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Materials & Techniques

There are many ways to make a rug by hand and many materials to choose from. Different yarns display different properties of strength, softness and lustre. Some are smooth and cool to the touch while others are sumptuously soft and warm. Beyond the more obvious charms of wool, silk and cotton we have explored the merits of such diverse fibres as bamboo, banana leaf, mohair, merino and alpaca. We have remained faithful to the natural materials, carefully preserving their inherent properties.

Once a yarn is chosen there are myriad ways in which it can be knotted and woven, twisted and looped to produce a handmade rug. These differing techniques produce a range of textural surfaces, from fine and flat to chunky and shaggy. Whilst the precise detail of weaving techniques is the stuff of academia, here follows a brief introduction to the basics.

Materials
Wool

Prized for its softness, warmth and natural strength, sheep’s wool has been used in myriad ways for thousands of years. Its unique natural properties mean that it is water repellent and flame retardant. Our Tibetan wool is collected from the fleeces of sheep living on the Himalayan plateau at high altitudes of up to 17,000 feet. Their wool is unusually strong and springy and is renowned for being exceptionally rich in lanolin, a natural stain barrier. Once collected, the wool is washed and hand-spun into soft yarns. The rich texture and long unbroken fibres mean it provides excellent durability and a wonderful texture underfoot. We believe it is the very best wool in the world for making rugs.

Silk

No other fibre rivals silk for decadent softness and luxurious shine. Silk has delighted the senses since it was first brought from China thousands of years ago. The spectacular lustre comes from the prism-like structure of the surface of each fibre, and is unique to silk. As well as reflecting light, this lustre also amplifies colours to a jewel-like intensity. Silk is tremendously strong, and in very old antique carpets it will often outlast wool, though it is considered rather more technical to clean. The finest silk is still thought to be that from China, and we use this to give the ultimate shine and softness. For a more natural feel we use hand-spun Indian silk which gives a more ‘slubby’ and uneven finish.

Mohair

Mohair or Angora wool is the yarn spun from the fleece of the Angora goat. Mohair has a beautiful lustre that adds a richness and intensity to colours and is generally woven into plain rugs where the tactile quality of the fibre comes into its own.

Merino

The Merino sheep, whose rams have long spiralling horns, originate from 12th Century Spain. They grow the most opulent and soft fleece, that is famed for its fineness and delightful touch.

Bamboo Silk

The fibres of the noble bamboo plant are very long and strong. With special treatment they can be spun into a yarn that is lustrous like silk. Bamboo yarn is uneven in colour and the result is a rustic finish that exhibits interesting fluctuations in tone.

Linen

One of the oldest textiles in the world, linen is made from natural flax fibres which are extracted from the stem of the flax plant. Smooth and lustrous to the eye and silky in texture, linen has been renowned for centuries for its versatility and durability.

Alpaca

Sumptuously soft and luxurious, our alpaca rugs are made from the finest fleeces of the alpaca, a smaller relative of the llama, originally found in Latin America. Alpaca is thick and delightfully fluffy, making for a wonderful texture underfoot.

Perennials® yarn

Soft to the touch but robust and resilient, our Perennials® rugs are handwoven from solution dyed acrylic which is highly durable and designed to withstand any environment.

Techniques
Handknotted

These rugs are composed of many thousands of individual knots, with the yarn tightly knotted by hand around the warp and weft of the rug. The size of the knot determines the quality of the rug, with the smallest knots allowing the finest detail of pattern. The result is a rug of extraordinary quality and durability.

Handloomed

Our handloomed rugs are made in Nepal by the same skilled weavers as our handknotted rugs, using the same fine materials. These rugs are handmade on a loom with the use of the shuttle. Like handknotted rugs, a rod can be used, creating many textural possibilities. This technique lends itself well to plain rugs, small scale patterns and interesting textures achieved in single tones of colour.

Cut pile

Cut pile refers to the process of shearing the yarn loops, leaving the pile upright and the ends of the yarn exposed, giving a soft, luxurious touch to any rug.

Loop pile

A type of pile where the knots around the rod are left uncut forming loops, which achieves an interesting texture.

Flat loop pile

Yarns are knotted directly onto the warp and left uncut, creating a firmer texture for when a thinner, more tactile finish is desired.

Raised pile

The pile can be intricately hand trimmed to different heights to add a three-dimensional quality to the design.

Carving

Patterned elements of a design can be painstakingly hand carved to give designs an added dimension. Patterns can be carved or raised depending on the desired effect.

Aubusson

This tapestry technique produces the finest handmade rugs and hangings. The wool and silk threads are woven around the cotton warps and tightly packed to create intricate patterns.

Needlepoint

A traditional embroidery craft, where delicate patterns are created by stitching wool or silk through a natural canvas. A range of scales is possible, from simple to exquisitely fine.

Crewelwork

An age-old type of hand embroidery using the chain stitch technique, which has been loved for centuries for its ability to form organic shapes and sinuous designs.

Flatweave

Our flatweaves are handwoven by skilled artisans using Perennials® yarn. The fibre is intertwined so there are no threads protruding to create a pile.