Knot density refers to the number of knots per square inch, or square decimeter, of rug. (A decimeter is 10 centimeters, or roughly 4 inches.)
Handmade rugs with high knot density can take even a highly trained weaver months or longer to create alone. A skilled rug maker can tie a knot in about 10 seconds, which translates to an average of 360 knots per hour. Imagine that an experienced weaver needs to create a 9’x12’ rug with a density of 150 knots per inch. He or she is looking at a 6,480-hour endeavor! (Rugs of this size are normally completed by two or more weavers.) Handmade rugs can have a knot density upwards of 1,000 knots per inch, although these are rare. Talk about a labor of love!
Should knot density influence my rug search?
It's always a good idea to inquire about the knot density of a rug you're considering purchasing, as it can give you a feel for that rug's journey. But remember that while knot density can be an indicator of quality or durability in many handmade rugs, it's not definitively the case. It is, however, a big factor in regard to rug pattern, specifically an intricate pattern like a floral design. A patterned rug with a low knot density tends to look “pixilated.” In other words, the curves of the pattern look choppy, not smooth. If you’re shopping for a rug with a simple pattern or none at all, knot density need not be as much of a concern during your selection process.