Table of Contents
About Natural Fiber Rugs
Here at Beautiful Rug we believe in sourcing only the best natural fiber rugs. Modern materials such as acrylic and polypropylene may be cheaper, but there's nothing like a pure wool, cotton or silk rug when it comes to comfort and quality.
Common Types of Natural Fiber Rugs
The gold standard of rugs, wool is the traditional material of choice. It's easy to dye and to clean, and we all know how good a sheepskin rug feels underfoot.
Wool is a surprisingly resilient material; it can withstand heavy footfall without wearing quickly. The unique elasticity of wool fibers means that a rug retains its shape; synthetic fibers haven't been able to match this.
It's naturally flame-resistant and non-allergenic, so provides a poor environment for bacteria.
Wool doesn't store static electricity, so it won't give you an electric shock, or attract dust.
Wool naturally insulates heat and sound, helping to regulate room temperature and reduce noise from wooden or tiled floors.
Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust-mites, so just like wool makes an ideal material for people with allergies.
Like wool, cotton is easy to dye and weave.
It's actually softer than wool, but not quite as durable.
Silk is also hypoallergenic, and a great regulator of room temperature.
Silk absorbs moisture, so can decrease the humidity of a room.
It's soft, strong and durable; antique silk rugs still look beautiful.
Leather rugs don't only look great; they also come with a whole host of benefits. Leather is strong, flexible and hard-wearing, making it ideal for high-traffic areas of the home.
Not only that, but it's also resistant to moisture and can be cleaned easily with a damp cloth.
We only stock rugs made from these natural fibers, and many of our rugs are hand woven or hand tufted. Rugs have been made in this way for thousands of years, and we don't think it needs changing. Our rugs provide luxurious feel and comfort, and are naturally durable enough to last for many years.
Natural Jute Rug
How To Choose Natural Fiber Area Rugs
Does your room need a perfect finishing touch? Or do you just want to cover up that wine stain on your carpet? Maybe you hate getting frozen feet, or you want to reduce the noise from your wooden floors.
A rug can be many things; a focal point, or just a practical object to protect floors and delicate feet. Whatever your reason for buying a rug, there are a few things to keep in mind.
What Do You Want Your Rug to Do?
If you want a practical rug in your entrance hall to keep bits of the outside off your carpet, don't spend hundreds of pounds on something you'd like to keep pristine.
For busy areas of your home, think about a rug that won't show wear quickly. Patterned rugs are better for this; plain ones show wear sooner.
If your rug is a focal point, think about the 'wow' factor. Would a circular rug be more effective than a square one? Would a bold or subtle pattern suit the room better?
Do you want your rug to completely cover an area, or leave wooden floors and carpet exposed? Measure your room and think about which size rug would work best.
What is Your Decor Like?
If you need a finishing touch for a room, go for colors and patterns that complement your decor, not just a rug that looks nice in the shop.
Darker rugs make a room look cozy and snug, whereas lighter colors create space.
Think about texture and material. Maybe a soft sheepskin would make your room cozy, or a leather rug might add an interesting element to a modern room.
Do You Need a Rug Pad?
If your rug sits on a wooden or tiled floor, a rug underlay will make a softer walking surface.
Rug pads increase the life of a rug by reducing wear and tear.
They also help to absorb noise, and protect the floor underneath.
Making Sure the Natural Fiber Area Rug Fits
This is perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind, after making sure the rug matches your room!
Measuring up only takes a few minutes and you can plan what size of rug would work best. Does it need to go underneath furniture? If so, it should be longer and wider than whatever stands on top of it. Would the edges of the rug cause a hazard in certain places? Make sure your rug is the right size to avoid this problem.
So remember; placement, pattern and size are all-important. If you keep these points in mind, you're well on the way to choosing the perfect rug for your home.
The History Of Natural Woven Rugs
Rugs have been around for thousands of years - that much is certain. But because they were made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton, hardly any have survived to the present day. Antique rugs in good condition are so rare that only a few from the 16th and 17th centuries survive.
The oldest known rug is the Pazyryk rug, which dates from the 5th century BC. It was discovered in a Scythian burial mound in Mongolia in 1949 and only survived intact thanks to being frozen for almost 2500 years.
The quality of the Pazyryk rug shows that even so long ago, weaving was a developed industry. Ancient royalty valued rugs as both luxury items and status symbols, and employed skilled weavers to produce beautiful rugs for their palaces.
The Mongol Emperor Akbar valued rugs so highly that he introduced rug weaving to India in the 16th century, bringing his own Persian weavers along when he invaded and conquered that country.
So royalty have obviously commissioned rugs for thousands of years, and weaving techniques may even have flourished under royal encouragement, but rugs must have been around as practical items long before then. Like any great craft, there was a humble beginning.
Origins of Weaving
It's thought that rug weaving originated due to a variety of factors, some of which we can still see today. When people were living in tribal communities, especially nomadic ones, it would have been necessary to solve the problems of cold winds, driving rains and hard floors. Rugs are versatile enough to do all of this; contemporary tribes like the Bedouin still weave and utilize rugs for all these purposes.
Rug weaving also required the right materials. Societies without domestic animals like sheep, or without crops like cotton, did not produce them, although cultures like the Amerindians of coastal North America produced blankets and wall hangings made from grasses and animal hair. Rugs as we know them only flourished in areas with the right natural resources.
Rug weaving probably originated independently in cold, dry areas and hot dry areas such as the East, Far East and South America. The climate and way of life in these places was conducive to rug weaving, and the Pazyryk rug the oldest extant example - was discovered here.
As weaving progressed, patterns were added using dyes and special weaving techniques such as knotting. Patterns could reflect the natural world or religious beliefs; they could contain elements special to the tribe, or to the weaver. They could be designed simply to look pleasing with geometric shapes and symmetry, or they could tell a story or a name.
Spread of Weaving
Rug weaving spread over the centuries with human occupation and the exchange of knowledge. In the 12th century Spain became an important rug producing area, and 17th century France saw Henry IV commissioning the famous Savonnerie workshops to make rugs for his palaces.
In the present day, many rugs are machine-made, although handmade rugs are still a large industry in the East. Patterns that were once valued for their meaning are now seen as decorative, and rugs are widely available to everyone through importers and antique traders.
How Tribal Natural Fibers Rugs are Woven?
Tribal natural fibers rugs production falls into 2 distinct categories: flat-weaving or knotting - and sometimes a combination of the two. Some nomadiv tribes people also produce items using non-weaving techniques that are sometimes classified along with the main body of tribal rugs.
Knotted natural rugs are often known as 'pile rugs' (or simply 'rugs') and are made using a common set of weaving techniques. The techniques used in flat weaving are more diverse, and there are many different names for the weaving methods employed. Further complicating the linguistic picture are the different purposes for which the rugs are made, and which can affect the name of the completed rug style.
Although the quality of weaving can vary dramatically according to the skill of the weaver or the purpose for which the rug is intended, the all conform to the same basic weaving principles.
Warps and Wefts
All textiles are formed on the basis of warps and wefts. In natural rugs, they create a structural foundation on which the design can be developed by adding to the pile material. In flat-woven rugs, the warp and the weft actually provide both structure and the basis of the design which is then added to with more decorative techniques and materials.
Pile rugs will often use differing materials such as cotton or wool for the decorative part of the rug's construction.
The warps are strands of yarn that secured to a look and run length ways through the rug - often forming the basis of the fringes that are typical of many tribal rugs. In essence, they are the structural framework of the rug but can be used to articulate the visual design in some forms of flat weaving.
Wefts are the strands that run width-ways through the rug. Whereas the Warp ends are used to form the fringes of the rug, the weft ends typically form the side fringing - which is known as selvedging.
Natural Fiber Rug Fringes
Detail of oriental rug fringing
Fringes are the ends of of a natural rug that are made from the ends of the warp. These strands extend loosely past the main body of the rug. Typically, they serve little practical purpose, but are used primarily for decorative reasons. Often the various tribal traditions are expressed through the design of the fringe, and it can be used to identify the ethnic or regional origin of the rugs.
Tied (or knotted) Fringes
This is the most commonly used method of producing decorative fringes - possibly due to it's innate simpleness. The warp ends are simply knotted one against the other across the width of the natural fiber rug.
Commonly found on flat-woven natural fiber rugs, net fringes are another simple technique in which the the warp strands are woven into a simple net pattern.
Normally only found plain-woven kilim rugs, this variety of fringe is unusual in that is actually uses both the warp and weft strands and is commonly found on flat weaves.
To produce this distinctive fringe, one warp is looped under two adjacent warps then pulled back in the opposite direction - forming a continuous chain.
As its name suggests, this technique involves taking several warp strands an interweaving in the same way that people plait their hair. As well as being attractive, this style of fringing has great structural strength.
Diagonally Plaited Fringes
Using more strands than normal plaiting (up to 5 or 6 warp strands), this technique follows takes one warp and weaves it diagonally through the adjacent 5 or 6.
Made at the beginning of the weaving process, this method of fringing involves passing the warp strands over a bar at the end of the look and then running them back. This creates what is, in effect, a continuous loop. When the rug is complete, the bar is removed. the fringe stays intact because it is secured by the last weft. Of course, this only creates a fringe at one end of the rug and the other end must be secured using other methods. Uncommonly used, it is most typical of Hamadan rugs.
Caring for Your Natural Fiber Rug
A genuine hand-knotted Oriental rug will last a very long time if you take a few precautions to protect it from premature wear and the most common kinds of damage. Common problems include water damage, moth damage, dog chews and cat scratching, pet stains, vacuum cleaner damage, chemical damage, sun damage, and uneven wear.
Common natural fiber rugs damage causes are:
- Water Damage
- Moth Damage
- Carpet Beetle Damage
- Dog Chews
- Cat Scratchings
- Vacuum Cleaner Damage
- Chemical Damage
- Sun Damage
- Uneven Wear
- To Move a Rug
- To Lay a Rug Flat
- Rug Pads
- Curled Corners and Curled Edges
- Sizing or Blocking a Rug
- Bad Storage