Clever Cotton for Spring & Summer
Have I ever told you the story about my first year trying to knit? It was terrible! I lived on top of the original Purl Soho location on Prince Street. I went in there, knowing absolutely nothing and looking for a good starter yarn and needles. Do you know what they gave me? Cotton. I found it tricky to work with, unforgiving and it just made me feel bad about myself. Needless to say, I stayed away from cotton for a long time after I got back on the horse. I never recommend beginners work with cotton. However, that doesn’t mean advanced beginners should steer clear of cotton. Also, not all cottons are created equal, some being easier to work with than others. Plus, it is the season to start pulling out your cottons. Take heart and know there is a cotton that is perfect to wear through spring and summer, and perfect for you to knit with.
365 Yak is a special yarn that has flown under the radar since we received it last year. And despite it’s name, it’s mostly cotton. With a bit of nylon and a hint of yak, this yarn is truly an all seasons player (hence the name 365 Yak). A worsted weight yarn, 365 Yak is a perfect substitute for anyone who is sensitive to wool. It is incredibly soft. Sarah (who knit up Aibrean, a pullover pattern by Isabell Kraemer) describes this piece as the softest and most luxurious sweatshirt. You can make anything with this yarn – whether it be blankets, scarves, hats, mitts, or sweaters – and know that you will feel its soft coziness. Its chainette construction and its hint of nylon make it easy to work with, so unlike a typical cotton that lacks any elasticity, this yarn has give and is quite forgiving, more like a wool.
Cumulus, another super-soft cotton from Juniper Moon Farms, is also easy to work with and is incredibly soft from the start. Made of Israeli Mako cotton (Mako cotton is some of the highest quality, softest cotton), Cumulus also has a hint of nylon (6%) and a chainette construction. Once again, this is a cotton that has some give, is forgiving and feels great on the needles and as you’re wearing it. This plump, aran-weight cotton can be knit at a range of gauges, and we’ve seen it knit beautifully into sweaters, blankets (great for babies), scarves and shawls. Last year I knit up the Davis pullover in this super-soft cotton, and I love wearing this piece as a layer to the gym (because it feels as absorbent as a towel) or over some high waisted pants or skirts.
Lang Sol is the yarn opened my doors to cotton after that first, false start. Sol is 100% cotton and a tape yarn, so it appears flat in the ball. As you knit with it, it rolls into a tube. Therefore, to the eye, it looks like a typical yarn – but it feels like a t-shirt and is perfect for hot weather. Because of its tape construction, this yarn also has some elasticity and is easy to work with. That bit of give makes it suitable for adding in special stitches like cables, and it won’t be heavy and stretch out like typical cottons. This yarn is also great for kids clothes, as its soft and can go in the washing machine!
Lang Sol Metallic and Lana Grossa’s Dacapo Multi are both cotton tapes with a painted look. Knitting up in either of these yarns gives you a marled look. Mirasol’s Pima Spash is a cotton with a chainette construction, but it looks like paint has been splashed all over the skein, and I love the bright, modern splashes of color that appear as you knit it up. Conway + Bliss’s Lolli is another bright cotton made with a chainette construction. Small hits of color in this otherwise solid yarn give an interesting speckled effect to the fabric it knits up. While most of the patterns we have for Lolli are written for children, I desperately want a tee or tank knit up in this bright, fun yarn. Again, all of these cottons are spun with a chainette construction, which make them easier to work with than a typical cotton.
Cascade’s Ultra Pima and Juniper Moon Farms’ Neve are our most straightforward cotton yarns. These smooth, clean yarns don’t have the forgiving elasticity most of the other cottons mentioned above have. However, these yarns knit into beautiful, clean and crisp fabrics. One of our newer knitters is working on a shawl working with Neve. Using a large needle and working with various textures, including yarn-overs, this sort of pattern is perfect for this yarn and the perfect way for an advanced beginner to dabble with a traditional cotton yarn. The stitch patterns will be forgiving and make it easier to work with. Coming in bold, saturated colors, both of these yarns offer the color we all look for in the hot months.
Not to be overlooked, Sita is our newest cotton. This luxurious yarn is a combo of Mako cotton and silk. Our yarn manufacturers are obviously keeping user-friendliness in mind, as this yarn is also spun with a chainette construction. Cotton and silk doesn’t always add up to such forgiving combination , but this yarn is easy on the hands, and knits into the most supple and gorgeous fabrics. A book of patterns accompanies the yarn and has a number modern, summery tops. Each are distinctive and refined, and worth checking out!
You know I think that all weather is sweater weather, and cotton is the perfect fiber to bring your sweaters into the spring and summer months. Stop by and get your hands on the gorgeous and soft cottons, and pick out your spring and summer projects today!