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Cheat Sheet

February 24, 1996|VALERIE J. NELSON

* California king: Narrower and longer king-size mattress than its Eastern counterpart--72 inches wide, 84 inches long. Invented after World War II by a Los Angeles mattress maker. Made and sold only here. Sheets are readily available in this state. Also called Western or West Coast king.

* Eastern king: 76 by 80 inches. Also called dual king. These beds and sheets are common in the other 49 states.

* Egyptian cotton: The best cotton in the world. Still cultivated mainly in Egypt. The longest and strongest fiber. Used in high-end linens from Europe.

* Muslin: A white sheeting material that is heavier than percale but has fewer threads to the inch. Once commonly used for sheets.

* Sateen: Cotton sheets with a high thread count but different weave that results in an even softer sheet. Considered by some to be the best sheet made in America.

* Percale: A closely woven cotton that is smooth and firm. Many luxury linen manufacturers weave it with a slightly finer yarn and a slightly closer weave.

* Pima cotton: U.S.-grown cotton second only to the Egyptian variety. The bulk of pima cotton is grown in the San Joaquin Valley. Has a long, luxurious fiber used in high-end sheets.

* Supima cotton: Stands for superior pima; a trade name that designates the best of the best U.S.-grown cotton.

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