Single-weft vs Double-weft, what's it mean?
Updated: Sep 15, 2022
One strand, two strands or more...Welcome to the topic of wefting a rug and the differences from one location to another. This subject is very important when it comes to identification of handmade rugs and often creates more trouble than is necessary. Understanding the wefting of a rug is fairly simple but identifying it while looking at the back of a rug can be difficult at times.
First of all, the wefting is the strand of wool, cotton or silk that is ran between each row of knots in a rug. The two types we're dealing with in most Oriental pile rugs is single-weft and double-weft.
Photo Credited to PRJ Ford, Oriental Carpet Design, Copyright 1981 & 1989 Thames and Hudson Ltd, London
Single weft is when one weft strand (horizontal) is run between the warps (vertical) across the rug and between each row of knots. This weft ends on the opposite side of the rug and will continue after the next row of knots.
Double weft is when two or more weft strands (horizontal) are run across the rug after a row of knots are completed. These two wefts are run separate, alternating warps (vertical) from each other, which holds the existing knots tightly.
Here is a picture of a Zanjan rug which is located North of Hamadan in Iran. Zanjan rugs are typically single-wefted but in more recent years are producing double-wefted Bidjar re-production rugs. For this example the Zanjan rug is single-wefted.
This rug is a rug from the village of
Gholtogh which is in close proximity to Zanjan. The rugs are fairly similar, but this rug is double-wefted. I know in these pictures it's hard to see enough detail so we'll take a closer look in the next photo.
In this photo to the right, you can see the back side of the Zanjan rug up close. There is an orange arrow pointing at a warp strand in the rug. A single-wefted rug will have every other warp exposed. In some rugs this is relatively simple to recognize and not so much in others due to how tight the wefts are packed down. On a very fine single-wefted rug it could look double-wefted because the rows of knots are packed down so close together that you can't see the warps. Sometimes you can see the single-wefted characteristics in other parts of the rug where it might not have been packed down as tight.
On the left you see a close-up photo of the Gholtogh rug with an arrow pointing to a circle. In the circle you can see the white weft strands that go horizontal in the rug. Since you can't see any warps crossing over the weft strand, you are seeing a double-weft. This isn't always a perfect strategy when you first start looking at rugs as some may be double-wefted and loose and others may be double-wefted and tight. If a rug is double-wefted and loose, then you start to see the warps in spots that you wouldn't typically see because the rows of knots aren't packed down tight.
You figure out this next example: is it single-wefted or double-wefted?
If you said single-wefted, you're correct!
This rug is one from hundreds of villages around the city of Hamadan that makes single-wefted rugs. This weave has been referred to as the (Hamadan Weave) but isn't 100% correct so don't always jump to that conclusion to quickly. As you can see, learning how to tell if a rug is single-wefted vs double-wefted is one very helpful key to identifying a rug along with a whole lot of other details. We hope you found this helpful! Please don't forget to share this article and sign up to be a member.
I'd like to give a special thanks to the PRJ Ford of Oriental Carpet Design for playing a big part in my beginning and ongoing education of Oriental rugs. This book is a great resource and is highly recommended by me personally to anyone looking to start learning about Oriental rugs. The author has a unique way of writing that captures the reader and makes the information more enjoyable to read. He did a great job of going in depth on certain rug producing areas that are almost non-existent in other books.
All color Photographs were taken by Shoppersianrugs.com
One Photo Credited to PRJ Ford, Oriental Carpet Design, Copyright 1981 & 1989 Thames and Hudson Ltd, London