Warm weather = cotton sweaters. But breathable, sturdy, durable clothing is just the start of what you can do with cotton yarn . Here are 10 tips to keep in mind whatever you decide to make.
1. Weight Matters
Factor in yarn weight when choosing the right type for a project. Cotton yarn tends to be heavy, especially when wet. Of course, if you're working on something that you want to be heavy (like a winter blanket or a big crochet basket) then the heavier yarn weights are there for you.
2. Expect Durability, Not Stretch
As a rule, cotton yarn does NOT like to stretch. That's a good thing when sturdiness and durability matter most — as in crochet baskets, dishtowels, market tote bags, amigurumi .
Warning: If you do stretch cotton (by hanging it wet on a clothesline, say) it won't ever go back to its original shape. It'll just stay droopy, like a big yawn. This is probably not the look you want.
3. Use Textured Stitches for Holding Shape
If you want your cotton item to keep its shape at least somewhat when wet, try textured stitches . Post stitches, especially those that lock around each other to make crochet cables, will definitely help you out.
4. Consider Cotton Blends for Clothes
Because cotton doesn't stretch, it can sometimes be too stiff for wearing. To get a little more drape, you might want to use a cotton blend like half cotton, half merino wool.
5. Look For the "Organic Cotton" Label
Many people choose cotton yarn because it's a natural fiber and they're interested in earth-friendly crochet. That's great! But remember, not all cotton yarn is eco-friendly. If you really want to help the planet, look for the "organic cotton" label.
6. Get Down with the Term "Mercerized"
Mercerized cotton looks great because the process gives the yarn a shiny finish. The downside is that this cotton is usually less absorbent than untreated cotton. (You'll need to keep this in mind if if you're buying cotton yarn to dye.) Mercerized cotton can be pretty for crochet, but you have to pick wisely.
7. Block Right for the Finish You Want
You can use wet blocking to stretch your crochet items into new shapes that tend to hold. If you're looking for a more flexible finish that keeps some bounce in your fabric, try steam blocking rather than wet blocking.
8. Washing Makes Cotton Cozier
Cotton crochet gets softer with each washing. If you make something that feels too rough, throw it in the washing machine a few times. It'll be cleaner AND softer.
9. Matte Hooks Are Cotton-Friendly
Cotton yarn tends to slip around too much on crochet hooks that have a slick, polished finish. Choose crochet hooks that have a matte finish or a bit of grip, and avoid acrylic crochet hooks.
10. Cotton Loves the Camera!
Think cotton if you are creating your own crochet stitch tutorials or other photos for a blog project. That's because cotton has terrific stitch definition that looks amazing in digital form. Try it!