Rug Manufacturing

Nov 3, 2020

Are you curious about different methods and techniques of rug manufacturing? We have written this article to give you a better understanding of the methods of rug manufacturing involved in techniques and material.

The rug as we know it today has been with us for years, and to begin with, it was something that was produced for personal use, to provide warmth and protection in the houses. The technique of knotting and weaving rug has developed over the years and the motifs became more and more detailed. It was nevertheless still a unique handicraft for private use.

Hand-Made Rugs

Loom woven rugs( hand-made), regardless of the weaving technique always have in common a warp and a weft usually made from jute and/or cotton. The warp is the vertical running strings that make up the length of the rug and the weft is the interwoven thread that runs across the width holding the structure of the rug together while providing a firm anchor base for the visible pile on the surface of the rug.

Having to only use 2 pedals on the loom is relatively easier to wove which cuts down on mistakes that can easily happen, that require a lot of work to fix if you do not notice it immediately.

Hand-knotted rugs can take months and even years because it requires lots of effort on a single rug, which is also the main reason that they are significantly more expensive than machine-made rugs.

Machine-made Rugs

In the 19th century, as industrialism gained momentum, the loom was also being developed, becoming more and more automated. This meant that more industrialised rug manufacturing could begin and in England, machine-knotted rugs were being produced on a major scale, in places like Axminster and Wilton, which is also the origin of these famous carpet types.

Over the years, production techniques have become more sophisticated and today most rugs on the market are machine-knotted.

Today’s machine-knotted rugs are of high quality and a lot of the time it requires a trained eye to see the difference between a hand-knotted carpet and one produced mechanically. If you were to point out the biggest difference, it would be that machine-knotted rugs lack the soul behind the artwork that hand-knotted carpets have.

Production Techniques

There are major differences in the production process between hand-knotted carpets and machine-knotted rugs.
Machine-knotted rugs are produced through thousands of reels of the thread being fed into one giant mechanical loom, which quickly weaves the rug according to a chosen pattern. During production, which is carried out in fixed widths, different patterns and sizes can be produced simultaneously, which means minimal material spillage once the machine is running.

There are however certain limitations, including the fact that only a certain number of colours can be used in one rug; usually between 8 and 10 colours can be combined and screened to produce a wider colour spectrum.

Once the rugs have been woven, the various patterns and sizes are cut apart, after which they are trimmed/edged for the best possible durability.

Some rugs are also decorated with fringes afterwards, which are sewn onto the short ends, as opposed to the fringes being part of the rug’s warp threads as is the case in hand-knotted carpets.

Producing a machine-knotted rugs takes approx. one hour depending on size, compared to a hand-knotted carpet which can take months and even years, which is also the main reason that machine-knotted rugs are significantly cheaper.

By far the most popular weaving method for rugs in Europe and America is the Wilton weave. The modern Wilton loom is fed by thousands of creels of yarn usually in up to eight different colours. The new high-speed Wilton looms produce the rugs faster because they use a face to face weaving technique. It weaves two backing with a single pile sandwiched between them, once woven the patterned or plain surface is split to create identical mirror images of the other. All in all the technique not only allows faster production, with the computerised jacquards it gives a vast diversity of design and rug sizes.

Various Range of Rugs

Today there is an enormous range to choose from when it comes to machine-knotted rugs, both about models and to quality. Choose from modern designs in a range of different colours and oriental rugs with a range of different patterns. As production is mechanical, it is also easier to produce smaller collections quickly.

Size-wise, the range is broad and it is usually easy to find the right rug in the desired size. Thanks to efficient rug manufacturing, the price of machine-knotted rugs is lower, which makes it possible to switch out rugs at home more often.


Common materials in machine-knotted rugs are polypropylenes, wool, viscose and chenille.

Machine-knotted rugs are currently available in a range of different materials and material combinations. There are rugs produced mechanically in natural materials, such as wool and cotton, but also synthetic fibres and materials are also common. Development is constant and rug materials have started to appear that are more or less impossible to stain, but these are currently still relatively expensive. All materials have their unique properties, with advantages as well as disadvantages.

Efficiency is the key to mass production and to that end, the fibre favoured by Wilton rug producers is generally polypropylenes and polyester. While there are a few manufacturers that will produce in wool or viscose, polypropylene dominates the market because it can be made easily, it is relatively cheap, stain-resistant, it bulks well and more importantly is more efficient to weave with.

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