Short Stories for Teachers
Cotton and the differences between the varieties within this family are the topic we discuss today. Many believe that cotton is simply bath towels and athletic socks. This however is not true; there is a great range between species of cotton and consequently their usages and desirability in the textile world is very different.
In order to better understand the distinctions between these fibers, one must first understand the basics of how cotton is grown and what makes it the most utilized fiber in the world.
Cotton is the most widely grown textile fiber, and although different methods for growth and processing are used the basics of the plant are the same. Cotton grows on a short bush that produces round bolls that when open, reveal the white or off-white cotton to be harvested and separated from the seed (ginned). As a pure cellulose fiber, cotton maintains the best qualities of natural plant based textiles; absorbency, durability and strength.
Fibers are categorized by the length of the fiber itself, otherwise known as the staple. This is where the distinctions begin. Cotton staples can range in length from ½ inch to 2 inches. The longer the staple the stronger, finer and higher quality the fiber. The shorter staples are used in everyday "run-of-the-mill" textile goods.
As previously mentioned there are 3 major varieties of cotton; Sea Island, Pima and Egyptian. Sea Island Cotton (Gossypium Barbadense), which is grown off the south eastern coast of North America, represents the finest cotton fibers available. Sea Island cotton is naturally a brilliant white. This natural brightness allows Sea Island cotton to be dyed in rich clear colors, without harsh bleaching, which allows the fiber to stay strong as well as colorfast. Sea Island fibers are the longest staple, measuring up to 2 inches. Consequently, they are the smoothest and most uniform in appearance and feel. Sea Island cottons' long fibers allow for fewer bonds within the woven yarns, which provide the final fabric with a silk-like, soft luxurious hand and incredible strength. Similarly, high thread count textiles can only be produced using these fine diameter fibers, allowing for the highest number of threads per inch. Sea Island cotton represents only 3% of cotton produced worldwide.
Pima Cotton is the next level of quality, a genetic cross breeding of Egyptian cotton varieties and the Sea Island cotton variety. Pima cotton is often referred to by its registered trade name "Supima". Production for both Pima and Sea Island is much more costly as it must be handled and ginned more delicately to preserve the superior characteristics and length of the fibers. Egyptian Cotton is also a long staple variety. This strain requires an arid growing environment (as opposed to Sea Island, which prefers more temperate climates).
Egyptian Cotton dates as one of the oldest cotton species, originating from the fertile Nile River Delta. The quality and fineness of this variety remains, making it also one of most highly demanded luxury cotton species.
These long staple luxury cotton fibers represent the best and most rare (only 10% of worldwide production) in what cotton can offer- incredible strength and beauty, allowing firms to offer undeniably the best in pure cotton and cotton blend hosiery.
The www.Sockhouse.com is a result of discerning a void in the hosiery marketplace for luxury, choice selection, fabrication and quality hosiery. As a purveyor of high end men's wear I have frequently experienced clients make wardrobe purchases and garner much excitement when adding wonderful hosiery to the mix. Similar to a fine suit, quality composition plays a key role in high end hosiery. This is also true of fit. Coupling these two variables produce an extraordinary, unique, product made of the absolute finest fibers on earth.