Cotton Anyone?!?

kindablue's picture

Greetings, Gents! I'm a novice at this knitting stuff and I'd like to attempt a sweater! I've found a few patterns that are relatively simple in construction so that I might see how they're put together but, every pattern calls for wool. Unfortunately, I can't wear wool! AND so far my knitting experience has been with cotton. I use a regular worsted with a #10 mercerized knitted in. The mercerized changes the colour slightly and gives an extra added weight that I find appealing. After reading through blogs and posts, I've discovered that most of you use yarns that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole! Only due to expense and my limited experience with knitting. Gotta say, th0, that silk looks yummy! Is there anyone out there with cotton experience who can tell me if there's a drastic difference in knitting a sweater in cotton when the pattern calls for wool? And are there things that I should address when knitting with such an un-giving yarn? I've included a scarf that I'm presently working on so that you can see what I mean. My needles of choice are bamboo, #8. Any replies would be greatly appreciated. Many, many Thanx!

my scarf.jpg65.92 KB


There is no drastic difference when knitting with cotton as long as you get the same gauge before you start. Cotton drapes differently, but I have found that if you knit a sweater with cables and moss stitch then you get a very nice finished product. As for silk - forget it. I am just finishing off a pure silk shell top and it has been a b@#*@^d to knit. Even on bamboos it has been difficult to keep the tension and at the moment the whole thing looks like a shapeless mess.

JuanC1965's picture

One idea would be to join and search for patterns already designed for cotton. Until you built your confidence to adjust fibers on a pattern. Mainly because cotton lacks the elasticity that wool has which is likely to affect how your garment drapes.

Pinecone's picture

I am also experimenting with cotton. So far I've made a few hats and a market bag, using sport and fingering weight cotton yarns. I love wool but wanted to find an alternate fiber that I can knit when the weather gets warm. So far the results are mixed but it has been lots of fun to experiment. Your scarf it beautiful. I hope you'll post pictures of your sweater too. Best, John

chipsir's picture

Having seen the scarf I would not call you novice. The one thing I did notice with cotton is you really need to keep tension even and allow several days for drying and blocking. Jump in with both feet and enjoy!!!!!

TheKnittingMill's picture

Welcome to the sight Barone! I knit with cotton quite often as I live in New Orleans. Cotton worsted is quite a bit heavier than wool and will tend to stretch (though it will usually spring right back to shape after washing). I like to use a blend at that weight (cotton/rayon, cotton/acrylic, cotton/flax, etc.). Some cottons are easier to knit with than others which I've found to be very subjective in speaking with other knitters. I love to knit with a sport wt. Egyptian cotton, but it is a bit pricey. As for a couple of cheaper alternatives to what you may find at your LYS, Knit Picks has a DK Cot/Lin that I love and I like the Comfy (available in a few weights) . Lion Brand also has a Cotton Ease worsted blend I've had good luck with and their organic cotton. Hope that helps!

TheKnittingMill's picture

BTW...your scarf is gorgeous! I would never guess you were a newbie to knitting!

steve kadel's picture

nice job

wherever you go, there you are

we put birds on things