Weave Exotic Fabrics With Rya Rug Knots

Make it knotty, lush, exotic and zesty. It’s surprising how the presence of a little knotting in your weaves can make such a mood change. This loom weaving tutorial will help you create interior fabrics with a Middle Eastern feel, conjuring tales of Aladdin and the lush interiors and hospitality that the rug-making nations are known for.

Image of cloth woven with rya knots on a loom


The textile shown above began when a new weaver wanted to create a Moroccan wedding blanket (Handira) for her wedding. They are usually predominately white, but she started off, on her first woven piece, with a rich magenta/pink colorway. The photo below shows how shag pile in a traditional Handira textile can change the flavor of an interior.

Rya Knot Beadspread

Photo via Beyond Marrakech

The “feel” of the weaving changes when you add lush shagginess. All this can be done…starting with the knowledge of one little knot.

The rya rug knot

The rya rug knot, also known as giordes, is a well traveled one. You’ll find versions all over the world for various types of weaving and reaching a very high level of skill in Persian and Middle Eastern pile rugs.

Although this technique is called a knot, it actually produces a pile on the surface of the fabric. As a weaver you can place them anywhere and can control the look. The surface can be long, shaggy and uneven or clipped and pert like a conventional carpet. You can make them soft and furry or stiff and crisp, depending on the type of yarn you use and the way you use it. The following is a common simplified approach to using rya rug knots for lightweight hangings, etc.

Loom weaving tutorial

Gather your yarn:

Gather up some lengths of yarn. Yes, it can be all sorts to suit your cloth. Mohair and woolly yarns will invite feelings of comfort and warmth, while straighter yarns will have a chic, cooler elegance. No need to keep all of the lengths of yarn an even length either, they can be quite all over the place if you like that style.


illustration and photos of the rya knot process

1. Open your next weaving shed and place some knots around some warp threads as shown in the illustration above.

Note: I’ve used four warp threads in an open shed but you can experiment with this number depending on your warp set up.

2. Place a row of knots then change the shed and weave a few rows to lock them all into position. You will find that the longer the plain weave area between rows of knots the ‘flatter’ that the knots will lay.

3. To make a piled knotted look, just weave a row or two between knotted rows.


The shag and fringing of the rya rug knot is popping up everywhere as a micro trend in interiors. Some weavers are using interesting color mixes for wall hangings, creating a lovely minimalist look for any interior. Otherwise a more dedicated application of the knot can create imagery like these exquisite smaller knotted works by Sara Lamb.

Are you thinking shaggy knots for your next woven project?

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