Organic Rugs & Carpets Information
Why Choose Organic Cotton
Our rugs and wall-to-wall carpets are all hand made in traditional methods from certified organic cotton, wool or silk.
Each method and raw material has its own advantages and applications, which can determine your final selection.
Flatweave rugs and carpets are created on a loom by interlocking warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) threads to create a flat, thin rug. They have been handmade same-way since 5,000 years, beginning with cotton in Southern India and then with wool.
They offer a less formal but very versatile floor covering. They are relatively affordable and come in a variety of colours. They can even be tie-dyed. The additional beauty of these rugs is that they are fully reversible.
They are easy to maintain and are ideal for allergy sufferers as they collect less dust. Wiping away a spill is much easier with a flat-weave rug. Though not as soft other rug types, a flat-weave is often used in nurseries and playrooms because toys and furniture can slide easily across.
To create a handtufted rug, the pattern is drawn onto a base cloth. One continuous piece of yarn in the desired color is then punched through the base cloth with a special tool that creates loops on the reverse side. The back of the rug is then coated with latex and fabric (usually cotton) to form the backing and lock the tufts into place. The loops can either be left or cut to make tufts—or create a pattern using both.
Shag rugs are hand-tufted or hand-knotted. Some shag rugs have an additional process called felting. Heat and pressure are applied to the larger tufts for a more compact bind. Felting will slightly reduce shedding in wool, but shedding will still continue over the life of the rug.
Our handloom rugs are constructed on a handloom. Depending on the construction and type of fiber used, a variety of rug types can be created, such as flat-weave, loop-weave, or cut-pile (boucle) weave. These rugs may or may not have a backing depending on the weave and desired look. Handloom rugs require less time to produce than a handknotted or handtufted rug, and therefore generally will be less expensive. There are design limitations in this technique, as intricate patterns cannot be made in this technique.
In handknotted rugs, each pile is tied and knotted individually by the craftsman using warp and weft construction on a warp mounted on loom. No additional backing is needed because each pile has already been secured by the knot. These rugs and carpets have longer life and are versatile in terms of usage of several colours and intricate patterns. They are generally washed and sheared to bring out the luster and softness of the fibers.
Natural Fiber Rug
All of our natural fiber rugs are environmentally friendly products. Each fiber has special characteristics and qualities.
As you choose a rug, you’ll also want to find one with the material that best suits your space and lifestyle. We have rugs in a variety of high-quality yarns.
Natural wool rugs feel soft and plush to the touch. In wool rugs, the fibers of the tufts or knots are left long, and the wool is loosely twisted, giving the surface a full fiber appearance. Some shedding over the life of a wool rug is a natural characteristic, especially pure virgin wool made carpets.
Wool carpets and rugs can be used for the living room, bedroom and staircases. They are also used worldwide in hotels, restaurants, offices and other types of public spaces. Wool carpets provide a comfortable, reliable and even temperature under-foot all year round. Wool has natural noise absorbing properties which help reduce the stressful hum of everyday life. Wool’s natural crimp provides greater insulation, allowing wool carpets to protect you from temperature extremes. Each wool fibre has a three dimensional spiralling α-helix that gives it natural elasticity. This elasticity means a wool fibre can stretch up to 30% more than its original length and bounce back. For that reason wool carpets will increase the comfort of walking. In addition pressure marks left by furniture compression on wool carpets will restore by itself. Wool is also naturally easy to care for.
Wool carpet has naturally characteristics:
- Hard-wearing and long-lasting
- Retains its pile shape and height
- Recovers quickly from furniture compression
- Resists permanent markings
- Is flame (fire) resistant
- Resists dirt and stains, so is easy to care for
- Provides natural thermal and sound insulation
- Regulates air moisture content
- Absorbs contaminants in indoor air
Cotton is hypoallergenic meaning it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin or cause allergies. It is also good for asthmatics. The ends of cotton fibers are spun very tightly into the yarn so that the product doesn’t irritate skin or cause static electricity. Cotton is long lasting if well looked after. It is a good conductor of heat. In other words, it draws heat away from your skin to keep you cool, making it comfortable to wear. It absorbs moisture easily and can take up to one fifth of its weight in water before it actually feels damp.
Because of its natural protein structure, silk is the most hypoallergenic of all fabrics. It is warm and cozy in winter and comfortably cool when temperatures rise. Its natural temperature-regulating properties give silk this paradoxical ability to cool and warm simultaneously. Silk is highly absorbent and dries quickly. It can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp. Silk will absorb perspiration while letting your skin breathe. In spite of its delicate appearance, silk is relatively robust and its smooth surface resists soil and odors well. While silk abrasion resistance is moderate, it is the strongest natural fiber and, surprisingly, it easily competes with steel yarn in tensile strength. Silk takes color well, washes easily, and is easy to work with in spinning, weaving, knitting, and sewing. Silk mixes well with other animal and vegetable fibers.
A Healthy and Environmentally Sound Choice
Carpet Keeps Allergens Out of the Air
There is a misconception that asthma and allergy sufferers should avoid carpet. In fact, the opposite is true. Studies have shown that carpet actually improves indoor air quality. It acts like a trap, keeping dust and allergens out of the air we breathe. Simply put, what falls to the carpet (dust, pet dander and many other particles) tends to stay trapped until it is removed through vacuuming or extraction cleaning. Smooth floor surfaces allow dust and other allergens to re-circulate into the breathing zone.
The Lowest Emitter of VOCs
Carpet has the lowest volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions of common flooring choices. In fact, it’s one of the lowest emitting products used in new construction and renovation. What VOCs new carpet emits are short-lived and largely dissipate within 24 to 48 hours – even faster with fresh air ventilation.
CRI’s Green Label Plus standards, which have been adopted across the industry, serve as the benchmark for low VOC emissions. The Green Label Plus symbol indicates:
- The manufacturer voluntarily participates in the program.
- The manufacturer is committed to developing ways to minimize any adverse effects on indoor air quality.
- A representative sample of the product type is tested by an independent laboratory and meets the established emissions requirements.
Carpet Puts You On Safer Ground
Carpets and rugs provide better traction than other flooring options, preventing falls. This is true everywhere, but even more important in areas where there is a lot of rain and snow. And when falls do happen, the softer surface reduces their impact. Whether you are in a business, school or hospital, fewer falls and less severe injuries are one more reason carpet is a choice you can feel good about.
Less Noise, More Productivity
Carpet is significantly more efficient at reducing noise, compared with other flooring. So everyone from employees to students gets a quieter, less distracting environment where they hear more, concentrate better and perform their best.
The Difference Between Handmade and Machinemade Rugs
How to tell the difference between a hand made and a machine made rug:
To an untrained eye it is difficult to tell the difference between handmade, hand knotted, and machinemade rugs. This guide will help you understand the differences and give you the advantage of making an informed buying decision when shopping for rugs.
Hand Knotted Rugs
Parts of a Hand Knotted Rug
Hand knotted rugs are made on a specially designed loom and are knotted by hand. The making of hand knotted rugs is a very ancient art that deserves a lot of admiration! The size of the loom depends on the size of the rug and the weaving is done from the bottom to the top. The rug weaver inserts the “knots” into the foundation of the rug and they are tied by hand, this makes up the “pile” of the rug. This is a very tedious and time consuming operation.
(Click the link to read our post about the knot count of hand knotted rugs.)
The length of time to produce a hand knotted rug depends on the size, density of knots, fineness of yarn and intricacy of the pattern. It is not unheard of for a super fine quality 12’ x 15’ rug to take over a year or two to produce! Hopefully you can appreciate why the cost of these rugs is much greater.
Hand knotted rugs can be made of wool, cotton, silk, jute and other natural materials. Silk is sometimes used in wool rugs for the outlines or highlights of the pattern to enhance the design. Hand knotted and hand woven rugs can last many generations if they are of good quality and properly maintained.
Also called Oriental rugs, hand knotted and hand woven rugs are often collectibles. The quality of these rugs depends on numerous factors, such as the knot count, dyes used and quality of the yarns. Hand knotted rugs are typically more costly, but the life span of these rugs is greater and therefore usually a better value for your money.
Example of a Rug Weaving Loom
Flat Weave or Hand Woven Rugs
Flat weave is another category of handmade rugs. These rugs are hand woven in a flat weavepattern and there is no pile. There is little height to the rug. Soumak, Dhurrie, kilim and braided are all types of flatweave rugs. With a flatweave rug you will definitely want to put a rug pad under it to help it stay in place and provide a little more cushion to the rug.
Machine Made Rugs
Machinemade rugs are made by large machines called power looms. A power loom is electrically automated and controlled by computers. Machine made rugs can be made quickly and are manufactured with materials including wool and synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon, polyester, acrylic and art silk.
Machine made rugs can offer a lower price alternative to hand knotted rugs. Machine made rugs usually have a life span between 5 to 20 years, depending on the quality and fiber used. For example a high quality machine made wool rug can last for decades if it is well maintained. Machine made rugs are generally not of any value to a collector.
Back of a machine made rug. Note the uniformity of the stitching which is done by a machine.
These rugs are cheaper imitation of handknotted rug and cost much less. A handknotted quality 8′ x 10′ hand knotted rug might take anywhere from 7 to 14 months, while the same size rug made in a machine-made method might take one day.
Although machine-made rugs can be just as beautiful as hand knotted rugs, they typically are not of value to a rug collector or someone who is looking to buy an Oriental rug as an investment.
Hand Crafted Rugs or Hand Tufted Rugs
Hand tufted rugs are another type of rug that is considered handmade or hand-crafted. This particular type of rug is made using a modified hand held drill gun that inserts the pile into a cloth foundation which creates a loop pile. If the loop pile is sheared, it then becomes a cut pile. The loop pile rug, if not sheared, is called a “Hand-Hooked” rug.
Some designs have both loop and cut pile combined to create a dimensional effect to the pattern. A latex coating is then applied to the back of the rug to hold the “tufts” in place. A canvas type fabric or poly propylene is then applied over the latex coating to finish the back of the rug.
These rugs are variant of handknotted rugs and cost lesser. A handknotted quality 8′ x 10′ hand knotted rug might take anywhere from 7 to 14 months, while the same size rug made in a handtufted method might take a month.
Hand Tufting Gun
A latex coating is then applied to the back of the rug to hold the “tufts” in place. A canvas type fabric is then applied over the latex coating to finish the back of the rug.
Back of a Hand Tufted Rug
Look at the Back of the Rug
One of the best ways to tell the difference between hand knotted and machine made rugs is to look at the back of the rug. In hand knotted rugs the weaving and the knots will be slightly uneven and not perfectly uniform. On the other hand, a machine made rug will look very uniform and perfectly even. The more detail in the design when looking from the back, the better the quality of the rug.
Back of a Hand knotted Rug. NOTE: the fringe is part of the rugs foundation.
Back of a Machine Made Rug. NOTE: The fringe is sewn on.
Look at the Fringes of the Rug
Another way to determine if a rug is hand knotted or machine made is to look at the fringes. As you can see from the picture above, the fringe of a Machine made rug is sewn on and is attached as a finishing touch.
The fringe of a hand knotted rug is an extension of the rug foundation, as in the picture below.
The foundation of a Hand Knotted rug becomes the fringes.
Organic Weave recommends the use of non-ionic detergents, as they are biodegradable. Use as little as possible as it may have a slight impact on the shade of your rug. Since your rug has not been chemically processed in any way, there may be some change in the natural colour over time with your rug. This is an inherent quality of vegetal dyes and adds to the natural beauty of your rug as it matures.