What does a tufted rug look like?Materials and techniques — Oct 24.2021
Tafted rugs are an alternative processing technique to hand-knotted carpets. Compared with a creation made using the traditional technique, a tufted carpet has many differences, from the definition of the pattern to the level of quality.
Tafted rugs became popular at the end of the 20th century and are one of the fastest and cheapest ways to produce rugs. But now let’s take a closer look at how a tufted carpet is made.
What does tufting involve?
A hand tufted carpet is made using a special handicraft technique that involves the use of a hook or gun. These objects are used to fasten the carpet fibres to a canvas. With the use of a special tool, designed specifically for carpet making, the production process is much faster than that of a hand-knotted carpet.
A hand-tufted carpet can be made in a matter of hours. Usually, the design of the carpet to be made is drawn or printed on the back of the canvas. This outline will serve as a guide for the craftsman whose task it is to tapestry the carpet. If a gun is used, the process is almost completely automated: simply insert the fibre of the colour to be used into the gun from time to time. In this way, by operating the gun at the various coloured sections, the carpet pattern is quickly composed.
Once the tafting phase is complete, the carpet is finished by cutting the excess threads and ensuring that the thickness of the pile is uniform. In the last stage of processing, the back of the carpet is covered with glue and fixed to a protective canvas. This cloth is protective because its task is to secure the fibres and preserve the carpet from wear and tear.
What are the main differences between a tufted and a hand-knotted rug?
Now that we have seen what a tufted carpet looks like, we can also evaluate other peculiarities of tufting. For example, tufted and hand-knotted carpets differ in many ways, starting with the production technique. A knotted carpet is made entirely by hand, knotting the threads around the warp one by one. In order to make a hand-knotted carpet, one needs people with a high level of manual skill and knowledge of knotting techniques.
Hand-knotted carpets are made very slowly, and the fibres that make up the warp are held in tension by the use of a loom. In contrast, in tafted carpets there is no need to use a loom, as the carpet is made by working on a canvas, usually cotton. Since an automatic gun is used to make the tafted carpet and the pattern is composed following a precise outline, even those with little or no knowledge of carpet-making techniques can make one. There is therefore no need for a craftsman specialising in hand-knotting.
On the basis of these few elements alone, it is clear that hand-knotted and tufted rugs have a very different intrinsic value. Hand-knotted carpets have a higher quality and value, both because they are made from high-quality materials and because they are produced by experienced craftsmen who work hard for weeks or months to create a unique product.
Tafted rugs essentially have a decorative function and do not contribute to enhancing the room in which they are placed, as museum-quality carpets do.
How can we use tufted rugs in our home furnishings?
The fact that hand-knotted carpets are made from materials of less than excellent quality and that the fabric of the carpet is glued to the base means that the life of the product is much shorter than that of a hand-knotted carpet.
Considering the durability of the carpet is crucial when deciding where to place a hand-knotted carpet in the home. Naturally, the busiest areas of the house should be excluded, such as the entrance area, living room, lounge and hallways. Considering also that hand tufted carpets are often soft to the touch, they can happily be placed in bedrooms or in a walk-in wardrobe.
Often people choose to furnish with a tufted carpet when they need to add a touch of colour to the room, without having to make a larger investment, such as buying a contemporary art carpet or a hand-knotted antique model.
Finally, if you are considering the purchase of a tufted carpet, remember that it is a type of carpet that requires constant maintenance. The most effective way to remove dust and dirt is to vacuum the carpet regularly. On the other hand, beating or shaking the carpet is not recommended, as this could damage the fibres or ruin the glue that gives the carpet its stability.
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