Wow. I didn't know that cotton was still rare in Russia.
A couple points.
Tricot is a type of knit not a fiber. You can make tricot out of any
fiber, but we(here in the west) usually see it in sleazy synthetics.
I'd love to get some linen knit "undies" though. They would sure be
comfy in the summer.
And, cotton is well known for not being warm when wet. Hiking and
alpine sports enthusiasts say "cotton kills". In other words, do not
rely on cotton to keep you warm or safe in the woods.
I'd have to agree with the sentiment that cotton was available, but
only to those who could afford it.
In present times, based on my own observations, cotton is still more
expensive than linen in many parts of Russia (Novgorod to Siberia).
Items that we'd think of as cotton in the US are generally made of
tricot, nylon or linen, depending on whether or not a stretch is
needed (panties and bed sheets, specifically).
My own experience put cotton bed sheets at over twice the cost of
linen ones, and the sheets provided on the trains are linen, not
cotton. Buying panties for children resulted in the purchase of many
pair of "not cotton" fibers, same with socks, as cotton was just not
For practical reasons, synthetic fibers are preferable to cotton in
the Russian winters, as they are not absorbent. Linen is still warm-
ish while wet, like wool or silk, while cotton has a tendency to
freeze whichever damp part of your body it happens to be up against
(again, based on personal experience, rather than scientific study...)
I'd think cotton would be more readily available and less impractical
in a place like St Petersburg or Moscow, where outdoor time can be
limited, (buildings closer together and set up in "districts", each
of which keeps most services in the neighbourhood, better streets,
fewer passageways which won't accommodate more than a horse or 2
people side by side, etc.) than in the more outlying areas, even
Novgorod, where the main city of Nizhny still requires a walk of a
mile or so to get to the bus from most homes.
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