Different Types of Handmade Rugs

Rugs are of different types, depending on how they are made. Handmade area rugs (different and higher in quality than machine made rugs), also have certain types within them. The finest rugs are made by weavers who collectively work on one rug, tying individual knots with wool or silk threads. We share below the different types of handmade rugs.

Hand knotted rugs have a pile that varies according to the number of knots per square inch, type of material and method of knotting. Each weaver will tie an average of 60 to 150 knots per inch to make the rug and the design. A 3×5 throw or a 3×12 rug requires only one weaver. Larger 9×12 or 8×10 rugs allow 3 or 4 weavers to work simultaneously due to the width of the rug; which allows them to work sitting side by side on a wide loom. The material of the pile (main body) of fine handmade rugs is usually wool, but occasionally wool and silk, or just silk; the foundation is normally cotton, but can also be silk, or wool in tribal or nomadic rugs. The hand knotting, or hand tying, method requires the most time and has the greatest value. Other handmade rug weaving methods include hand tufted, hand hooked and hand loomed. 

The knot density of a rug is one of the primary ways to determine the price and durability; material, age, rarity and intricacy are some of the other factors. Hand knotted rugs average 60 to 150 knots per square inch, depending upon the material used, but can have a lot more knots in finer rugs. Wool is bulky, allowing fewer knots than silk. Rugs knotted with the combination of wool and silk have more knots that result in a plusher pile with smoother texture. The intricate design makes a knotted rug even more valuable when you consider the variety of colors and threads required. Hand tufted rugs are made to look like they are knotted, with glue that is spread over the back of the rug to hold the tufts in place. Then a backing material is sewn on to hide the glued area. These rugs are considerably less expensive than hand knotted. Be prepared to treat rugs made in this manner gently; they are difficult to repair and cleaning requires more than wiping with a mild soap and water. 

Flatweave rugs are made by woven threads on a loom; they are called flat weaves because they don’t have a pile, like the knotted rugs. Flat weaves work well as a throw, accent rug under a table or as a hanging tapestry. The tightness of the weave determines a flatweave rug’s value. Individual threads are interwoven with the warp as vertical threads that are the foundation, and the weft, horizontal weave that makes the design. 

Native American rugs are always flat weaves; usually hand woven with wool. Rugs from Pakistan, Iran, India and Morocco are hand woven with intricate designs made by different colors and thicknesses of the weft strands; these imported rugs are called Dhurries, Kilims or Gilims, or Soumaks. Most of the flat weaves have the advantage of being reversible, which helps with the wear in high traffic areas; Soumaks are usually not reversible. A rug pad is necessary with flatweave rugs simply because they are lighter weight than a pile rug and slip easily. The cleaning instructions for a dhurrie, kilim or gilim should be strictly followed, just like the handknotted rugs, they should be washed and never dry cleaned or steam cleaned. 

You can make the choice between a fine wool rug with pile and a flatweave hand woven rug by considering your budget, where the rug will be placed and the durability required by the placement. 

The wool rug below is 100 knots, 8×10 area rug from India in a contemporary design that will fit anywhere. The lasting qualities of the knotting and material will cause this rug to age well and increase in value over time. 


The fine Kilim rug below is 9×12 rug from Pakistan and has a woven design with similar colors as the wool and silk rug above. The cost of this rug will be less. The durability requires greater care. The feel of the rug will, of course, be flatter than a pile rug. The placement of this rug will require a pad to prevent slippage. It is a rug that fits just as well on the floor as it does as a hanging work of art. 


When you judge the value of a fine rug be sure to consider all the attributes you require. The workmanship and effort that goes into the making of a fine hand knotted rug is a valuable investment. The art and workmanship of a hand woven flat weave rug will provide unique design that lets you change the location and surroundings of the rug placement. The choice is yours; enjoy the search at Alyshaan Fine Rugs of Arizona.

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