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Hand knotted rugs

Luke Irwin

Inspiration derived from original textiles, dreams and poetry, to crop circles and architecture.

Discover the world of Luke Irwin

Rug collections rooted in history

Luke Irwin specialises in the design and manufacture of hand knotted custom made rugs. All rugs are traditionally crafted rugs and ethically produced in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Drawing on inspiration from the past and its impact on contemporary design has become Luke’s unique calling card. Much of the inspiration from the collections is rooted in history and is based on everything from original textiles, dreams and poetry, to crop circles and architecture.

Luke Irwin believes the importance of a rug in any given space is often greatly underestimated; a good rug can be the cornerstone or foundation on which all the disparate elements and personality within a room are bound together.

Please contact us for further information or a get-together.

Master craftsman • Proven savoir faire

An exploration and a creation

Every Luke Irwin rug is the result of vivid imagination and incredible creative skill – the product of a colourful and fascinating journey that renders each piece unique. A new collection begins to form in little pockets of inspiration: from crops circles to stellar constellations; from the silk of a much-loved sari to a forgotten tale in a Dickensian bookshop. From that point on, the design of a Luke Irwin rug is as much an exploration as it is a creation.

The Design

The initial ideas that go into a Luke Irwin rug could come from almost anywhere – whatever it takes to fire the designer’s intellect. In the case of his Tarantella collection, inspiration grew from his interest in Italian peasant design of the 18th and 19th centuries; Ikat grew out of an interest in pan-global design. From such percolations, the beginnings of a new collection begin to form.

Hand Carding and Spinning

With the designs in hand, the materials are carefully selected. Any wool put into use needs to be hand-carded – a time-honoured process that sees the wool refined into something workable. The weavers are looking to untangle the fibre, wash it and then intertwine it so that the natural tones are well-balanced. This is a process that we undertake by hand, as the woollen strands are literally combed together, ready to be hand-spun. It is both the hand-spinning and the carding that gives each rug its own personality, and ensures uniqueness throughout the collection. Just as hand-carding pulls together variation in natural colour tones, hand-spinning results in a variety of textures and thicknesses. From this moment on, no two rugs can ever be the same.


If the rugs weren’t varied enough already, the dyeing process only adds to the individuality. Again, the seemingly random, hand crafted nature of this work ensures that each knot is different, as the hand-spun yarns are attached to a wheel and boiled, dyed and then exposed to a binding agent.

Hand Knotting

And so to the loom. Once the yarns are in place, several weavers work together to hand-knot the entire rug to the intricate specifications of the design. Knot by knot the design emerges against a graph-paper print-out, each binding the equivalent of a pixel on the designers’ screens.

This process is a labour of love, long and incredibly intricate, and it can take between three and eight months depending on the design.

Washing and Drying

Once knotted, the rugs are splashed with mild soap and water, and the washers move across them with paddles. This brings a suppleness and lustre to the creation, which mature further as they are hung out to dry in the sunlight.

Cutting, Shaving & Stretching

Cutting the rug to the appropriate pile height is an extremely precise craft, and it is commonly completed using shearing scissors. The craftsmen at work are masters at their trade, and the weight of responsibility hangs heavy in the air as any mistakes made will result in the loss of what may already amount to over half a year’s work.

As the rugs near completion, they are stretched for several days over wooden frames. This molds them into to a more precise shape, ensuring that the lines are straight and the sizes are to order.

Carving and Finishing

Finally, the rugs are carved to create the levelled effect that makes them so visually intriguing. As you have seen, the whole process is done by hand, and the finishing of each rug is no exception. It’s a journey of craft and imagination, imbuing each rug with a story of its own.


Each Luke Irwin project we work on is a custom collaboration with the designer. If you would like information or arrange a get together to run through your rug requirements please get in touch or enquire here