Machine and handmade rugs have their advantages and disadvantages, making them attractive for different groups of people. Spotting the differences between them might be difficult for a person who does not have an extensive knowledge of rugs.
Carpets made by hand are woven on specific types of looms, using techniques known since the times immemorial. Usually, the weaver puts the knots inside the base of the rug starting from the top and slowly going to the bottom. At the very end, the knots are tied by hand, as a result creating the rug’s pile. The exact time needed to produce one rug can vary, depending on many factors – some carpets of great size and complicated design can take up to a few years to finish. The whole process is time consuming as well as very tedious, and this is why the cost of a handmade piece is greater than of the machine made ones. In their case, almost no manpower is needed, leaving all the work for gigantic machines called power looms, which are controlled by computers. Because of this, they are more symmetrical ander than handmade rugs. However, on the other hand, their value and life span are also much lower, making them an unpopular investment for collectors and aficionados. Moreover, hand knotted carpets have a wider variety of original designs, making every single rug one of a kind.
This does not mean that machine made carpets are of inferior quality! This feature depends inter alia on the knot count, dyes and quality of the materials used. Hand-knotted rugs are made mostly of natural fibers, such as wool, cotton, silk and jute, while machine-made ones utilize synthetic fibers such as nylon, acrylic, polyester and art silk. There are some cases in which the machine made carpets are almost impossible to tell apart from the hand-knotted ones. One of the best and simplest ways to differentiate the machine and handmade rug is to flip it and look at the back. Even Persian rugs, know for the great care with which they are designed and woven, have minor flaws which machine-made carpets lack. Examining the fringes can also tell a lot about a carpet – those made by hand rarely have their fringes sewn on.
Despite the methods used during the process of weaving, handmade and commercial carpets can enchant with their exquisite beauty and elegance. Each type has qualities which make it a good or a bad choice for some and it’s solely in our own minds to choose one.