Knitting With Cotton

This week we’ve been talking about cotton a lot on our social channels. So, today’s blog post is a look at knitting with cotton and if you read all the way to the end (or scroll straight there if you’re a little excited) you will find a celebratory giveaway of the plant-based kind.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve knitted with cotton but I want to let you in on a little secret….. I really love knitting in cotton! When I restarted knitting many years ago I was knitting a lot for my boys and cotton was a high quality, affordable option. Plus the colours were amazing. Mercerised cotton really holds colour and has a lovely shine. The colours just pop.

Coral yarn range at Stolen Stitches
Part of the Coral cotton yarn in our studio.

If you’ve never knit with cotton before it’s a little different from wool. The yarn doesn’t have the same level of elasticity so you need to pick your project carefully. Plus plant fibres are often a little heavier. With careful choices, you can produce really lovely finished knits in cotton. So here are a few tips to make your cotton knitting more successful.

Blue shades of Coral cottan yarn balls
Our Blue family range from our Cotton Selection box.

Tips for Working with Cotton

Don’t knit oversized/extra long garments in 100% cotton. The weight will make them stretch a lot vertically. Ideally keep with cropped, shorter styles, even better if there’s some lace!

Try to use a finer yarn (4ply or fingering, or light DK). This will also mean that you are reducing the weight.

Due to less elasticity in the yarn, you may want to experiment with needle materials and sizes. I swatched with both wooden and metal needles and personally found the metal more comfortable to knit with. I know that many other knitters prefer wood as they find it easier to keep an even tension with them.

I’d also suggest keeping your tension relatively relaxed. This will reduce any strain on your fingers and wrists and makes it easier to maintain an even tension. This may mean that you need to drop down a needle size to achieve gauge. It’s also why I love knitting lace as the gauge is always looser anyway!

Garment Ideas for Cotton Yarn

One of the questions that kept popping up over on Instagram was ideas for working with our new Coral cotton yarn. So I’ve popped some ideas together for all of you below:

Citrus Dream

I think the Citrus Dream cardigan would be fantastic in cotton! It’s a top down, raglan cardigan in a cropped style It’s knit in a 4ply yarn loosely so the sport weight cotton yarn, Coral, would work very well for it. The original is knit in a single colour but the cardigan is so simple that it could really be used as a fantastic template for stripes or even a fade.

Part of the fun is putting colour combinations together and I could spend hours just grouping yarn colour ideas. Here are a few colour stripe ideas I’ve been thinking about here in the Stolen Stitches studio:

Dusty Road

Dusty Road is also a top down raglan sweater, but there is also a lace pattern on the sleeves and down the side panel. The sample shown above is knit in Coral cotton (kits here) and the lace keeps it open and light.


spraoi kal cardigan

Once again I’m returning to lace. The Spraoi cardigan is a top down raglan, with lace on the front and back. I think this would translate very well to cotton knitting, creating a very open, light summer cardigan. It might possibly work even slightly shorter in cotton for a more cropped look?

So now that I’ve shared with you my love of cotton why don’t you jump in and experiment a bit?

If you’re not sure but would like to give it a try then either the Coral Mini skeins or the Selection Box may be a good way to dip your toe in the cotton water?

And to celebrate the launch of the Coral cotton collection, this weekend, April 15th to 18th, all orders over €50 will be entered into a raffle for 10 skeins of Coral plus 5 mini skeins in your choice of colour.

One thought on “Knitting With Cotton

  1. Thanks Carol ! I have ordered the Dusty Road kit and can’t wait to receive it and start. Your tips on knitting with cotton are very useful- especially the idea of working work metal versus bamboo needles.

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