Handspun vs. Machine-Spun Wool Oriental Rug

There are many different types of oriental rugs made today in Iran, Pakistan, India, China, and many other places. There are generally two ways to make rugs, handspun and machine spun. The technique of spinning wool by hand has been known for some thousands of years and was in exclusive use for preparing the wool that constitutes the pile of a rug until the invention of machines for the purpose. Previously, the rug making cultures were mainly involving women and girls that stayed at home and would spin whenever they were free. However, that is very time-consuming in handmade rugs so, it is no surprise that when machine made rugs are available, they are more affordable.

Handspun wool absorbs dye unevenly and thus produces variegated color. Handspun wool is irregular in the tension of its twist; and when soaked in dye, it is spun tightly and more where it is spun

Handspun wool absorbs dye unevenly and produces variegated color. It has an uneven, nubby surface. This creates an informal, hand-made look in carpets. Because of the irregularity of colors and rug’s irregular texture help create an elegant and handmade look.  Owners of handspun wool may encounter loose ends of the pile are pulled up by vacuuming and pieces of pile stick up. This is all common problems that happen to a rug when they are new. If clipping is done properly, it should not have a problem maintaining its longevity. Handspun wool is more common today but it is still very rare, only about 3% of today’s production is handspun.

Even though handspun wool is seen much more often today than even a few years ago, it still is found in only a small minority of new rugs. I know of no source for hard information about this, but I estimate that perhaps 3 percent of today’s production is handspun.

Machine spun wool absorbs dye evenly. The color and surface is uniform and even.
The look of a machine spun wool Oriental rug is completely different from a handspun wool. It is very evident in a new rug because the tension of the spin is uniform, the dye absorbs evenly into the wool. The colors are also very consistent.
If you are looking to buy an Oriental rug, visit our showroom in Shrewsbury. We offer Oriental rugs from Persia, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and China. We also provide rug repairs and rug cleaning services. Contact us for more information or fill out a contact form to learn more.