How a rug is woven, the way it is woven, significantly effects the durability, functionality and aesthetics of the rug. We create rugs using a variety of hand weaving techniques - hand knotted, hand tufted and flat weaves. In this article we explore these different styles of rug construction and their characteristics.
Hand Knotted Rugs
Knotting is an ancient and highly specialised rug weaving skill requiring remarkable precision, patience and fine craftsmanship. Hand knotted rugs have thousands upon thousands of knots, each one hand tied around individual warp threads, on specially designed looms. This meticulous artisan process creates rugs of heirloom quality of which every one is unique.
The intricately knotted construction allows for complex patterns and use of colour as shown in our Fontenelle Rug.
To add textural contrasts and enrich designs, the knots may be cut to create a pile, or uncut, making a loop pile finish as seen in Portinfer Rug.
Our knotted rugs are predominantly woven in New Zealand wool, a luxurious yarn with beautiful natural characteristics for rugs. You can read more about the benefits of wool for rugs on our blog. Combining different yarns in the design is another way to accentuate pattern details, such as the inclusion of viscose which has a silk-like sheen and contrasts beautifully with wool. This technique is used in our Jerbourg Rug and Grand Havre Rug.
Following the knotting stage, the rug is taken off the loom and washed in the open air with clean water, and dried in the sun. This process allows the wool to develop it’s natural lustre and a wonderful depth of colour. The finishing stages then include combing - to produce a smooth and lustrous look and feel - and wrapping, or binding - where the edges are neatly hand-sewn in matching yarn.
Hand Tufted Rugs
Hand tufting is a newer technique, that has been developed to combine the ancient craft of weaving with modern day technology. Tufted rugs are made by using a hand-held tool that insert yarns through a backing cloth on a frame. Once the tufting have been completed a natural latex is applied to stabilise the back of the rug and secure the yarn pile.
Tufted rugs can be made in a variety of designs, colours and shapes, but with less complexity and intricacy of design and colouration than knotted rugs. The rugs are hand finished using techniques such as sheering and carving, where the pile is trimmed to define areas of the design. Due to the faster weaving process, tufted rugs are a more affordable alternative to knotted rugs. Tufted rugs are not made to last a lifetime like knotted rugs, but should last a number of years. They will also tend to shed more fibres than other rugs and may require more-frequent vacuuming.
Flat Weave Rugs
Our flat weave rugs are handwoven on traditional shuttle looms where the yarns are interlaced across the warp and weft (down and across) of the rug. Weaving on shuttle looms can create intricate weave structures (instead of a cut pile surface) with detailed patterns, such as our luxury flat weaves, Reef Collection, or tactile plain weaves, as with our Beach Rug.
The Reef Collection combines fine linen and viscose yarns with New Zealand wool each individually dyed. The soft tactile nature of the wool contrasts with the semi-sheen surface of the linen viscose, accentuating the pattern. The Beach Rug is made from a very different style of yarn. This yarn’s texture is fuller and it contains a blend of colours, spun together giving it an organic marled appearance.
By weaving on horizontal looms the yarns are interlaced through the front and back of the rug, making them reversible and useable on both sides.
You may also be interested to read our Rug Care Guide on how to look after your rug.