The pros and cons of knitting with cotton

The pros and cons of knitting with cotton

Cotton yarn has its advantages and disadvantages when knitting. Although some people don’t like to use it, there’s no reason to throw away a whole family of fibres if you’re not allergic or sensitive. When working with cotton, it is important to know its advantages and disadvantages, and choose your project accordingly.


Here are the advantages of knitting with cotton yarn:

  • Cotton is a relatively light fibre that is good for summer clothes and accessories.
  • It is quite breathable and comfortable to wear next to the skin.
  • otton can be easily dyed in a dizzying range of colors, so no matter what your favorite color is, you are sure to find a shade of cotton that will satisfy all your desires.
  • Cotton is durable, durable and suitable for machine washing. It starts soft and actually becomes softer the more you wash it.
  • It is usually inexpensive, although you often get better quality when you pay a little more.Cotton usually holds up well and does not give you pills.
  • Cotton shows every line that can be positive or negative, depending on how you knit that day.


Cotton yarn has the following drawbacks:

  • Some colours, especially darker red, blue and black, tend to bleed, which can be a problem when washing or when used in projects with lighter colours.
  • Cotton really holds water well and becomes heavy when wet, so it can stretch and sag when wet.
  • Cotton yarn can be slippery.
  • Cotton is inelastic, which can prevent some knitters from maintaining even tension, and this can cause strain on your hands.
  • Traditionally grown cotton is very pesticide-heavy.

Working with cotton

It is a good idea to work with a thick cotton cuff, because the weight of the fiber can cause the work to sag, especially when it is wet. You may want to work with a needle smaller than the ball bar suggests so you can get a stronger and more durable knitted fabric.

Always check and wash your sample – this will tell you a lot about how the particular cotton yarn you are working with will work and whether it will bleed. If you are planning a strip project, connect your sample with all the colors you plan to use so you know if one is bleeding on the other.

When you wash a finished project for the first time, adding a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the water can help preserve the colors. Never hang a cotton object to dry as it will sag. Machine washing and drying are fine, although you can take the items out of the dryer before they dry completely. Change the shape if necessary and let it dry on a flat surface.


  • Try wooden or bamboo needles if your yarn cracks or you find it too slippery.
  • Since cotton can be somewhat bulky, try starting a new ball from the edge of the work, not the middle.
  • Take frequent breaks if you find that knitting with cotton is hard on your hands.
  • Organic cotton has fewer problems with pesticides.
  • If you like shiny yarn, choose mercerized cotton.

Watch now: Hand knitting is a needle-free way to knit things.