Focus on Fiber: Cotton

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 14 Comments

Cotton is a summer staple because of its breathability, absorbency, softness, and durability. A crochet powerhouse, cotton is used for everything from dishcloths to fine wearables. Threadies know the joys of crocheting in fine cotton thread with tiny hooks, but cotton comes in bulky weights as well.

Think of all of the cotton garments in your closet. Cotton fabric can range from the virtually indestructible denim of blue jeans to the delicate crepe of a summer blouse. Similarly, cotton yarn has many varieties – from the affordable workhorse dishcloth cotton to the finer (and pricier) Pima and Egyptian cottons. Mercerized cotton has undergone a chemical process to increase the yarn’s strength, durability, and luster. On the other hand, organic cotton is free of all chemical processes in growing the plant and processing the yarn.

Because cotton paradoxically might shrink in the wash but stretch when worn, it is best to choose a blend when crocheting fitted garments so the yarn will give you the look you desire. Generally, washing and reblocking the garment will restore shape to your cotton creations.

Cool cotton’s fiber structure pulls heat and absorbs moisture, making it a must in warmer climates. Vegans and animal activists might like cotton’s animal-free quality, as might those who have animal allergies.

What do you like to crochet with cotton? Please share your cotton adventures in the comments below!

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  1. Brenda says:

    Dish cloths, doilies, and I love to make skirts from cotton.

  2. Angie says:

    I just made a slouchy hat from Lily’s Sugar ‘N Cream!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I love making scrubbies, wash clothes and a large beach tote that is wonderful because you can just throw it in the washing machine along with the damp towels. Perfect for totes.

    • Jodiebodie says:

      tea towel tops, jar covers, doilies, placemats, foot thongs, bags & drawstring pouches; I even made a wallet. I like the idea (above) of a beach tote and throwing it in the wash along with the regular towels.

  4. Sherry Barbour says:

    I always make potholders from worsted weight cotton. It insulates better than any other fiber, and goes right in the washer and dryer. My potholders have become a much-coveted item among friends, and friends of friends, because no one burns their hands when using them.

  5. Martha Robertson says:

    I like to make prayer shawls with cotton…they are so much cooler in the summer.

  6. Vicki says:

    I use Red Heart’s Crème de la Crème cotton yarn, which is my all time favorite when the twist is tight like thread. Sometimes it gets loose like Lily’s Sugar ‘N Cream. But I use it for my granny square afghans. Everyone who receives them as gifts says they are too beautiful to cover up with, but the first one I made out of the cotton yarn had me (pardon the pun) hooked! I just wish Red Heart would come up with more solid colors in their inventory. More jewel tones would be VERY nice. I LUV it!!

  7. Megan Pawlak says:

    My skin is sensitive so cotton is my default for everything. I’ve made clothes, jewelry, hats, scarves, dishcloths, neckwarmers/cowls, blankets, and barrettes from it. I don’t have a ton of money so I end up using Lily’s sugar ‘n’ cream or Bernat’s handicrafter cotton. I hope with more experience I’ll feel more comfortable investing in better yarns for clothes.

  8. sue says:

    I love making baby clothes with 100% cotton. So soft & the cotton seems to take the colors well too. Feels better for a new little one, to have a natural fiber, rather than acrylic.

  9. Michila Caldera says:

    I make my Water Bottle Cozy from SugarNCream and PeachesNCream, plus other materials, too, but those two are my favorite. I like the weight and the texture, plus the colors, natch!

  10. Michal says:

    I’d like to make a top for myself. It’s hot and humid where I live.
    What cotton blends do you all recommend?
    there is patons Joy for example. It’s bamboo and cotton blend.
    Lion Brand has a cotton blend too.
    Anyone have experience with these?

  11. Bonnie Banks says:

    I make scrubbies and dishcloths with bulky cotton, and I made cotton washcloths for Warmth for Warriors last year. Hobby Lobby’s “I Love This Cotton” is great for afghans. I love Bernat Handicrafter for making bracelets, ornaments, etc. I can’t tolerate any fiber on my skin other than cotton, so I’m happy that there are so many choices these days – the old standby “bedspread cotton” is still good, but its roughness is hard on my hands after a while.

    • Michal says:

      Bonnie: thanks for posting.
      I live in the Middle East and am always trying to find websites that will ship internationally. Hobby Lobby does! and they have nice prices.
      thanks for telling us about that cotton. It looks good.
      You really helped me out today!
      Rachel: great blog! I get a lot of stuff in my mailbox and yours is always helpful. Thanks

  12. pat henry says:

    I like to use Sugar n Cream or Peaches n Cream with a larger hook H, I, J to make summertime neck scarves or neck warmers for a friend who needs coverage over her collarbone. It comes out looking so delicate and summery. My friend is very pleased.

    I, also, make dishcloths, etc with an H hook. My family and friends love them as the color range fits in with their kitchen decor.

    I love all crocheting. Thank you so much for your website. I always look forward to your e-mails. And it’s true, when you post you will help if we have a problem. You really do.

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