The type of yarn that is used in making an area rug contributes to both the ambience it creates as well the practical sensibilities inherent in one rug vs. another for a particular room. For example, a fine, hand-knotted wool rug, embellished in vibrantly colored designs and silky-soft textures is a striking focal point in room decor – but you won’t want to use this rug where it will be in constant contact with dirty shoes!
In this case, a power-loomed rug, made using soft, supple synthetic yarns, is a stylish and durable alternative. These rugs add brilliant color and textures that hold up beautifully even in busier areas of the home, e.g. the family room, game rooms and kids’ playrooms and bedrooms.
To get the most satisfaction and enjoyment from an area rug, familiarize yourself with the attributes associated with the different materials and constructions that are used in making them. You’ll find that this knowledge will help immeasurably in choosing a rug that is ideally suited for the look you want to create, the type of room you are decorating, and your budget.
Wool is used to make the finest hand-knotted antique rugs as well as more practical hand-tufted and hand-hooked area rugs. Pure wool yarns are soft and naturally stain-resistance due to the lanolin that is found in sheep wool. The finest wool yarns will have more lanolin than other grades and will tend to shed much less, if at all.
Cotton yarn is often used in making flat weave rugs as well as in blends with other materials such as wool. Cotton is soft underfoot and takes well to dyes, which results in vibrantly colored designs. However, the naturally absorbent qualities of cotton can also cause stains to set more quickly, so consider this when choosing where you’ll place a cotton area rug your home.
Synthetic yarns are commonly used in the construction of area rugs. Advancements in the quality and texture of synthetic yarns, such as polypropylene and polyester, have followed step-for-step with the remarkable progression of power loom technology.
Today, rug manufacturers are able to replicate the complexity of design, brilliant colors, and textural feel of handmade rugs, but in machine-made, synthetic yarn versions, all available at a moderate price point. These rugs are durable, beautifully designed, and available in a wide range of styles, including indoor/outdoor rugs, shags, traditional, contemporary and the trendiest new looks in transitional area rugs.
Viscose, with its lustrous sheen and silky soft texture is a truly luxurious rug material. Also known as ‘artificial silk’, bamboo silk or rayon, 100 percent viscose fiber rugs make utterly elegant floor coverings that accentuate sophisticated décor in any style room from traditional to contemporary. These rugs are best placed in low traffic areas of the home to preserve the softness and shimmer of viscose yarns.
Natural Fiber yarns are a sustainable rug making material sourced from biodegradable, organic plants; primarily jute, seagrass and sisal. Natural fiber area rugs are a “fashion-must” when it comes to enhancing the earthy, coastal or bohemian look of room decor. These rugs are also an ideal choice when the look calls for layering different textured rugs.
The main constructions used in making area rugs are hand knotted, hand tufted, hand loomed, hand woven, power loomed, and natural hide.
Flat weave rugs are one example of hand woven rugs. Natural fiber rugs are another. This construction is rooted in ancient rug weaving traditions, but today, has been adapted for more modern décor preferences. Hand woven area rugs are made by intertwining warp and weft yarns resulting in a flat rug with no pile.
Hand knotted rugs are revered for their painstaking detail and time-honored knotting techniques. Hand knotted rugs are made on a loom where warp threads build a foundation, onto which craftsmen tie each thread that is used to create the design, and texture of the rug.
Hand knotted rugs will vary in the density of knots per square inch, a key determinant in the value of a hand knotted rug, but all display the fine texture, clarity of design, and vivid colors associated with this timeless rug construction.
HAND TUFTED AND HAND HOOKED RUGS
These rugs are made by punching individual yarns through a fabric sheet using a device called a “tufting gun”. A second fabric, generally cotton or felt, is then attached to the underside of the rug to hold the yarns in place. Hand tufted rugs are generally thicker, with a dense pile that is soft and comforting underfoot.
This type of weaving uses a wooden vertical-shaft loom and is powered by hand or foot. Warp threads are manually passed through the weft threads and secured by a heddle. Hand loomed rugs are made with detailed attention down to the painstaking process of shedding the rug.
Power loomed rugs are produced by electronically driven machines. The detail of their patterns is controlled by computer. Power loomed construction is used today to create intricate graphic images, marvelous blends of color and textures. This technology-driven method of rug making is also used in creating new renditions of traditionally styled rugs at a much more moderate price point.