Custom Rug Weaving or Tufting

Our manufacturers in India and Nepal take your design and colours and start the process of making your rug, but it’s not quite as simple as that.

Before the weaving or tufting process begins the wool is sourced, treated and dyed to the relevant colour. One of the reasons custom rugs are that bit more expensive than standard production rugs is that manufacturers need to buy wool and dyes even if only using a tiny amount which decreases economies of scale and increases waste and costs.

Dependant on the requirements of the brief and intricacy of the design the rug will be either hand-tufted or hand-knotted.

Hand-tufting is carried out on a canvas. The design will be drawn out and the weaver or artisan will uses a hand-held tufting gun to push the wool or viscose through the canvas to create the design. Once complete a further backing is glued to the canvas to secure the tufts and the rug is shaved to the correct pile height before being washed to remove loose fibres and eliminate any excess dyes.

rug tufting
An artisan tufts a rug onto the canvas in India

Hand-knotted is the process used to create Persian or Oriental rugs. A loom is set up with vertical (warp) strings, on each of these a knot is tied to form a row then a vertical (weft) string is interwoven between the warp strings to keep the knots in line and secure. This process is continued row by row, one knot at a time until the pattern is complete. This process can take from months to years to complete depending on design – however for most custom rugs the pattern is not so intricate as to take years and with several people knotting the rug at the one time (if large) it can normally be completed in a few months. Hand-knotted rugs obviously cost significantly more than their tufted counterparts. They do however last a long time, many being passed down the generations becoming valued family heirlooms. Some people wish to have their rug constructed using a hand-knotted technique for the added quality, for others it is a requirement based on the design. Hand-knotted rugs have fringes or ‘tassels’ as part of their foundation, these are the exposed warp strings and the bottom and top of the rug, but these can be bound if desired on request. Again, once complete a hand-knotted rug is shaved or cut to the required or advised pile height. The rug is also washed and treated to remove any loose fibres.

A modern rug being hand-knotted in Nepal

Once the rug weaving is complete, the weaver carries out any carving (optional) before delivery.

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