Yarn Yammer: Cotton Pickin’

 

Spring and Summer knitting makes us think of smaller projects and projects with lighter weight,  less warm yarns that are suitable for these seasons. For most, that means turning to cotton!

There are some pros and cons of working with cotton Let’s look at a few!

Cotton Pros

  • Cotton is a relatively light-weight fiber that is good for summer clothing and accessories.
  • It is quite breathable and comfortable to wear next to the skin.
  • Cotton is strong, durable and machine-washable. It starts out soft and actually gets softer the more you wash it.
  • It is usually inexpensive, though you might get better quality when you pay a little more.
  • Cotton usually doesn’t pill.
  • Cotton shows great stitch definition, which makes it good for textured knits.

Cons for Cotton

  • Some colors, especially the darker ones tend to bleed so you need to be careful when washing it with other items.
  • Cotton holds water really well and gets heavy when wet, so it can stretch and sag when soggy.
  • Cotton yarns can be slippery.
  • Cotton is inelastic and working with it can cause hand strain and broken pegs!

 

 

Cotton is perfect for small projects like dishcloths and towels and summer garments and accessories. Unfortunately, as you may have discovered working with cotton does not always leave one with a sunny disposition! It can be hard on the hands as it tends to be un-giving, and this can make looming more delicate designs like lace, or interesting cables nearly impossible!

So what is a knitter to do? Well, let’s get picky about out cotton! Today I have some cotton yarn picks that will make making those lightweight knits a little easier!

When looking for cotton blends that might be a bit friendlier to work with, you will want to find one that is about a 70% cotton, 30% other blend. Cotton is blended with many different fibers, some good ones to look for are: nylon, polyester, wool (yes wool) and acrylic. Fibers you will not want are linen, and hemp as these are also quite in-elastic and will not help, but may actually make the yarn even less desirable to work with!

 

I have found quite a few yarns that are available from various sources that have a good blend of cotton and other fibers that are easier to work with. Here are some of my top picks!

 

Lion Brand Cotton Ease: This is a 50-50 blend of worsted weight cotton and acrylic. This blend gives it some more stretch than 100% cotton, but does not lend well to making kitchen items which are expected to soak up water and the like. It is a good yarn for garments, accessories and toys. It is available at ‘big box’ craft stores and of course online at the Lion Brand website, and comes in a 207 yard ball and usually averages around the  $7.50 price range.

 

Knit Picks Comfy: This yarn is a 75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic blend available in fingering, sport and worsted weights. It comes in nice variety of colors ranging from the bright colors to pastels. This is only available through the Knit Picks website, the price is $2.99 per ball, and it ranges from 109 yards- 218 yards depending on the thickness.

Cascade Fixation: This a super soft springy light weight yarn perfect for socks and lightweight hats! I love this stuff! It is a 98.3% Cotton / 1.7% Elastic blend but it is made in such a way that it has some great stretch to it! It also comes in a boatload of colors, including some self striping color ways. There also is a thicker version of it out on the market as well, Bulky Fixation! This yarn comes in a 100 yard ball, can be found at smaller yarn shops and online, and averages around $4.95.

 

 

Katia Cotton Stretch: This 87% Cotton 13% Polyester blend DK weight yarn is another great stretchy cotton blend. It comes in a nice variety of vivid colors, and it great for sock and garments as well. It can be found online, and in some smaller independent yarn shops. It comes in a 185 yd ball and sells in the range of $4.50.

Skacel HiKoo CoBaSi yarns are cotton, bamboo, silk and elastic nylon, creating that easy on the hands wool -like stretch. This yarn is mainly found in small independent yarn shops or in online stores. The yarn comes in skeins ranging from 177 -220 yards depending on yarn weight, and retails for around $7.95- $12.95.

I hope this helps you find some cotton picks you will like, and will help to ease working with this great useful fiber!

Please do share your own cotton yarn picks, if I haven’t shared it here!

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