What Can I Knit With Cotton Yarn?
Can I use cotton yarn for sweaters? How about knitting a scarf with cotton yarn? Read on below!
Cotton yarn perplexes a lot of knitters. It can be difficult to pick up a skein of cotton yarn from your local craft store, turn it over in your hands, and see it becoming anything other than dishcloths. You'll probably find yourself asking "What can I knit with cotton yarn?" This may be because we're so used to working with the two most common types of yarn: acrylic and wool. It's easy; acrylic can be used to make just about anything inexpensive and washable, and wool is ideal for warm and cozy wearables. As it turns out, cotton has benefits of both acrylic and wool, and can be used for so much more other than kitchen knits, but let's start with those.
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Table of Contents
Dishcloths, Hotpads, and Other Kitchen Knits
Cotton yarn is truly ideal for kitchen knits due to its absorbency, washability, and durability. If you're looking for an eco-friendly alternative to the common kitchen sponge that you can wash again and again, a simple hand-knit dishcloth will fit the bill. Additionally, you may think to use acrylic yarn to make hotpads or oven mitts, but since acrylic is essentially plastic, high heats could melt the fibers, making cotton a wonderful and inexpensive alternative. Check out some of our ideas on kitchen knits made with cotton yarn.
Light Sweaters and Tees
If you pull some basic tees out of your closet, you're likely to see on the tag that it's made of at least some percentage of cotton. The breathability of cotton is beat perhaps only by linen and bamboo yarns, making it great for a single piece to wear in the warmer months, or a layering top for underneath your woolen clothes in the winter to keep the sweat at bay. Just keep in mind when constructing your sweater or top that cotton doesn't have a ton of stretch to it, so you'll want to make sure the fit isn't too tight. The wearable patterns listed below are made of cotton or cotton blend yarns.
But wait—there's more! We have a ton of free sweater patterns that are perfect for the summer here on AllFreeKnitting. Check out our collection of 24 Spring and Summer Sweater Knitting Patterns
Scarves, Shawls, and Other Accessories for Summer
For many, the scarf is an outfit staple. It helps accessorize and elevate an outfit, and in the summer, you can feel out of luck when it's just too dang hot outside to accessorize in your favorite ways. No matter what, an extra layer is going to warm you up, but if you need that scarf or shawl for an outfit or event, you'll want to knit it in cotton. A cotton-silk blend would be especially fantastic here for a truly lightweight accessory that won't have you sweating. Here are some ideas.
Afghans and Baby Blankets
Acrylic is arguably the best choice for both baby and adult blankets due to its cheapness (hey, blankets take a lot of yarn!) and the fact that it's machine washable and hypoallergenic. Luckily, cotton is also something you can just toss into the washing machine, and it won't irritate baby's (or your) sensitive skin. While it tends to run a bit more expensive than acrylic, it's often a more comfortable choice if you run warm while sleeping due to its breathability and absorbency. Do note that sometimes cotton can feel a little rough, so a cotton-acrylic blend or a cotton yarn that feels soft on your fingers is your best bet. Check out these options.
Are you a fiend for blankets? So are we! Check out our favorite, super easy blanket patterns here: 13 Free Easy Knit Afghan Patterns for Beginners
Totes and Purses
If you're anything like me, your purse is probably a black hole where anything and everything that can fit inside will find its way in there, and it will probably make a bit of a mess at the bottom. It can be a serious pain to clean out your nice purses, but it's easy to just dump out the contents of your tote and throw it in the washing machine when it's made of cotton yarn. Cotton yarn will also make for perfect beach bags since there's such a high chance of getting wet out there, and it's super absorbent. Here are some of our favorites!
Check out this Have a Bright Day Envelope Clutch made with cotton yarn!
Note: This project is from I Like Knitting digital magazine. Non-members can access 3 free patterns every month. Subscribe to the I Like Knitting Gold Club for unlimited access to their entire pattern archive, featuring hundreds of exclusive patterns.
Patterns for Sock Weight Yarn
What's your favorite cotton (or cotton blend) yarn?