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Area Rug Construction

Machine–Made or Hand–Made

Example of a machine-made loom and a hand-made

Machine–made rugs are made on a power loom operated by a machine, computer, or person in order to produce area rugs quickly. They can be produced in large quantities and with several colors and complex designs.

Hand–made area rugs, on the other hand, are made by a skilled rug maker and can take a great deal of time to make, especially hand knotted area rugs. Hand–made rugs can also encompass complex designs with several colors of yarn and are each considered truly unique.

Machine–made area rugs are generally stronger than most hand–made rugs, with the exception of hand knotted rugs. While machine made area rugs can be beautiful and very sturdy, you should be careful not to buy a machine made rug that has been misrepresented as a hand knotted rug. Hand knotted rugs are of the highest quality and cannot be imitated with a machine, which is reflected in their price. Hand tufted and hand hooked rugs are also often passed off as hand knotted rugs when there is a big difference. Let's take a closer look at hand–made rugs and how you can tell the difference between them.

Area Rug Products

Types of Hand–made Area Rugs

Note: The term hand woven can be very misleading. This is a catch–all phrase that simply means that the rug has been made by hand. The rug can be hand knotted, hand tufted, or hand hooked and there is a great different between the three.

A hand knotted and had tufted area rugs

Hand Knotted Area Rugs – To make a hand knotted area rug, a weaver has to tie each individual knot to the backing, making it truly a one of a kind piece. Because of the long amount of labor that goes into making a hand knotted rug, they are usually very expensive rugs. There are different types of knots that can be used, including the well–known Persian Knot and the Turkish Knot show in this picture.

Hand Tufted Area Rugs – A hand tufted rug takes much less time to make than a hand–knotted rug does because there are no knots that need tying. They also usually cost much less. To make a hand tufted area rug, a rug maker uses a "tufting gun" to push loops of yarn through the backing. Once finished, a scrim is applied to the backside with glue and then a canvas backing is usually attached to that. The rugs is then sheared (cut across the top) cutting the loops to create the pile which is the surface that you see and walk on.

A hand hooked area rug

Hand Hooked Area Rugs – Hand hooked rugs, are made similar to how hand tufted rugs are except that they have a short, looped pile and usually have a light–weight mesh backing. Hand hooked rugs that are made using a petite–point hooking tool have a pile of very small loops that result in the appearance of fine embroidery. Because petite–point hooked rugs take longer to make, they are often more expensive than other hand hooked rugs.

Flat woven and baraided area rugs

Flat Woven Area Rugs – Unlike most area rugs, flat woven area rugs do not have a pile. These rugs can be machine made or hand woven. Although they are not as comfortable underfoot as those with a pile, you can usually see the pattern on both sides of the rug therefore they are often reversible. Because they are relatively easy to make, they are reasonably priced.

Braided Area Rugs – Braided area rugs can be made by hand or by machine. Long strands of natural or synthetic yarn are braided to make one or several long braids. These braids are then coiled around themselves or each other again and again. The more coils, the larger the rug becomes. The edges of the coils are then stitched to the adjoining coils in order to hold them in place. These rugs are usually inexpensive and are usually used to create a casual, country look. If stained, they are often easily reversible.

Origin of Area Rugs

Area Rug Origin Map

Many people think that you can determine the quality of an area rug by knowing its country or region of origin. This is not always true as many different types of rugs can come from the same region. Here is a list of common rugs that are usually made in these specific regions.

Also be sure to visit our section on Area Rugs Fibers and Fiber Dyes to learn more about what goes into an area rug.