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Egyptian Cotton Sheets and Pillowcases
As most people know, cotton is made from the fluffy fibre that surrounds the seeds of the cotton plant - Gossypium, a plant which grows in the warmer parts of the world. Cotton plants have yellowish pink flowers which bloom very briefly. The seed bearing part of the plant is known as the boll and it is this which is picked to make cotton, which is then cleaned, spun, woven, bleached and dyed to make clothing, linen and a host of other products.
For linen ware, cotton is the most widely used natural fibre in the world and has a softer, more breathable texture than synthetic fibres. As the name suggests, Egyption cotton comes from Egypt and the warm temperatures and rich soil of the Nile River Valley produces some of the longest cotton fibres in the world.
The earliest known manufactured cotton cloth dates back to Mexico and in the Nile Valley, from about 300O years BC. Cotton cloth also has a long history in India and China, from where it spread to many parts of the world.
It's the length of the fibres which gives Egyptian cotton its edge and quality and the special luxurious feel that we find in Egyptian cotton sheets and pillow cases. Longer threads mean a thinner and finer fibre.
Egyptian cotton is considered the most desirable of all fabrics for bedlinen, for both it's silky soft feel and it's durability.
The fineness of the cotton is measured by it's thread count. A 1500 Thread Count indicates that 1500 threads have been woven vertically and horizontally within a 10²cm block of fabric - the higher the thread count, the more luxurious the texture.
As the cotton is hand-picked, the harvesting process puts no additional stress on the plant and there is very little damage to the fibre. The cotton is also absorbant to liquids, allowing for rich, deep colours to penetrate the fabric, as wel as subtle pastels.
Egyptian cotton is also lint resitant and actually becomes softer and more luxurious with each washing - the extra long fibres (called staples) make it tough and long lasting. it really is the King of cotton and once you sleep between the luxury sheets you won't want to go back to synthetic material or even ordinary cotton bed linen. Once the domain of upmarket specialty store, luxry cEgyptian cotton bedding is now availbale through many department stres and online, through Amazon.
Note: While some manufacturer's claim Egyptian cotton for their product, sometimes they are only an Egyptian cotton 'blend'. Be sure to look for 100% Egyptian cotton and not a synthetic cotton mixture. While the blends will certainly be comfortable enough, you won't be getting the full Egyptian cotton experience.