The concept behind the braided rug is a pretty basic, almost simple. Take scraps of cloth or skeins of yarn and weave the braids that eventually come together to make a braided rug. That is where the concept of basic and simple ends. A tremendous amount of art and talent goes into producing a quality and unique braided rug. As with the weaving of fabric and the sewing of clothing, making of braided rugs began as a household necessity. Settlers had very little to waste and scraps of fabric were never discarded. Instead, scraps would be made into quilts, clothing and woven into braids to make braided rugs.
Braided area rugs can bring a charm and warmth to your home. Whether your home is decorated in a French country motif, country cottage, or shabby chic, braided rugs come in all sizes and shapes. Beauty and easy to care for, a quality braided rug can last for many years. There are many different braiding styles that be used to make a variety of different shapes. The shape of the rug usually determines the type of braid that is used.
Traditional braided area rugs are available in round and oval shapes, and as long braided runners. The country charm of a patchwork quilt is created when smaller braided squares are stitched together resulting in a beautiful square rug pattern.
Shopping for a quality braided rugs is made easier when you know what types of fabrics, fibers and weaving are used to make the rug. This is a brief glossary of the types of yarn, fabric, braids and weaves that are used to make a quality braided rug.
Center Braiding refers to a rug pattern where the center of the rug is of a single solid color surrounded by a series of variegated braids.
Flat Braiding is a braiding technique that uses two center cores running parallel to each other with the yarn woven around the center cores.
Pliant is a simple process of flat braiding, weaving one strand over another. The plaint braid is typically thinner than a flat braid. The number of strands can be as many as twelve and as few as four strands.
Round Braids are typically produced by weaving four or more strands of yarn or fabric around a single, solid core. Round braids are similar to what are called tube braids.
Standard Braiding is typified by three strands of material though the number of strands can be higher. The outer strands are always brought back over the center strand.
Tube Braids are sometimes called tubular braiding, the yarns are woven around a center core of material.
Fabrics and Fibers
Chenilles are soft yarns are braided and the braids are sewn together. Chenille rugs are known for a soft feel. The term chenille derives from the French word for caterpillar.
Angora is a very soft wool fiber derived from the goat of the same name.
Bamboo is a strong and renewable plant fiber. Bamboo fabric is made from the pulp of bamboo grass and has a long lasting antimicrobial property. Bamboo fabric can be as soft as the finest cashmere wool. Bamboo can be cultivated without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides.
Cellulose is the substance that forms the primary part of plant cells. Cellulose was widely used in the making parchment paper. Now it is used to make rayon and acetate fabrics.
Cotton has been used as a fabric source since the eighth century B.C. The fibers are harvested from the boll of the cotton plant. The fiber can vary in length up to two inches long. Egyptian cotton, with its long fibers is considered the finest in the world.
Damask is a fabric of silk, linen or wool, made by weaving the weft into the warp to create a fabric pattern. The name comes from the Syrian capital of Damascus where it first manufactured. Linen damasks were often used for table cloths, while silk and wool were found in furniture fabrics.
Gingham is a cotton or synthetic fabric. Gingham differs calico in that the colors are woven into, not printed on, the fabric. Stripes, checks and plaids are most the most common patterns. Gingham was first produced in India but is widely manufactured today in other parts of the world.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years for a wide variety of products. Hemp is a very strong and versatile fiber with many uses including, paper, fabric and rope. Hemp also has many other non-textile applications, including in the production of plastics and what are called bio fuels. Hemp fabric is long lasting, often blended with cotton and natural fibers. Like bamboo and other renewable fiber sources, hemp can be cultivated without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides.
Jute is material that is widely used for various styles of braided rugs. Jute fiber has been used for thousands of years for everything from rope and twine to paper and other commercial uses such as backing for carpet. Like bamboo and hemp, jute fiber is completely biodegradable. When processed, jute can be fashioned into fabrics and yarns.
Linen is a term that generally describes fabric articles such as bed sheets, towels, tablecloths and napkins. Linen cloth is woven from spun flax and is stronger and smoother than cotton cloth.
Merino is a very fine, oily and short length wool fiber from the Merino breed of sheep. Merino wool is very soft and has the feel of cashmere.
Muslin is a finely woven cotton cloth that originated in Northern India during the seventeenth century. It is commonly made from cotton yard cords.
Pima Cotton is a very soft, long fiber length cotton that rivals the quality of Egyptian cotton.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric fiber that is strong and stain resistant. Polyester is one of the most widely used fabrics in the world. Wrinkle resistant and long wearing, it is used in clothing, linen, bedding, upholstery and many commercial applications.
Wool fibers are derived from various animals such as sheep, alpaca, goats and even camels. When properly spun, wool is a very durable fabric. It is used for everything from clothing, rugs, carpets and upholstery. Cashmere and angora wool comes from the goats of the same name.
Other Useful Information
Underlay is a fabric or other type of backing that keeps a braided rug from slipping.
Variegation refers to the weaving of multiple colors often in a random pattern.
Absorbency is a textile quality, which measures the rate that fabric can absorb water.
Dyeing is the process of applying color to a fabric, yarn or fiber. Fabric dying is most often done after the weaving process. Fiber dyeing is done prior to weaving. Yarn may be dyed prior to the spinning process. Dyestuffs are derived from variety of sources including plants, berries and vegetables, which reflects the trend towards the use of non-chemical dyes.
Organic plant fiber sources without the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. Sustainable growing practices are used to help reduce any adverse impacts on the environmental.
Weaving is art of making cloth from threads or yarns. When a fabric loom is used, two sets of threads are needed. One is the warp which runs the length of the cloth, while the weft or woof runs crossways.