Knitting with Cotton


Knitting with Cotton is not recommended for beginners.  Cotton yarn is less elastic than pure wool making it more difficult for an inexperienced knitter to work with. The less elastic your yarn is the harder it is to maintain an even tension.






Cotton is a soft fibre that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant. Once the cotton is harvested, it is prepared in much the same way that natural wool fibres are.

The seeds and other vegetable matter are removed prior to spinning.   Commercially spun cotton is available in a variety of plys, styles and colors. The yarn produced has a high degree of strength, durability, and absorbency.

© Jay Phagan  | Flickr - Field of Cotton Ready for Picking

Advantages of Knitting with Cotton

Cotton knitting yarn is soft and light-weight, making it ideal for knitting summer clothing and accessories. It also tends to be more comfortable to knit than other wools during summer!

One advantage that cotton has over 100 percent pure wool is that it is machine washable. You can even chuck it in the dryer!

If you decide not to use your dryer, your cotton garments should never be hung out to dry. Always lay flat to dry, or you might find that the garment is an odd shape after drying! Cotton is very heavy when wet, and the weight of the water will make the garment sag while it is drying.

Not only that but the more often you wash your garment the softer it will get.

©  Heather Kennedy  | Flickr - Knitting Cotton

Knitting with this yarn can be discomforting if you are used to wool, as the yarn is more slippery and has a tendency to split if you are not careful. To avoid splitting during knitting, you might like to try using wooden or bamboo knitting needles, rather than steel or plastic coated steel.

Cotton is also less forgiving than wool, you will be able to see each stitch very clearly, so if you are a beginner, unless you want that 'home-made' look (with bumps and lumps for all to see) I suggest you leave knitting with cotton until you have gained more experience as a knitter.

This yarn is less elastic than pure wool making it more difficult for an inexperienced knitter to work with. The less elastic your yarn is the harder it is to maintain an even tension.

Cotton is usually less expensive than pure wool, and lighter so you will get more yardage per 50gm ball than you do with wool, but less than you would with a 50 gram ball of a man-made fibre.



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