Dealing with White Knots

Many rug owners (and even quite a few rug cleaners) are unaware that many rugs marked 100% wool on the label actually have quite a bit of cotton in them. While the face yarns are 100% wool, the foundation of the rug is usually made of cotton. If you watch the video below, you can see all the white strands on the loom are cotton. In addition to the cotton that run lengthwise along the rug, there are cotton weft yarns that run side to side.

Weaver’s don’t have an endless pool of cotton yarn to use, so as the rug is being woven when the weavers come to the end of a strand of cotton, they simply tie a new one on and keep weaving. If the yarn happens to break during the weaving process the two ends are tied together, and the weaving continues.

These knots, called foundation fibre knots or white knots for short, are found in every hand woven rug. These knots are not damage to the rug, they are a normal part of the weaving process. They’re usually white, but will be the same colour as the foundation of the rug, whatever that is. There may be a few of them, or many of them, but they’re always there and many times they can be seen on the rug.

 

Four Ways To Deal With White Knots

  • 1. The first option is just to leave them alone and appreciate them as a natural part of the rug.
  • 2. If the weave of the rug is loose enough, sometimes these knots can be pushed to the back side of the rug. This has to be done carefully to avoid making a hole in the rug.
  • 3. Sometimes it’s possible to clip the ends of the knot strands lower than the surrounding pile, making them disappear.
  • 4. It’s also fairly common to apply a dye or an ink to the knots, to make them blend into the rest of the rug.

There are two ways that white knots can become more visible: age, and a really good washing. With age, what happens is that the wool pile begins to wear from foot traffic and the white knots that used to be shorter than the wool pile can now be seen.

Many rugs are sheared very low, this is common today and can make the white knots more visible even in a relatively new rug. Dirt causes the cotton to become dull and less noticeable, washing cleans the cotton and also washes away any ink that may have been applied to reduce the appearance of white knots. This may cause a newly cleaned rug to seem to have more white knots than it did when it was brought to the cleaning facility.

Four Ways To Deal With White Knots

  • 1. The first option is just to leave them alone and appreciate them as a natural part of the rug.
  • 2. If the weave of the rug is loose enough, sometimes these knots can be pushed to the back side of the rug. This has to be done carefully to avoid making a hole in the rug.
  • 3. Sometimes it’s possible to clip the ends of the knot strands lower than the surrounding pile, making them disappear.
  • 4. It’s also fairly common to apply a dye or an ink to the knots, to make them blend into the rest of the rug.

There are two ways that white knots can become more visible: age, and a really good washing. With age, what happens is that the wool pile begins to wear from foot traffic and the white knots that used to be shorter than the wool pile can now be seen.

Many rugs are sheared very low, this is common today and can make the white knots more visible even in a relatively new rug. Dirt causes the cotton to become dull and less noticeable, washing cleans the cotton and also washes away any ink that may have been applied to reduce the appearance of white knots. This may cause a newly cleaned rug to seem to have more white knots than it did when it was brought to the cleaning facility.

So, the important things to know are that white knots are present in every handmade rug, and after washing the white knots clean, any ink that may have covered them up is washed out, so they may be more visible after a wash.

If you have any questions about white knots or anything else about your rugs, please give us a call on 01269 842497 or pop up over an email to hello@theruglaundry.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help!

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