Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blogtober Day 14: Knitting with Cotton

There's something quite lovely about knitting with cotton. Don't get me wrong, I am a wool-o-phile to the core, I love winter knits in wool and actually am looking to the day I can up and move my family to Canada just to get more winter. Or at least back to Melbourne.

But cotton has its own joys. It's soft and light and cool to the touch, although can be a bit rougher on hands, dries them out and can create rub marks. It has different properties to wool, doesn't have the same memory for ribbing, tends to stretch and stay stretched. However, it also is more tolerant to the rough treatment me and my family give to our knits.

I am a shocking homemaker and tend to machine wash and tumble dry almost everything. This has more than once or twice been the cause of tears when I find a teeny tiny felted item from some delicate wool. I have even managed to make many a superwash wool more than slightly felty.

Cotton is much hardier however, I find it actually benefits from a good tumble dry, it pulls the fibres back into shape much better than blocking can. I am NOT recommending anyone else treat their handknits this way - it's just playing with fire - but it makes my life easier.

I knitted this Eden's Eve (by tikki) dress for Kassidy last week:

But, being the first cotton knit of the season, I forgot Shannon's Laundry Rule #1 - always allow for shrinking in the dryer - so I now have to rip back the hem and knit on another couple of inches as it looks a little like a mid-thigh minidress now. At least cotton only really shrinks in length not width.

I don't mind, and it was a good reminder for the coming months.


  1. uh-oh... shrinkage! So far I've only left my cotton knits unblocked and worn straight away. Didn't even *think* about shrinkage, ooops! One project is too large/long as it is so that's a good thing I suppose. As for the other, we shall see. I envision treating my cotton garments much like I treat my Melody garment ROFL

  2. Just found your blog!!!
    Ive never knitte din cotton other than dishcloths as there just arnt cotton patterns for boys! lol

    your dress is beautiful :)