Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of the fabric. The total number of threads in a square inch is calculated by adding the threads running right and left (weft) and the threads running up and down (warp).
For Down and Feather products, it is essential to have a shell and/or covering made of fabric that is at least 233 Thread Count or 233 threads per square inch. Thread counts lower than this may allow the down and/or feather to leak or escape from the product. This would create a mess and reduce the comfort and insulating properties of the product.
In the market today, Down and Feather products have thread counts that start around 200 and go as high as 800. There are a few different benefits to having higher thread count. These may include softer, smoother fabric and less noise from the shell. However, lower thread count products are not worse than higher thread count products and will last just as long. Even though higher thread counts are not directly felt by the consumer once placed inside a cover, the softness can be noticed through high quality covers. Higher thread count products will be more expensive, but the shell is usually not the most significant factor in determining price and quality.
True allergies to Down & Feather are, in fact, quite rare. Canadian Down & Feather Company uses only Down & Feather which goes through a rigorous cleaning process and uses a special treatment to render the fill hypo-allergenic.
Some people may be allergic to dust, pollen, and bacteria that resides in Down & Feather before it is cleaned and sanitized. Unlike products that are not properly sanitized and cleaned or products from decades ago that may not have had any cleaning process, all Canadian Down & Feather Company products meet and exceed all government and industry standards and regulations. There is still a possibility that individuals may be allergic to dust mites that inhabit bedding products while in use. Using a mite proof protector on new or newly cleaned duvets, pillows, and featherbeds will eliminate most of these problems.
Many people are under the impression that polyester is a better choice than down and feather products for those who suffer from allergies. However, two different studies printed in the British Journal of Medicine have concluded that this is not the case. The studies show that polyester pillows support dust mites to a greater extent than do down pillows. One of the studies went as far as stating that asthmatics did better with down bedding than with polyester.
Loft is the measure of the fluffiness of Down. Loft specifically refers to the number of cubic inches that one once of down will fill. This measurement is done under and with specific, internationally accepted specifications and methods. The test is conducted in a Plexiglas cylinder under exacting conditions of temperature and humidity. The larger, more mature the bird, the higher the loft of its down, when harvested.
Good quality products start with a loft factor of the down at about 550 cubic inches per ounce. The fluffier the down or the higher the loft, the warmer it will keep you, and the less it takes to fill a duvet or pillow. Therefore a high quality product will be lighter and still very warm and / or resilient.
Loft of down can be anywhere from about 300 to 800 cubic inches per ounce. Loft of down is probably the largest factor in determining the price of a down product. Generally higher loft products will also last much longer as the down has grown closer to full maturity and its filaments are much stronger. Lower quality loft products have weak and brittle down and will require replacing much sooner.
The colour of Down & Feather ranges from very white to almost black. Generally though, majority of the down and feather available is off white or dark grey and the colour depends on the exact species of bird the Down & Feather originated from. Some common names for darker Down and Feather are "silver," and "grey."
Colour does not affect the quality, including warmth and insulating properties, of down and/or feather. In fact, some of the best qualities of Down & Feather are only available in a darker colour. However, most people still prefer white fill because of the fact that it does not show through and darken a light coloured duvet cover.
Due solely to supply and demand factors, there is a premium for duvets and pillows containing such fill. In a case where a consumer knows that they will not be using a translucent covering, they may want to consider the darker colour for cost savings.
The two most common types of Down & Feather used in natural filled products are Goose and Duck. Goose Down and Feather is more expensive and generally of higher quality than similar Duck Down & Feather, respectively.
One of the major reasons that Goose Down & Feather is more expensive and more sought after, is that it does not have any odour and has slightly better insulating qualities than does Duck Down & Feather. There are some companies that debate this fact, saying that if cleaned properly, Duck Down & Feather does not have any odour. The fact remains, Duck Down & Feather products, even from these companies, tend to have a slight odour. In some cases there may not always be an odour, but if exposed to the slightest bit of moisture or humidity, the odour can be reactivated.
For these reasons, majority of products manufactured by Canadian Down & Feather Company are created using the highest quality Goose Down & Feather. Duck Down & Feather products may be introduced as a promotional, less expensive, alternative.
Feathers are the plumage or outer growth, forming the contour and external covering of birds. Feathers are generally characterized as two-dimensional, with a hard quill shaft running from one end to the other with a series of fibres extending to each side. Feathers come in different sizes and shapes and include small flight feathers, larger flight feather, and body feathers.
Consumers are best served when products are manufactured from smaller feathers, allowing them to trap more air and be less "crunchy." Small flight feather and body feathers are perfect for this use. Body feathers are even better as they shaft tends to be curled giving them a spring which makes them suitable in pillow and featherbeds. Large flight feathers are sometimes used, but tend to be chopped first for use in lower quality products.
Canadian Down & Feather Company never uses chopped feathers and only uses body feather no larger than 3-5 cm. Even though they may be slightly more expensive, these feathers are optimal for pillows, duvets, and featherbeds, over other types of feathers.