This week we’re looking at a cotton yarn. Red Heart’s Creme de la Creme. It’s marketed for dish cloths, but throughout the week we’re going to look at other garments you can make with this durable cotton yarn. We start today by assessing your own patterns and adapting them to cotton, and we talk about why you should wear cotton in the summer.
The number one reason is… it’s hot in the summer (surprise!). Cotton is a light, breathable fabric that doesn’t trap hot air close to your body. It can be knitted to whatever gauge you choose, dense or lacy. If you want to make a lacy, open weave tank and just wear a light camisole underneath it, you’ll have a very breezy shirt. If your gauge is tighter there’ll be less airflow through your garment, which would be perfect to wear in drafty air-conditioned situations.
I highly suggest a swatch to see how your knitted fabric is going to look. If you want something very cool, but that you can’t see through, knit a stockinette stitch swatch with needles one or two sizes larger than the one suggested on the ball band (US 7 [4.5mm]). Once blocked, your swatch should be very pliable in your hands, almost as if it is melting.
Cotton makes such a great dish cloth because it absorbs water and dries quickly. A garment made with Creme de la Creme will absorb any sweat or dampness on your skin and also dry quickly. This makes it excellent for a garment like a tank top or bathing suit cover.
An interesting factoid for you is that sweat doesn’t smell bad. It only begins to smell when it mixes with bacteria on our skin. Everyone’s natural bacteria is unique. Stress, exertion and other factors create more bacteria. When we wear a garment that wicks the moisture away and dries it, the odors are minimized.
Cotton yarn is traditionally dyed in lighter colors. Lighter colors reflect more light and therefore don’t get as hot as darker colors in the summer. Creme de la Creme has a myriad of colors, some of which are dark. This is impressive because cotton is slow to take up dye so it’s difficult to get deep saturated colors. All fibers take dye differently, natural animal fiber (like wool or silk) absorbs dye like a dehydrated plant taking water. However, cotton is a little more resistant. This is why it’s rare to see cotton yarn dyed in navy, black, or dark green.
Cotton is the ideal yarn to knit summer garments, it can be adapted to almost any pattern with the same weight yarn. Make sure to go back and check out our tips on knitting with a cotton yarn like Creme de la Creme. Knitting can be seen as a seasonal hobby, but it’s all about adjusting your projects and materials.
This is part 1 of 5 in this series.