This week we had a customer who had decided to go with a hand-woven Gabrieli tallit, but kept debating between cotton and wool. At first she ordered it in wool, but then had second thoughts:
I have a question about wool vs. cotton. I saw a tallit today in our synagogue gift shop and it was thick and nubbly. I really liked the weight of it. The tag on it said linen. Is that what you mean by cotton? And if so I’d like to change my order to cotton.
Her question put me in a tight spot. Why? Please don’t tell anybody, but I didn’t know why “nubbly” means. Having lived in Israel for over 20 years, I haven’t enriched my English vocabulary much over the years. So I had to look up the definition before proceeding with a reply.
Gabrieli uses relatively thick yarns for both the wool and the cotton. They look quite similar. Some people can hardly tell them apart. The cotton has a slightly tighter weave and therefore the detail is a bit finer. Both of them are weighty and textured.
Then she went back to a follow-up question about linen:
Interesting. Which one would you say is closer to linen? And why is the cotton a bit more expensive than wool?