Oriental carpets differ from other carpets in that their pile is hand-tied to the foundation of the carpet. This technique results in them being extremely hard wearing and, if well cared for, they will last two to three generations. The amount of labour involved in weaving a hand-knotted carpet is considerable. A highly-skilled weaver will tie about 25 knots per minute completing 12-15,000 knots per day. An average weaver will tie 5,000 knots per day. It takes a weaver almost a year to complete a 12′ x 9′ carpet that has 200 knots per square inch.
Carpets which have a pile are made by twisting yarn around vertical threads called the warp to create a knot. The two ends of the yarn form the tuft of the pile. Once a row of knots is finished it is secured in place by one or more rows of horizontal thread called the weft. The weft is then beaten down with a specially designed heavy metal comb. The carpet is made by repeating the rows of knots and weft many times. When completed the pile is cut and the carpet is stretched to shape. It is often given a chemical wash to mellow the dyes.
The main types of knot are the Turkish and the Persian knot. The Turkish knot (or the symmetrical knot) is harder wearing and many functional village carpets have this knot, whilst the Persian knot (or the asymmetrical knot) is more suitable for finely detailed carpets.
Each carpet is a unique a creation – a work of art.