Wool Rugs

Area rugs have become the central part of home decor. No house is complete without the addition of this accessory. It has now become the need of the day. Whether it is the living room of the house or the bedroom, an area rug adds to its beauty. At RugKnots, we collect area rugs from every part of the world and present it to our diverse clientele. Our experienced designers and rug collectors have each detail on their fingertips. We asked them about the most popular rugs that we have in our store, and this is what they told us- Wool rugs. This blog will discuss each material that we have in our store and their comparison with the most favorite wool woven rugs. Before we do that, let's get into the detail of this rug.

What are Wool rugs?

Wool is the most popular fiber for area rugs. It is mostly made by spinning the wool of sheep. Other animals like goat also helped in spinning this fiber. This fiber is used in many different forms and is weaved using many different techniques. It is always considered as a high-quality rug textile. Wool is an essential element in the production of area rugs. The fiber is not only luxurious but also durable. It shows the same resilience to wear as Nylon. 

Origin

Wool textiles started around 1500 BC in Europe. Sheep were used as a source of wool for a long time, but the oldest rugs are recorded in the mentioned year. It was the most common textile of the time. The cotton from India and silk from China were considered luxuries. Before the modern methods were introduced, wool was collected from sheep by hand or by metal combs. Today, it takes around 12% of the rug-making industry. Wool is being used in every textile and is mixed with many other fibers to provide its properties in the textile.

Weaving Techniques

Wool is an elite rug that uses different techniques to get weaved into beautiful rugs. The methods have advanced and have turned into the beautiful craftings. When choosing a weave for your wool area rug, you have to make sure that it stands with your needs and requirements. You also have to keep in mind the traffic in the area where your rug is to be placed. Your rug weave can add style, softness, durability, and can be a statement of your personality depending upon the type. Let's see which weave is suitable for your wool rugs.

Handmade Woolen Rugs

Compared to other varieties of rugs, handmade rugs are often unmatched in terms of quality and sturdiness. However, wool is differently weaved by hand. Different types of methods are used in the weaving of these rugs. They woolen threads can be knotted and tufted to achieve different weaving rug trends. Both of these styles are often confused by many, but only true woolen rug enthusiasts know how they are different.

Hand-Knotted Rugs

Heirloom Persian or Oriental rugs are often hand-knotted. These wool rugs are made by artisans using techniques that go way back into humanity's history. This method involves wool yarn, which makes up the pile of the rug and the warp, which makes up the structure of the rug. The wool yarn is tied to the thread. The highest quality hand-knotted woolen rugs will have many individual knots per square inch. These woolen rug weaving may take months to complete. 

These rugs are indeed works of art. They are called the masterpieces once they are completed. The time invested, the effort put, and the artistry we provide increases the value of the rug. It can have price tags with thousands of dollars. This weaving price is still not so bad for many. These rugs become the heirloom of the family. When maintained properly, they can have a life of hundreds of years. These woolen rugs can even increase their value over time.

Sorry, but not all knots are as good as others. There are 3 main types of knots in a hand-knotted rug.

Persian Knot (Senneh Knot)

The Persian knot is asymmetrical and open to one side. This knot doesn't leave gaps and is less bulky than Turkish knots, meaning more knots per square inch.

Persian knots are used to create more intricate curvilinear or floral patterns. Iran and Pakistan are known for this knot.

Turkish Knot (Ghiordes Knot)

The Turkish knot is symmetrical and can be identified by two small bumps within one knot on the back of the rug, looking like a double knot. Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and northern Iran are known for this type of knot.

This knot is deceptive, as it creates more bulk and makes the rug look like it has a higher knot count.

Jufti Knot (False Knot)

Jufti knots are also known as false knots. Instead of being tied around two warp threads, the weaver ties the knot around four strands. With this short cut, the weaver spends less time on the rug resulting in a lower value and quality rug; since there is less care put into it, this means less durability and sustainability in the long run.

You have to watch out for this in Indian made rugs. The knots in Indian rugs are not as tight, AND they are counted differently than rug knots in Pakistan and Iran.

In some regions of India, oriental rugs are measured using two numbers.

EX:

"5/40", "9/60" or "13/65".

These numbers are called the bis and Bhutan.

The first number (bis) is the number of knots in 9/10th of an inch across the horizontal plane - so 9 would be 10 knots across (9/0.9=10).

The second number (Bhutan) is the number of knots vertically in 4 1/2 inches.

Therefore 60 Bhutan is the equivalent of around 13 knots per vertical inch.

A "9/60" rug would therefore be around 130 KPSI (10x13=130).

A quick method of calculating the Indian measurement is to multiply the two numbers and divide them by 4.05 (9x60=540... 540/4.05=133)

As you can see, this is incredibly confusing and deceptive.

You will have to look out for this when you are buying a hand-knotted rug made in India. You don't have to worry about rugs made in Pakistan and Iran. All you do is take a ruler and count how many knots the rug has per square inch. Super simple.


Hand-Tufted rugs

Hand-tufted rugs are made using a device called "tufting gun." A backing material that is made of jute or canvas is used to begin the making of the tufted woolen rug. The handwoven rug is established as the weaver goes along, but that is not the case with hand-tufted rugs. The jute backing material has the pattern of rug printed on it.  The gun is then used to push the yarn through the backing material while following the trend. The strands of wool are punched into a canvas to make the hand-tufted rug. These yarns are then held in situ with another piece of material and glue. The threads don't integrate into the structure of the rug, just like the knots of a hand-knotted rug. Therefore, they're more likely to drag out. Once the wool is piled, the rug is removed from the frame. A hand-tufted rug needs a backing to hold those tufts. Mostly, a robust and durable fiber like that of sisal is glued to the back of these tufted rugs. Hand-tufted rugs are made quickly as compared to the handwoven rugs. Hand-tufted woolen rugs perform good but not as good as the woolen rugs that are handwoven. The weaves of the handwoven rugs are way more durable than these. The difference is evident between the two. 

Machine-Made Rugs

Machine-made rugs are thought to be challenging to work with and have a bad reputation. This is because people believe them to be less durable and not so elegant. This is not based on facts but entirely on word of mouth. The truth is that woolen area rugs made from the machine are just as chic as those of handwoven rugs. They might not meet the exact standards of handwoven rugs, but they are very close to them. 

Today, power looms with automatic controls are used to achieve the precision of handmade woolen rugs. Wool works efficiently with these computer-controlled machines. A wide range of styles and patterns which are often much more precise than handmade rugs are available using these power looms. If you're searching for more modern designs on a wool area rug or can't afford a perfect handmade rug, machine-made rugs are an excellent option. They are even being used to manufacture shag rugs that require great care.

Machine Spun Wool vs. Hand Spun Wool

Just like your grandma's apple pie, handmade rugs are better. Due to its handmade nature, it's inconsistent. Some parts of the wool are spun more tightly, and some parts are spun more loosely. Then, when the wool is dyed, some parts are made lighter while other parts are made darker.

When it comes to machine-made rugs, I like to use this analogy: you know how that store-bought cake is beautiful on the outside with that perfect frosting facade, but then you sink your teeth into the dry, crumbly sponge and you immediately regret the calories? As in, the cake's perfected look isn't worth it?

It's like that.

Machine-made rugs are perfect because machines are programmed to be accurate. But the real beauty and charm lie with the small imperfections that result from a rug's handmade nature.

Machine spun wool is swollen.

Another example: "Volumizing" hair products swell the hair and make it frizzy, so it looks thicker, and that is precisely what machine-spun wool does. It grows the wool to make it look thicker, so the rug seems plusher!


Flatweave 

The woolen rug weaves that we discussed before mostly create high piles. They are used as luxurious wool options, but this is not what some people always want. Another kind of weave has made its way into the popular weave styles list- a flatweave woolen rug. With flatweave rugs, there's no pile. Instead, the warp and weft that typically form the backing material for a pile rug are what's being developed. 

These rugs tend to be extremely durable, very easy to wash, and show little or no wear, making them perfect for high-traffic areas. There's not only woolen or other natural fiber flatweaves, but synthetic flatweaves are also being manufactured. These rugs are perfect for outdoors with their low piles. Some handmade flatweaves like Kilims are also a popular choice today. These rugs use wool fibers in such a way that it is tightly stretched onto the loom. Desire pattern is then achieved by weaving weft across warps. 



Braided Rugs

Wool fiber is braided to obtain a beautifully styled area rug. They are becoming more and more common in the living rooms of the USA. They go way back to the American colonial period when early settlers lacking looms and wool would make them from straw or scraps of clothing. This weaving style has made a great revolution in the wool rug industry. From being part of country style decors to bohemian styles, they can be seen everywhere. Wool is the ideal material for braided rug makers. Working with wool fiber is smooth and brings more attractive styles to the table. Whatever the material might be, the thread is stranded on a stand. That strand will then be wound during a spiral pattern into the specified shape. The beautiful rugs made from this technique are loved by many.

Types of wool

Wool is found in many different forms today. It is processed, machined, and refined to obtain better versions. Wool is also often mixed with other fibers to achieve a more beautiful thread that contains the properties of both the fibers. This helps in creating more unique styles with added benefits. Let's take a look at some of these types. 

Alpaca

Alpaca is a soft medium-weight fabric with a loose weave and a silky texture. This fiber is often mixed with sheep's wool to make blends that have a smooth, lustrous finish. This blended fiber is then used in the making of plush rugs. The maintenance of these rugs is an essential part as they re too expensive to let them destroy.

Boiled wool

This is produced by shrinking woven or knitted wool fabric to make a dense, non-fraying material with a textured surface. Rugs of this fiber are more substantial than the others. It's generally either pure wool or a wool-synthetic blend. As it's warm and weatherproof, boiled wool is principally used to make rugs for every area of your home in winters. A rug pad is used to lay this flatweave rug on it. 

Cashmere

It is a soft, beautiful fabric that's comfortable and looks great in any part of the house. It's made up of the fleece of the Capra hircus and mixed with wool. The designs made using this material are often traditional. Rugs made of Cashmere are of higher value than the others. This is because real Cashmere is very hard to obtain.

Crêpe

Crepe is also a lightweight, beautiful, soft woolen fabric with a springy, textured surface. It is used in rugs to give them a defined look. Place them under your home office or near your foyer; they look stunning everywhere. You can work these rugs anywhere in your home.

Double coating 

It is a heavy-weight, bulky reversible woolen fabric, which is formed from two layers woven together. These rugs are strong and durable. The double-layer also helps bring more style and more options for your home. 

Flannel

Flannel is a medium-weight, durable wool fabric. It has excellent finishing that makes it soft from either side. These rugs can be used in your kitchen, in your dining room, or your bathrooms even. They have a way to fit anywhere. They have low piles and can be placed under your dining table for that soft landing of your feet.

Gabardine 

Gabardine is a medium-weight, hardwearing fabric. Gabardine could also be pure wool or a mixture of wool and other fibers like polyester or cotton. Let's see when wool mixes with these two, what happens:

Cotton Gabardine

Cotton is mixed with wool to obtain ideal results. This blend was trending back in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today it is improved to be used in rugs. These rugs provide 100% properties of cotton and 100% of that of wool. This means the rug will give the softness, smoothness, and resilience of the rug while cotton is working to increase the durability and odor retention.

Polyester Gabardine

Wool looks beautiful as a rug but is also an expensive option. For those who want to enjoy the beauty at an affordable price, polyester mixed rugs are a great option. These rugs provide the luxury of the wool and amount of the polyester.

Wool polypropylene rug

These blends are more durable than that of the wool-polyester blend. They have the durability of wool and the affordability of propylene. It is a synthetic fiber that can be cleaned easily. It is stain-resistant and can work in high traffic areas. It is one of the most common rug materials today.

Wool mixed with natural fibers

Wool is a natural fiber itself, and when mixed with other natural fibers, it generates beautiful results. Jute when makes the backing of the rug, or when sisal does so, the rug manufactured is not only durable but also 100% biodegradable. These rugs are sometimes reversible too. Both sides of these rugs can be used in the home. The design of the sisal can work when you have high traffic in your home. Or maybe turn it to get that wool side when there are guests around. These rugs do not need a rug pad in place.

Mohair

These rugs are produced from the fleece of the Angora. They are mixed with wool to get a heavy-weight, plain-weave rug with a fluffy and hairy texture. The pile height of this rug ranges from 0.25 inches to 1 inch. These rugs are mostly plush and shag. Their maintenance does not need regular washing, but a wet or dry cloth can clean them easily. 

Silk-wool mix

This is the most popular blend of all time. Silk is a medium-weight soft fabric that mixes with the softness of the wool. The rug now has the sheen and luster of silk and durability and reliability of wool. It is blended in a way that the back is made of wool to make walking on the rug softer, and the front is made from silk, which provides a shiny and beautiful pattern. Silk is even more pricey than wool sometimes, and hence this blent might be significantly expensive.

Single jersey

It is a fabric generated from wool. A light- to medium-weight knit, stretchy fabric is perfect for rugs. Single jersey provides those plush rugs and is mixed with cotton too. Every blend that it creates is more powerful than the other. These rugs are placed anywhere in your home to get excellent results.

Tartan

Tartan is a woolen fabric that has a checked pattern and is twill-weave and medium-weight. The rugs made of this fabric come in an exceedingly wide selection of color schemes. It is effortless to handle, and rug makers ensure the check patterns to be aligned. They have an extremely dense weave, which makes the pile height more than the others. The rug, in turn, made is soft and durable.

Tweed

Tweed is mixed with wool to create rugs that are durable and textured like that of tweed. The heavy-weight, durable, coarse-textured fabric is ideal for many rugs. The pile generated in these rugs is usually short and helps create a retro look in your rooms. The weave used in these rugs is often plain-weave, twill, or herringbone. It gives a wide range of colors and patterns. The rugs are a modern version of tweed and resemble wool.

Venetian

Venetian is also a medium-weight wool fabric that is woven with either a twill or weave and incorporates a shiny finish. These rugs incorporate traditional Persian designs or Moroccan styles with medallions on them. This rug material is mostly used to produce these gems. Moroccan rugs contain handmade designs with new and unique patterns. Venetian wool supports each one of them.

Wool felt

It is a non-woven textile produced by matting and pressing wool sheets together. This creates soft, dense non-fraying rugs that are medium- to heavy-weight. The sheets pressed together may be pure wool or a wool-polyester mix. These rugs are innovative and meet the needs of each trend today. These rugs come in a variety of colors, including beige, light blue, or blue area rugs. 

Worsted

These rugs are made from worsted wool that is medium to heavy-weight with a smooth surface. As it's tightly woven, it's hardwearing and doesn't sag easily. This feature makes it ideal for wool rugs. These rugs are not shag or plushy. They have an average pile height.

Why are wool rugs used?

Wool provides many superior properties to the rugs and carpets. These supreme qualities make it a popular choice in the industry. Let's see why your next rug should be of wool.

Stain resistance

Rugs made from wool are mostly stain resistant. The fiber has a natural coating of lanolin, which is present in the skin of sheep. It acts as weather and bacteria resistant for the sheep. For our rugs, it can keep the dirt away from it. The rugs laid in your rooms can resist those stains that you were not paying attention to. The rug can take care of itself. This property also makes it easily cleanable.

Look clean

Your wool area rug looks clean even when you are not cleaning it. The stains are already resisted by the lanolin and the stains that are there; it hides them in its tiny pockets. The stain or dirt can not sit on the surface. The spaces in the fiber absorb it. It doesn't require the maintenance that other soft luxury rugs require. 

The resilient pile

The pile of the wool shows resilience to the damage. It is almost equal to that of Nylon. The fiber recovers slowly from the stress but does it excellently. You can put your furniture on the rug, and it'd go back to its original form when the furniture is taken off of it. You can make recovery fast by using some water cleaning. The compression of daily use does not affect this rug.

A hypoallergenic fiber

This property of the rug makes it even suitable for your kids. Your pets can roam around in the home, and you don't have to worry about it leaving bacteria on your rug. The rug's lanolin, as mentioned earlier, acts as an anti-bacteria for your rug. Bacteria do not overgrow on the rug. The fiber also resists even the dust or the mildew damp. The airborne contaminants can not sit on this rug. 

The rug is dry

Wool is an absorbent material. Any damp that you bring in and clean it on your entrance rug made of wool will be absorbed in seconds. This is why the rug always stays dry. The water spills are absorbed in minutes. You don't have to wait for alert all day or worry about your kids spoiling the rug.

Wool colors

This rug loves colors. Every color is brilliantly absorbed in this fiber due to its liquid-absorbing power. It is dyed better than other rugs. The thread is dyed using the required colors and is then handwoven to produce the marvelous results. It supports a vast color palette, be it light blue, navy blue, red, or beige; wool can carry it all. 

Flame Resistant

This rug can avoid the flames and is highly resistant to burning. The ignition does not touch it comfortably. Wool has many applications in such industries where contact like these can be made. Aircraft rugs are usually crafted by wool due to this property. It catches the temperature only at higher temperatures and can take the fire out itself if the source is taken away. This natural fiber is easy to use, where such regulations are to be met.

Environment Friendly

Since the rugs are made from a natural fiber, it is biodegradable. It can be renewed without any harm to the environment. The rugs are handwoven and hence do not require any harmful material or produce toxic waste. Rug making makes a significant part of landfills, but these rugs are not one of them.

Comfort and Warmth

These rugs are known for the comfort they provide. The warmth and luxury of these rugs are incomparable. With the added beauty, these rugs always come on top. With their high-pile, they add the comfy look to any room. These rugs are a must-have. 

How to Style Your Wool Rug

Wool rugs have become a popular choice in our homes today. They are found in many different forms. You can find a woolen shag rug as well as a woolen runner rug, a flatweave rug for your child's room, or a traditional Moroccan rug for your living room. Not only the weaving styles but a beautiful color palette is also a known fact for these rugs. Let's see how we can style these rugs into our homes, offices, and as an outdoor rug.

Living Room

The living room is the place where we can unleash our creativity. This room has to be carefully decorated to make a statement about your personality. Woolen rugs are the soul of home decor. A living room is not appropriately styled without these rugs. Here's how you can design your wool rug in here

  • Layout your room according to the colors and styles you want. If you want a more traditional look, go for the conventional rugs having medallions, emblems, or old towers weaved in them. Bold colors suit this style for your room.
  • For a more elegant look, go for light colors like beige, white, grey, blue, etc. When contrasted with furniture, they look fantastic.
  • For a luxurious look, add a shag rug to this room with plush furniture. Colors like beige area rugs also complete this look. 

Bedroom

Your bedroom is your safe place. This room, out of all the rooms in your home, is where you like spending most of the time. Sometimes, this room becomes your study area, other times, a friends' sleepover place. You love to decorate this area. Here's how you should do it with your wool rug.

  • Lay your shiny, new rug in your bedroom, making it match with your wall colors and furniture designs. The rugs that complement these areas are the most trendy of all.
  • Try layering with different wool rugs or your wool rug with other materials. This design can be tried with different colors, e.g., layer your beige or taupe rug with a bold color; try layering teal color with white.
  • Layering can also be done using different patterns. Layer a plain rug with a printed rug on the top, e.g., layer a geometric design or animal print with a plain contrasting or base color. 

Dining Room

Area rugs can act as the focal point of your dining room. They can be placed under your dining table or beside your cooking area. Here's how you can style these wool rugs in your room.

  • Place your wool rugs under the dining area with a foot outside the table. Place it in a way that the chairs might not tug with them.
  • Place it near the dining area that is in the open and is added with the lounge.
  • Use chevron rugs to make a modern statement.

 Entryway

Woolen rugs are often used at entryways, foyers, hallways, and patios, as this is where you put the first impression. And we all know, "The first impression is the last impression." This is where you put the best of the best and in an impressive manner.

  • Make the size of the rug proportionate to the size of the entrance.
  • Consider the maintenance of your rug. You need to have a rug that is not so difficult to clean, and a simple vacuuming may work for it.
  • Do not use shag or plushy rugs at the entrance.
  • You can use funky and more vibrant rugs at the entrance.
  • Entrance rugs with some tagline like "HOME SWEET HOME" might also work for some.

Office

Your office can be anyplace. It can be your study room or a building away from your home. But a right wool rug can make it your home too. Your office can be styled in many ways by your creative mind. 

  • Shag rugs work like a charm for any office.
  • The office room does not have that much traffic so that you can use any weaving like tufted or handwoven rugs there.
  • You can even use a light color palette in there.
  • A viscose rug might also work for your office as they provide the style and elegance to your room.

Wool rugs can be used in any form, mixed with any material, and are found in every color for any place in your home or office. We can say that wool is the ultimate material for area rugs.

Navigating the world of wool rugs can be incredibly difficult, but I have 5 easy ways to tell if the wool rug you are looking at is a high-quality rug. It is essential to know the wool you are buying— the wool could make a difference on whether or not a rug will last forever or just a few months. We will study here about Indian wool as compare to new Zealand wool.

Indian Wool

Indian wool is some of the worst wool types in the world. The sheep the manufacturers use for the Indian wool rugs are starved and mistreated. Once the wool is shaved, the wool must be highly processed with chemicals to remove the blood from the wool that arises from careless shaving.

This chemical process leaves the wool brittle and weak, like how your hair is before conditioner. Unlike your hair, though, this wool does not get conditioned. Instead, it is taken through a machine to be spun into yarn.

Machine spinning cuts down on cost and time but results in sturdy yarn. By processing the wool and machine spinning the thread, the yarn swells twice its size. This is a trick to make the wool heavier and broader to create the illusion of luxury.

New Zealand Wool

The wool of New Zealand is cruelty-free. Extra care and attention goes into the shearing process to secure the safety and well being of the sheep.

Because no harm is done to the sheep, the wool is not chemically processed, and it is sold in its raw, natural state. This makes New Zealand wool rugs expensive, and so, it's only used in high-end rugs.

Using Indian wool is a pretty standard type of wool in hand-knotted rugs, like how radio is standard in any car or truck on the road. New Zealand wool is an upgrade, like a built-in navigation system or a keyless entry.

 

How to Tell When a Wool Rug is Fake

It's relatively easy deciding whether a wool rug is real or not. The easiest way is paying close attention to the knots.

Flip the rug over, and if you can see knots, you most likely have an authentic wool rug.

The pattern should be an exact mirror image as the front, and you should be able to count each knot.

If you see a piece of canvas or fabric, the rug is fake.

This means it is a tufted rug, and the fabric backing, in addition to latex glue, is holding the rug together.

It's important to note these factors when you buy a wool rug. Know the type of rug you're buying and the use you're going to get out of it. While New Zealand wool tends to be more expensive, does it make a difference when you have to replace another type of wool rug every few years? It's essential to consider the long term investment when purchasing a wool rug.

 

Maintaining a woolen rug

Different wool area rugs are managed differently. The carpet with a more shaggy and plushy look is maintained in a different way

  • Do not lay it in the high traffic area
  • Keep it away from dirt and wet areas
  • Keep it away from your pets
  • Vacuum it keeping your cleaner at a high setting
  • Vacuum the back of the rug as well. This will make the fibers look alive.
  • If the fibers of the rug are too soft for the vacuuming, clean it with a dry cloth. Vacuum the back of the rug, though.
  • Shake your rug thoroughly before putting it back in its place. Clean the area before placing the rug on it.
  • If a stain sets on the rug, clean it quickly with a wet cloth and remove each particle of the spill.

Cleaning and maintaining a low pile rug is rather easy.

  • Use a carpet brush for cleaning every rug.
  • Protect it from the furniture marks
  • Rotate the rug regularly by 180 degrees. This will keep the setting of the room maintained.
  • Do not keep indoor rugs in direct sunlight.
  • Vacuum your rug regularly in the direction of the pile. This will increase the life of the area rug.

 

RugKnots is a leading manufacturer and supplier of woolen area rugs. From low pile to medium pile and medium pile to high pile, from neutral colors to bold colors or even multicolor rugs, with any rug size are available with us. Wool blend rugs that can afford any foot traffic and are durable are the specialty of RugKnots. Our experts are waiting to hear from you. We will love to help you design your home. Contact us today.

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2 comments

RugKnots Area Rugs

RugKnots Area Rugs

@Baba There are many different types of wool, but when it comes from New Zealand, it’s important to know that the wool comes from there because you’re getting a wool that consistently scores the highest grade/quality next to Australia, compared to other rug producing nations. New Zealand wool is also the whitest, which helps with the dyeing process and makes the final result more colorful than other wool. :) Hope this answers your question!

Baba

Baba

Is it enough to know that wool comes from New Zealand, or is it more to know about quality of New Zealand wool. Thanks!!!

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