Important Notice:

In preparation for Hurricane Irma, Cal & Son has temporarily stopped all installations and has closed the showroom, office, and warehouse. We will resume operations as soon as possible and will first continue with installations that were in progress before the storm. Since it is likely that cellular phone and data will become operational before landlines do please contact us via the following methods. Email (preferred): alexcal@atlanticbbn.net
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Area Rugs | How It's Made

Being familiar with area rug construction also helps you understand and evaluate performance aspects: why certain rugs wear better and longer. Understanding how area rugs are created helps you better determine rug value and keep you inside the borders of your budget.

Machine made

  • less expensive
  • not considered investments
  • more flexibility and variety
  • woven rugs created on automated weaving looms
  • elaborate designs created by placement of different colors of yarn

Man made

  • handmade (also called hand knotted)
  • custom-made
  • one of a kind designs
  • incorporate creative, brilliant uses of color
  • unique details and intricacies in each due to the village, city or country of the creator
  • often created with natural dyes for color longevity
  • considered an investment
  • many become heirlooms
  • ancient and unique process

 Elements that tie any handmade rug together

WEAVE

  • technique used in making handmade rugs

Three major techniques: pile weave, flat weave and hand-tufted

Pile Weave

  • method of weaving used in most rugs
  • rug is woven by a creation of knots
  • different weaving groups use different types of knots
  • every single knot is tied by hand
  • can consist of 25 to over 1000 knots per square inch
  • skillful weavers tie knots in about ten seconds (meaning it would take a skillful weaver 6,480 hours to weave a 9x12-foot rug with a density of 150 knots per square inch)
  • time reduced with workshops or multiple weavers

Flat Weave

  • technique of weaving where no knots are used
  • warp strands used as the foundation
  • weft stands are used as the foundation and in the patterns
  • called flat weaves since no knots are used in the weaving process and the surface looks flat

Hand Tufted

  • created without tying knots into the foundation
  • pile height determined by amount of yarn cut off
  • less time consuming than hand-tying each knot
  • requires a high level of craftsmanship
  • can be made faster than hand-knotted rugs
  • generally less expensive than hand-knotted
  • highly durable and accurate
  • weathers foot traffic for years

KNOT

  • woven by tying knots on the warp strands
  • two predominant types of knots: asymmetrical and symmetrical

Asymmetrical (Persian or Senneh) Knot:

  • used in Iran, India, Turkey, Egypt and China
  • to form, yarn is wrapped around one warp strand and then passed under the neighboring warp strand and brought back to the surface
  • creates a finer weave   

Symmetrical (Turkish or Ghiorde) Knot:

  • used in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran by Turkish and Kurdish tribes

Knot Density:

  • refers to the number of knots per square inchor square decimeter in a handmade rug
  • measured in the imperial system in square inches and in the metric system in square decimeters
  • KPSI is sometimes used to indicate value
  • higher the number of knots per square inch, the higher the quality, and price

DYES/DYEING

  • process of changing the natural color of materials such as wool, silk and cotton
  • two types of dyes: natural dyes and synthetic dyes

Natural Dyes:

  • natural dyes only used until late 19th century
  • include plant dyes, animal dyes and mineral dyes
  • plant dyes come from roots, flowers, leaves, fruit, and the bark of plants
  • woad, a plant from the mustard and indigo family, is used for blue dye
  • yellow is produced from saffron, safflower, sumac, turmeric, onionskin, rhubarb, weld, and fustic
  • Madder, Redwood and Brazilwood has been used since ancient times for reds
  • browns and blacks come from catechu dye, oak bark, oak galls, acorn husks, tea, and walnut husks
  • henna is used for orange
  • for green, indigo that is over-dyed with any variety of a yellow dye is used
  • mineral dyes come from ocher (yellow, brown, red), limestone or lime (white), manganese (black), cinnabar and lead oxide (red), azurite and lapis lazuli (blue), and malachite (green)

Synthetic Dyes:

  • mid-nineteenth century, when demand for handmade rugs increased in the West, production increased in the East
  • need for easy-to-use and less expensive dyes with a wider range of colors caused development of synthetic dyes in Europe
  • synthetic dyes imported to Persia (Iran), Anatolia (Turkey) and other Eastern countries
  • first synthetic dye, Fuchsine (a magenta aniline), was developed in the 1850s
  • other synthetic aniline dyes followed, later banned by the Persian king
  • Persian weavers discontinued the use of synthetic dyes until the modern synthetic chrome dyes developed between World Wars I and II
  • chrome dyes are colorfast, retain their intensity and are produced in a variety of attractive colors and shades
  • mostly chrome synthetic dyes are used for coloring weaving yarns
  • natural dyes are used in places where they are easily obtainable