is it handmade?

Handmade rugs really are amazing when you know what goes into making one. There are several things to look at to determine if a rug is indeed handmade.

First - Flip the rug to its back side like the rug in the photograph. You should be able to see the design from the front on the back.

Second - While examining the back side of the rug look for knots that don't line up completely straight.  Machine made rugs will typically be knotted completely uniform.  It is hard to see this in the photo but basically you are looking from one side of the rug to the other to see if you can find anything that doesn't line up completely straight or lacks perfect symmetry; which is what you would find in a machine made rug.

While you should be able to see some inconsistencies by eye you should also be able to feel rough spots on the back side of the rug with your hand as you rub your hand across the back of the rug. You are feeling for thicker or thinner knots, subtle changes in the pile material while the rug is being woven.

Third - Examine the fringe to verify the warps are extending through the entire rug. Fringe shouldn't be stitched on unless it is to replace a worn away fringe. Some high end machine made rugs are finished on the ends by hand to give the appearance of warps running through the entire rug making the fringe on the ends. This can make newer machine made rugs harder to identify.

Fourth - Examine the selvage (self edge) along the sides of the rug to see how they are done.  There are different types of selvage, none of which should be sewn or stitched.  Selvage consists of warp threads that have been wrapped with what we call overcasting.  This overcasting is most commonly wool or a wool mixture.  

If you have examined your rug to the extent that we have described above; you should be pretty confident at this point that you are / aren't holding a hand-knotted rug.

If you still aren't completely sure; please feel free to send us some pictures and we can try to help you out. Click here.

Back corner of an American Sarouk showing the weave, fringe and selvedge.