A Handy Guide to Working with Cotton Yarn
If you’ve ever been shopping for something handmade, then you know the value of good quality and unique style. When your hobbies involve knitting or crocheting, you get to regularly make items of high quality that have plenty of personalities. Cotton yarn is a favorite for many since it’s breathable yet sturdy and holds its shape well.
Reliable online yarn retailers offer great prices and selection on cotton yarn that you can use for your creations. Here are just a few key pointers to working with this material and what you can expect from your cotton yarn creations.
Don’t Expect Stretching
It’s one of the main points about cotton yarn: it does not stretch. Because of this, the yarn’s steadfastness is great for any projects where you want to prioritize sturdiness and durability. This yarn is great for making crochet baskets, amigurumi (small crochet figurines), tote bags, dishtowels, placemats and throw blankets.
It is possible to stretch cotton, however, when it is wet and malleable. But be warned, any cotton stretched when wet will not return to its original shape, so if you’ve washed something it is best to dry it flat so the shape of your creation isn’t distorted. Or you can always toss it in the dryer!
Textured Stitches Hold Shape Well
If you plan on frequently washing and drying something you’ve made with cotton yarn, using textured stitches can help the item keep its shape. Stitches that lock around each other such as post stitches are a good example of this technique.
Storing Your Yarn
To make sure your creations are as durable as they can be, you need to store your yarn correctly. Good yarn storing habits also ensure that your yarn is easy to use and in good condition for whenever you’re ready to make something new. To keep your yarn in its best shape, here are some yarn storing tips:
- Don’t keep the yarn in plastic bags. The yarn is a breathable material and can hold up to 30% of its weight in moisture, so keeping it in a plastic bag can cause molding.
- With that in mind, keep your yarn somewhere with a moderate temperature: not too hot, not too damp.
- You can use lavender or cedar as a herbal method to keep moths away. The pleasant smell also gives your yarn a nice aroma.
- If keeping your yarn in a basket, do not keep the basket on a rug. You could create an ideal environment for dust mites that could aggravate your breathing.
- Crocheted clothing, once washed, should be stored on a closet shelf or in a dresser since hanging them upright will stretch your pieces out of shape.
- If storing yarn for a long period of time tucked away in a closet, it’s best to keep it in an old pillowcase, out of direct sunlight.
That shiny-finished yarn you might have seen is called mercerized cotton and it’s a great yarn for crocheting. One quality of this yarn is that it’s less absorbent than run-of-the-mill untreated cotton, so if you’re planning on dying your yarn, you’ll need to keep this in mind.