It’s a known fact that a hand-knotted rug can last for generations. Often fine handmade rugs are passed down as heirlooms and become a part of a family’s legacy. There is a huge market globally for vintage rugs that are 100 years and older and they have gone on to become a collectible item.
So how is it that fine quality or good quality hand made rugs last this long. What is it about their construction that puts them in the ‘fine’ category? We will take you through the nuances of good quality handmade rugs to help you make an informed decision for your home or next project.
Let’s begin by understanding how does a fine, hand-knotted carpet lasts a lifetime if cared for properly.
De-mystifying high-quality rugs
The words ‘fine’ and ‘high-quality’ when used in terms of a hand-knotted carpet always denote the knot-count of the carpet, which defines its quality. Each hand-knotted carpet is made by tying million-plus knots one by one on a loom with a cotton or silk warp and weft. The density of the knots or their proximity to each other in every square inch determines the carpet’s knot count. When you hear the numbers 8X8, 10X10, 11X11, or 14X14 – what you are really being told is the density of knots per square inch in the carpet. As a thumb rule, the higher the knot count the better the quality and more the value.
Let’s Understand Knot Density Better
The way to determine a carpet’s knot density is by flipping it over and counting the number of knots per square inch (KPSI). The carpet with the higher KPSI will fall in the ‘fine’ category and the one with the lower KPSI will be viewed as a coarse weave.
The 40,000 weavers and artisans at Jaipur Rugs have been trained to produce high-quality rugs with a high knot count and delicate design. Our weavers in tribal belts of Gujarat and the Rajasthani hinterland are masters of the profession for generations. They are capable of producing some of the world’s finest KPSIs.
Design and KPSI
Does the KPSI of a carpet affect the design? The simple answer to that is that carpets with a higher knot count can include a more intricate design. A higher knot count is more suitable for delicate curves and shading whereas in lower counts the details can get somewhat muted.
But there are designs like larger-scale geometric patterns and straight lines that can really stand out in lower knots. And then there are the more contemporary patterns, which can be adjusted to both higher and lower knot-counts.
The Duration and Life of a Fine Hand-Knotted Rug
It takes anywhere between four to 10 months to weave and finish a fine-quality carpet. Finer woven quality carpets take longer to weave. A 8X10 rug with a kpsi of 196 takes anything between six-eight months to complete. The weavers at Jaipur Rugs work out of the comforts of their home on a loom typing one knot at a time day in and day out over months. This is why most finer rugs come at a higher price point.
The Right Fabric
Another factor that defines the quality of the rug is the material used for its construction. A pure silk rug is usually the finest quality rug, followed by a combination of wool and silk. A carpet made with hand-carded and hand-spun wool is really unique and falls firmly in the ‘fine’ rugs category. You will find a lot of vintage carpets made using this combination. And if you want to make an environmentally conscious choice, then the combination of wool and bamboo silk is also a great choice when picking a good quality rug.
If properly looked after, a Jaipur Rugs hand-knotted carpet can last for decades. You can buy one today and pass it on to the next generation as a piece of art handmade by weavers in rural Indian.