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SunflowersWELCOME TO AUGUST 2020


Welcome to Our Monthly Newsletter!

We hope you will enjoy this month's articles.  

This month's topics are:  


                     Virus Contact Tracing

AREA RUGS                                                                                   Shedding Rugs

Area Rugs on Carpet


Navajo Code Talkers



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Virus contact tracing is the process epidemiologists are now using to shed light on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread. But this is not by any means a new process.

The first instance when virus contact tracing was used occurred during the cholera epidemic in the 19th century in England largely through the efforts of a young doctor by the name of John Snow.


Cholera is a dreadful disease. It causes diarrhea so severe that a victim can lose as much as ten liters of water in a day. If untreated, it can lead to rapid dehydration and death within a few days.  

The disease first appeared in Europe in 1831. It was carried from the Indian subcontinent where it was endemic. Over 50,000 Britons died within 1 year, causing widespread panic.  

Physicians did not know what to do. They plied their patients with arsenic and strychnine, administered tobacco enemas, wrapped their patients in flannel soaked in turpentine, bled their patients with leeches, and blistered them with nitric acid. All, of course, to no avail.  

No one knew what caused the disease, but the prevailing opinion was that cholera was somehow transmitted by bad air, or a 'miasma' that emanated from the sick and from garbage. A London dentist claimed that the solution was to fire cannons every hour to disperse the bad air!


Dr. John Snow was a young apprentice doctor at the time of the epidemic and attended to many of the cholera victims himself. He didn't buy the idea of poisoned air. It seemed clear to him that cholera was due to some poison that acted directly on the intestines and therefore was most likely introduced through the mouth.  

His suspicion turned to water when he noted that the city of Birmingham had been spared of cholera. What was the difference here? Nobody drank river water. It was so foul that nobody could stomach it. People in Birmingham drank only well water.


In 1854, Snow got his chance to prove his theory. A terrible cholera epidemic broke out in London, centered in the Soho district where more than 500 people died within ten days in an area of a few city blocks.

Dr. Snow took a map of the city and laboriously plotted out the location of houses where someone had come down with cholera. An amazing pattern was revealed. The red dots, signifying cholera cases clustered around a major thoroughfare then known as Broad Street. What on this particular street could be causing cholera, Snow wondered? He soon found the answer. 

A water pump that supplied the neighborhood sat right in the area pinpointed by the dots on his map as the focal point of the epidemic. He quickly discovered that seven men who lived outside Soho but had worked in the area around the pump all died of cholera and that a widow who had just moved away from the neighborhood to Hampstead, but had sent for some of the water she had been accustomed to drinking, also had died. 

But perhaps the most convincing observation Snow made was that in a nearby brewery, (where the workers never drank water) not a single worker came down with cholera!


Please continue reading here for more information and Dr. John Snow's legacy.


Shedding area rugs and what to do about them is a customer question that comes up quite often. An area rug may shed for many different reasons. Whether the shedding is due to bad fiber quality, bad construction quality or bad homeowner care, there are still some tips we can offer.

Certain rugs are more prone to shedding than others. There is always the question of whether or not it is okay to pull at that darn loose fiber or cut a portion off, or whether pulling or cutting may do irreparable harm to the rug.

Below are some types of rugs that may shed and some tips on preventing or dealing with the shedding:


The Shearing Process Can be to Blame

A good quality, standard pile height, hand knotted wool or real silk rug should not shed, but hand knotted rugs are often sheared after the weaving process in order to create the ideal pile height for a particular style.

This shearing process itself can leave small fibers on the top of the rug when it is new, giving the appearance of shedding. Most good quality rug weaving producers will wash their rugs after they are created in order to wash away this residue, but even with this attention to detail, some small cut pieces can be missed.

With the best quality rugs, the shedding will stop very shortly after the sale because any loose cut threads will be vacuumed up. If rug shedding does not stop, it is often the result of poor quality fibers or poor quality construction.

Traditional hand knotted rugs will not shed unless there has been some type of serious damage such as very heavy traffic, water or moth damage. Even if a rug is woven with good quality wool, the shearing process may not be high quality and some strands may be missed in the process. These missed stands can pop up with general use and vacuuming and these areas look as if a cat has clawed at the rug.

What To Do About The Shedding

To be able to tell the difference between good and bad wool, tug at the fiber pulls/sprouts. If it is bad wool, it will pull apart and pull free. If it is bad construction, the entire knot will pull out. If it will not easily pull free, then it is just a missed strand that needed to be cut and you may take your scissors and cut the strand yourself. 

Fortunately, there are extremely high quality wool and silk tufted rugs produced by companies such as V'Soske, Edward Fields, Custom Looms, and other high dollar custom tufted rug creators. When these rugs have fibers which are pulling away it is due to heavy traffic, aggressive beater bar vacuum damage, or moths.


People who purchase shaggy wool or large chunky wool area rugs may actually come to believe that all wool rugs shed. It is important to understand that wool begins as short staple fibers that are spun, twisted, and plied together into yarn.  

At the core the wool is short strands blended into these longer strand creations. This means the longer and bigger the wool construction, the more likely short strands are going to pull loose, regardless of the quality of the wool in these rugs.

If the quality of the wool in these rugs is very good, the shedding will stop after several months, as all the short strands will have been pulled free and away with use.

If the quality of the rug is poor, it will shed for their lifetime and will wear down thinner in high use areas because they break with use.

What To Do About The Shedding

One tip for shaggier wool rugs is to use a horse hair brush to groom and pull away the loose strands, as vacuuming can be a problem. A beater bar brush vacuum is never a good choice for these rugs. Any vacuuming should be by hand tool.

Another shag and chunky wool rug tip is to take the rug outside and use a leaf blower to fluff up and blast away the dust and other stuff in those fibers (works much better than a vacuum on these rugs).


Tufted rugs are rugs that are held together with a latex glue backing. These rugs have a material covering up the back side.

In India, wool that is not strong enough to use in hand knotted rugs is used in lower quality production wool rugs such as 'hand loomed' rugs and 'tufted' rugs. These are the rugs being sold through online rug stores for hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars.

With these rugs, if you take your thumbnail and strongly scratch the front wool fibers, you can break them apart, and the texture of the wool is scratchy instead of soft to the touch.

Customers who have had problems with a new rug heavily shedding or having odor issues, 9 out of 10 times the rug is from India. The 10th time the rug is usually from Morocco.

Some tufted rugs are constructed with a hooked style, and loops in areas with heavy foot traffic can break and pop up. Poor quality fibers obviously break more frequently with less friction, but even the best quality fibers can break with constant friction.

What To Do About The Shedding

Please continue reading here for more information as well as for advice about natural plant fibers shedding area rugs, viscose shedding area rugs, and how ABC can help.


Placing area rugs on carpet (wall-to-wall) doesn't have to be challenging. We have gathered some basic guidance on how to choose area rugs that will provide the most enjoyment for you and become essential elements of a harmonic balance in your home.  

Of course, everyone's taste is different. If you love a rug that doesn't jive with our suggestions, you should go with your own gut feelings. These are just guidelines:


There are some good reasons why you would choose to place area rugs over carpet:  

  • You may be renting and the carpet is not the color or texture you would like with your furnishings or it may be showing signs of wear.
  • The wall-to-wall carpet in your home may have seen better days with spots and stains and wear but it may not be the right time to replace it. 
  • Your space may need brightening and placing area rugs over carpet can bring new life into a room without totally redoing the d├ęcor.
  • You may have received or inherited an area rug and you may wonder how you can fit it into one of your living areas.


There is really no limit to the number of area rugs on carpet options. This also includes having a wall-to-wall carpet cut and seamed and made into a custom rug. (Our repair department at ABC can do this for you.)  

There are, however, some special considerations you may want to heed when selecting area rugs to be placed over carpet.


Of course, we know there are no 'rules' when it comes to personal choice or 'gut feelings' when choosing area rugs specifically for placing on carpet, but here are some tips that may help you to make your selection process a little easier: 


Generally speaking, when choosing an area rug, if the wall-to-wall carpet has a pattern, the area rug should not. A plain carpet can be layered with any kind of area rug with any kind of pattern.


Please continue reading here for more tips and how ABC can help you.


August 2020 SpecialAugust 2020 Special

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