Cotton Yarn Experiment

By Rachel Choi – 38 Comments

I’m no expert, so I figured I’ll do some experimenting of my own to see what’s so great about cotton yarn and what’s not. I started my adventure off with some simple kitchen and bath accessories.

First off, the dishcloth!
Using Lily Sugar n’ Cream cotton yarn (which I’ve witnessed people raving about) I crocheted the simplest dishcloth I could think of (I even wrote a crochet pattern for it). It turns out that I love my dishcloth, other than the part where I haven’t worked up the nerve to use it yet. So much for an experiment huh? I’ll let you know how well it works when I use it!

Second, the super fluffy bath puff!
I always use nylon bath buffs that you can buy at the store for about $1, so I thought I’ll make my very own just for fun. Of course I made a crochet pattern for that too! This time I couldn’t wait to use it. I was so excited, I hopped into the tub, soaked it up and started cleaning. To my dismay, cotton bath puffs don’t lather like nylon!!! I’ll have to use a different type of yarn next time, maybe nylon yarn? Also cotton is super absorbent making the puff so heavy I thought it was going to break, lol. Better luck next time! (Update: A reader informed me that the cotton bath puff lathers much better after using them for a while. After wearing them down, you can rub the sides together to get it to lather. It won’t be as much lather as traditional nylon bath puffs, but the trade off is that the cotton should be softer on the skin.)

Whelp, there isn’t a definite conclusion to draw just yet. I still have more exploring to do. I can tell you that cotton yarn is really soft and fun to use. It might not be the best material to use for cleaning accessories (even though lots of people use cotton to make them), atleast for bath puffs, but I bet I will find something great to make with it. For now, the adventure is to be continued!

Do you use cotton yarn? What do you like to make with it? Do you have any tips?

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  1. Crafty Witch says:

    Oh my word, I LOVE using bath puffs, and they’re too rough sometimes and wear out too fast. I’m just learning to crochet after years of knitting, and love it. I’m very excited about making this. Thanks so much for the pattern!!!

  2. Michelle says:

    I just recently started using cotton yarn too. You saw that scarf I made with the ircles interconnecting. That seems to be working out well with Cotton yarn. Also I made a few washcloths with cotton yarn but never used them myself. I gave them as gifts to my Mom and Sis. I think my Mom has not used hers yet either. LOL Funny, huh?

    Right now, I am making this little drawstring bag with cotton yarn.

    (I am modifying the pattern a bit) but I do like that the cotton yarn is holding the shape very well.

    I lost my label off my yarn but I think it may be similar to your yellow and white yarn, just mine is with pastel colors. I got it at Wal-Mart, one of those huge spools of Cotton Yarn for cheap. lol

    Have a good weekend!

    • Rachel says:

      OOoOOo I didn’t know your scarf was made with cotton, that’s cool, no wonder why I like it so much. I have to go find some huge spools of yarn, mines are all tiny.

    • Dorothy says:

      I make cotton facebloths as well as potholders with cotton yarn. I used a SC, DC stitch and this slightly bumpy texture provides some exfoliating quality, while the cotton is still easy on the skin. It works great. I only make them for faces though, and have given many of them as gifts.
      For the potholders, I use a tight SC and use the go-around technique rather than turning the work. This ends up being a 2-layer potholder which protects the hand from heat, and lasts a very long time. Friends like my double cotton potholders very much. I never use acriyllic or wool for potholders because they are more flammable then cotton. And the double cotton feels good.

  3. Sandy says:

    Hi Rachel. A friend gave me over a hundred balls of the sugar and cream yarn that she had sitting in her closet. Since them I have made and yes, USED a bunch. Everyone wants one. The only problem I have with them is that they will “fade” and when they are wet they get bigger, but these only add to their charm. I can’t wait to make a puff. That is a really cool idea. Oh by the way, some of the yarn balls I got still had the price sticker on them and they were marked 49 cents! They are still good and look like new. Love this site!

  4. Mary says:

    I LOVE crochet dishcloths and make them all the time – the big lesson is that you have to NOT do them in a solid stitch – they’re way too stiff and heavy. The best ones have chain stitches between the single (or double) crochets to loosen up the entire cloth. Otherwise you’re making a mini-blanket. Although it takes longer, I sometimes use the finer cotton fibers (like what you’d use for lace) – then the cloths are really flexible. Using the appropriate yarn/color, these are also great to give as home-made face cloths – something everyone should have to tuck into their travel bags. The other fun thing is to make small pads, using the Sugar n/ Creme yarn wrapped with nylon mesh – makes a great pot scrubber.

  5. Judy says:

    I love working with cotton yarn. I have made dishcloths, wash cloths, baby bibs and even summer baby hats. I also have crocheted pot holders, hot pads and am looking into place mats.
    Cotton yarn works up beautifully in all patterns and washes very well. Opens up a whole new world!

    My Wal-Mart carries a large 14 oz. spool of 4 ply for about $7 – it goes a long way. I have given all my items for charity and gifts.

  6. Deborah says:

    I have crocheted bath cloths out of cotton and now I’m knitting kitchen things – dish cloths, hot pads, and dish towels. I love them! They are so absorbent. I use lily peaches ‘n cream or sugar ‘n cream. I prefer using metal crochet hooks or knitting needles as opposed to bamboo. Bamboo is usually my favorite but works better with acrylic yarns. Cotton yarn slides better on metal. I can’t wait to try a bath puff. What a great Mother’s day present!

  7. Nancy says:

    I just started using the cotton yarn and I love the feel of it while I crochet. I have made shopping bags, a little granny square bag that I thought my daughter could use as a small diaper bag, and am now starting an afghan for my granddaughter because I think it will be so soft agaisnst her skin.

  8. Darlene says:

    The best thing I like about cotton yarn is it’s super absorbency! Will absorb almost as much as a sponge. Makes great baby bibs for the grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. When they spill it doesn’t run all over the place like synthetic or plastic ones.

  9. Marie says:

    I use the cotton yarn for facecloths – basically just dishcloths but I use them for my face instead of my dishes. They’re so much better than terrycloth because they give a little bit of exfolliating too. I also make them for gifts for family and friends and give a special bar of soap along with them. Makes a nice gift. By the way, Rachel, I love your site – keep up the good work!!

  10. Peggy Wicker says:

    Your work is beautiful! Love your bath puff! can’t wait to make it…

  11. Peggy Wicker says:

    if you mixed a little nylon in with the cotton would that make the puff any better? I am still going to make one.

  12. […] is the pattern if you would to like to make one, even a beginner can do it. Also, check out the cotton yarn experiment post, since this bath puff is a part of […]

  13. JOANN says:



  14. Carmel says:

    I have really liked the Sugar n’ Cream for… small circles. I generally use these as cosmetic round replacements, basically reusable cotton balls! When I make the circle a bit bigger they work well to put under my bars of soap so they do not just melt in the dish or in the shower. My soap is so much drier now!

    I gave away a couple to a mom and young daughter who were going to use them with the daughter’s tea set- they’re mini doilies!

    My current experiment is crocheting a half-circle. I think these will be easier to use to apply toner and such as they are running about three fingers wide.

    I have not tried anything as big as a bag yet, but I think my daughter will be learning to make fork flowers with some soon. 🙂

    I found a book at the library of “one skein” patterns where one of the few crochet patterns was a bath mat using one of these cones, but I have not gotten up the nerve to actually buy one and use it yet.

  15. Cotton is my favorite yarn. I crochet dish and wash cloths, towels, potholders, huge shopping bags, afghans,sweaters, etc out of the worsted weight, and I absolutely love Paton’s Grace mercerized cotton yarn. It is a tad smaller than sport-weight, but it is really easy to adjust the hook size to make it work with a sport-weight pattern. I’ve started making my face cloths out of it, instead of worsted weight…it is much more flexible..and it works up so beautifully. I am wearing the purple top I made from Grace right at this very moment. I looks amazing! I like it so much that I’m almost finished with a second one! If you haven’t tried this wonderful yarn, I highly recommend it! You can find a limited supply at Michaels and Hobby Lobby, but I usually go online to the Paton’s homepage. When you click on Buy, it sends you to a place called something like Yarn by the basket? Anyway, right now, Paton is discontinuing a bunch of neat colors, and they are all half price! I bought enough yarn to make sweaters in 5 different colors! Yeah!

  16. Bookworm51485 says:

    I learned how to crochet on Sugar n’Cream and I love it. Unfortunately, I think it’s a bit more on the expensive side unless you can get it for sale (when Michael’s had them for $1 a roll, I went nuts), but it’s awesome. I’ve gotten other brands but none are as easy to work with for me.

    I’ve also heard someone talk about Peaches and Cream which has me curious, so next time I’m at Walmart, I plan to get a roll to try it.

  17. Carol Dorrell says:

    I have used cotton yarn for years. I make dish cloths, potholders, hot pads, and scrubbies with netting for extra “scrub”. I get mine yarn from the yarn catalogs. I buy several large cones, and can get different colors, as opposed to buying at Walmart where they only have 1-3 different colors in the large cone. I also watch for reduced or free shipping over a certain amount purchased. I have also bought off of ebay, but have to watch the shipping. I try to buy several things from one seller and they will combine shipping or discount. You have to ask, especially if your buying alot from them. I crocheted an afghan for my husban with all my cotton scraps. It was a ropple and I just would use one little ball, then start another right where the last one left off, even in the middle of the row. It is very colorful and it’s warm and heavy. I have cotton bath mats. I made the rectangle granny pattern for it. It’s really soft to stand on after the shower/bath. I can make the color I want, cause you can’t always get the right color that you want!
    Kepp up the good work, I love this site!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Sarah says:

    I have also used cotton yarn for several years now. I’ve made TONS of washcloths and mini-washcloths (that’s how I distinguish the bath from the kitchen clothes – the mini’s are for my face and body). I have also made a mesh market bag which turned out AWESOME and holds a ton of stuff and I have made several little girls hats (skull caps) out of cotton yarn which are perfect for summer since your head can still “breathe”. Please don’t be afraid to use the cloths you make! They only take about an hour to make – I make mine large (about 10 inches) because they do shrink up, but they stretch again in water. And yes, they will fade over time. But think about it this way – it’s like the lady who had a ton of gorgeous china, but kept it in a cabinet and never used it before passing away. Why even have it if you aren’t going to use it? It does us no good to make beautiful things and let them sit in a drawer – they are made to be used and loved. So, if you aren’t using your cloths because it takes too long to make one, then find a pattern that works up fast such as a granny square or something loose – less food gets stuck in the looser cloths anyway. Thanks for your site – very cute.

  19. Anna says:

    I made the puff. Not exactly sure of what I’m doing yet, I’ve only been crocheting for 1.5 months. It did not exactly turn out like yours though. Its close but missing something. It has a big hole in the center and does not stand as together and fluffy as yours does. Its kind of limp and I was not sure on how to attach the strap nice and neat. My sister-in- law and I are learning togther and I told her about your site. We will me checking in time and again.
    Sorry to hear that someone was nasty, I’m still going to try the puff again! I guess after reading your post about it I’ll look for a lighter cotton yarn. I realy love cotton yarns though and the Lily , sugar and cream are my favorite, Lily “stripes” are great for wash clothes!
    Thanks Rachel

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Anna, make sure that you do 6 double crochets in each double crochet around for rounds 2 – 3. That is what makes it so fluffy. To attach the strap you can tie it to the center of the bath puff with a knot.

  20. odette says:

    Rachel I have made the dishclothes and they are great but they stretch and become large.
    I make them single or double crochet. What am I doing wrong?

  21. Lila says:

    Bath Puffs and discloths are fun and easy to make (thanks for the patterns, btw), but I am also a baker so I love using cotton yarn to make holders and oven mittens! I found that acrylic tends to felt (“?!” Did I discover an easier way to felt? haha), sometimes it sticks to the pan, and the heat goes through really easily, so you still get burned a bit. Cotton helps protect you and doesnt felt or stick. The other things I use it for are slippers, they are soooo soft!

  22. Sandy says:

    Love cotton yard, and make diagonal potholders by the dozen. I have never used it for anything but bath and kitchen accessories, but see I need to broaden my horizons.

  23. Jennifer says:

    I’m so glad I saw this article about the bath puff! I made one about 2 years ago (with a very pretty verigated cotton yarn) and was sooo excited to use it for the first time. But when I did, all it did was suck in the soap and water and didn’t lather or clean at all. I wondered what I did wrong but now see that bath puffs are meant to be made from scratchy nylon, not soft cotton. Oh well, at least I can show it off!

  24. otherkate says:

    I have been using cotton for years. I make dishcloths and washcloths mostly, but I have started to branch out into other things. I have family members make requests for my little cloths pretty much every Christmas. There are two great thing about cotton: one reason is that cotton doesn’t damage anything you might need to clean and the second reason is that cotton is actually stronger when wet which is why it makes awesome dishcloths. My sisters use them until they are little itty bitty scraps–and even then they use them to dust the furniture and clean absolutely anything. The only downside to using cotton is that cotton fades.

    If anyone is interested, I have found that there is a point where the cloth gets too big to be really convenient; currently my foundation chains number between 18-22 and those cloths seem to be a good size (assuming the border is SC or Hdcr). Bobble and puff stitch make really good pseudo scrubbers, and alternating the stitches and/or rows make the cloths more flexible. Double crochet on a hook larger than about U.S. size E makes the cloth really loose and almost too flexible; lots of holes when wet. Ick. The single most beneficial thing for me? I use making the cloths a learning experience. I learn any and all (except mesh-I’m going to branch out into making bags for learning mesh) new stitches while creating the cloths. Once I’m done, I make little notes in the margins of the books or on the patterns to notate if they work out or not and how well. This learning of stitches and combination of various stitches helps me see if the pattern would would work out better in something larger. I actually had my niece ask me for a scarf and hat set based on one of the stitches I used in a cloth. Anyway, YMMV. I do love this site!

  25. Maggi says:

    I love using cotton yarn, even though I have to buy it from USA. I make doshcloths and scarved and also baby shawls and blankets that are to go to one of the African charities. They are so much easier to wash than wool.
    However….I now have to pay rather a lot of customs tax for cotton, so I won’t be buying it by mail any more,SO if any of you Crochetspotters are coming to Scotland?????

  26. Pam Murphy says:

    Hi! I want to make bath puffs for our local autumnfest this month. Yes to sell! But do wonder if I should make them from cotton. I use nothing but cotton cloths for my dishes! They are the best I’m telling ya’s. Though I do knit those; more flexibility, and they will fade but I do not care, they work so well. I use crochet for my pot holders; nice and sturdy.

    I made a pot scrubby from nylon yarn which stains very badly. I think it’s the stuff used for cross stitch? For puffs I’m thinking the scratchy acrylic might be a good choice: less staining or fading. Not sure what to do yet. I might just go ahead and make them from cotton but a bit smaller to allow for stretching. Another thought might be switching between cotton and acrylic. Hmmm….

    Really enjoy your site! Very friendly and kind hearted! Thank you so much for sharing your crochet smarts!!
    Have a good day,

  27. believer says:

    I have a request for cotton dishcloths. I bought I love this cotton Super Soft instead of regular cotton and was wondering if this could be used to make a good and effective dishcloth. I want them to be happy with them and for them to be adequate. If not i will just use Lilies Sugar N’ Cream. If not what else can i use the Super Soft for. I bought 6 or 7 different small bundles. Thank you and God Bless….

  28. believer says:

    I just posted a question about dishcloth yarn to use. I forgot to ask this question: what is it that the user is wanting out of a good dishcloth? I have seen lots of patterns online and i would like to know what will work best for the job they will be using it for. I have seen comments about making chains between stitches and so forth. This is new for me to crochet. Usually do blankets and amigurumi. But they had run out ot washcloths and found out i crocheted and requested some. they seemed to really love them and i want to make exactly what they need. thanks again….

    • Rachel says:

      You can use your super soft yarn if you’d like. It would make a nice soft cloth. A “good dishcloth” is only the opinion of who is using it. If you want to make sure they love it, maybe you can ask them what they want out of it. What is good for one person may not be for another.

  29. Catharine says:

    I was curious about using nylon yarn…I bought one Coats & Clark natural 18 spool at Walmart, and changed your pattern as follows:

    used J hook; started the same, but with 25 dc’s. Then followed your pattern.

    It turned out heavy feeling, but I just wet it and tried with the Ivory body wash…It made suds just like the regular nylon puffs, and feels exfoliating. Cost me $3.00 for a durable, washable puff!!


  30. Ellen says:

    I use cotton yarn to make dish cloths for myself and my daughter. We love them. I use a slightly different approach in that we wanted something with a ‘rough’ side and a smooth side. So I make them using the Afghan Stitch which makes a very smooth interesting ‘artistic’ side, using variegated yarn, and a ‘rough’ side which holds up well with use. Enjoy your site soooo much!!

  31. Janice says:

    Hi! I am using your shower puff pattern as I am just tired of the ones you buy and then have to throw out after they start getting gross! I love the pattern! I am going to try it with less stitches since you have said that it became too heavy. I will let you know how it works. However, I swear by cotton cloths, so I won’t change to acrylic or nylon (never used nylon yarn before??).

    As for working with cotton, I started out with these perfect little single crocheted, tight stitches and they worked just fine but were so heavy when they became wet. I changed things up a little, began using the size K hook, and used the HDC stitch instead. I also started making them smaller (down from about 9-10 inches to 6 1/2 to 7). I have found that these, smaller and with the looser stitches, are so much better! I absolutely love them! And, yes, the more you wash them, the softer and more absorbent they become. I think the key is the looseness of the stitches (and making them smaller…I realized that you do not need a store sized dishcloth to get the job done!).

    As a result, I have started using this same pattern to make my facial cloths (in cotton) and, now, I won’t use anything else. Like I said before, the more I wash these cloths, the better they are!

    Thanks for the bath puff pattern! I will let you know how it works with less stitches!

  32. Janice says:

    Also, wanted to share with you something that I made the other day. I carry a water bottle all of the time, everywhere I go. I am a teacher, so I am constantly drinking water. I got so tired of my water bottle sweating so I decided to take some cotton yarn and make a cover for it. It works! No more wet, messy water bottle. I guess you could use acrylic but I sure love the cotton. I finally washed it and it is even better than it was before. If it gets to moist or stretched out, all you have to do is throw it in the dryer, if you don’t need to wash it.

    I would post a pic and the pattern but I don’t know how to do that on here. I do have it on my blog:

    My cover may be a little too large and somewhat frilly for some, but I made a simple one for my husband out of his college colors!

    Hope someone can use this pattern. I am not a pattern writer, so please bear with me! 🙂

  33. fleurdelis says:

    I have seen the regular kitchen sponges inserted inside a crochet cotton yarn sleeve using fp/bp dc as the texture. If the sleeve is left open on one end (drawstring optional) the sponge can be removed for laundering or replacing.

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