How to choose a good quality rug
Generally, a combination of colour and dyes, quality of wool & number of knots and the design determine the quality of a handmade rug.
Designs are endless and if the rug is of a fine quality, then the precision and the way the design has been executed is important. Look at the design to ensure that is complete and works with the size. for Persian nomadic and village rugs that is not so important, since the majority of those rugs are not made using a graph paper and it comes out of the weaver’s imagination similar to a painting but for very fine rugs especially over 600,000 knots per square meter, Approx. 7 to 8 knots in one CM, either vertically or horizontally). Do pay attention to how the design is executed and is pleasing to the eye.
Colour and dyes:
Today, most rugs are made with synthetic dyes or a combination of vegetable and synthetic dyes and that is not a bad thing. Synthetic dyes were introduced since 1870 so it is not something new. All your cloths, fabrics, textiles are made with synthetic dyes.
Good synthetic dyes with high rate of fasting where the colour does not run is just as good as vegetable dyes. It all depends of the correct procedure of dying and rinsing at the end, making sure no chemical is left in the dyed wool which in time would cause damage and gradually weakens the wool fleeces.
This is also a big factor when washing the rugs which must be done professionally where they need to ensure no chemical are left within the rug and the rug is thoroughly rinsed, free of any chemicals which is needed at first to stabilise the dyes when the rug is washed to avoid any possible colour run.
Making a pure vegetable dye rug generally works very expensive and is long if it is properly dyed, for example you would need 1 kg of madder to dye one KG of wool and as you need a minimum of approx. 4 to 5 KG of wool for 1 sqm, soon the cost of the material exceeds most budgets, therefore, most weavers and producers use good quality synthetic dyes where you could dye 1 kg by using 10 Grams or less of synthetic dyes and have more control of the actual shade they wish to achieve. They also use and mix some vegetable dyes when dying the wool to achieve an unevenness in the shade and colour of the wool which most people find interesting and is more natural.
Look at the combination of colours in the rug, it should be pleasing to the eye and harmonies, just like a painting.
Quality and number of knots
Depending on how much traffic the rug is going to have choose the quality that it would suit your area. Remember the finer the weave, meaning more knots, the more durable the rug would become.
The durability or good quality of a rugs is not about how thick they are. If a rug has a very thick pile but has very few knots in 1 sqm , for example10 knots, it would not last as much as a rug which is thin but finely woven and knotted.
In fact, the rugs that last longer all mainly thin and finely woven.
If is simple and makes sense, for example if a rug is tightly woven that dust particles and dirt can’t penetrate inside the pile, then the rug would last longer. Now if you have a rug with high and looser pile, the dust would find its way to the bottom of the pile and each time there is movement, they foundation becomes weaker and the wool is torn so in no time, the rug would lose its pile.
The quality of wool and silk also plays a big role in how long the rug would last. Using wool with high fleeces, obtained from sheep that lives in harsh climate (cold winter and hot summer) preferably in higher ground has proven to be best and most durable for rug.
If you like complex and intricate designs, then the rugs need to be fine. One is unable to achieve a complex design using a basic weave.
If you prefer simple designs, then the rug does not have to necessarily be fine. It is like buying a car, for example, if you wish to drive 150 miles an hour, then you need a fast and big engine which could take and has all the infrastructure to cope with your need, you can not simply choose a 50-horse power car and expect that to drive you for miles at high speed.
Fine rugs are generally the ones that have more than 300,000 knots per sqm meter or at least 5 to 6 knots in 1 cm either vertically or horizontally. then it is much more difficult for any dirt or small dust particles to get within the pile than a cores and loose pile rug. A really fine rug such as a Persian Qum silk, Isfahan, Tabriz have generally more than 700,000 knots per square meter.
Hope the above is of some help to you when choosing a handmade rug. At Rugs of London you could find a comprehensive collection of nomadic, village and fine rugs.