ABOUT TUFTING

Through the technique of hand tufting, Ghislaine makes original rugs and wall hangings in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and pile heights. All rugs are One-of-a-kind and specially made to order.

The technique of tufting was actually already around in the 18th and early 19th century. Then there was a revival of the technique around 1895. Table cloths and Bed spreads were adorned by tufts of cotton or candle wick.


This was done using a sowing needle, tufts of yarn were pulled through the cloth and then cut, so the longer threads stuck out in the front, then the cloth was washed hot so it shrunk and kept the tufts in place.


Around 1926 the first tufting machines were invented, they looked a bit like sewing machine then still with just one needle.
A couple years later they started adding needles. Tufting was mostly used to adorn bedspreads.


In the thirties there was another technique that started to become popular, so-called needle punch; a piece of cloth was tightened on a frame and with a special needle yarn would be punched in to form a tufted adornment.


During the Second World War all materials were used to make army materials, only the lesser quality yarns were left over.
The quality of these yarns were not good enough to be used in bedspreads, this has been probably the moment where the first rugs and carpets started to be made. In these years the broad-tufting machines were developed so wider carpets could be tufted.


The technique then was mostly used for carpet and bath rugs.
The quality back then was most definitely not of the standard it has now, for example mostly a cotton primary backing was used and the tufts were not tightened that well so over the years you would walk the yarn out.


In the forties they started to use burlap as a backing material, this kept the rugs in better shape and the tufts could be put in closer together, so a denser carpet could be made.
Then in the fifties they started to use rubber latex to secure the tufts into the backing.


Only in the eighties a polypropylene backing was started to be used, because burlap was not moisture resistant.
Hand tufting then was developed as a repair technique, to fill in missing bits when one of the machine needles had failed.
These mending guns were further developed for small projects.

For a hand tufted rug or wall hanging I tighten a polyester backing material on a vertical frame and draw the design on this backing. I work on the back of the rug, so the actual rug forms on the other side.


The machine blows the yarn under high pressure through the backing and a little rotating knife cuts the piles, the yarn is in a U-shape in the backing. How long it takes to make a rug depends on the design, for example on how often color needs to be changed and of course the size of the rug also plays a part.


Rugs can be made in any shape and color, but I can also work in different pile heights, from 0.6 to 1.8 inches. The standard pile height is 0.8 inch, for 10 square feet I use about 10 lbs of wool.


When the whole rug or wall hanging is finished a layer of latex is brought on to fasten the yarn. Then a burlap backing is brought on and a second layer of latex. A special backing to protect your floor could also be brought on, this is on request.


When you want to use the rug as a wall hanging a hanging system is attached, using Velcro. The rug is neatly cut to even it out and is then ready to be shipped.

 

Hand-Tufting Machine

Colored wool

Rug in progress

Tufted wool

Ghislaine at work

The backside


A very happy customer!

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