Cotton/Acrylic vs. Cotton/Wool

I really am not a summer person. I’ve been feeling hot, lethargic, and unphotogenic. That means two things. I have a pile of knits on my desk that have been waiting for me to model and photograph them and I haven’t knit anything since Saturday. I balled some yarn intending on knitting but that didn’t happen. I need to get it together. Now onto the real post!

I kind of hate knitting with cotton. It’s harsh on my hands and it sags with age. Cotton blends make it a bit more pleasant to knit with. In writing my cardigan pattern, I’ve used three different cotton blend yarns. Two were blended with wool and one was blended with acrylic. I thought a break down of what I thought of the yarns might be handy for you and for me when I have forgotten all of this by next spring. All of these yarns were knit on 5mm needles at the same gauge for the same pattern. Pictures on the right were taken with the flash. Pictures on the left were taken without the flash.

cottonease cottonease2
Lion Brand Cotton Ease
50% Cotton 50% Acrylic
Stitch Definition: The stitch definition is kind of medium. The individual stitches are visible but not screamingly obvious. The reverse stockinette and the twisted ribbing both pop really well but the eyelets aren’t as open and clear as I would have liked. I think this yarn would be better for textural stuff than eyelet patterns.
Feeling: It sort of feels like rope when I’m knitting with it. It’s not unpleasant but it’s not the best feeling yarn either. It can be a bit splitty near the cut end which makes finishing work a little annoying but it isn’t splitty during the actual knitting.
Fabric: The fabric is kind of dense feeling. It’s a little on the stiff side but it softens up a bit after washing. The sweater feels sort of heavy.
Color: I love the depth of color. It’s very rich and the yarn is colorfast.

sierra sierra2
Cascade Sierra
80% Cotton 20% Wool
Stitch Definition: I quite like the definition with this yarn. The stitches are extremely visible which probably wouldn’t be best for someone with tension problems but it works well for me. The eyelets show up well and the reverse stockinette and twisted ribbing show up nicely but not super dramatically. I should probably note that it isn’t blocked in the pictures.
Feeling: It’s nice on my hands. It’s softer and more flexible than straight cotton so it isn’t as harsh feeling. Unfortunately, it is splitty. Splitty yarn doesn’t bug me, though.
Fabric: The fabric drapes fairly well. It feels soft and isn’t stiff or bulky. The wool helps it have memory so it won’t get stretched out of shape as quickly.
Color: I was feeling a bit meh about this color of red when I got it. It looked kind of dull in the skein. When I finally got the yarn knit up, it looked a lot more vibrant and full of life. I think that the dull/bright thing is because of the twist to the yarn.

cottonfleece cottonfleece2
Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
80% Cotton 20% Wool
Stitch Definition: The definition with this yarn is also pretty nice. It has crisp stitches and it shows off the eyelets well. The reverse stockinette and twisted ribbing look pretty nice but they’re kind of flat (physically).
Feeling: This was the most pleasant feeling yarns of all of the ones I used. It’s gentle on my hands and soft. It is also really splitty.
Fabric: The yarn makes a soft fabric with a nice degree of drape. The yarn isn’t very lofty so the fabric looks a bit stretched.
Color: The colors in this line are amazing and that’s why this was the first cotton blend I tried out. They looks vibrant and amazing in the skein and they knit up equally well. Unfortunately, they don’t stay that nice after the first washing. I had to wash my sweater repetitively until it stopped bleeding enough for me to call it quits. When my sweater dried, it was noticeably unevenly faded. Not okay. This yarn might be good in white or to dye yourself, but the bleeding and fading were a deal breaker for me.







7 responses to “Cotton/Acrylic vs. Cotton/Wool”

  1. Oh I hate to hear about bleeding/fading issues with the Cotton Fleece. I've got some in my stash I've never used.

  2. Again, I am very much looking forward to knitting this little sweater. I may try to get the Sleeves Off & Buttons On group at Ravelry to knit it in a KAL– what size will it go up to?I've found that Sierra stretches out pretty mightily– I have a vest that I knit with it that needs to be re-blocked more often than I'd like to do it, since it's hand wash.

  3. Oh… have you tried Rown All Seasons Cotton? Good stuff.

  4. Thanks for the reviews – I'm with you on the cotton-hate!

  5. I love summer but I will definitely knit a lot less during that period (although I have a baby gift to knit…) It's amazing how with or without flash makes a difference. Personnally, I prefer waiting for a nice sunny day and use no flash (but I'm no photographer) 😉

  6. Thanks for your review of the cotton blends. Very helpful!

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