Ask Madelyn: 16/2 versus 8/2 Cottolin

I would like to know if 16/2 cottolin is a good choice of yarn for warp? I have used 8/2 cottolin, but not the finer 16/2.  I am going to weave tea towels, using the cottolin for warp and either the cottolin or linen as weft yarn.


Hi Susan!

First of all, as far as I know, all the cottolins available in the US are Scandinavian in origin except Webs Valley Yarns Cotton Linen (and I’m not sure where that is actually made). All of the available cottolins that I can find are actually the same size yarn. 22/2 is the number given on Scandinavian labels;  the 22/2 count is based on the linen count system, not on the cotton count system (the upper number for linen is a bit more than twice the upper number for cotton; the lower number is the number of plies).

The yardage for 22/2 cottolin is 3,360 yd/lb. 16/2 cottolin is the number given by some of the US suppliers for the same yarn; again closer to a linen count than a cotton count (the Scandinavian number corresponds more accurately to the linen count system; I’m not sure why US retailers use the 16/2 number). The suppliers who call the yarn 8/2 cottolin are using the cotton count system for the same yarn; the yardage is still 3,360 yd/lb, the same thickness as 8/2 cotton.  All of the cottolins that I can find are 60% cotton, 40% linen, so would all behave in the same way as each other.

If you want to use a linen yarn that is the same size as the 16/2 cottolin, you need a linen that is close to 3,360 yd/lb. The closest would be 16/2 linen, but it is actually about 2,700 yd/lb (there are slight differences in yd/lb between dyed and undyed 16/2 linen).

Any of the above would be excellent to use as warp.


If you have a weaving question please email Madelyn! Featured Image: Photo by George Boe. View related & recent “Ask Madelyn” posts! Posted March 28, 2014. Updated June 27, 2019.

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