We’re all guilty of choosing decorative pieces by how beautiful they look but it’s just as important to know how the piece was created and if that’s something you’re happy to have in your home. We chat with Ruthie L Designs to discover the several factors to consider when purchasing a rug for your home.

What’s one of the most important questions to ask?  

For me, it’s important to question who has made the rug. A beautifully hand-knotted carpet, made with fine materials, designed and crafted with integrity by highly skilled and experienced artists and artisans who are paid fairly for their skills is the finest rug you can buy.

Unfortunately, child labour in the carpet industry is very prevalent, particularly in South Asia. The process of making a rug goes through many different stages which all require the skills of experienced artisans. At the earliest stages, the wool is carded, it is then spun, dyed and woven to make the rug. It is then washed and finished. Children might be “employed” at any stage in this process. Here they might be subjected to dangerous tools and chemical dyes.

The best assurance that no child labour has been used at any stage to make a rug can be determined by the presence of a GOODWEAVE label with a certified number which is sewn on at the back of the rug. GOODWEAVE is a global non-profit initiative working to end illegal child labour in the carpet industry in India, Nepal and Afghanistan.

What should we consider when choosing materials?

Another significant factor to consider is the materials used to create a rug. Not all wool is equal either! Simply put, high-quality materials will produce a high-quality rug. To produce the rug more cheaply, wools are often blended with artificial (and sometimes even ecologically unfriendly materials) that make them brittle, coarse and hard. I personally prefer to use hand spun wool to machine spun wool when producing my rugs as it creates more texture and pattern within the rugs and I believe it preserves the integrity of the wool fibers.

What should we look at when considering purchasing a rug? 

When you are buying a rug have a good look at the back of it. The pattern at the back should look the same as the front. The surface of the back should also be visually smooth as well as smooth to touch with no bumps and bulges. You can also tell the knot count of the rug by looking at the back of the rug. The smaller the individual knots, the higher the knot count. A rug with a higher knot count will be more refined and will have required a lot more skill to make.

When you buy a rug ask lots of questions, look carefully at the back of the rug, feel the rug and most importantly, look for the GOODWEAVE label. For more tips and to view the Ruthie L Designs collection visit - www.ruthieldesigns.com.au