Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fast and loose with the terminology

Indulge me in a small textile rant, here. I just got an e-mail from the local quilt shop (i don't, for the most part, quilt, but it's the only place this side of G Street Fabrics that carries the thread i like...), and one of the new fabric lines they're flogging is called "Quilter's Linen Tussah" by Robert Kaufman, and which, the shop e-mail points out to reassure the quilters, is 100% cotton.

Now, Kaufman generally makes quality fabrics, and they should know better than this: a cotton fabric, called "linen" and "tussah," which is a term used to describe silks produced from wild rather than cultivated silkworms. They want "linen" to describe the texture of the weave, i'm sure, but linen is a fiber, and not a particular weave, and there are other ways - you know, accurate ones - to describe a weave and its texture, perhaps in this instance, something like "homespun." And tussah? That's really reaching. Next thing you know, they'll want to describe it as worsted, too. Puts one in mind of the line from Voltaire about the Holy Roman Empire. Thank you, rant over.

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