Don't Be Fooled! Yarn Count Realities
Yarn Count Systems
Count is a numeric value which expresses the coarseness or fineness (diameter) of the yarn and also indicates the relationship between length and weight (the mass per unit length or the length per unit mass) of that yarn.
When selecting the cloth for a particular shirt, you'll usually see this expressed in forms such as 2-ply 140s or 2x2 170s.
Yarn count specifies a certain ratio of length to weight.
The fineness of the yarn is expressed in terms of its linear density. There are many (too many!) systems and units for expressing yarn fineness. They are classified into two basic systems:
Types of Yarn Count Systems:
Direct Count Systems:
Direct count systems: The length of the yarn is fixed and the weight of yarn varies in relation to its fineness.
The Direct Systems are as follows
Indirect Count Systems:
Indirect count systems: The weight of yarn is fixed and the length of yarn varies according to its fineness.
The Indirect Systems are as follows
So ... what was that shirt made from? :-)
To begin to set the record in perspective, the overwhelming majority of fine cotton shirting weavers use Ne to express the count, or quality, of their cloths.