Okay. Now that I’ve told you to forget about the technical aspects and buzzwords of sheets in favor of personal tactile preferences (previous blog), I want to reintroduce the technical stuff. It does matter, after all, but only once you know what you like your sheets to feel like.
So let’s talk cotton. Here’s a little primer of cotton-oriented verbiage to help you know what’s what when it comes to shopping for cotton products.
You’ve heard of it. But what makes it so special? Egyptian cotton is a species of cotton grown in a unique area—along the Nile. The specie's genetics and its growing environment allows the cotton staples (single cotton fibers) to grow extra long. The longer the thread, the smoother and finer the finish you can weave from it. Because these staples are the longest in the world, if you want the finest cotton sheets then you want Egyptian cotton sheets.
Organic cotton, like any certified organic product, takes the idea of "natural" to a new level. This is a great choice for those who are sensitive to pesticides, dyes, and other irritants, as well as for those who want to ensure that the products they buy do not have unnecessary environmental impacts. Environmentally friendly linens are available in a vast range of styles and colors these days.
This is the American answer to Egyptian cotton. It, too, is a species of cotton with exceptionally long staples and can be woven into incredibly soft and smooth fabrics.
This is tightly woven material used in comforters and pillows to keep the feathers from poking out. Fine cotton ticking helps preserve your pillows and comforters and keeps the feathers in your products and out of your nose…ah-choo!
A single strand of the base material (e.g. cotton) of a fabric that is then spun with other fibers to form threads or yarn.
Yarn/thread are the building blocks of fabrics and are spun from individual fibers to make long strings of material. These are what manufacturers weave and stitch with to make fabrics. Though we often associate the word “yarn” with knitting applications, it’s really any strand that is used in weaving the fabric. Thread refers primarily to the strands used to stitch fabrics together—but can also be used interchangeably with yarn to describe the strands used to weave a fabric. Now, just to confuse you, while a yarn can be called or made from thread, a thread cannot be called or made from yarn (the word “yarn” is generally not used to describe the strands used in stitching).