RUG PRODUCTION: WEAVING, TUFTING, KNOTTING
Rugs accompany us through everyday life, but how is our popular flooring even made in the first place? What are the differences between the production methods? Whether manually or mechanically - the possibilities for rug production are manifold, and therefore often confusing. The following overview should help you understand the respective production processes better.
Rugs can be woven by hand or by machine. The manufacture of a machine-woven rug, with a duration of about one hour, takes much less effort than hand-weaving, which can take several months or even years. Since the industrialisation of the 19th century, therefore, the advantages of fully automatic looms have been exploited.
Machine-woven rugs are widely used products. You can find them in households in various designs. The exact method of production depends on the materials used. Do you own a sisal rug? Then it is certainly machine-woven. A short pile rug made of hemp or wool, however, is usually made by hand.
When making a hand-woven rug, the weaver guides the threads manually in the loom. The so-called warp thread is crossed at right angles with the weft, gradually forming a fabric. In a semi-mechanical process of this kind, the weaver merely guides the threads, the loom is automatically driven. The result is usually flat-woven wool rugs. Long-pile rugs, on the other hand, are often manufactured on completely manually operated looms.
Rug production which takes place on fully-automatic looms is referred to as a machine-woven production method. The yarn is fed into the loom by thousands of rollers at the same time. Production takes place in fixed widths and is limited to a combination of a maximum of ten colours.
Compared to rug production by hand, this is more complex, but allows a greater variety of colours and patterns. The size of the pile of machine-woven rugs must then be cut to the desired length and edged for better durability.
The following rule applies for woven rugs (whether hand-woven or machine-made): The denser the fabric, the more long-lasting and durable the rug is.
This type of rug production has been established in the German industry since the 1950s. For tufted rugs, the pile yarn is needled mechanically, or with the help of a thread gun, from the back of the rug into a prefabricated plastic carrier fabric. The principle is based on that of a sewing machine.
If the yarn, which usually consists of polyacrylic, polyester or wool, is cut off when it is introduced into the carrier, a smooth velour surface results. If the rug has to have a loop structure, no cutting is performed. But there are also rugs with a combination of both structures.
The back of the rug is glued with latex after tufting so that the threads do not come off again after completion. Subsequently, a concealing cotton fabric provides an attractive look. If the rug is to be given a lavish design, it is first manually punched into foil during manual tufting and then transferred to the carrier with the aid of paint. This creates a template that facilitates the tufting of patterns.
Tufted rugs are popular because of their uncomplicated and fast manufacturing process and represented in many households. If you want to remodel your living space frequently and without too much hassle, tufted rugs are just the thing for you. Take a look at our popular Whisper shaggy rug!
The most traditional method of rug-making is by hand. High-quality Oriental rugs are created in this way, for example.
After the sheep are sheared, the wool is spun by hand, dyed and dried. The resulting pile yarn is then knotted row by row around a warp thread in the knotting chair. Since each knot is set individually, individual pattern designs are possible. Finally, the resulting rug is washed to remove dirt and wool residues. The laundry also influences the colour intensity, the gloss and the feel of the finished product.
Once the knotted rug has dried, it is shorn by hand according to the instructions of the client. This corrects minor flaws and determines the length of the pile. The elaborate manufacturing process is reflected in the price - hand-knotted Oriental rugs are often considered as expensive luxury products.
Tip: Small irregularities are a typical feature of manual rug making. If you have an Oriental rug, you can simply cut off protruding pile threads with a pair of scissors.