How To: Classify Handmade Rugs

May 16, 2013

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Previously on the blog, we joined Carla, EQ3’s Product Development Coordinator, on a virtual trip to India for an insider’s look at how a rug is made. We’ll cover tips for choosing the right rug in future posts, but today Carla demystifies the differences between EQ3’s hand tufted and hand woven rugs.




Clockwise (starting at Top-Left): Tufting hand gun / Fabric stretched over metal frames / Artisan working the Pit Loom / Artisan working the Hand Loom / Close-up of Hand Loom



HAND TUFTED / This technique is the most popular in India as it allows for any design and an unlimited number of colours to be achieved. In this process, the base fabric is stretched on a metal frame and yarn is inserted through the fabric with the help of a tufting hand gun. The yarns are then looped through the canvas. When the rug features a pattern, the artisan draws (or sometimes prints) the design on wax paper. They bunch little holes along the design and paint the back, allowing the ink to seep through the holes and onto the canvas. The artisan tufts over the pattern, paying attention to where the colours are to be placed, and then paints the underside of the rug with latex glue and covers it with a backing material. Once complete, the rug’s tufts or “loops” may be left visible, shaved down, or cut to create definition in the pattern.


Three Styles of Tufted Rugs:


1. Loop Pile Rug – a rug where tufts have been left intact. Ex. Edan Rug


2. Cut Pile Rug – a rug where tufts have been cut or shaved down. Ex. Skyline Rug, Cloo Rug


3. Carved Pile Rug – a rug where a design or pattern has been cut or embossed into the pile. Ex. Roscoe RugSquared Rug, Jade Rug


Good To Know: The term “pile” refers to the height and density of the finished rug’s yarns. Pile adds depth and cushion to the rug.



HAND WOVEN / This technique is faster than the hand tufted method, but it does not allow for intricate, patterned designs. In this process, the rug is hand woven using either a Hand Loom or a Pit Loom. The warp forms the pile or “face” of the rug and the weft makes the base or “backing” of the rug.


Two Styles of Hand Woven Rugs:


1. The Hand Loom is used for many of our shag rugs (ex. Otis Rug, Bardot Rug) and our striped rugs (ex. Burgo Rug, Fairway Rug). The pile height of the rug can be controlled to many various heights using the hand loom, much more easily than with Hand Tufted rugs.


2. The Pit Loom is a pit where the artisan makes the rug through the use of pedals. The Pit Loom produces flat weave rugs and dhurrie rugs. These types of rugs have no pile, meaning they are thinner and often reversible (ex. Zach Rug, Ori Rug and Daxi Rug).


Good To Know: When decorating with a flat weave or dhurrie rug, it’s a good idea to place a rug pad underneath it to prevent the rug from slipping.



What style of rug appeals to you? Browse our rug collection online, then leave a comment telling us which one is your favourite.


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