The carpet as we know it today, has been with us for years, and to begin with it was something that was produced for personal use, to provide warmth and protection in the tents in which people lived. The technique of knotting and weaving carpets has developed over the years and the motifs became more and more detailed. It was nevertheless still a unique handicraft for private use.
In the 19th century, as industrialism gained momentum, the loom was also being developed, becoming more and more automated. This meant that more industrialised rug production could begin and in England, machine-knotted rugs were being produced on a major scale, in places like Axminster and Wilton, which is also the origin of these famous carpet types. Over the years, production techniques have become more sophisticated and today most rugs on the market are machine-knotted.
Today's machine-knotted rugs are of a high quality and a lot of the time it requires a trained eye to see the difference between a hand-knotted carpet and one produced mechanically. If you were to point out the biggest difference, it would be that machine-knotted rugs lack the soul behind the artwork that hand-knotted carpets have.
Machine-knotted rugs are produced through thousands of reels of thread being fed into one giant mechanical loom, which quickly weaves the rug according to a chosen pattern. During production, which is carried out in fixed widths, different patterns and sizes can be produced simultaneously, which means minimal material spillage once the machine is running. There are however certain limitations, including the fact that only a certain number of colours can be used in one rug; usually between 8 and 10 colours can be combined and screened to produce a wider colour spectrum. Once the rugs have been woven, the various patterns and sizes are cut apart, after which they are trimmed/edged for the best possible durability. A number of rugs are also decorated with fringes afterwards, which are sewn onto the short ends, as opposed to the fringes being part of the rug's warp threads as is the case in hand-knotted carpets.
Producing a machine-knotted rugs takes approx. one hour depending on size, compared to a hand-knotted carpet which can take months and even years, which is also the main reason that machine-knotted rugs are significantly cheaper.
So many choices
Today there is an enormous range to choose from when it comes to machine-knotted rugs, both with regard to models and to quality. Choose from modern designs in a range of different colours and from oriental rugs with a range of different patterns. As production is mechanical, it is also easier to produce smaller collections quickly for select markets.
Size-wise, the range is broad and it is usually easy to find the right rug in the desired size. Thanks to efficient production, the price of machine-knotted rugs is lower, which makes it possible to switch out rugs at home more often.
Machine-knotted rugs are currently available in a range of different materials and material combinations. There are rugs produced mechanically in natural materials, such as wool and cotton, but also synthetic fibres and materials are also common. Development is constant and rug materials have started to appear that are more or less impossible to stain, but these are currently still relatively expensive. All materials have their own unique properties, with advantages as well as disadvantages.
Viscose is a man-made fibre similar to silk and is based on natural materials such as cotton or cellulose. The material is very soft and is therefore an important element in artificial silk (rayon ). Its properties mean that viscose is often used in the production of rugs to highlight details and to give the rugs a beautiful lustre. Some viscose rugs can sometimes shed fibres, which is due to the use of poor quality raw materials during production of the fibres. They are short fibres in the rug that work their way out during use and come up to the surface. However, this can be avoided by washing the rugs after production, which results in less shedding, but above all a more lustrous rug.
Wool is usually associated with sheepskin, but wool can also come from other animals. Once the wool has been sheared, it is spun into yarn which is then dyed. This material is common in rugs, it has a dirt-repelling effect and the higher content of lanolin, the softer the wool and the better the lustre. The wool used in machine-knotted rugs is partially reinforced with a core of synthetic fibres to improve durability, but also to ensure it doesn't split during the actual production process.
SYNTHETIC WOOL (POLYPROPENE)
Polypropene (also known as polypropylene ) is a chemically produced environmentally-friendly man-made fibre. It is one of the most common thermoplastics on the market and according to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, it has the least effect on the environment of all the plastics. The material has a high resistance to wear and can withstand heat well, but is sensitive to the cold. Rugs produced using synthetic wool are very good value and are ideal for people with allergies to, for example, natural materials. The material does not shed fibres, is easy to clean and is often used in the production of machine-knotted rugs, primarily due to its properties.
Cotton is a textile fibre from the mallow plant family. The material is highly durable, washing hardy and is often used in the production of clothes and other textiles. Cotton is significantly more durable than, for example, jute which is used in a lot of carpets and is susceptible to wear during use.
Chenille yarn is produced from different materials, e.g. cotton, rayon or acrylic, by twisting the yarn around a thicker thread. The yarn therefore becomes thick, soft and produces an exciting relief pattern thanks to the protruding yarn fibres from the twisted yarns. It is usually used in machine-knotted rugs together with viscose, which highlights the pattern.
Jute is a subtropical plant that grows in places like India, China and Thailand. Fabric is produced from the stalks of the plant. Jute fibres are often short, which makes them difficult to spin, and thus spinning lubricant is added. The product is relatively cheap to produce and is used in a number of machine-knotted rug warps, which creates a slightly more rigid carpet, as opposed to cotton, which makes the rug more pliable.
The art of making carpets was probably developed on the plains of Central Asia several thousand years ago.
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Styles & origin
A handmade carpet is usually named after the place where it was made or from the ethnic group who make it.
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Oriental carpets are divided into three categories depending on where they are manufactured namely; nomadic carpets, village...
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Despite recent technological advancement and development that has occured over the years, handmade carpets today are still made...
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In an oriental carpet the pile and weft provides the foundation and the pile gives it its durability.
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In this section different terms and expressions from the exciting world of carpets are explained and outlined.
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