Is My Rug Damaged? Understanding Warp Knots in Oriental Rugs | The Original Ayoub Carpet Service
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Is My Rug Damaged? Understanding Warp Knots in Oriental Rugs

Is My Rug Damaged? Understanding Warp Knots in Oriental Rugs

“What are all these white specs on my Oriental rug? Is it damaged?” Most likely, your rugs were an investment, may hold sentimental value, and you only want what’s best for them. We completely understand. As you gain insight on this topic, hopefully some of your concerns wither away.

Here’s what you need to know:

If your hand knotted rug has white cotton fringe, your wool rug contains more cotton than you think. This fringe runs through the entire length of your rug which creates the foundation of its body, also known as the warp. Wool fibers are twisted around the cotton warp strands which create the colorful design in your beautiful rug. When a cotton strand breaks, a new strand is tied to its ends so the weaving process can continue. These tied together strands are called warp knots.

Keep in mind; it’s impossible to not break a foundation strand while weaving a rug by hand, so it’s important to educate yourself to avoid associating these types of knots with a poorly made product. Unavoidably, warp knots are a by-product of the handmade weaving process and can be seen in every handmade rug. If you flip your rug over, it’ll be easier to identify where the knots are since they tend to be more obvious from the back side.

So, why all of the sudden did they popped up out of nowhere? I promise they’ve been there all along. Certain factors such as aging and cleaning can cause them to become more visible though. With age, rug fibers tend to wear down in high traffic areas, causing the knots to level out with the fibers surrounding it. At this point, the knots are still hard to see since they’re camouflaged behind the built up dirt on top of them. Once the rug is professionally cleaned and all the dirt is washed away, the warp knots will appear significantly brighter, causing them to stand out more than usual.

Even though warp knots are completely normal and are considered a characteristic of every hand knotted rug, some people tend to want them “repaired,” once they’re noticeable. Although it isn’t a common request, and can be pervasive and time consuming, there are a couple of things that can be done.

1. If the rug is woven lose enough, sometimes the knots can be pushed toward the back side of the rug using a needle to try and hide them.

- Warning: a thin strand is being manipulated by a needle, meaning the knot coming undone is always a possibility. If the knot comes undone, it can create a hole and begin to unravel the body of your rug. What a headache! Leaving the knots alone is usually the better option.

2. Warp knots can also be dyed using textile dye or ink. This option only makes sense if there are a small amount of warp knots on your rug. If there’s a bunch of knots, dying them usually ends up not looking much better and can be on the more expensive side.

A reputable carpet and rug cleaner should talk to you about your rugs warp knots before it gets cleaned so you don’t end up blindsided and confused. Give Ayoub a shout, we’d be happy to help you out.

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