Do you get little tufts of wool that 'sprout' up out of your hand knotted rug? Don't worry, those are a normal part of owning a hand knotted wool rug. Some rugs are prone to sprout more than others, but regardless of how many sprouts your rug gets you want to treat them all in the same way. Do NOT pull on your sprouts, that could cause you to loose material potentially creating a small hole. Just take a pair of scissors and trim the top off the sprout, making it even with the surrounding surface. Watch the video below to see the very simple process of trimming your sprouts.
Sometimes people worry that they are going to damage their rug if they trim their sprouts, or that they are going to make their rug 'thread-bare' by trimming them. But neither will be the case. To understand what causes the sprouts it's helpful to know a little about yarn.
When we say rugs are made with hand spun yarn, some people may immediately think of making yarn with a spinning wheel, but most rug yarns were, and still are, made with a drop spindle. A drop spindle uses nothing but gravity and a hand twisting motion to spin yarn (see photo below).
With such a basic spinning method, the amount of variation in hand spun yarn is much greater than that of yarn spun on a spinning wheel and even greater still than that spun with a machine. Those variations are the exact thing that give hand crafted rugs their character and uniqueness. Below is an image of hand spun yarn from Knox Fiber Farm. This yarn was spun to intentionally have a large amount of variation as an artistic element, hand spun rug yarns are typically made with less variation - but this photo is an excellent (although slightly exaggerated) illustration of how certain portions of a strand of yarn can be more twisted than others.
As those over-spun sections of yarn begin to relax over time they elongate - think of it sort of like a "Slinky" (that great spiral toy that 'slinks' down the stairs on it's own), when completely compressed the Slinky is short but if you stretch those spirals that Slinky can extend an enormous distance (another exaggerated but effective example). Those yarns that are relaxing and elongating are the very yarns that are creating your sprouts. Trimming the extra bit off the top does not remove any integral part of the rug.
Hopefully, now that you have a better understanding of what is happening when your rug gets sprouts you will feel empowered to trim them away. Of course there are those of us that don't mind the sprouts and appreciate them for the character they provide. Just remember that if you don't trim your sprouts you are leaving a place for your vacuum to catch (especially if you use your power-head - which we do not recommend). This could lead to pulling more of the yarn out and thus could lead to problems down the road. In general it is a good idea to trim your sprouts occasionally.
As always - if you have any questions feel free to CONTACT US or leave a comment.