Questions about some of the terms you are reading?
Understand the world of rugs by reading our glossary of terms.

A repeat pattern that fully covers the field of a rug.

BACKING/BACKING MATERIAL - To protect the back of hooked rugs, heavy fabric is secured with latex glue. Also called a "scrim cloth."

CARDING/CARDED WOOL - The wool fibers have been opened, cleaned, aligned and formed into a continuous, untwisted strand yarn (called a sliver). Carded wool has a larger and coarser denier than worsted wool.

CARVING - Handheld carving tools are used to accentuate details of hooked, tufted and hand knotted rugs, or to create a 3-D effect on solid color rugs.

CHENILLE BRAID - Fabric is first woven, then cut into strips which are braided.

CORNROWING - This refers to when areas of a rug's foundation show between hooked stitches. The rug design is worked in a crescent pattern rather than straight rows to discourage this.

DELUSTERED - A fabric treatment which washes the shine from the yarn, producing a softer overall appearance in an Oriental rug.

FIELD - The part of a rug's design surrounded by the border. The field may be solid or contain medallions, or an overall pattern.

A braided rug produced with yarns that are braided
around two parallel cores.

KELIM - A tapestry-like flatwoven rug

KNOT - Each yarn is knotted through the back of an Oriental rug. The number of knots per square inch is a quality factor in an Oriental rug.

MODACRYLIC - Acrylic yarns that have been modified for added quality and to resist fire.

PILE HEIGHT - The height of the face yarns from the backing to the tip of the piece of yarn.

PLY - One or more yarns are twisted together to form a larger piece of yarn. Ply counts the number of individual yarn pieces comprising the whole.

SPANISH NEEDLEPOINT - Woven on computerized looms programmed to imitate the handmade needlepoint rugs of Portugal, these rugs have jute backs and are not reversible. Also called Spanish berber.

Thirteen two-ply yarns are braided to make a tape, then
three tapes are braided around two parallel guide yarns.

WARP - Forming the backbone of a rug, warp yarns are attached to a loom and run the length of a rug.

WEFT - Yarns that are woven horizontally across the warp of a rug.

WILTON LOOM - Automated looms popular for producing authentic Oriental rug designs.

ARABESQUE - A design of intertwining vines, flowers and leaves common to Persian rugs.

ARBRASH - A change in the shade of a color within a rug which usually appears in a horizontal line.

A style of braided rug in which wide bands of solid or variegated braid form a
predetermined pattern which is consistent from rug to rug.

CARTOON - A colored drawing on graph paper that a weaver follows to craft a rug design.

CAUCASIAN - A generic name describing boldly colored geometric designs originating from the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia.

CHROME DYES - A quality feature because these synthetic dyes use potassium bichromate to form a permanent bond between the dye and the rug's fiber.

CROSS-WOVEN - This refers to a rug woven horizontally on a Wilton loom as opposed to vertically, which is more common. This allows more colors to be used, and the rugs are more pliable than standard Wilton weaves.

DENIER - In reference to yarn size, the lower the denier, the smaller the yarn size; the higher the denier, the larger the yarn size.

DENSITY - This measure of quality in a rug is determined by the amount of yarn and the pile height in a given area of the rug.

FOUNDATION - The combination of warps and wefts in the body of a rug

LATEX - This glue is used to secure a heavy cloth backing to hooked rugs, and to secure face yarns. Latex backed rugs must not be cleaned using petroleum based solvents.

If a design has a large enclosed portion, usually in the center, it is called the medallion
Typical shapes are circles, diamonds, octagons and hexagons.

POLYPROPYLENE - A synthetic fiber that is colorfast, mold and mildew resistant, with excellent wearability and is easily cleaned.

SPROUTING - During initial use of a braided rug, excess sprouts of yarn may work their way to the surface of the rug. These sprouts should be clipped off at the base with scissors.

TUBULAR BRAID - Yarns are woven in a circular fashion and surround a core of miscellaneous fibers.


Using multiple colors.
Natural dyes produced

from berries roots and bark. They are not as colorfast as chrome dyes.

AXMINSTER LOOM - The popular choice for duplicating antique oriental rug designs, particularly Caucasian geometrics, because of the flexibility in color and design.

BORDER - The design which forms the outside edge of a rug and surrounds the field.

BORDERED RUG - This rug will have a solid or patterned border surrounding a solid color field.

BRAIDED RUG - Yarn or fabric is braided to form a continuous rope or braid which is sewn in a spiral to form a reversible rug.

CHEMICAL WASH - Produces an overall lustre by reacting to the dye stuffs in the design and by removing short staple yarns from the face of the rug.

CONTROLLED CENTER BRAID - The center of each rug is of a predetermined color and design, while the rest of the rug is variegated.

CUT PILE - After the yarn is pushed through the canvas in the hooking technique, the loops formed by the yarn are but to leave an open pile.

Called a flatwoven rug, dhurries are usually made of cotton or wool
in India using the warp-sharing, kelim method.

HOOKED RUG - Yarns are pushed through the back of a canvas cloth and pulled back through to form a design.

LINE COUNT - The number of horizontal knots in a linear foot.

LOOP HOOKED - A type of hooked rug where the loops formed by the yarn are left uncut.

PENCILLING - Part of the finishing process, colors are separated to add clarity and straighten lines of color, such as in the border.

PILE - The surface of the rug, it is sometimes called the "nap" or "face."

PRINTED RUGS - Solid or multi-colored pile rugs on which a design has been stenciled.

STAPLE - The average length of fibers in a piece of yarn.

SYMMETRIC KNOT - A knot tied over two warps; a Giordes or Turkish knot.

TUFTING - A form of hooking, yarns are pushed through the foundation of a rug with an electric tufting gun to form a pattern.

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.

YARN BRAID - A braided rug made from several 3-ply yarns braided


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