In our current age of mass production it’s nice to think that at least one set of human hands has attended to the products we decide to buy, so when we hear a rug is “hand-tufted” it makes our whiskers twitch more than ever.
But, what does “hand-tufted” even mean when it comes to rugs?
A Hand-Tufted Definition
Tufting is the process of pushing tufts, or loops, of yarn through a fabric mesh, a process vaguely similar to embroidery. Once the tufts are pushed through a backing is applied to the bottom of the rug using heat and glue, while on the top the loops are sheared to a uniform length. Ta da!
To say something is hand-tufted almost always means there is a hand that holds a tool called a tufting gun, which in turn does the actual tufting. Using a tufting gun is much faster than hand-knotting and is why hand-tufted rugs are more affordable than the hand-knotted variety.
Hand-Tufted vs. Hand-Knotted
To compare, a hand-knotted rug is one that has literally been knotted together by hand, looping yarn around the warps in an intricate weave that takes a lot of time and skill. To properly absorb how detailed and meticulous this process is should make your fingers hurt just thinking about it.
The density of the rug is determined by how many knots per square inch it contains as well as the fabric type and the rug’s patterning. Suffice it to say, more knots results in higher durability and a more vibrant design.
The Difference Hand-Tufted and Hand-Knotted Rugs
How do you tell the difference between a hand-tufted and a hand-knotted rug? There are a few signs, but the easiest way is to flip it over.
While both methods of construction can yield an excellent rug, the difference can be seen on the bottom of the rug. Hand-tufted rugs are fitted with a backing that keeps the tufting in place, whereas hand-knotted rugs don’t require the backing or glue because the knots are what hold the rug together.