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Letters To The Editor

Not Vultures

I am the chairman of the National Textile Association's Upholstery Fabrics Committee, and I think it's important to address some of the comments in Carole Sloan's 7/16/07 column ("Crisis in Decorative Fabric," HTT, page 50).

Why did Joan and Quaker fail? The short answer is that the bottom of the upholstery fabric market has been exported to China, where currency rates are manipulated, exporters get a rebate of 11% for every meter they ship, and skilled weavers make $12 a week. The complete answer is that neither Joan nor Quaker were able to adapt.

Those of us who are left are smaller, with the possible exception of the newly enlarged Valdese Weavers, and all of us remain focused on those things that make it important for the better fabrics business to have us around. Carole'sreferenceto us as "vultures" is both inappropriate and unacceptable. Its connotation demeans the fact that we are the real sources of innovation and fashion in the industry, and have been for decades.

As for Quaker's intellectual property rights, you may rest assured that NTA member mills are keenly aware of the need to avoid violations of the law.

At Weave Corporation, we are working with customers to replace defunct product with items that are consonant with the directions in which we are heading.Some competitors may find it both easy and practical to assist customers with products closer in construction to the Quaker goods now unavailable. Both strategies are appropriate and speak to the responsiveness and creativity of America's remaining jacquard weavers.

— Roger Berkley, Weave Corporation, Hackensack, N.J.

Thread Count

I am writing with reference to an article written by Brent Felgner ("Plying Confusion,"HTT July 16, page 1) concerning thread count. Mr. Felgner should check with U.S. Customs, which demands that importers count each ply for reporting total thread counts.

Counting plies is actually the correct way to level the playing field.It is the U.S. producers who cannot spin yarns fine enough to ply and still weave a lightweight sheeting fabric.Plied fine yarns are much more expensive and desirable in a luxury sheet. I have never heard of someone producing a more expensive product in order to cheat on thread count.

There are in fact two methods for counting fabrics.Fabric count, which is what U.S. producers and associations are referring to — and thread count, which is what U.S. Customs, Cotton Incorporated, and the few quality importers are referring to.

A 300 thread count fabric made with 300 single ply yarns doesn't feel, look, perform, or cost the same as 600 thread count made with 300 2-ply yarn. By the same token, a 300 thread count fabric made with 4-ply yarns would have no similarity whatsoever with a 300 thread count single ply fabric.

So, the playing field is not level to begin with and cannot be leveled by legislation.The size of the yarns will determine the maximum number of plies that will still produce a lightweight, soft fabric.Spinning mills in Europe are capable of producing up to 170/1 as compared to the normal 60/1 produced in the U.S.

Are consumer interests served by labeling these vastly different products as the same? I think not. The old adage "You get what you pay for" is alive and well in the world of textiles

— Paul Reginald, U.S. Consultant for The Association of European Weavers Miami

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