With cotton, that is! (Making it clear right upfront that I’m talking about cotton, in case the Husband reads this.)
A participant, Jez, in a recent Sewinlove Workshop asked why the cottons sold in my Yarn Store have such cute names (such as Cotton Candy Floss, Hello! Cotton etc), and my response is… I really do love my cottons, that’s why. In fact, that’s the main reason why I decided to take the plunge and empty my pockets to import cotton yarns into Singapore. I was sorely disappointed to find the small and expensive range of cottons sold here, with a limited colour and yarn weight range too.
Someone also recently emailed me and asked if cotton is suitable for making garments. And after responding to her, I decided to do a short post extolling some of the virtues of my beloved cotton friend (Idea: Cotton friend, another nice name that can be used for a new cotton range I’m importing, yes?).
Cotton is considered ideal for making garments to wear in our warm and humid tropical climate because it is capable of absorbing more than 20 times it own weight in water AND release it quickly through evaporation. How cool is that. Absorbent, evaporative and cooling.
Of course, there are many different types of cotton, varying in staple length and softness. And some can feel quite hard to the touch and do not seem quite suitable for garment-making.
Cottons, and I find this is applicable to most yarns in fact, which are tightly or densely spun will feel firmer or harder but are also more hardwearing. The loosely twisted ones, like the Cotton Candy Floss, Summer Cotton and Summer Cotton Mini ranges that I carry, are softer and more comfortable precisely because of their lighter spin.
There is always a tradeoff. The downside with looser spun yarns is that they generally pill more quickly but I tend to think that gives a relaxed and handmade look and feel.
Compared to wools and some fuzzy acrylics, I find cottons give really clear and crisp stitch definition and texture, and make crocheted motifs such as my snowflakes, crocheted with Cotton Party, stand out. They are also quite smooth (but not too slippery like silk) and easy to crochet with, making them suitable for beginners to work with.
Cottons also take up dye very well and hence are available in a dizzying array of heart-poundingly lovely colours that I do not have the willpower to resist. Mercerised cotton particularly have a brilliant sheen, are available in a variety of colours because the mercerisation process makes them more receptive to dye (think: mercerised cotton embroidery thread that is available in hundreds of colours, shades and hues) and are perfect for making motifs.
Take note though thicker cottons are be quite heavy and as I told JJ who wanted to make a baby blanket for her to-be-godson, you don’t want baby to be weighed down in bed! So choose a lighter weight and looser spun cotton in these instances.
I hope you enjoy crocheting with cotton as I do. If you also want to learn more about yarns, you will enjoy The Knitter’s Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes from which I have gained my knowledge and deepened my love for my cotton friends.