How are Hand Knotted Rugs Made?

How are Hand Knotted Rugs Made? - Arrant Luxury

Making hand-knotted rugs is a lot of hard work. It takes about four to five months to create just one rug, and usually, there are up to four people working on it together. The goal is to make rugs that are really well-made and meant to last a very long time, like a family treasure. 

Creating high-quality products with craftsmanship takes time, patience, and skill. Most of the custom hand-knotted rugs and carpets are made using the best natural materials like pure Tibetan wool and pure silk. Skilled craftspeople use traditional techniques that have been passed down for centuries to bring these unique creations to life. 

The process of making hand knotted rugs 

Creating a rug is a thorough process that spans 14-16 weeks, from raw materials to the finished piece. It's important to note that a hand-knotted rug differs from a hand-tufted rug. In hand-knotted rugs, each knot is tied by hand, while hand-tufted rugs involve the use of a gun. The skilled craftsmen follow this process to craft hand-knotted rugs: 

Raw Materials 

Nothing comes close to the pure and soft feel of 100% wool combined with the shiny and luxurious quality of silk. These natural materials are always a top choice if you want to come up with handmade designs. No synthetic fibers can match the richness and thickness of the pile or the luxurious sensation of walking on a rug made from wool and silk. 


The silk used in making the hand knotted rugs must be top-notch. It should be made through a sustainable process that's been around for over 2,000 years, resulting in the purest and most lustrous yarns. 


The Tibetan wool that is used for making a rug is of the highest quality. This natural material is sturdy and contains Lanolin, a natural wax. It makes for a soft yet strong yarn that dyes well and is naturally resistant to stains. The slight color variations in wool add to the unique charm of each custom rug. Before being woven into yarn, wool undergoes several manual processes. 

How to Prepare the Wool? 

Before beginning the weaving process, wool is first prepared through the following process: 


First, freshly sheared raw wool is carefully untangled, cleaned, and formed into individual strands by hand, using carders flat paddles with tiny teeth. These carders pull the wool in different directions, separating and aligning the fibers in the same direction, getting them ready for spinning. 


The prepared raw wool fibers are then spun into continuous lengths of yarn using a spinning wheel. The thickness of the yarn, known as its ply, is determined during this process. An experienced spinner uses their fingers to manipulate the wool, creating sturdy strands of the correct size for the desired knot number. After spinning, the yarn is thoroughly washed and dried. 


Dyeing plays a crucial role in carpet production. Accurate color matching is vital for the success of the final design. The Dye Master has to carefully choose the selection by eye and precisely mix pigments for the custom rug. The complexity of the design determines the number of dyes needed, and each dye can take up to a day to prepare. 

The clean raw wool or silk yarn is then submerged in large vats repeatedly until the desired shade is achieved. This is done using a manually turned wheel. The dyed yarn is left to naturally dry in the sunshine, where the heat of the sun helps set and fix the colors. Once dried, the yarn is rolled into balls, making it ready for the weaving process. 

Map the creation 

The digital design of the rug is then scaled and mapped out on graph paper with careful attention to knot precision. 

The resulting color-coded guide serves as a reference for the weavers. It hangs on the loom, providing a detailed map for them to follow. This guide specifies the precise location and color of each knot, ensuring that the final product faithfully captures the intricacies of the original design. 

Process of weaving 

No comes the process of weaving that contains the following steps: 

The Loom 

Rugs are weaved on a wooden loom, with vertical (warp) threads made of cotton and horizontal (weft) threads made of wool or silk. These threads are interwoven using a wooden shuttle. Depending on the carpet's size, up to eight weavers can collaborate on one piece, working together to create the design knot by knot. 

The Knot 

The finer the rug, the higher the knot count. Each one will have a minimum of 100 knots per square inch, allowing for precision and complexity in the final design. 

The process involves looping the yarn from left to right around both the previous warp and the next one, creating one knot. A short metal rod called a 'Gyipshi' determines the pile height. This is done line by line, and each finished section is pressed down with a special hammer-like tool called a 'Thowa.' The metal rod is then moved to the next section to be worked on. When a row is complete, a sharp blade or 'Churi' is passed along a groove in the gauge rod, cutting the loops of yarn and forming the pile. 

Final Touches 

Now comes the time to give final touches to the hand knotted rugs. 


After being taken off the loom, the completed carpet is immersed in water for thorough hand washing. Large wooden paddles called 'Pharwa' help push water through the pile, tightening the fibers and setting the colors of the carpet. 


The washed carpets are then laid out on the rooftops to dry. This sun-drying process occurs on a stretcher, which not only dries the carpet but also tightens the weave and ensures it reaches the correct dimensions. 


Once fully dry, the carpet undergoes careful trimming to achieve a uniform pile height. This is done using large flat-bladed shear. 


The next step involves the skilled task of 'carving' specific design elements. This fine trimming highlights and delicately defines areas where wool meets silk or other areas. Due to the careful construction and quality materials typically used in hand-knotted rugs, they tend to have a longer lifespan compared to machine-made alternatives 


The fringe of warp threads is knotted, trimmed, and the completed carpet is hand-bound around the edges. Hand-knotted rugs offer several benefits, including durability and unique textures that are distinctive to this method. It will ensure that the rug can withstand everyday wear and tear.  

Hand-knotted rugs, crafted with utmost care and tradition, embody timeless beauty and durability. With top-quality materials and meticulous craftsmanship, each rug becomes a cherished family heirloom. For a personalized touch of artistry in your space, connect with skilled artisans from Arrant Luxury to create a bespoke hand-knotted rug that reflects your unique style and stands as a testament to exceptional craftsmanship. 


How can I care for a hand-knotted rug? 

To care for a hand-knotted rug, vacuum it regularly, rotate it to ensure even wear, and clean spills promptly. Professional cleaning may be required periodically to maintain its beauty and longevity. Avoid exposing the rug to direct sunlight for extended periods to prevent color fading. 

Can custom designs be created in hand-knotted rugs? 

Yes, many hand-knotted rug artisans offer customization options. You can work with a skilled weaver to create a rug with a unique design, color palette, and size tailored to your preferences. 

Are hand-knotted rugs a sustainable choice? 

Hand-knotted rugs are often considered more sustainable than mass-produced, machine-made rugs. They involve skilled artisans, support traditional craftsmanship, and typically use natural materials. However, it's essential to research the sourcing and production practices of specific brands or artisans to ensure sustainability.