Fiber, Construction & Style
Your rug should not only look great, it
should perform well, too. To find the best rug within your budget, there
are several factors to consider. The perfect rug will have just the
right combination of density, twist and fiber.
- Density refers to the closeness of the tufts or knots. The denser
the pile, the better your rug will wear.
- Twist refers to the winding of yarn around itself. A tighter yarn
twist will provide added durability.
The type of FIBER used in your rug also will help determine its
appearance and performance. Synthetic fibers provide brilliant colors,
easy maintenance, softness and outstanding value. Natural fibers provide
soft, low luster colors, long term performance and other aesthetic
There are six general types of fibers, each with different
Nylon - Wear and soil resistant and easily cleaned. Resilient,
withstands heavy traffic and the weight and movement of furniture.
Unlimited variety of brilliant colors.
Wool - Noted for luxury and softness. Has high bulk and is
available in many colors.
Olefin (Polypropylene) - Strong and colorfast with a soft
wool-like feel. Resists wear and stains. Affordable. Predominant
machine-woven synthetic fiber. May also be used in outdoor carpet.
Polyester - Noted for its soft "hand" when used in thick, cut
Acrylic - Offers the appearance of wool at a lower cost.
Sometimes is blended with other fibers. Most often appears in bath rugs
Cotton - Noted for its softness and performance. Available in
Blends - There may be blends of any of the above fibers.
Handmade - Constructed by hand. Does not
necessarily mean hand-knotted.
Hand-knotted - Woven by hand. A weaver actually
knots the yarns by hand that make up the pile around the warp yarns that
run the length of the rug.
Hand-hooked/hand-tufted - Usually refers to rugs
made by craftsmen who insert yarn into a backing according to a pattern
with a handheld tool. The pile of a hand-hooked rug is made up of loops.
A hand-tufted rug has a cut pile surface.
Aubusson/Tapestry Weave - A hand-woven method
originating In France in which the "stitches" on the face look more
linear, and the back may look "stringy" This occurs when the weaver
changes yam colors.
Flatwoven - Woven rugs that have no pile.
Dhurries from India are usually made of cotton or wool. Kilims are
generally finer, tapestry-like flat-weaves.
Knot Count - The number of knots in a square inch
of rug. Handmade Chinese rugs are often described in terms of "line".
For example, a 65-line rug would have 65 knots per foot of width, 65
knots per foot of length, and 29 knots per square inch.
Knotted Quality - The amount of knots in 9/10 of
an inch of a rug's width and the amount of knots in 41/2 inches of the
rug's length, multiplied together and divided by 4. A practical method?
Turn the rug over to see if it looks finely crafted or sloppy,
regardless of knot count.
Needlepoint - Area Rugs that are generally made
with wool yarns worked on a canvas grid, using the same method as
stitching a needlepoint pillow.
Machine-made - Constructed on an electrically
powered machine, now usually computer controlled.
Wilton and Axminsten - Two types of machine loom
which originated in Europe. The looms are used to weave area rugs in
Tufting Machines - A technology invented in the
United States in which yarn ends are placed into a backing. Most
wall-to-wall carpet in the United States is tufted goods. Some rugs are
Abrash - A change or variation in the color of a
rug due to differences in the wool or dye bath. In older or antique area
rugs, abrash occurs naturally. In new rugs, both machine-made and
handmade, abrash is carefully created to mimic a vintage look.
Contemporary - Modern designs that can be "soft"
or "hard" depending on patterns and colors.
Field - Designates the central part of a rug
design that is surrounded by a border.
Traditional - A styling designation that usually
refers to either traditional Oriental/Persian patterns or traditional
Transitional - A more casual style that falls
between traditional and contemporary.
Kilims - Flat weave area rugs in geometric
designs and strong colors made in the Near East.
Navajo Rugs - Flat weave area rugs in geometric
patterns woven by Navajo Indians in the American Southwest.
Dhurries - Flat weave area rugs, usually with
floral designs, made in India for wool or cotton - originally for use on