Who loves cotton?
Perfect for summer, with its cooling properties and soft, washable fibres, cotton is ideal for crochet! Let’s look at why it’s so fabulous…
A rainbow of Paintbox Cotton DK
Cotton is an ancient plant – first farmed in Egypt and Pakistan and brought to Europe around 800 AD – and it’s as popular now as it was then! During the industrial revolution in the UK, cotton was being spun to make clothing and homewares, and was in huge demand, but, as with all things, it has been in and out of fashion ever since! Now we prize cotton textiles, and we love the easy to wear cotton of the summer months!
The quality of cotton is determined by its staple fibres – the longer they are, the smoother the cotton thread. There are short, medium and long staple fibres (approx 2cm – 6.5cm) and because cotton needs a sub-tropical climate to flourish, Egypt and the US are both popular farming locations, along with India, China, Australia and Pakistan. It’s a sustainable crop and every last bit of the plant is useable: the fibres make cloth, the seeds make oil and margarine and the rest of the plant is used for animal feed.
Crocheters love cotton because of the glorious rainbow of colours available in this fabulous fibre! Cotton takes dye beautifully, and so there is a fabulous spectrum of shades to choose from,
Sheen or no sheen?
It’s all a matter of preference! Cotton is a curly fibre, and when the mercerising process straightens and strengthens them, the result is beautiful sheen. It’s stain resistant, and tends to split less too! Cotton is beautiful whether it has a matt finish or slight sheen – and different cottons work well for different projects. Cascade Ultra Pima cotton is has a glorious sheen and drape, and is wonderful for garments – and Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran has a more matt finish which works beautifully for homeware!
Cotton is a fibre for all weathers, and is hypoallergenic, so it’s great for children and babies, and anyone who can’t tolerate animal fibres. It is also vegan, and it creates a breathable fabric that helps to control body temperature.
Washing your cotton crochet projects
Keep your cotton knitwear fresh and looking as good as when you first knitted it, by following a few easy care rules!
- Cotton can be washed in the washing machine, on a regular 30°C/86°F cycle, and hotter if needed.
- Turn your garment inside out before you wash it – this will minimise wear, and help to preserve the colour.
- You can use any standard laundry detergent for cotton, but choose a colour safe option for coloured cotton.
- Cotton gets very heavy when it is wet, and does not have the elasticity of wool and other fibres – so when you take it out of the machine, provide structure for it to dry – hang on hanger in a warm place, or lie flat to help it dry in shape.
- Use a steam iron to gently press garments back into shape.
Crochet in cotton and share your projects in the Community!