Hiya! Lots of energy, well, not really, LOL! In all seriousness, I started it all because I wanted a knitted-type bed-throw for the Summer, and then I got obsessed by the desire to make a lightweight replacement for her Pashmina, because she’s moved to Brisbane, which is hot like it is here in Houston, but she and her husband like to take walks, so just in case they got a cool breeze off the water, it might be ice for her to have a lightweight thing to throw on.
((I’ll get around to some “hints’n’tips” re: using cotton…))
I decided on cotton because, as I think I noted ((I lose track…)), I can get a bunch of it at discount, but especially, I wanted it to be Care-Free for her, something that can be washed and basically just hung over a line or rail, as the case may be, without needing to be re-blocked.
I’ve tested several small swatches before I went too far overboard with buying-up pounds of the stuff, LOL!, and I was very pleased by the outcome of the combination of the cotton, and my small stitches ((2.75mm and 3mm 14" straight Nova Platina needles, FWIW…)) So that’s the good part, if it helps you out any.
There are some tricky aspects, though. The cotton I’m using is actually “mercerized cotton crochet thread”, size is “number 10” which, I think, might be similar to fingering weight size". The thing is that it has no “give” or “spring” to it at all. So it does not “adapt” at all to varied tension. If you knit tightly, with a lot of tension, the stitch loops will only be as small as the needle diameter, but if you knot more loosely, the loops will be slack and can end up being downright sloppy if allowed to slip by without enough tension.
The main problem with “too tight” knitting is not having enough space to insert the needle to make new stitches, and those bits of lunacy like “purl 3 together through the back loop” become nearly impossible ((unless the 1.15mm crochet hook can fit in - but that, too is problematic because the resulting stitch just looks wrong)).
So all in all, the cotton is “unforgiving” so to speak.
OH!, I almost forgot - although you probably already guessed this point:
cotton does not “block” as do “springier” yarns, especially wool, so the knitting, whether “plain” or cabled or lace or whatever, is what it is - blocking won’t do much to alter the shape or size. Which is IMO also a plus, looking at it from the view that, similarly, it won’t turn into a tangled mess if it gets wet ((again, though, assuming it hasn’t been knit too loosely, but even at that, the fibers themselves woun’t shrivel up)).
Given all of that, it stands to reason that there are some lace stitches that it just doesn’t seem ((to me at least)) to “play well” with some of the lace stitches that look soooo purdy in the photos - after they’ve been worked up in alpaca or merino or cashmere, and steam-blocked and so on.
So it’s absolutely necessary to SWATCH Not only if you need to know your gauge, but also, to be sure that the end-product is going to please your eye.
But there are also, IMO, some definite “pluses”, too.
- As above, it’s washable and, if knitted reasonably tightly, it doesn’t need to be re-blocked - just pulled a bit sideways and lengthwise to tighten-up the stitches, like you might do with an easy-care cotton sweater or to jeans. For me, that easey-care is the primary consideration, especially given the size of the two things I most want to make ((king blanket and the “pashmina”, which will end up being about 4’X6’, the way the math is working out)).
- The stitches are crisp, especially when you get past the the outermost layer, where the first few ((maybe 3 or 4?)) yard length of the thread on the ball tends to be just a wee bit “plumper” or “puffed” relative to the inner layers, but most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference. I use it as “practice material”, which gets knit and ripped over and over - and again, when you get to that inner part, the thread is such that the stitches look crisp and detailed, which I personally like a lot
- If you like to dye things, cotton is easy to dye, but I’m buying-up white in part because I like it. But if you do like to dye things, Dharma Trading has some great info about basin-dying yarn in general.
3A) I haven’t tested this, but it seems to me that, if cotton is easily dyed, it also would take well to stain-repellents and/or water repellents, if that’s a consideration…
- Cotton is hypoallergenic. That of course doesn’t matter to everybody, but I’m a Cotton Person myself so this matters to me
- Cotton is good for warm weather wear, but it also is a pleasant for Winter-Wear, warm when layered.
- I personally also like the touch/feel of the cotton while working with it.
So, those are my thoughts so far on Knitting With Cotton “Crochet Thread” I hope they help you decide whether to try some new projects using cotton yarn and/or thread.