How Much is Inside Thread Count?

We plugged the eyeclops into the television, and took our first super-close look at the cloth.

It was made out of ropes!

No, no, they were threads, but now they were each an inch and a half wide, instead of 150 micrometers. This was going to be easy, as long as we didn't lose our place as we were counting threads across the screen.

The colors made it easy. Counting horizontally, there were four threads covered in green ink, then six white threads until we got to the patch of yellow. The yellow glob colored six threads, followed by two white ones and four more green. In this way, counting colored threads and white threads, we made our way across the one square inch.

You may have noticed that all of those numbers are divisible by two, and that is because the horizontal threads (the weft) were grouped in pairs, like a buddy-system for threads.

I found out later that this "every other thread" knitting technique is called a "multi-pick" weave, and that it was designed by Bill Russell, the player-coach of the world champion Boston Celtics.

Mike handled the eyeclops while I called out each thread and kept notes about how many threads we had scanned.

We started out slow, but soon we picked up speed and were crusing along at 40 knots.

Finally, we reached the end of the row and added up all the threads so far: 178 threads across.

We were half done. Next, I grabbed two fine-tipped marker pens and put an alternating row of dots down the vertical edge of my one inch square. Then it was back to the eyeclops, to count the threads going the other direction.

Sure, in these magnified pictures, the fabric looks like a cargo net, but take my word for it, these pillowcases had a tighter weave than Ashanti.

After 15 more minutes of knit picking, we had the vertical row of threads counted: 186 threads.

And then in a bit of unconventional fabric math, we added the totals for height and weight, to reach the total thread count for this pillow case: 364 threads!


Yes. It is true: Martha Stewart Collection pillowcases can join Xbox and Anderson Cooper as a legitimate member of the 360 Club.

They had somehow packed 360 inches of thread into a single square inch. If all those 1" threads were layed end-to-end, we'd have 30 feet of thread.

And if all the thread from the entire pillowcase was unravelled, and twisted together, you'd have 80 feet of 375-ply twisted rope. Which is the perfect amount to use, when you are trying to escape from the confined unit tower complex at Alderson Federal Prison Camp.


Back to part one of how much is thread count.

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February 25, 2008.

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