This is the second of a 5 Part Article on the Basics of Hand Knotted is a rewrite of one Leslie Stroh wrote for the 2nd Issue of Rug News Magazine in 1978.: Part 1 Chinese Rugs, Part 2 Affordability, Part 3, Design, Part 4 Labor & Design, Part 5 Price at Retail.
It is all about you.
Whether Chinese or other origin, the first decision you have to make, is how will the design and color work in your room. The next decision is “Can you afford the rug?” and along with that you need to know if the rug or any other product you put in your home, represents values that are important to you. Your home is an extension of you.
Today, you might start looking for a rug by surfing the Internet. There is a lot of product. It all looks nice in thumbnail sized pictures but at widely different price points. The TV screen is made up of pixels, and so are rugs, except we call them knots. Hi-definition screens cost more than low definition screens. High density rugs generally cost more than low density rugs.
Starting with 90 line rugs (in a Part #1) the standard is 90 lines/rows in 12 inches, or 8 rows in one inch. Assuming a equal number in the other direction, that is about 60 knots per square inch. Knots per square inch matters not at all, because all knots do is hold different sized yarns in place, and create a basis for paying workers (generally 6,000 knots per day).
Lower quality, 80 and 70 line, also used for French style central medallion designs, and some all over designs. Less weaving plus lower quality wool, lowers the cost of production and usually lowers the price.
Higher quality, generally used for Persian type designs, are woven in a 120 to 240 line quality which translates to 10 knots or 20 knots per linear inch. Cecil Edwards, the acknowledged authority on Persian Carpets, observed that an 11×11 stitch (121 knots per square inch) would accommodate about 80% of all Persian designs.
Using the same assumption of a square construction that means Persian type rugs have 100 to 400 knots per square inch, and a corresponding change in materials to allow for finer weaving. However, there is a but a significant (geometric) increase in labor costs, i.e. twice the quality translates into three times the cost.
The knot count in a hand knotted rug is irrelevant, except for weaver’s wages. (The article “Knots don’t count” will be available subsequent to this article ) When paid piecework, a day’s work is typically figured at 6,000 knots. A family eats from those 6,000 knots. Piece work is flexible for weavers who have other jobs such as farming and for women looking after the children and doing house work. Weaving is a part time job in addition to cooking and cleaning