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Yarn types and construction methods

WOOL Wool rugs can be handmade or machine made and are an enviroronmentally friendly choice given the sustainability and nature of the yarn.  They're extremely hard wearing however they will continue to shed which is not an ideal choice for those that suffer with asthma or other allergies. Wool rugs are made all over the world however the majority of Handtufted Wool Rugs are now made in India and have a thick, plush pile.
ACRYLIC Acrylic Rugs are generally Handtufted and are good alternatives to those wanting a thick pile without the shedding that comes with wool. Acrylic is a fairly hard wearing manmade yarn often twisted into a 2 or 3 ply to closely resemble wool. The designs are usually modern with vibrant colours and are often handcarved creating dimension and texture.  While the acrylic yarn is durable the weight of the rug per sqm will also determine how well it wears ie. the higher the weight the better the rug will stand up to traffic. You should also note that marks and spills need to be cleaned with care as excessive rubbing to the pile can aggrevate the yarn and cause pilling or show a wear spot. Acrylic Rugs are most commonly handtufted in China.
POLYPROPYLENE OR BCF BCF stands for Bulk Continuous Filament and is a manmade polypropylene fibre that is spun into a yarn and used in the manufacturing of machine made rugs. Most commonly used in Belgium & Turkey this yarn is well known for its affordable pricing, excellent resistance to staining and durable characteristics. Although the yarn is shed free it does have static qualities making it extremely hard to vacuum. There are however a very good selection of flatwoven versions of BCF that do not have this problem making them an excellent choice for those that are looking for good value, durability & low maintenance.
WATER HYACINTH Water Hyacinth is a natural plant fibre that is harvested and dried for weaving. An envrionmentally friendly choice given the nature of the fibre and the rate at which it grows. The water hyacinth fibre is generally made into natural flatwoven rugs and is relatively durable and very low maintenance.
HEATSET TWIST OR FRIZE Similar to a Heatset Polypropylene however the yarn is twisted in the heating process with multiple plys creating a 'frize' effect. Most often used in machine made rugs with modern designs, they are well known for their durability, shed free characteristics and excellent resistance to staining. Varying in weights and thickness's the heavier the weight the better the rug will stand up to traffic. The heavy twist provides good bounce back which helps to prevent pile flattening.
HEATSET POLYPROPYLENE This is a man-made polypropylene yarn that goes through a heatsetting process to give it bulk and rid the yarn of its undesirable static characteristics making it easy to vacuum. This heatset yarn is incredibly durable, has excellent resistance to staining, and is shed-free making it a low maintenance option. As with all yarn types, the higher the weight or points per sqm the better the rug will stand up to traffic.
ART SILK & POLYESTER Art silk is a polyester yarn designed to replicate silk. It is most commonly used as a highlight in a rug as it is quite shiny and a relatively expensive fibre. It can be used in both Machine made and Handmade rugs and is often woven into a part of the design or distributed evenly across the whole rug and combined with other yarns such as wool or heatset polypropylene. In recent years polyesters have also been made into thick tubular yarns and handwoven into thick shaggy rugs. These rugs have a partularly metallic look lending them to contemporary decors. It is a slightly delicate yarn and is not receommended for high traffic areas. Excessive rubbing and foot traffic can lead to fraying.

MACHINE MADE The machine made method is most commonly used in Europe and is designed to produce rugs in mass quantities.  They generally use a polypropylene, heatset or wool yarn and have a fairly low profile or low thickness to the pile with the exception of machine made shaggy's. The best way to recognise a Machine Made rugs is by the edges, they are overlocked down both lengths of the rug and either folded over at the ends or overlocked again, you can also look at the backing, if you can see the design and it is not covered with a canvas it is a machine made rug. A machine made rugs quality is determined by the amount of points per sqm or the weight per sqm. Where the design is traditional the more points in a sqm means the more clarity in the design, in the case of a frize where the yarn has a frizzy or fuzzy texture and the design is modern the weight is more important and this determines the thickness and the density.
HAND TUFTED The Hand tufting process is most commonly practised in India & China with either Acrylic or Wool yarn and is completed with a handgun which punches yarn through a backing cloth creating a thick cut, loop or shag pile. The designs are often modern and are handcarved for definition. There are varying weights used in handtufting from approximately 1.8kg up to about 3.5kg per sqm. The heavier the weight per square metre the more durable the rug. The simplest way to recognize a handtufted rug is to look for a thick pile and a canvas backing. The beauty of a handtufted rug is that every piece is unique as there will always be slight variations in size, colour and design.
HAND LOOMED The hand loomed process is most commonly practised in India  and is done on a horizontal loom with Wool, Art Silk or Cotton yarns. This process creates a similar pile to the thick handtufted process but can only take a limited number of colours so it generally lends itself to 1 or 2 colour rugs. The loomed method can also create cut, loop and shag piles and is a slightly quicker more cost efficient way of producing a rug by hand whilst still achieving a handmade look.
HAND KNOTTED The Hand Knotted method is one of the oldest rug production methods around and can take months or even years to produce. This production technique is most commonly associated with traditional designs and made with wool or silk on a vertical loom where every piece of yarn is knotted by hand into the rug. The rugs production time and quality are dependent upon how many knots are in each square foot, the more knots in the rug the denser the pile and the more intricate the design.
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