Hand-knotted carpets are woven on specially designed looms using traditional hand-knotting techniques. The ancient method of hand-knotted carpets originated in Central Asia and is a couple of thousand years old. Most traditional carpets are woven using this technique, such as Oriental, Persian, and Kashmiri carpets.
Hand-knotted carpet weaving is a labor-intensive process that requires great expertise. It involves a unique weaving technique – thousands of knots are individually tied to the warp threads of the carpet base. These knots make up the surface of the carpet, which is usually woven from the bottom up.
Traditional hand-knotting is actually the interweaving of warp and weft threads. The warp threads are vertical and the weft threads are horizontal, and each weft thread is woven on the loom inside and outside through the warp threads. That is, wool or silk threads are tied by hand to each warp thread separately, then they are cut, carefully knotted, and secured. After the carpet is woven, the warp threads become the base and edges of the carpet, while the weft threads express the entire carpet pattern.
Different regions of the world use different types of knotting to make traditional hand-knotted rugs. These techniques have been passed down from generation to generation and have been improved upon to this day. These knotting techniques include Turkish knots, Oriental knots, and Persian knots, with Persian knots being the most famous hand-knotting technique. The Persian knot is an asymmetrical knot used to make carpets with highly intricate designs. Hand-knotted carpets are also “flat-woven”, where the front and back of the carpet look identical and have no pile.
Hand-knotted carpets are usually made of natural materials such as wool, silk, cotton, bamboo, jute, or a mixture of different fibers. The combination of high-quality materials and intricate hand-knotting techniques gives hand-knotted rugs exceptional strength and durability. Wool is the most popular material used for traditional hand-knotted rugs because it is highly durable and can withstand up to 10,000 bends before breaking. New Zealand wool is often blended with local wool to enhance the strength of traditional hand-knotted rugs while giving them a softer feel and texture. Silk is also used in traditional hand-knotted rugs and is the most luxurious type of hand-knotted rug. Cotton is another common material used in traditional hand-knotted rugs and is often used as the base material.
Depending on the size and complexity of the pattern, it can take months or even years to produce a hand-knotted rug. An experienced weaver can tie a knot every 2 seconds on average, 1,000 knots per hour on average, and about 8,000 knots per day on average. And since each knot is made by hand, a 3m x 4m hand-knotted rug can take over a year to complete. You can imagine how long it takes to weave a hand-knotted rug, especially when they are larger and more complex in design.
Hand-knotted rugs are also usually more expensive than hand-tufted and machine-made rugs. They are more expensive because of the long production time, the amount of labor required, and the complexity of the process design. Because hand-knotting is so refined, the overall effect of the carpet presented is also very detailed and textured. Also, carpets constructed by the hand-knotting process usually last longer than other types of carpets. In addition, traditional hand-knotted carpets can maintain their quality and value with proper care and maintenance.