In the last Knotted or Pile post, we described the main types of knots used to make oriental rugs. Although there are three kinds of knots used in contemporary Oriental weaving, only two styles are used frequently in market rugs and carpets.
The two knots – the Persian and the Turkish-create different styles and patters in the rug or carpet, helping distinguishing the culture of origin to customers and salesmen. Typically, the quality of the rug or carpet is determined by several different factors, one of which is the fineness of the knotting. The more knots, the more complex and intricate the weave, and the sturdier the rug is.
Fineness of the Knotting
In order to secure the warp and weft strands together, knots are used to tie the threads together. The knots that hold the rug together help form the pile – or thickness – of the rug. Knot fineness reflects to the number of knots per square inch in the pile, and the higher the number, the better the quality of the rug and the finer the weave.
Although there are no set rules for determining exact knot-count and the relationship it has to be 'fine' or 'finely' knotted, there are general guidelines that most rug producers and sellers follow when labeling Oriental rugs and carpets.
Typically, weaves with anything over 150 knots per square inch are considered medium grade weaves, or reasonably finely knotted. Any weave with over 250 or 300 knots per square inch would normally be accepted and rated as top grade weave quality, or finely woven.
Although the fineness of the knotting is not the only indicator of quality, and it should not be wholly relied on, it does provide a general basis to start assessing and evaluating the rug's value. In some cases, the fineness of the knotting can be difficult to distinguish.
For example, if very thick yarns are used, like in Chinese weaving styles, the number of knots used significantly decreases as it is more difficult to tie the same number of knots with thicker thread than with thinner thread.
One hour indicator of quality and rug-precision is the continuity of knot equality and evenness. Oriental rugs and carpets that have fluctuating amounts of knots per square inch across the design are less durable and structurally sound. As knots hold the warp and weft threads together, having varying numbers of knots through the rug compromises the compositional integrity of the rug.
Determining Knot Fineness
In order to determine knot fineness, count the number of single, individual knots that exist in a square inch, square millimeter, or square centimeter in two or three different areas of the rug.
Typically, looking on both the horizontal and vertical axes of any part of the rug and multiplying them together can help you establish the knot count. Although there are several different ways to count the fineness of the knot, and each culture uses something slightly different to determine the quality, each measurement will yield similar results in the fineness grade.