From Farm, to Factory, to Floor: 'The Journey of the Rug'

The wool rugs and carpets under our feet are the end product of a very long and skilful process. From summer shearing to cleaning, spinning and weaving, wool goes a through many stages on its way from fleece to floor. We look at the whole process and speak to some experts as they teach us about ‘the journey of the rug’.
 

 

On the farm…
The wool industry has been a big part of the British economy for hundreds of years. In recent decades, the British wool industry has been overtaken by larger countries but still maintains a healthy market. Over 45,000 farmers still produce wool in the UK and last year alone they (along with their sheep) helped produce a staggering 28 million kilograms of wool. To put that into perspective, that’s about the same weight as 3,700 double decker buses.
wool sheep
Joanne Briggs from the National Sheep Association explained more about British Wool and how it is used.
 
“There is a use for every type of wool from the very finest to the very coarsest and traditional UK breeds are renowned for excellent fabrics and carpets, and of course felting. Merinos are always traditionally associated with super-fine wool that is used for clothing.”
She went on to explain that, when making wool, there is very little wastage.
 
“The whole fleece is used for wool production but farmers are encouraged to remove dirty parts (near the tail) and keep less quality bits (under the belly) separate. This is known as skirting.”
 
The journey of the wool rug starts with the traditional art of sheep shearing. Gareth Jones from the British Wool Marketing Board explains why this is still a thriving skill.
 
“Good shearing is important to producers as it is to the welfare of animals. Traditionally, the majority of sheep are shorn during the summer months.”
Having a quality shear benefits the farmers as well as the sheep.
 
 
 
 
 
“Not only does it help maintain an animal’s health but having the quantity and quality of shearers available ensures farmers can present the wool to the BWMB in the best condition possible in order to maximise the value of their wool.
“We help to maintain a strong shearing industry in the UK with approximately 1,100 BWMB shearing qualifications awarded in 2013.”
He goes on to explain why promoting the use of wool in the textiles industry is important.
 
“Analysis and studies have proven the environmental benefits of wool are better than the manmade fibres. There is nothing more natural than wool shorn from sheep grazing in the valleys of Wales or the hills of Cumbria. We work closely with industry partners as part of the Campaign for Wool to raise awareness about the benefits of wool as a quality fibre and to help stimulate growth.”
 
Carding
The raw wool is now ‘carded’. As well as removing any excess materials, this is the process of detangling and then realigning fibres to be ready for spinning. As carpets use many different shades this also helps create a uniform mix of different colours. It can be either hand processed small pads with small metal teeth (right) or more commonly today by large machines inside processing plants.
“Not only does it help maintain an animal’s health but having the quantity and quality of shearers available ensures farmers can present the wool to the BWMB in the best condition possible in order to maximise the value of their wool.

“We help to maintain a strong shearing industry in the UK with approximately 1,100 BWMB shearing qualifications awarded in 2013.”
He goes on to explain why promoting the use of wool in the textiles industry is important.

“Analysis and studies have proven the environmental benefits of wool are better than the manmade fibres. There is nothing more natural than wool shorn from sheep grazing in the valleys of Wales or the hills of Cumbria. We work closely with industry partners as part of the Campaign for Wool to raise awareness about the benefits of wool as a quality fibre and to help stimulate growth.”

Spinning
Spinning is the process of turning the carded fibre in to the strips of yarn that we recognise. This used to be achieved by hand, when a worker would use a spindle to twist the material into lines of yarn. Factories today use the same method, but mechanised and on a much larger scale. Now we have yarn!
 
Making the rug…

Traditional
There are a variety of different methods to making rugs and carpets. Up until the 1960s, rag-rug making was particularly popular. This involved ‘hooking’, the process of pushing lengths of yarn through a mesh and hooking or tying them on to the mesh so that they stay in place. This is now generally seen as part of the arts and crafts movement.



There are still traditionalists who hand craft rugs using old methods though. We spoke to Sue Clow who runs Rag Art Studios, a company that specialises in rag-rugs, using yarn and discarded wool material to make rugs.
“The basic principle with rag rug making is to push or pull strips of rag or yarn through a base fabric which is flexible enough to take the extra fabric. Prodding, pegging or bodging are just some of the names for the technique for pushing 3 to 5 inch strips of fabric through a hessian base, traditionally an old sack to make a shaggy rug. Thick fabrics such as woollen work clothes and blankets were often used for this.
 Modern
In the modern day, machines make the rug making process much more quick and efficient. Tufting is perhaps the most widely used method of rug and carpet making in the domestic market. It is the process of pushing through, or ‘tufting’ lengths of yarn through ready made base fabrics using a needle. The pieces are then held in place by a bonded piece of extra material on the bottom. The yarn on top can then be cut to the desired length to produce different textures.

 
Once the rug has been cut and finished, it’s ready to take its place in our home. The journey from sheep to rug is complete.
Although the processes that we use to produce wool rugs may have changed – the painstaking process of hand-crafting unique individual rugs has been replaced by the assembly line – the method and material have largely stayed the same.  Wool’s popularity as a material today can be attributed to its natural properties as an insulating but breathable material. In a society where we are intrinsically more aware of our environment and looking to use sustainable materials for our needs, wool is a natural resource we can rely on. 

The Search for Britain's Most Relaxed Pet

If your cat spends hours purring on a rug in front of the fire or your dog just won’t budge from its bed, then we need you!

To celebrate this year’s National Pet Month, Modern Rugs will be sniffing out the most relaxed cat and dog in Britain.

So if you think your pet has what it takes to win the title get involved between the 7th and the 14th of April, by tweeting in photos of your #ModernMutt or #ModernMog looking at their most relaxed for a chance to win some amazing prizes.

The #ModernMutt and #ModernMog with the most retweets at the end of the week will win goodie bags provided by health conscious pet food company, Vet’s Kitchen.  One of these two lucky winners will also get their paws on free pet insurance for a year!

(T&C’s apply)

 Here are a couple of our fetching examples to help get you inspired.

Good Luck!

 

T&C's - Up to £150 per year for one year.

The Essential Rug Care Guide

No matter how careful we are, accidents can and do happen. From the slip of a hand at the dinner table, to unknowingly trailing mud across a room, spills and stains can strike at any time. Rugs have infamously been used to strategically cover these eyesores but what happens when the stain is on the rug itself?

To help you tackle this we spoke to rug care guru, Lisa Wagner (AKA Rug Chick), to ger her top tips on keeping your rug looking like new. With her help and a little preparation, you should be able to get even the toughest stains out.


  Store Cupboard Essentials

 

 

 
Preparation is key when tackling stubborn stains, and having the right equipment in your store cupboard when spills strike gives you the highest chance of success. To deal with whatever life might throw at your rug, be sure to stock up on the following:
• Small Bowl & Sponge
• Soft brush
• Corn Starch
• White vinegar mixed with cool water (50/50)
• Cotton towel
• Grease Proof Paper

 

Rug Care Sins

There are many cleaning techniques which are used with the best intentions but will in fact do more harm than good.  Before running to your cupboard and pouring on every cleaning product available, check that you’re not going to be committing one of the following rug care sins.

• Never steam clean natural fibre rugs (wool/silk/cotton.)
• Never wrap wool rugs in plastic. This will lead to mildew and a musty odour.
• Never use the baking soda or chlorine bleach on wool/silk/cotton rugs.
• Always check a cleaning product is compatible with your rug’s fibre and dye type.

 

Food and Drink Spills 

Food and drink spillages are one of the most common threats to a clean rug. Whether it is wine spilt by an overexcited dinner guest or a stain from an overflowing stew, the steps below should help keep your rug looking fresh.

• Spoon up solids and vacuum up any dry pieces. Use a sponge to dampen the spill area with cool water. If the spill is oily, using sudsy water might work better.
• Blot the area with a cotton towel but DO NOT rub the area. Place a folded towel under and over the area to sandwich the spill and apply pressure. This will get out any excess water.
• Use a hairdryer on the cool setting to dry off the area. Leave the damp area propped up for several hours so that the fibres deep in the rug can dry.

If your rug isn’t colourfast, substitute vinegar and water for the cool water.If suring the blotting process you see the rug dye transferring, you need to stop and dry the area immediately to prevent further damage. Contat a rug professional for assistance.

 

 

Candle Wax

Getting candle wax on soft furnishings is not ideal as the nature of the wax makes it tough to target with traditional cleaning techniques. However, with a little help from heat and grease proof paper, you should be able to lift most of the wax out.
• Firstly, cut a section of grease proof paper larger than the wax spillage and place it over the area. 
• Making sure that it is on a high setting, run your iron over the grease proof paper using short strokes.
•  This will melt the wax and transfer it from your rug onto the paper. As the wax melts, rotate the paper to ensure that it continues to absorb the wax.

 

Pets Corner

With pets around, especially very young or old animals, little accidents are bound happen. With proper treatment, your rug won’t be ruined but it is important to act fast. Pet urine is acidic and so completely penetrates rug fibres, essentially re-dying the fibres yellow. Stains should therefore be treated as soon as possible. If left for over a week the urine will change from acidic to alkaline. This can mean that the urine will “dissolve” the rug dyes and can lead to colour loss. Repeated urine stains can lead to mildew and dry rot which may result in holes appearing.

If a mishap should occur, give your rug the best chance of survival and use your store cupboard essentials to eradicate any stains or smells.
• Firstly, pick up any solids that have been left on the rug and dampen the area with a water and white vinegar solution.
• Blot and sandwich the damp area with cotton towels, applying pressure to get rid of excess water. After a few minutes remove the top towel and pack with corn starch. Leave this overnight until the corn starch is dry and hard to the touch. The corn starch will have absorbed any moisture left behind.
• Use a spoon to break up the powder. Use a soft brush to get brush up loose powder then vacuum it up. If an odour is left behind mist both sides of the rug with an enzyme spray or deodoriser. DO NOT pour straight onto the rug as this might cause damage.

 

Getting In the Professionals

If a stain seems like too much for you to handle on your own or you simply don’t have time to tend to rug care yourself, getting your rug professionally cleaned could be for the best.


Professional rug cleaner, Andi Hill, (better known as “Captain Rug Wash”) explains why you should always turn to a professional cleaner with expertise in rug care to avoid disappointment.

“There are so many things that can go wrong if rugs are cleaned by untrained carpet cleaners or if you have hired a machine. The problem with untrained carpet cleaners and hired machines is that they do not remove the soil that's deep down in the pile of the rug.  With a hired machine the rug is also cleaned in the customer’s home, which is a no, no, as there is no way to thoroughly rinse out the cleaning solution from the rug. It’s vital that the cleaning solution is fully removed or else it will attract more soil and dirt to the rug quicker.”

He goes on to explain that untrained cleaners might not know how to deal with issues which might arise during the cleaning process.
“You need the skills to be able to test the dyes to make sure they will not bleed, and know what to do if a rug starts bleeding.”

Without the proper knowledge taking care of a stain could leave you in a worse situation than before. Scrubbing up on you rug care skills will make sure that any attempts by you or a professional to tackle a stain won’t result in a ruined rug.
 
 

Colour Psychology for Interior Design

For most, the use of colour only becomes significant when deciding that the living room needs a fresh lick of paint, some new upholstery, or for those mavericks amongst us, a complete house overhaul. More often than not, the challenge of finding the right colour to fit with the room becomes a routine of endless sample colour strips and the odd square of painted wall.

With the mammoth job of redecorating in mind, we enlisted the help of colour psychologists and interior designers to give their advice on choosing a colour scheme.

Ever since Sir Isaac Newton described the effects of pure white light splitting into a colour spectrum (put simply, a rainbow to you and I) our understanding of the ways in which colours interact has been developing. This complex interaction has led to many theories regarding how different colours give off different messages and can even affect our moods.

Colours are widely used to represent different emotions and moods, in a variety of forms. The idea that colour affects the human psyche is a prevalent tool used in marketing, sports, interior design, artand countless other areas. Bernay Laity , an expert in Colour Psychology, explains:

With colour clearly playing a large role in manipulating moods, it is an important factor to take into consideration. Although our reactions to colour are very personal, there are some ‘typical’ positive responses to colour which might be worth noting before planning to redecorate.

 

After deciding on the mood you want to encourage, there is still the question of how best to incorporate the colour scheme into your house and lifestyle?
 
A classic colour combination is ‘classic’ for a reason; it has been tried, tested and proven to work. Don’t be afraid to stick with these interior staples. Colour Consultant, Amy Woolf explains that “as many of us grew up with these colour choices, they often just feel right to us.”

However, this doesn’t mean that experimenting is wrong; “if purple is a colour that makes your heart sing, maybe a purple kitchen will help get your day off to a great start."

For many the idea of painting a room a block colour is a scary and pretty permanent way of brightening your rooms. If you’re not ready for this long term commitment, adding a splash of colour through accessories could be the perfect solution.
Artist, Ptolemy Mann, uses bright colours in her hand-dyed work. She explains that small hits of colour can pack just as big a punch.



Photograph courtesy of Alan Callender
 “When picking pieces to include in a room, Ptolemy advises to “ask yourself first if you want warm colours or cool colours predominantly alongside the neutral colour scheme. This can often be determined by what the room is used for and what the climate is like where you live. In the UK warm colours in living and sleeping spaces will bring warmth. Bathrooms and kitchens can typically take a cooler colour palette.”
However, when choosing accessories it is important to pay close attention to the colours you are using. By sticking to one colour you are more likely to get it right, but there is always the chance you will end up with a mismatch of shades and tones.

 
Interior designer, Victoria Solomon explains; "a red rug in wool versus cotton versus viscose is a very different red. On paper, all three rugs may have the same dye colouring. However, because all materials absorb dyes differently, the end colour appearance is different. And the same goes for fabric in pillows or sofas. I usually like to stick to 2-3 different fabric materials at most in a room. This way the colour saturation and dye absorbency is at similar levels."

 


Using colours next to each other on the colour wheel is a great way to find complimenting tones. Using colours located opposite each other on the colour wheel will create colour clashes for those who want to be bold.

Colour not only adds points of interest, it can also help to foster a mood and add a desired ambiance. Although style and taste is very subjective, following interior rules, along with an added hint of your own personality, will guarantee you create rooms that will brighten your day.

 Here at Modern Rugs, we supply a wide range of Rugs to suite the requirements and style of your living furnishing environment - take a look at our range of coloured rugs, including our blue, white and green ranges.

Bordered Designer Rugs by Dekowe

If you are interested in using a natural flooring product in your home, consider something in the extensive collections offered by DeKowe Rugs. This company has been manufacturing floor fashions made with natural products for over a century, so you can be assured that the model you choose will be well made and it will last for a number of years.

Brasil

Brasil rugs from DeKowe feature a chunky weave that creates a two-tone effect. If you are looking to decorate a room in a rustic style, this is an excellent choice for you. Each of the rugs in this collection is made from pure natural sisal and it features a 5cm co-ordinating cotton border.

The backing on the Brasil rugs is made of flax jute felt. This heavy backing provides a high quality feel to the rug. They feel great underfoot and provide a higher level of sound absorption than other rugs available on the market. Consumers interested in the Brasil collection can choose from brown, cream, natural and charcoal colours.

Malibu

Malibu rugs are distinguished by their thick, chunky weave. Each one is available in a two-tone style and is made of 100 per cent natural sisal. These rugs are finished with a 5cm cotton border.

The rugs from the Malibu collection are very durable and are another good choice for high-traffic areas. They also have a non-skid latex backing, which is a great safety feature. Customers who are interested in these special order items can choose from brown, natural or rose tones.

Merano

Merano rugs are made from polypropylene pile. Each one is finished with a 5cm cotton border. The effect is a very soft look that will look good in any room where it is placed. This is a great choice for homeowners who are looking for a floor covering which is easy to keep clean. The company offers this type of rug in light green, light grey, red and sand tones.

Naturino

The Naturino collection rugs are woven with 100 per cent polypropylene pile and the edges are finished with a 5cm border. They are easy to keep clean and can be cleaned with a pressure jet washer or a garden hose and a brush. Naturino rugs come with a five-year stain resistance guarantee, and they are available in brown, grey and sand tones in a variety of patterns.

DeKowe Rugs are known for their high quality and durability. They are an excellent choice for consumers who are looking for a natural look for their floor coverings.
 

Nourison Rugs from New York

Nourison Rugs is an American manufacturer that has established a reputation for producing high quality floor coverings. The company was founded in the 1970s and it is still a family-run enterprise. From the beginning, the founders wanted to focus their attention on meeting the needs of retailers by ensuring that it offers a wide selection of products that are available for delivery in a timely manner.

Today, Nourison Rugs are known for producing an innovative line of area rugs including handmade and power loomed styles. This provider has an inventory of over 4500 styles available to its customers. All of them are fashioned to the highest standards and they will provide many years of use to discerning consumers who choose them.

Ashton House

The Ashton House line of rugs offered by Nourison includes hall runners and area rugs. All the floor fashions in the collection have an air of elegance and feature very clean designs in their patterns. The floor fashions in the collection are made from pure New Zealand wool. The pile is created by hand to create a longwearing product.

Contour

The contour rugs offered by Nourison feature contemporary patterns. This part of the company's offerings feature rich colours that will coordinate with a number of design choices. The line includes rugs with leafy and floral patterns, as well as striped or lined offerings.

Fantasia

Fantasia rugs have a unique look and add a wonderful texture to a room. Hand knotted and made of chunky wool mixed with soft strands of viscose, this type of rug picks up and reflects light. The shimmering effect gives these thick, heavy rugs a much lighter appearance. Consumers can choose from area rugs in various sizes up to 8' x 11' (244 cm x 335 cm), as well as hall runners for their homes.

Living Treasure

Living Treasure rugs from Nourison have highly detailed patterns. They are made from New Zealand wool and are machine woven on modern looms. Like other Nourison rugs, these hall runners are highly durable and made to the highest standards for quality.

Mondrian

Mondrian hall runners are made from a highly durable blend of polyester and wool. The resulting pieces feature bright colours and clean lines. Customers can choose from a selection of designs that feature stripes (straight lines and wavy patterns), circles and squares assembled in striking colour combinations. This collection will appeal to a consumer who is looking for a runner that will brighten up a hallway by drawing attention down to the floor.

Tropics

Customers who are looking for a floor covering which will complement a room with an island feel to its decor may be interested in the Tropics collection by Nourison Rugs. These area rugs feature floral patterns in different tones made out of pure wool. These rugs are hand woven to accent the patterning in an attractive manner.

Customers who choose to buy area rugs and hall runners from the Nourison Rugs Company can be assured that they are buying an excellent quality piece that has been made with care.
 

Designer Rugs by Brink and Campman

Brink & Campman rugs are known for their high quality. The company not only manufacturers but also designs and develops its own products. Brink & Campman develop a new collection each year with updated designs in fashionable colours. The standard collection is carried only by the best decorator sites in the world.

This exciting product line includes several styles for discerning buyers to choose from. Whether you are looking for a quality hall runner, a shaggy style or an odd-shaped floor covering, this company can provide you with unique, well-made designs. This collection also includes a selection of spot rugs, icon rugs and even items specially created for kids.


Hall runners

Hall runners offered by Brink & Campman feature multiple colours and bold designs. Choose from an abstract motif, a series of squares or a pattern that looks very similar to a cosy blanket. Other options for consumers interested in breaking up a hallway space include a runner that appears as though a large handful of pebbles have been sprinkled across its surface.


Shaggy rugs

Shaggy rugs are always an interesting choice for an indoor space, and this manufacturer produces a series of earth toned and neutral rugs. All of them are made to the highest standards with the weight of 4400 g/m².


Odd-shapes

If you are looking for an area rug that is something other than the norm, consider buying one from the Brink & Campman Xian collection. Not only do they feature bold designs but also, all of them have striking colour combinations.


Spot rugs

Brink & Campman also carries premium shaggy rugs. These spot rugs are woven in India and made from the best quality pure wool. Unlike other shaggy rug options, the spot rugs have black spots appear at the end of each cream-colored tuft. The result is a unique look that will warm up any room. These thick and heavy rugs have a weight of 4300 g/m².


Icon rugs

Icon rugs offered by the company are contemporary in design. These prints, which are woven in India, are made from pure wool. Not only are they striking to behold but they offering thick, soft texture. Each one of the rugs from this collection weighs 3600 g/m² making them an outstanding by for discerning consumers.


Kids rugs

Brink & Campman has not forgotten about the younger members of the household when designing high-quality floor fashions. Each one of the kids rugs offered by this company has bright colours that children will love.

The eyes are immediately drawn to the interesting patterns in this part of the collection, which include patchwork teddy bears, a series of colourful cubes, a geometric pattern, a flower cutout and a series of dots that are reminiscent of an artist's palette. These exceptional quality rugs have awaited 3000 g/m², making them an excellent choice for a child's room.
 

The Brink & Campman rug collection offers high-quality products and designer colours to modern homeowners. No matter which style is chosen, buyers can rest assured that they are purchasing a floor covering which will last for years.
 

Traditional rugs an excellent choice for classic decorating schemes

If you are looking for a floor covering to complement a room that is decorated in a classic style, consider one of the traditional rugs available on the market today. These types of rugs can also be purchased for a room that is decorated in a contemporary style where you are trying to soften the look of the space. There are several colours and options to choose from at various price points to suit your budget.

Afghan

The Afghan collection includes several traditional designs. Each one is made from 100 per cent worsted wool pile to create a floor covering which is durable and easy to keep clean. Beige, red, and black rugs are available in this collection.

Bokhara

Bokhara rugs are made in Pakistan and are hand knotted by experienced rug makers. This floor covering choice features the traditional Gul motif that is commonly found in Pakistani rugs. This product has a very dense pile and has a very soft, velvety appearance. The rugs from this line are offered in beige, gold, green, red, and rust tones.

Fade

As the name implies, Fade rugs have a muted, antique appearance. These rugs are machine woven and are made from 100 per cent polypropylene pile. These rugs are water repellent and non-static, making them an excellent choice for sitting or dining rooms.

Jewel Chenille

Consider Jewel Chenille rugs if you are looking for a floor covering with a sophisticated look. The surfaces of these rugs have a silky feel and they are made with a combination of acrylic chenille pile and viscose. The design in the surface of the rug is raised to make an aesthetically pleasing look. Green and beige rugs are available as part of this collection.

Neelia

Neelia rugs are offered in plain colours and they feature subtle handcrafted patterns in their surfaces. They are made from 100 per cent wool pile and have a very soft, thick appearance. Rugs from this line are available in beige, cream, chocolate, green, and red colours.

Sensi

Sensi rugs are hand tufted and made from pure wool. If you are looking for a floor covering which has a thick, heavy pile, the rugs from this collection are a great option. These rugs are well constructed and made from superior materials. Available colours are beige, golden, blue, light green, red, and rose pink.

Zeigler

Zeigler rugs are made from pure heat set polypropylene pile. The product is both soft to the touch and very hardwearing. They are a classy and elegant choice for any room in which they are placed. If you are looking for rug that will provide several years of regular use, the floor coverings from this collection are an excellent choice. Choose from cream, golden, red and brown rugs.

These traditional rugs are examples of high quality floor coverings available to consumers. They make an excellent addition to any room in your home.
 

The Big Rug Guide 2013

We begin our Blog in 2013 with our ‘Big Rug Guide’ – everything you need to know about different qualities, materials, styles and manufacturing techniques.

Hand-loomed Rugs
Hand-loomed rugs are typically flat-woven and can be used on both sides; one-sided piled pieces are however also available on the market, nowadays especially hand-loomed shaggy rugs from India. Unlike classic flatweaves or machine-woven rugs, they are produced on semi-mechanic weaving looms. The weaver incorporates the weft threads manually, as with an oriental Kelim. The rug is then tightend mechanically. The warp yarn of typical hand-loomed rugs is usually made from jute or synthetic fibres. The weft yarn is usually made from wool, but other raw materials such as cotton are also used. The wool is generally dyed before spinning. For mixed yarn, different coloured flocks of wool are spun together. In order that the wool is stable enough, it is spun around a wick. This wick may be made from jute or cotton. Hand-woven rugs are produced in countries such as Morocco, Hungary, Greece, Tunisia and India. Austria also has a hand-woven rug industry.


Hand-tufted Rugs
The production of hand-tufted rugs differs significantly from all other production methods. The rug is not woven or knotted, but rather the pile yarn is incorporated by hand into a backing fabric using a tufting gun. There are two kinds of tufting guns: electric or purely manual ones. If the pile is cut open in the process, a velour surface emerges. In order to retain a loop structure, the pile yarn is not cut. As soon as the pile is completed, the pile threads have to be fixed because they are only loosely incorporated into the backing fabric and can be pulled out easily. The entire back of the rug is therefore bonded, generally with latex. The back of the rug is then covered using a cotton fabric for a clean look. Subsequently contours are often carved out. Unlike with knotted rugs, whose patterns are created row by row from the bottom to the top, all pattern details in one colour or type of yarn can be produced before moving onto the next. Curves can also be created easily. The pile is usually made from polyacrylic fibre, polyester or wool. Hand-tufting is a fast process, which makes the rugs thus produced very inexpensive. The main countries of production are China and India. Particularly high-quality pieces are also produced in Europe.


Hand-Knotted Rugs
A rug is said to be knotted when the pile yarn is incorporated into its basic weave by means of a knot. The basic weave, that is warp and weft, is usually made from wool or cotton, the knotted pile is usually made from wool. A knot has to fully enclose at least one warp yarn. Today, the most significant knots are the Turkish knot, the Persian knot, the Tibetan knot and the Berber knot. The manufacturing process of a knotted rug
starts with stretching the warp across the loom, also called beaming. The tension of the warp is important for the quality of the rug. Rows of weft yarn are then woven in at right angles into the stretched warp. The resulting so-called Kelim band or plain weave band provides stability. Now, row by row, the pile is knotted around the warp. Each knot runs over a pair of warp threads. Each knot is incorporated individually, which allows for different colours and patterns to emerge. The knotting is done either from memory or according to a pattern, so-called vaghires, point paper designs or talims. The knots are always pulled downwards, which produces the pile bias, or the grain. It always leans towards where the rug was started to be knotted. After each completed row of knots, the knotter then puts in one or several wefts. Finally, he beats the wefts and knots down using a heavy, comb-like tool called beater. It is important that the impact always has the same force to ensure that the final appearance is uniform. If the impact is lower in one part, for instance in order to save time, the rug will be looser and the patterns will no longer be in proportion. As soon as the knotting is completed, the rug is washed, which makes the pile shiny and removes excess dirt and wool. The pile is then trimmed to its final length. The finer the knotting, the lower the pile, or the pattern blurs.

Oriental Hand Knotted Rugs
Two types of knots are generally used for the production of classic oriental rugs: the Persian and the Turkish knot. Despite their names, these types of knot are not bound to a particular region, since both types are used in Turkey and in Iran. The Persian knot is knotted asymmetrically over a pair of adjacent warp threads; the pile yarn fully encloses one pile yarn, and half of the other. Other names for this type of knot are: farsi baff, Senneh knot and asymmetric knot.  The Turkish knot is knotted symmetrically over an adjacent pair of warp threads; both threads are fully enclosed by the pile yarn. Other names for this type of knot are: Turk baff, Ghiordes knot and symmetric knot. So-called looped rugs represent a special category. Here, the pile is incorporated into the basic weave using W or V loops. But there is no knot that truly encloses the warp thread. Nevertheless, experts consider rugs thus produced to be knotted rugs. The pile of such looped rugs is less durable.

Nepal Hand Knotted Rugs
For Nepal rugs, Indian imitations and Chinese Tibetan rugs, the Tibetan knot is used. This knot is wound around a rod. Once one row of knot loops in one colour is completed the loops around the rod are cut to fan out the pile. This produces the typical striped knot appearance. The knot that is cut open resembles the Persian knot

Berber Hand Knotted Rugs
The Berber knot is used for Moroccan rugs of the same name. The main versions are simple and double. These French names indicate whether the knotting thread is placed individually or doubly parallel to one other and are then knotted that way. Triply placed pile yarns are also occasionally used.

simple: knot with a simple wool thread, producing 2 pile ends per knot. double: knot with a double wool thread, producing 4 pile ends per knot.
demi double: the knotting is done in two different sets: one row with simple and the next row with double knotting thread. The alternation of one simple and one double knotting thread is also possible. This technique is not, however, very common. Here, the pile ends alternate between having two and four ends.
triple: knot with triple wool thread, producing 6 pile ends per knot.

In Berber rugs, a knotting yarn may consist of twisted pile yarns. This knotting yarn is called torsadé and produces a granular pile effect. The advantage is that this type of yarn is less likely to become felted. one knot in the direction of the weft – it also saves material – per row of knots, only half the pile yarn is needed. The pile knotted using the Jufti knot is only half as thick making the rug noticeably thinner and thus of a lower quality. When the asymmetric knot is used, the jufti knotting can be recognized, by bending open the pile. If the jufti knot is used, you can see two warps of the basic weave per knot. If the symetric knot is used, run your thumb firmly over the pile in the opposite direction – if possible while directly comparing it with a similar rug of which it is known that a normal knotting technique was used. Open back / Closed back In China a distinction is being made between so called “open back“ and “closed back“ knottings. The two terms are motivated with regard to the wefts: the wefts are visible from the backside of the rug in open back rugs. In closed back rugs they are invisible. Both types of rugs are made with double warps and asymetric knots. In open back rugs the loop of the knot wraps around the warp closer to the pile. In closed back rugs it wraps around the other warp, the one closer to the backside. Closed back rugs can be produced faster, but they are less durable.

Flatweave Rugs
Flatweaves are rugs without pile. The design emerges exclusively from the warp and weft, unless embroidery and other appliqué is applied subsequently.


Kilim Rugs
The Kelim is probably the most famous and popular oriental flatwoven rug. It receives its patterns through different coloured wefts. Each area of colour in the pattern is woven using a separate thread.


Machine-produced Rugs
In the middle of the 19th century, the first machine-produced oriental rugs were made, thus making this coveted and luxury product accessible to a wider audience. To this day, these rugs are considered an inexpensive alternative to the knotted rug. The quality of such machine-produced rugs is not necessarily lower than that of handmade pieces. Most machine-produced area rugs are woven; however, rugs made from tufted wall to wall rugs are also produced. Relatively new on the market are machine woven rugs, that have a contour carved out, like it can be found in hand tufted rugs. Woven area rugs are usually produced using the Axminster technique or the wire technique. The basic weave is formed by the weft, connecting warp, which incorporates the weft, and filling warp, which gives the rug additional stability. The warp that forms the pile is called the frame. The number of frames is the same as the number of colours in the finished product. To produce a pattered rug, a Jacquard loom is needed. It is able to guide the relevant warp (that is, pile) threads so as to produce the desired pattern.

The pile material in woven rugs is either wool or polypropylene. The quality of a woven rug is given in points or naps per m2 and not in knots per m2, because the pile is not knotted.

Wilton Rugs
Weaving over wires is the oldest technique for the production of mechanical woven rugs. In this process, the frames are guided over steel wires that are inserted during the weaving process. This produces, depending on the height of the wire, pile loops of a specified height. In the case of velour rugs, the wires are linked at the end using a blade. When pulling out the wire, the loop is cut and the pile fans open. Loop-pile goods are woven over wires without a blade. The Wilton rug is a patterned velour wire loom rug. The pattern is produced by lifting or lowering the frame: The thread of the desired colour is guided over the wire. The other pile warps, the so-called dead frames, go to the back of the rug, where they can be seen as coloured stripes.

Axminster Rugs
When producing Axminster rugs, pile threads of a certain size and colour are placed into the loom and taken to grippers via a yarn carrier. The grippers pick up the yarn and guide it into the basic weave. Here, the thread, whose ends form the naps of the pile, is fixed using an additional weft thread. The Axminster technique can be used to produce very elaborate patterns, the speed of production is relatively slow.

Double Rugs
A very efficient manufacturing process is the weaving of so-called double rugs. This involves weaving two rugs at the same time as one work process. The warp, which will later form the pile, is woven in between the two backs: one on top and one on the bottom. Then the resulting fabric is separated in the middle using a blade, producing two rugs with mirrored patterns.

Flat-Woven Rugs
The simplest form of a machine-woven rug is the flat-woven rug. It only consists of warp and weft threads. The patterning emerges as a result of the colours of the yarn and the type of weaving. The simplest form of weaving is the plain weave where each warp thread is carried over and under a weft in turn. More elaborate patterns, as with woven rugs with pile, can be produced using a Jacquard loom, which carries the necessary pile thread to the rug surface and weaves the rest into the basic weave.

Flat-woven rugs are amongst the least expensive woven rugs. They are almost exclusively made from polypropylene. Flat-woven natural fibre rugs form a separate group.

Natural fibre Rugs
The trend towards natural products means that flat-woven natural fibre rugs now form a special group within the market. Even though wool is a natural fibre, only rugs made from plant-based fibres are called natural fibre rugs. The raw materials used most frequently include sisal, sea grass and coconut. The patterning is determined by the type of weaving. The most well-known are rib weave, panama weave and fishbone weave.

The majority of natural fibre rugs are sold as border rugs, where the natural fibre is framed using fabric, leather or artificial leather in a matching colour.

Hides
Even though, from a production point of view, hides are not rugs, they do fulfil the same function: They are designed to make a room more homely.

Sheep hides have a long tradition. They usually enter the market undyed, i.e. off-white. Cow hides enjoy some popularity. They are offered in all kinds of designs: undyed, dyed, printed, e.g. with a zebra or tiger fur pattern, or embossed and printed with metal effect dye. In addition to the more common sheep and cow hides, more unusual hides are also
traded, such as reindeer and springbok. Both full hides as well as patchwork rugs made from hide parts are marketed.


Materials:

Wool (WV - pure new wool; WO - wool)
Application
- Most important yarn in rug manufacture
- Especially as pile material
- Used in knotted rugs, hand-tufted rugs, hand-loomed rugs, machine woven rugs
- In the case of nomad rugs and rural rugs also in the basic weave
Types of wool
- Virgin wool is wool sheared from living sheep
- Dead wool is obtained from dead animals and is of a lower quality
- Highland wool is high-quality, hard-wearing wool from sheep living in the mountains;
almost always wool from the country of origin of the rug
- Lowland wool is the soft wool from sheep that live on large plains; almost always imported wool, for instance from New Zealand
- The greater the staple length of the wool fibres, the better the quality of the wool yarn.
Advantages
- Wool absorbs up to 36% of its own weight in steam, which means that it regulates
temperature
- The surface repels drops of water and does not attract dirt easily
- Good heat insulation
- Pleasant feel
- Elastic, individual fibres bounce back easily
- Good image, as it is a natural product, renewable raw material
Disadvantages
- Easily absorbs steam, which means that it can rot in rooms that are always moist

Silk (SE)
Application
- Finest yarn in rug manufacture
- In the pile usually in outlines, very high-quality rugs are made entirely from silk
- For very fine rugs also as basic weave
- Used in knotted rugs and very high-quality hand-tufted rugs
Advantages
- Feels extremely soft
- Shimmery, fine appearance
- Silk fibres are very tear-resistant
- Good image through its reputation as the most valuable natural fibre
- Very fine fibre
Disadvantages
- Sensitive to moisture
- Very expensive due to time-consuming production process
- Silk pile is less robust than wool pile

Cotton (CO)
Application
- Second most important yarn after wool for knotted rug production
- Often used as basic weave for knotted rugs
- Almost never used as pile material in knotted rugs. If anything, it is used for details in pure white.
- Used in hand-woven rugs
Advantages
- Has directional stability and tensile strength
- Natural product with a good image
Disadvantages
- Easily absorbs steam, which means that it can rot in rooms that are always moist
- Not very resilient as pile material, tends to become felted
- Attracts dirt easily

Viscose (CV)
Application
- Artificial fibre based on cellulose
- Popular as silk replacement in the pile
Advantages
- Cheaper than silk
- Pleasant feel
- Looks similar to silk
- Wood is basic raw material
Disadvantages
- Much less hard-wearing than silk
- Less hard-wearing than mercerised cotton, wears out fast
- Not very elastic
- Bad heat insulation

Polypropylene / Heatsetgarne (PP)
Application
- Used as pile material in machine woven rugs
Advantages
- Not moisture-sensitive
- Light weight
- Good heat insulation
- Very hard-wearing
- Much less expensive than wool
Disadvantages
- Does not absorb any moisture, does not regulate temperature
- Unrefined, it does not feel good
- Artificial fibre with a bad image

Polyacrylics (PAN)
Application
- Used as pile material especially for hand-tufted rugs
Advantages
- Cheaper than wool
- Soft to touch
- Does not absorb dirt easily, can be cleaned
easily
- Good heat insulation
Disadvantages
- Absorbs little moisture, does not regulate temperature
- Artificial fibre with a bad image

Next Generation Acrylic Rugs

When you are looking for rugs for your home, do not overlook the modern acrylic collections in your quest for the perfect floor covering. This type of floor covering includes a number of colours and styles. Acrylic rugs are a popular choice for consumers who want a modern look and a floor fashion which is less likely to shed than a wool rug.

Contour rugs

Contour designer rugs feature contemporary patterns and rich colours. These floor coverings are made from 100 per cent polyester pile. Some of the rugs from this collection feature handcrafted detail to create a bold contrast and make a specific part of the design more prominent.

The Contour line is available in a number of striped and floral designs and in a variety of fashion colours. Many of these rugs are offered in earth tones including rust, brown, green, and blue.

Esprit rugs

Esprit is one of the leading fashion brands on the planet. All the rugs in this collection are stylish and made to the highest quality standards. If you are looking for a rug which is an expression of your personal style, consider one of the floor coverings from this collection for your needs. These rugs are offered in plain colours, as well as leafy patterns.

The Cross Walk rugs from this line have a graduated colour effect and different pile heights in the floor covering. All of these rugs are hand tufted and have a heavy pile weight of 3300 grams per sq/m.

Frame rugs

Frame rugs have a unique design that sets them apart from other options available to consumers. The pattern is positioned around the edge of the rug and the centre of the floor covering is plain. Some of the rugs in this collection feature floral patterns near the edge, while others have a contrasting border. These rugs are made from 100 per cent acrylic pile. These rugs are a great choice if you want floor coverings that will not shed and are easy to care for.

Xian rugs

The Xian collection of rugs is offered by Brink & Campman. These rugs are not meant for people who are looking for floor coverings that are going to blend in to the room. Instead, they use bold colours to make a definite statement and draw the eye down to the floor. Each one of these rugs is hand tufted and made from Japanese Acrylic. The pattern in the rug is enhanced by handcrafting to create a unique look.

Some of the rugs in this collection have striped patterns, while others have bold abstract designs. Other choices from the Xian collection include whimsical floral, butterfly, or confetti designs.

Modern rugs are available in a number of colours and textures. Choosing an acrylic rug, does not mean that you need to sacrifice style to get a floor covering that is durable and easy to keep clean. The only decision you need to make is which colour and pattern will look best in your indoor space.