It’s no secret that I love crochet, and right now I am starting to think about (dare I say it) Christmas! As any crafter knows, if you want to give handmade gifts for Christmas, you need to start as soon as possible or you’ll never finish everything in time.
With that in mind, I have started looking at who would appreciate a handmade gift, what kind of items they would really like, and whether I have enough yarn in my stash or need to buy more. And again, any crocheter will be able to tell you that handmade gifts don’t always equal “budget” gifts – yarn can be expensive stuff!
Of course, you can buy budget yarns, especially if you don’t mind what it is made of. But I’m pretty picky when it comes to the yarn I use. You see, I suffer from eczema on my hands. It doesn’t take much to set it off, and I’ve found that wool based yarns seem to be one of my triggers. So that automatically reduces my options.
However it is not just an allergy issue for me, I am also very particular when it comes to how the yarn feels as it runs through my fingers when I work – I very much dislike the feel of many yarns! I’ve found a few acrylic ones I can work with, and I absolutely love the feel of bamboo yarns, but cotton remains my absolute staple fibre for crochet.
So I thought it would be good to share some of the ones I have tried with you. These are all yarns I have enjoyed working with and found at great prices both online and in my local craft store.
Rico Baby Cotton Soft (DK)
This is a deliciously soft 100% cotton yarn, which is an absolute pleasure to work with. I’m not sure how they have made it so soft, but they have. If it weren’t for the lack of bright, bold colours, I would be using this yarn for everything! It comes in 22 different colourways and 5 different prints.
I have used this yarn to make bootees and hats for friends who have had babies, and it is always lovely to work with!
Pros: super soft; great for gifts for a new baby
Cons: aimed at baby items, so colour choice more muted than other cotton yarns
Rico Creative Cotton (Aran)
This was one of the very first cotton yarns I discovered and I was so overwhelmed by the choice of colour that I bought a whole pack of it. It comes in 37 different colourways and 12 different prints.
I used Rico Creative Cotton when creating my super snuggly baby blanket for the Nine Months of Crochet challenge, working with two strands at a time so it was super chunky.
I also used it to create several pairs of fingerless gloves…
Pros: great colour selection; budget friendly
Cons: quite a “splitty” yarn
Rico Essentials Cotton (DK)
This is my “go to” yarn for projects which need bright colours, as it comes in a massive range of colours (at my last count there were 48 available at Wool Warehouse, and I’m not 100% sure if that is all the options or not).
I have used Rico Essentials Cotton DK for our “Autumn Blanket” which I hope will actually be completed for this Autumn! TJ chose the colours and it has been a joy to work with.
Pros: fantastic range of colours; budget friendly; easy to work with
Cons: not quite as soft and snuggly as some other yarns
Sublime Cotton Kapok (DK)
I was incredibly lucky to have 30 balls of this deliciously soft yarn donated to me by Black Sheep Wools for my Nine Months Of… Crochet challenge which raised over £300 for charity in 2014. It was an absolute delight to work with, and I’d recommend it for any projects you want to make for a newborn baby!
I used Sublime Cotton Kapok for two blankets during my Nine Months Of… challenge.
Pros: super soft, great to work with, budget friendly
Cons: lack of bright colours for “non-baby” items, not available in many places
Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton (DK)
This is a new discovery of mine, but one which I am really happy to have found. It is a classic cotton yarn, in that it isn’t super soft, but it is really easy to work with. It comes in a good range of colours, including some with sparkles in!
I’m currently using it to create a blanket for a friend who is expecting a baby at the end of this year.
Pros: good range of bright colours, budget friendly
Cons: not as soft as some of the other cotton yarns
So what next?
If you’ve used a cotton yarn you love which is not on this list, please do let me know so that I can try it out… and do tell me what your favourite yarns are!
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PetraSeptember 25, 2016 at 1:34 am
I am a beginner when it comes to crochet but I do love it so much.
I am all muddled up with all the different yarns to work with.
I live in the UK and where I live there are only 2 stores and both have mainly polyacryl yarns.
What would be the best yarn to make a blanket or a toy like a teddie…
AmandaSeptember 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm
thanks for popping by and for leaving a comment 🙂 Welcome to the wonderful world of crochet – I am glad you are enjoying it so far!
It can be rather confusing when you first start out, because there are so many different types of yarn (I remember being utterly confused by it all too!) So perhaps my next post should be some hints and tips for beginners. In the meantime, I’d suggest that you stick to a DK (double knit) weight of yarn, and find one that feels good to you and has the colours you like. I tend to buy my yarn online nowadays because there is a greater selection, but until you get used to what you like using it can be very helpful to go into the store, have a feel of the yarn, and ask the assistants for help in choosing one.
I’m fussy when it comes to acrylic yarn, but I have found a few I like so have a look and see if you can find any of the following in your local stores: Patons Smoothie DK; King Cole Smooth DK; or Stylecraft Wondersoft DK. All of those are super soft and smooth acrylic yarns. Although fluffy yarns are available and can be great for making teddies, I’d avoid them until you feel confident with your stitches as you can’t see the stitches as well as you can with a normal yarn. Acrylic is ideal for blankets though, as it is generally cheaper (and you use a LOT of yarn for blankets), and it washes and wears really well. One of the most popular yarns I’ve come across is Stylecraft Special DK, which is less than £2 per 100g skein, which is incredible value. Unfortunately I personally find it a difficult texture to work with on large projects, but loads of crocheters swear by it, including Lucy from Attic24. In fact, Wool Warehouse even sell blanket packs with all the yarn you’ll need to make a bright and colourful blanket designed by Lucy, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally it would be worth checking them out.
I hope this helps – enjoy your crochet and do keep in touch, Petra!
RhondaApril 17, 2019 at 10:35 pm
Thank you for this post Amanda.
I too love to work with cotton and always on the lookout for something I haven’t tried yet.
I’m off to look at a couple you have suggested for my new cardigan.
There is a brand I love you don’t have here, I would love to introduce you.
Bendigo Wool Mills has the most beautiful soft cotton I have worked with.
I know you wouldn’t be sorry if you tried it.
AmandaApril 28, 2019 at 3:47 pm
Thank you for your comment (and apologies for how long it has taken to reply – Easter holidays totally threw me!)
I shall look up Bendigo Wool Mills, thank you for the recommendation 🙂