Going out to buy khadi, its easy to get confused because khadi is a highly unique fabric with more qualitative varieties than you might be able to think of. Its almost like a custom made product with all its handspun irregularities and variants. It is hence, really important to be educated about it before choosing a khadi product.
Not only does khadi vary in terms of the spinning method, the composition and the type of cotton used, but it also varies according to the ‘count’ of the yarn.
Before you can begin to call yourself a khadi veteran, you need to know about the ‘count’ factor.
The count is the number of handspun threads woven together in a fabric and it affects the finesse of the fabric. The higher the count, the finer the fabric. Infact, achieving an extremely fine, high count yarn would make the fabric almost transparent. However, achieving that is considered extremely difficult.
Khadi is the quintessential Indian fabric in that the count of the fabric varies as much as there is diversity in the culture and languages in our country.
The heavy khadi yarns with 20 or 40 counts are produced with the desi charkha while the 100 and 150 count yarns are produced with the Ambar Charkha, which India exports to Bangladesh as well.
The Bengal khadi is really fine with its 120 count yarn. The Bengal Muslin, infact, has, a legendary status. A fabric desired by the sultans and the nawabs, it was said to be so fine by Huen Tsang, the Chinese traveller, that it could pass through a ring.
The Ponduru khadi named after the village, Ponduru in Srikakulum district in north Andhra Pradesh, where it is made, yarns of upto a count of 120 can be spun in white cotton while upto 60 with red cotton.
The khadi in Uttar Pradesh has a low count of about 10 or 20 and is hence coarse to the touch.
Also, to put things into perspective, the women working in the khadi industry produce around 20 spindles a day.
“the future fabric”
It won’t be an overstatement at all to call khadi the future fabric. It is versatile, owing to the fact that it can be produced in variable counts and weights, making it suitable for all weathers, while still being eco-friendly and having a really low carbon foot print. Plus its the new trend in fashion. Can’t really ask for more.
There is a great deal of interest in such fabric locally and internationally, and honestly, we don’t see a single reason why you must not have a wardrobe full of it and always remember, the count does matter. :)