How to identify the parts of a rug?
Being able to identify the different parts of a hand-knotted rug could help you when buying or selling a rug or when you have one cleaned or repaired. During these times it is nice to have a basic understanding of the construction of a rug so that you can talk the rug lingo with others. In the oriental rug cleaning business it is nice to have customers that know how rugs are made, they know the value of the rug and have expectations of how it should be cared for.
So let’s start with the foundation of the rug. All hand-knotted rugs start with a foundation of yarns. These yarns are called warp yarns and weft yarns. The easy way to remember them is the weft yarns run “weft” to right across the rug. Most of the time the warp and weft yarns are made of cotton but they also can be made of wool. However it is easier for a weaver to produce a flat, straight rug out of cotton warp and wefts which is why that is most commonly used. The weft yarns help hold the knots on the warp yarns in place and give stability to the rug. The warp yarns run end to end. These yarns are what the weavers tie the knots of the rug around. During the weaving process the weavers don’t always use a continuous piece of cotton yarn for the warps. Sometimes they tie several smaller pieces together and over time as the rug wears the “white knots” may become visible, this will not be seen in machine made rugs. Also the fringe on hand knotted rugs is a continuation of the warp yarns of the rug.
Then we have the kilim between the tassles of the fringe and the main body of the rug. This flat weave portion of the ends of the rug help lock in the knots and give a decorative end to the rug. The fringe is made up of warp yarns and may or may not have a kilim in front of them. The knots in the fringe hold help hold the rug together. If the kilim or fringe starts fraying or coming apart on your rug it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further more costly damage from occurring.
The selvedge or edge binding of a rug is made from several warp yarns on the edge of the rug being wrapped with yarn. This gives a nice edge to the rug and prevents raveling or fraying.
Lastly is the pile or face yarns of the rug. The yarns that are knotted in place during the weaving process create the pile of the rug. This is what gives the rug its design.
Hopefully now you can use this information to help you the next time the conversation turns to rugs and rug construction.