What, Exactly, Is Kona Cotton?
Kona(R) cotton is a premium, 100% cotton broadcloth from Robert Kaufman Fabrics in Los Angeles. The company introduced the fabric in the 1980's in response to the then rapidly emerging quilting industry, an interest that continues unabated today. It is a soft, light fabric, often called the 'Quilter's Cotton', that is also ideal for fine apparel such as children's clothing; soft, comfortable shirts; dresses; applique and home decorating. It has a 'meaty' hand, which means you can really feel the difference when you touch the fabric and that makes it a joy to work with.
Warps. And Wefts, Too
Kona cotton has a high 60 by 60 thread count. This means there are 60 warp threads and 60 weft threads per square inch of fabric. Until I did some research, I didn't know what warp and weft threads were. (I had never even heard the word 'weft'.) A warp thread is a support thread in the loom, long and strong and usually tied down onto the loom; a weft thread is passed back and forth between the warp threads to form cloth. It is that high thread count, all those warps and wefts playing together, that make Kona cotton a soft, light, yet very durable material; one of the best woven fabrics available for hand or machine quilting.
It's a good idea to launder the fabric to remove any sizing/finish before using it in your project. Treat it as you would any new 100% cotton fabric: Gentle wash, mild detergent, tumble dry low, remove promptly and iron. Expect about a 1-3% shrinkage.
What About Color?
Kona is available in plenty of colors, 170 solid colors according to the manufacturer's web site, RobertKaufman.com. And a quick search for 'hand dyed Kona cotton' will pop up vendors offering hundreds of colors and patterns of beautifully dyed Kona cotton fabric.
But Aren't You an Embroiderer?
Yes, I am a machine embroiderer and those same qualities that make Kona cotton ideal for quilting and sewing apply to machine embroidery, too. That meaty feel I mentioned makes it very easy to hoop and quick to stabilize. The push/pull factor is minimal and, best of all, the stitched out designs are gorgeous on it. Even though there a many cheaper fabrics, I test all my embroidery designs on Kona cotton and turn to it first for any finished embroidery project I have.
Embroidery design digitizer Deb Schneider offers her machine embroidery designs on her website, WindstarEmbroidery.com.
You can contact Deb by visiting her website or by email at dschneider@WindstarEmbroidery.com