Abrash: A change in the color of a rug due to differences in the wool or dye batch. The color change runs across the rug and is most likely to occur at the top. This can be caused by unevenly applied dyes, using wool from different dye lots, difference in the wool and poor dye–drying methods.

All–over pattern: Continuous design throughout the field of the rug.

Antique Finish/Wash: A modern chemical washing procedure that produces softer tones or "antiques" the rug to simulate aging.

Asymmetrical knot: A knot that may be open to the right or the left. Also known as Persian or Senneh knot.

Aubusson: A flat weave, pileless rug predominantly made in China and India, featuring a floral medallion with curvilinear floral borders and soft pastel colors.

Border: A design around the edge of a rug, surrounding the field. The border usually includes a wide bank with a repeating design, called the main border.

Boteh: A pear–shaped figure often used in Oriental rug designs. Characteristic of the paisley pattern, the boteh may represent a leaf, bush or a pinecone.

Carding: The combing of fibers with wire bristle brushes prior to spinning.

Carpet: A heavy often tufted fabric used as a floor covering.

Cartoon Mapping: A grid on paper with colored spaces to guide rug weavers in the execution of a rug’s design.

Carving: The process of shearing around a design or symbol to enhance the look of the rug. This is commonly done in some Chinese and Tibetan rugs.

Chemical Washing: Rugs may be washed in chemical solutions to soften (bleach) colors, to increase the luster of fibers and to lend the pile a softer "hand," or feel.

Colorfast: Describes a dye that is stable to both light and washing.

Combing: The process of preparing wool fibers for spinning by sorting them in the same direction.

Cotton: The most common fiber for making weft and warp. It is also occasionally found in the pile.

Crushing: The loss of pile thickness as a result of foot traffic.

Dhurrie: A flat weave, pileless rug generally composed of simple, geometric designs. Most Dhurries are woven in India, Afghanistan or Pakistan and are made of wool or cotton.

Dye (natural/synthetic): A substance used to color fiber, yarn or textiles.

Dyrnak gul: See "Gul."

Field: The part of a rug’s design surrounded by the border. The field may be blank or contain medallions or an all–over pattern.

Flat weave: Any rug woven without a knotted pile.

Foundation: The combination of warps and wefts in the body of a rug.

Fringe: Warps extending from the ends of a rug, which are treated in several ways to prevent the wefts and knots from unraveling.

Ghiordes knot: See "Symmetrical knot."

Guard borders: Narrow decorative designs flanking the main border.

Gul: A medallion, either octagonal or angular in shape, used in Turkman designs. It is often repeated to form an all–over pattern in the field.

Handmade: Any rug constructed by hand.

Hand tufting: A form of hooking; yarns are pushed through the foundation of a rug (usually canvas) with a tufting gun to form a pattern.

Jufti knot: A knot tied over four warps instead of the usual two.

Kilim: A flat weave pileless rug woven using the tapestry technique. Commonly decorated with geometric patterns and bright colors, these rugs are usually used in high traffic areas like kitchens and game rooms.

Kork: Any fine wool.

Knots: The wrapping around the warps of the yarn (usually wool) threads, the ends of which project to form the pile of the rug.

Knots per square inch: Number of knots per square inch rates the knot quality in hand knotted rugs. Usually noted by the K.P.S.I. designation (i.e., K.P.S.I. 240).

Loom: A wooden structure that holds the warp and weft threads for weaving the rug. It can be vertical or horizontal. The height and width of the loom determines the rug size.

Matting: The result of the untwisting of the yarn and intermingling of the yarn tips because of foot traffic.

Medallion: The large enclosed portion of a design, usually in the center. Typical shapes are diamonds, octagons, ovals and hexagons.

Nap: Top or body of the rug where the knot ends are cut.

Needlepoint: A flat weave, pileless rug woven using a stitch similar to a cross–stitch. Mainly produced in China, workers peer through the canvas to follow the design, which is spread out flat underneath it. Workers stitch directly onto the canvas.

Node: One loop of a pile knot around a warp as seen from the back of the rug.

Oriental Rug: A hand knotted piled or flat woven fabric made from natural fibers (most commonly wool or silk.)

Overcasting: A process by which selvedges are wrapped or interwoven with a yarn that is not part of the foundation weft.

Patina: The mellowing of the surface appearance of a rug usually with age or use. Can also be achieved with chemical washes.

Pattern: Foundation of the rug design.

Persian knot: See "Asymmetrical knot."

Pile: The nap of the rug, or the tufts remaining after the knotted yarns are clipped.

Plug: A piece of a rug sewn or woven into the hole of another rug.

Ply: Two or more yarns spun together.

Power loomed: Machine made rug.

Runners: Usually rugs measuring not more than 3 to 4 ft. wide and ranging from 8 to 20 ft. in length.

Scatter rug (throw rug): Any small rug under 3’ x 5’. Usually used as kitchen, bathroom or front door rugs.

Scouring: The washing of wool to remove unwanted lanolin and other impurities.

Senneh knot: See "Asymmetrical knot."

Selvedge: The edge warps of a rug and the foundation weft around those warps.

Serging: A method of finishing edges of area rugs by using heavy, colored yarn sewn around the edges in a close, overcast stitch.

Shearing: The professional removal of a sheep’s wool.

Silk: Comes from the cocoon of silkworms. Because it is an expensive fiber, it is less frequently used over wool as a pile material in handmade rugs.

Soumak: A flat weave, pileless rug woven from a technique that produces a herringbone effect. This special weaving technique is also known as weft wrapping. Soumaks generally have a mixed cotton and wool foundation with geometric and brightly colored designs. This weaving method is also used to produce storage bags, cradles and other everyday necessities.

Spin: The direction of a yarn´s twist.

Staple: The average length of fibers in a yarn.

Symmetrical knot: A knot tied on two warps; also known as the Ghiordes or Turkish knot.

Talim card: A written description of the numbers of pile knots and their colors needed to create a specific design. Used in the execution of a rug’s design.

Tea stain: See Antique Finish/Wash

Tibetan knot: A distinctly different knot. Tibetan rugs are woven by wrapping a continuous length of yarn over a rod laid across the warps stretched on the loom. When the rod has been wrapped for its entire length, a knife is slid along the rod, cutting the wrapped yarn into two rows of pile knots.

Turkish knot: See "Symmetrical knot."

Turn–arounds: Reversals in direction of the new wefts.

Warp: Comprising the foundation, parallel warp yarns run the length of the rug and are interlaced with wefts.

Warp-faced: A rug in which warps are more closely spaced than wefts and the wefts are concealed. In a balanced plain weave rug, warps and wefts are equally visible.

Warp offset: A technique whereby some warps are held tightly in place while others in the same rug are held in place loosely.

Washing: See "Chemical Washing."

Weft: The yarns woven horizontally through the warps.

Weft-faced: A rug in which the weft yarns are more closely spaced than the warp yarns.

Weft twining: A weft wrapping method in which two wefts pass across warps, twisting together after each warp or at regular intervals.

Whip stitch: A stitch used to overcast and lock the final weft in rug ends.

Wool: The soft wavy or curly undercoat of various hairy mammals, especially sheep.

Woolen: A wool yarn of mixed staple that has been carded. Fibers are neither as long nor as parallel as worsted yarn. The average length of woolen yarn is shorter than 3 inches.

Worsted: A process that occurs prior to spinning, whereby wool yarns are firmly twisted from combed fibers that are longer than three inches in length. This process improves the wool’s quality by leaving only the longer pieces of fiber for final spinning. It is used to weave more intricate patterns.


Yarn: A continuous, often plied strand composed of either natural or man–made fibers or filaments. Used in weaving and knitting to form cloth.