Why Hand Made carpets
Machine-made versus Handmade
Q: Why should one buy handmade carpets?
Carpets are manufactured in two ways: handmade or machine-made.
One of the most prominent differences between handmade and machine-made carpets is that the former hold greater value and give this impression. The other difference is in the actual manner of construction. Machine-made rugs entail the gluing of plastic-derived fibers onto a strong plastic base, which makes them initially very durable. But over time, the adhesive degrades, and the fibers detach easily from the base.
It is said that for rooms with modern designs, or active areas with high traffic or children, machine-made rugs with contemporary designs are excellent. There is also a common misconception that handmade oriental rugs are delicate and not durable. Their ornate designs and soft feel deceive many.
For the sake of clarity, the differences can be further explained in terms of:
• The types of knots used
• Whether sides and ends are sewn
• The backs of the carpets
• The materials used
• The touch of the carpets
• The manufacturing process
Machine-made rugs and carpets are not woven by hand but are loomed by a computer-generated system or apparatus. There are no knots in machine-made rugs. In a hand-made rug, however, each knot is hand-knotted and tied.
In machine-made carpets, threads are glued or looped onto a hot latex (plastic) backing, which cools and hardens. They show a complete and rigid uniformity in manufacture, which transforms into a static design. Hence they lack the spontaneity and human touch that one would find in handmade carpets.
Sides and Ends
In a handmade or hand-knotted rug, the fringe is part of the rug. The fringe is not sewn on as an extension, as is the case in machine-made rugs. Machine-made rugs always have ‘surged’ sides or machine stitching on both sides of the rug, as opposed to a hand-knotted rug, which will be irregular and imperfect.
The backs of the carpets
In power-loomed or machine-made rugs, the stitching on the back is very consistent. They have extremely regular knots and structure remains identical in all parts of the carpet. The stitching in hand-knotted rugs varies slightly due to different tensions on the wool as people hand-tie the knots. Most handmade rugs and carpets are covered with a cotton or canvas backing.
Acrylics and other chemically-processed materials are usually used to make machine-made carpets. Hand-knotted rugs and carpets use pure organic wools.
You can also differentiate a machine-made and handmade rug simply by touch. If you place one finger on the front of a machine-made rug and your thumb on the back and pinch tightly, the rug will compress greatly and you will feel a sensation going right through one side to the other side. On the other hand, while pinching hand-made rugs you will feel much more body and substance.
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