coming from.

So called "tribal" rugs are made by nomadic tribes. They are simple in execution, relatively thin, sparsely knotted and small in size. 

"Village" rugs are made by villagers, settled in permanent homes, in improved conditions and with better sources. These rugs are, consequently, larger and bulkier, with more sophisticated patterns and execution.

The ultimate in hand-knotted area rugs are so-called "city" rugs, widely regarded and prized for their high knot count, density, color and pattern intricacy. These are the true "Persian" rugs, although their actual geographical origin may be in various regions of the broader central Asia.

A few more words about knot density. The denser knot, the stronger, longer lasting rug structure, and the finer color and pattern intricacy achievable. Also, the longer manufacture and the higher price. In terms of knot count, high-quality starts at about 300 per inch, going up to 600 or 700 knots with the best that can be found on the market. A few exceptional examples of hand-knotted rugs have knot density in excess of 1000 knots per inch.

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of so called "Oriental" rugs that are not hand-knotted, but with patterns inspired by or taken from the traditional hand-knotted rugs. They may be either hand- or machine-made, using wool or, more often, synthetic yarns. Being easier and cheaper to produce, they cost less but, accordingly, also rate lover than authentic hand-knotted rugs.

Carpet and rugs terminology - This sounds like a school class - but this is the one you don't want to miss. An educated buying decision translates into a buying success, and that is your goal. Certainly, understanding carpet and rug terminology is something you need for enjoyable, successful shopping.  And it is not as simple as it may seem at first...

Construction - Simply put, rug or carpet construction is a particular way of putting it together. Whether produced by hand, or by machine, they are made in a certain way. This includes all that is done to come up with a finished product: from tufting or weaving the yarn to dyeing and applying chemical or other treatments...

Materials - Nearly all of materials used for rug and carpet construction are in their face-fiber and backing. It is usually the face-fiber material that gets most of attention and consideration. This is because the rug/carpet fiber forming its face is most exposed, both, visually and physically. Hence it is the main determinant of appearance quality and retention...

Environmental effect - Most materials, natural or synthetic, have some environmental impact, and those used for carpets and rugs are no exception. Health hazard comes mainly from rug and carpet being outgassing potentially toxic fumes, as well as from rug and carpet mold (mildew) infestation...

Label and warranty - Rug/carpet label and its warranty can give important information and indications in regard to its quality level. Getting familiar with their contents is time well spent. Here's what you should look for...

Area rug size and shape - In somewhat different ways, area rug size and shape have both, functional and aesthetic aspect. At first, one would say that area rug's size is pretty much determined by dimensions of the space it is intended to. In reality, the decision on how large area rug will be, and whether it is to be square, round or of some other shape, should come after careful consideration of not only room's size and geometry, but also typical traffic patterns, form and arrangement of other objects and decor elements present, as well as the intended use of the room, or space...

Colors and Patterns - Color of your rug, or carpet, creates certain visual effect, emotion, and an atmosphere. Individual perceptions vary, but most of us will be affected similarly. Here's a brief overview of what are out typical responses to colors and patterns. It may help you decide what rug color and pattern type is best for your room...

Design style - Possible variations in the visual characteristics of the rug/carpet face - its design - are literally countless. They come from visual rug/carpet attributes created by both, fiber coloration, and its dimensional appearance. Luckily, all this immense variety is being channeled, fairly efficiently, into a few main classifications...

Carpet and rug buying checklist - The two main aspects of every rug or carpet are (1) its aesthetics and (2) practicality. Once you find the one that has the right looks, the next step is to check out how appropriate are its materials and construction type to its intended use. In other words, what is its quality level. The following checklist will help you figure that out...

Rug and carpet care tips - From the moment a new rug or carpet enters your home, certain steps and procedures should be followed to ensure its functionality and appearance retention. They are related to placement and installation, as well as carpet or rug care and maintenance. Here are the main pointers.

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