Tools for Making Oriental Rugs
For centuries, the same traditional tools have been used to create what are commonly known as Oriental rugs. Though slightly different versions of each tool have been constructed by weavers over time, they are basically the same and and have remained unchanged through the ages. Beautiful woven pieces have been crafted by artisans all over Asia, but more handmade rugs are made in Iran than anywhere else in the Orient.
Weaving looms come in various sizes and degrees of sophistication, but all operate almost exactly the same way. All looms need a secure frame, which can be of a fixed or adjustable size, to tie on the movable warp strands and keep them in place on any point in the frame. Customary looms used to create Oriental rugs include horizontal or nomadic looms, the village loom and roller looms.
A sharp knife is essential for weavers and is used to cut threads from the pile of foundation material as knots are tied into the yarn. Weaving knives are usually fashioned with a small hook on the blade's end to assist in the formation of the knot in the thread, because human fingers are usually too big for this task.
This traditional tool is a small steel comb that consists of a splayed series of sharp metal blades used to pack down wefts and comb out yarn after each row of knots has been completed. The beating comb is essential in ensuring a rug's compactness and clarifying the design, as it tightens threads of the weft against the line of knots that are tied around warp strings.
Sharp shears are essential in creating an even, unfrayed surface of completed Oriental rugs. Also used to clip the pile to an even level once the weaving of a rug is complete, shears can be fashioned from a variety of different blades to accommodate the weaver's needs. When finishing Oriental rugs, the Chinese often trim yarn at an angle in areas where the colors change, to create an embossed, 3-D effect.
While modern rug making has employed the use of machines to make the process more uniform and quicker, even novice Oriental rug shoppers can often tell the difference between a hand-knotted piece and its machine-manufactured counterpart. As each knot is fastened separately by hand, the weaver chooses colors and patterns from memory or provided samples. While shoppers may notice some imperfections or slight inconsistencies, Oriental rugs that have been hand-knotted or hand-hooked are of a superior quality and more durable, since each knot has been individually tightened into place.