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Glossary

Acrylic Man-made fiber used as a less expensive alternative to wool.
Art Silk Artificial silk yarn for weaving that is made from cotton, rayon or polyester that resembles silk. It is soft to the touch and more affordable than the expensive silk originals.
Aubusson Style of rug that originated in France in the 15th century. Aubusson evolved into several main styles over the course of the next four centuries, including popular Antoinette, Josephine and Maison patterns. Aubusson were originally flat-weave rugs, usually featuring a floral medallion and pastel colors, but today these rug patterns have been adapted for pile rugs.
Bamboo Bamboo rugs or mats are woven from natural bamboo fibers. Bamboo is cut into strands for woven designs and into wide strips for a hardwood floor effect.
Berber Term popularly used to refer to a natural colored look of carpeting. Berber is more accurately or traditionally defined as a group of North African tribes people who crafted rugs of handspun yarn from the un-dyed wool of local sheep.
Braided Rugs made from braided yarn, often made of 'rag' or muti-colored fabric swatches, that are then sewn into concentric circles or ovals.
Chenille Fabric with a deep luxurious pile that is often used in rugs.
Combing Process that organizes carded wool fibers in a parallel arrangement by pulling the spiked blocks or combs. This process prepares wool for spinning.
Contemporary Non-traditional styles of rugs that range from shag and braided rugs to pile-weave rugs with geometric or modern patterns. Also used to describe rugs less than 25 years old.
Cotton Soft and fluffy fiber produced by the cotton plant. Fibers are formed within a cotton boll or seedpod. The fibers can be spun and are used in rugs for backing, fringes and sometimes mercerized cotton is used for pile.
Cut Pile Cut-pile is a smooth finish created by cutting off the tops of the wool loops. The cut loops are then twisted to make tufts of yarn that stand erect, creating a soft even surface. Also known as 'velour' or 'velvet' pile.
Density Refers to the amount of pile yarn in the carpet and the closeness of the tufts. The more densely or tightly packed the yarn is, the more luxurious the pile will feel.
Dhurrie Inexpensive flat-woven rugs from India, usually made of wool or cotton. Type of Kilim.
Faux Silk Artificial silk made from synthetic fibers like polyester or natural fibers including mercerized cotton.
Flat Weave Rugs without pile or knots. Flat weave rugs are made on a loom and threaded through the warps. Kilims, Dhurries and the original Aubusson are good examples of flat woven rugs.
Flokati Traditional Greek rugs, hand-woven from sheep's wool. Flokati rugs come in different weights from 50 ounces to 140 ounces. The higher the gram count, the more plush and more expensive the rug will be.
Gabbeh Gabbeh are fluffy long piled rugs with simple colorful patterns.
Hand-Hooked Rugs made in a manner similar to that of hand-tufted rugs, except that the pile is left looped rather than cut. Canvas backing is spread on a frame and a hooking implement is then used to pull the yarn through the fabric. Latex glue is then applied to the back of the rug to hold the loops in place. Another layer of cloth is added to the back of the rug and the rug is then finished by turning under the ends.
Hand-Knotted The most expensive and longest to make, hand-knotted rugs are traditionally made with wool or silk. The weaver loops wool or silk around the warps one at a time, creating a thick pile. Cotton yarn is then woven through the warps to hold them together. Generally the cotton yarns are tied off to form a decorative fringe.
Hand-Woven Rugs woven on a hand loom.
Hand- Made Rugs that are either hand-knotted or hand-tufted. More expensive than machine-made rugs.
Hand -Tufted Hand-tufted rugs are made much like hand-hooked rugs, except that the loops are sheared to create a flat surface. Tufted rugs can be made with combinations of fibers, and offer a great value. Hi-Lo Tufted Rugs feature a combination of cut and looped pile, yielding a three dimensional effect.
Hard Twist/ Cut Pile Practical type of cut-pile carpet that minimizes flattening with its durable stiffness. The yarns are twisted and set at a high temperature.
Hooked Rug Rug made by pushing loops of yarn through a canvas backing. Hooked rugs are an affordable alternative to authentic knotted rugs, because hooking is a very fast technique.
Indo-Esfahan A rug made in India in Esfahan style.
Jute Rugs woven of natural plant fibers that were originally used as doormats. Jute is grown in areas of southern Asia. The fibers are then stripped from their stalks and can be spun into yarn or rope and woven. Jute rugs are woven with loop or flat construction, and have become popular for use throughout the home. Jute yarns are strong and often used as warps in knotted rugs.
Kashmir Silk or mercerized cotton carpets from the Islamic region of India. Kashmir rugs are woven with Persian knots and have coloration and ornate patterns unique to India.
Kelim (Kilim) The most well known group of flat-woven rugs. No knots are used in creating kelims. Simply, the weft strands are woven (passed) through the warp strands.
Knot Pile-woven or knotted rugs are created by knots. The two predominant types of knots are Asymmetrical and Symmetrical. Oriental rugs are made with two basic kinds of knots, Persian Senneh and Turkish Ghiordes. Persian Senneh are complex asymmetrical knots. Turkish hiordes are symmetrical knot. Both knots vary with different tribal and regional traditions.
Knotted Rugs The knotted carpet refers to a particular decorative and functional textile made by hand on a horizontal or vertical loom using the technique of knotting. This weaving style involves wrapping tufts of wool or pile around the warps. The wool or pile is then tied around each individual warp strand to erect the pile at a 90 degree angle to the floor.
Lattice A design used in an all-over layout. Lattices consist of ogives (an arch or two connected, or rectangles with usually some floral motif inside them. In classic Persian rugs, lattices are curvilinear and consist of ogives. The new versions are more geometric and consist of diamonds and hexagons.
Loom Structure that holds warp strands taut for weaving and knotting. Looms can be vertical, horizontal, fixed or mobile.
Loop Pile Loop pile is a hard-wearing surface, designed to minimize tracking. Loop pile is the same as cut pile before it is trimmed.
Machine Made Rugs woven on power-looms controlled by a computer. The computer controls which colours are woven into the fabric and where. Machine-made rugs can be made quickly, and are offered in materials including heat-set polypropylene, art silk and wool.
Natural Rug Rugs made of natural fibers that are usually ivory or neutral colored. Texture is the main feature of these rugs.
Neoclassical A revival of ancient Greek and Roman styles in art and architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries, which was characterized by order, symmetry and simplicity.
Nylon Strong synthetic fiber with good dyeing ability.
Oriental Out-of-date word for 'of the Eastern World', or the region of the world that was found by early European explorers who circled Africa.
Pile The material (fiber) used for weaving rugs. The main pile materials are wool, silk and cotton.
Polyester Synthetic fiber most often used in staple spun yarns.
Polypropylene A petroleum-based synthetic material which is often heat set to guarantee vibrant color, long lasting beauty, easy maintenance and enduring performance.
Power Loom A loom operated by mechanical or electronic power.
Rug Pad A term used to describe any kind of material placed under carpet to provide softness and adequate support when it is walked upon. These rug pads provides a softer feel underfoot. It usually provides added acoustical benefits and longer wear life for the carpet. Also referred to as "cushion" or "underlay".
Runner Long, narrow rug used primarily for hallways and stairways. Most runners are between 2.5 to 3 feet wide and 6 to 20 feet long and in some cases even longer.
Savonnerie The name given to French piled carpets made until 1890 that look similar to Persian Kermans. These rugs were more foot friendly than their cousin the Aubusson and had an impressionist quality many find very appealing. This rug is the model for many of today's Indian and Persian rugs.
Sarouk Beautiful factory woven carpets from central Iran and Iranian Azerbaijan, manufactured for export.
Semi-Worsted Combing process that removes shorter fibers, resulting in a more lustrous looking yarn.
Shag Rug Contemporary rug style with long, typically synthetic, pile.
Shah Abbasi Motif A group of palmettes that can be seen in all-over and medallion layouts as well as in borders. This motif is frequently seen in rugs of Kashan , Esfahan, Mashad, Nain and in rugs of countries which copy Persian styles such as India, China and Pakistan.
Silk Expensive fiber that comes from the cocoon of silkworms.
Sisal Plant of the genus Agave that yields a fiber often used for making natural rope. The name sisal is used for both the plant and for the fiber. Sometimes referred to as hemp, sisal is not actually hemp but a fiber that resembles it. Sisal rugs are natural rugs, woven from sisal fibers.
Soumak A group of flat-woven rugs where no knots are used in the weave.
Tapestry In rug terminology tapestry refers to a weft face weave with complicated designs.
Traditional Style name that refers to the characteristic designs of the European and Oriental/Persian schools of weaving. Modern traditional rugs replicate the classic patterns, colors, and styles of antique rugs.
Transitional Broad style that falls between traditional European and Oriental rug designs and new contemporary styles. Floral and botanical patterns are good examples of rugs in this category.
Tufted Rug Technique of punching tufts of wool through the base fabric. Used to create inexpensive versionse of hand-knotted rugs.
Twist Winding of the yarn around itself to create a neat, well-defined strand.
Weave The technique used in weaving. There are two major weaving techniques, pile weave and flat weave.
Wool Fiber acquired from the hair of sheep, goats and a selection of other domesticated animals, including alpacas. Wool is the most frequently used pile material in handmade rugs.
Wool Sisal Wool sisal-look rugs are popular alternatives to real sisal (coir and seagrass).
Worsted Before wool is spun into yarn, it is combed, then worsted to improve its quality by leaving only the longer pieces of fiber for final spinning. It is used for more intricate patterns.
Woven Carpets Carpet made on a weaving loom where backing threads and pile are woven at the same time, creating strong anchors for the tufts. Axminster and Wilton are both well known woven carpets, offering a wider range of patterns.