How many knots per square meter must a rug have to be a fine artifact?

Materials and techniques May 29.2022

How many knots per square meter must a rug have to be a fine artifact?

The quantity of knots per square meter is, along with the quality of the yarn, one of the main parameters that are used to assess the quality of a rug.

Knowing the number of knots per square meter of a rug is especially important when it comes to checking the quality of an antique pattern. The importance of this value, however, is somewhat more nuanced in the case of contemporary patterns

Why is it important to know the knot density of a rug?

In hand-knotted rugs, the pattern is composed by individually knotting the yarn around the threads that make up the warp and weft. The number of knots with which the piece is made has always been considered a useful element in assessing its quality. 

Specifically, a high knot density shows that the rug was made using a fine yarn. Consequently, a high number of knots per square meter is indicative of a stable and durable rug.

Using thin yarns also allows for richly detailed and elaborate designs. For this result, the use of skilled craftsmen is perforce necessary. When thin yarns are used, moreover, the processing time is lengthened (and consequently the price of the artifact increases), because the number of knots to be made is certainly greater. Based on all these considerations, it can be concluded that a high number of knots is generally associated with the finest carpets. 

Beware, however: relying on this figure alone can lead you astray. In fact, alongside knot density, the quality of the yarn should always be considered. What this means. A rug made from a coarse, high-quality wool will certainly have more value than a rug created from a wool that is yes thin, but of low quality.

But it doesn’t end there. The precision of the workmanship must also be considered to accurately determine the value of the rug. An artifact that has fewer knots per square meter but a precise pattern is preferable to a rug that has more knots per square meter but is roughly made. 

To calculate the number of knots per square meter of an artifact, one must look at the carpet upside down and then begin counting the knots at one end. In practice, one must consider a sample of 10×10 centimeters and then multiply the number of knots counted in the sample by 100. This operation gives the number of knots per square meter present in the piece.

How many knots per square meter must a rug have to be a fine artifact?

How many knots does a high-quality carpet consist of?

Considering only the number of knots per square meter, three major groups of rugs can be identified: 

– the low-quality models, which have up to 40,000 knots per square meter 

– the medium-quality models, which have between 40,000 and 200,000 knots per square meter 

– the high and very high quality models, which have more than 200,000 knots per square meter

These reference values are valid for rugs made with a wool yarn. For a carpet made from other fibers, the values could change even considerably. In the case of a silk carpet, whose yarns are extremely fine, the number of knots in a fine carpet far exceeds a few million. On the other hand, for a hemp or jute rug, the reference values are lower than for a wool rug.

Other factors to consider when choosing your rug

The number of knots per square meter is one of the parameters usually considered when evaluating a traditional rug, generally of Persian or North African origin. In contemporary rugs, as we said at the beginning, this parameter has lost some importance. How so? The reason is that, rather than the density of the rug’s structure, it is the quality of the materials used and the artistic value of the pattern devised by the designers that make the difference. Thus, the logics for determining how luxurious the artifact is are different. 

Even in the case where one is leaning toward buying a traditional rug, it is not necessarily the case that a pattern with a greater number of knots is always the best choice. To find the right rug for a given room, it is therefore also necessary to consider the type of material, the appearance of the rug, and the type of space to be furnished. The evaluation therefore requires the consideration of multiple parameters.

Antique rugs made from thick yarns-and therefore with a low number of knots per square meter-usually feature simple designs with straight lines or geometric shapes. In rugs created with thin yarns, on the other hand, details and the presence of curved lines increase. 

While greater density is especially appreciable in the busier spaces of the home, such as the living room and kitchen, a rug with fewer knots per square meter and made from a fine yarn may be the best choice for decorating the bedroom.

In light of all this, the best answer to the question with which we opened our article is: it depends. In general, a luxury carpet does indeed count many knots per square meter. However, basing the assessment of the quality of the artifact on this one parameter can cause misinterpretation.

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