Most of the clothes I sew are made from woven cotton. I love it. You can iron it into really sharp creases, pleats, hems and seam finishes. It stays put while you sew it. It behaves. Cotton fabric does exactly what you ask it to. Cotton yarn does not!
Yarn made from wool is just great to knit with. It feels nice and soft. Wool yarn seems to merge together hiding any joins and inconsistencies. Cotton yarn does not.
I long ago learnt various ways to join wool yarn in my knitting and whichever method I choose (and I am always changing my mind as to which one is best) there are a few rules I always follow: never join in new yarn at the edge of my knitting, never ever knot my yarn and one of the most invisible ways to weave in ends is to use a duplicate stitch from the right side. Each wool garment I make has fewer mistakes and looks more professional than the previous one but I was close to giving up with the cotton ones until I discovered that the rules I needed to follow were exactly opposite to the ones I use for wool: only join in new yarn at the edge, you need to knot the ends or it will unravel and don’t attempt to do duplicate stitches when weaving in ends because it will be very visible!
So, knowing the rules, I have now completed a couple of cardigans that I am really pleased with. I still don’t really like knitting with cotton, it’s hard going and quite tough on your hands. But it is nice to overcome problems and learn new skills and I refuse to be beaten by a ball of cotton.
I was so pleased with the little shrug I knitted for my new niece that I decided to make one for myself. The small version was from a pattern called Entrechat by Lisa Chemery that I found in One Skein Wonders For Babies and the adult sized one is called Madame Entrechat which you can find on Ravelry. Rashly, I chose some purple cotton from my stash and it’s not turned out too badly, except for one minor hiccup. It was knitting up really quickly and three quarters of the way down the back I tried it on for fit (perfect) and was quietly congratulating myself on creating such a lovely garment (mainly because I was following the simple, but essential rules for knitting with cotton) when I made an error in judgement and decided to play yarn chicken. Why do I do these things? I am normally very cautious and, frankly, it was obvious I did not have enough yarn left in the ball to get to the end of the row. But I did it anyway and only got half way across. So, obviously I undid that row… No, I did not! I decided that the reason the shrug was looking so good was because my knitting had miraculously just improved and that I could cope with a join in the middle and carried on knitting… I can see the join, so everyone else can see the join!
The reason my recent cotton garments are successful is because I followed the rules. The second I decide not to do that – disaster strikes. I will not make that mistake again.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This post also contains links to other products, websites or patterns. I do not receive any reward for mentioning them. I only recommend books, patterns or products I use personally and believe will be of value to my readers.