One of the things people said to me when I initially did colorwork with cotton was that it was really difficult. I think I picked a perfect first cotton colorwork project with Tecumseh because the fit was oversized so I didn’t have to worry that it wouldn’t give. Now with a more intricate pattern and me wanting to achieve a closer fit I can see where some might say it’s difficult. But I’ve figured out how to adjust and wanted to share what I’ve learned.
Cotton yarn doesn’t have the same kind of stretch or blossom when blocked that wool does. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely changes and expands but in a different way. For the Guthrie sweater I decided to knit a size medium, it’s closet to my natural bust size and I didn’t want a lot of ease. I got gauge with size 5 needles and after doing the yoke I realized it was going to be super fitted and not give it I kept going. So what did I to do adjust?
I went up a needle size! I wanted to make sure this was going to be able to go over my chest with ease and that I wouldn’t be sausaged in and now it does! I also know with a little blocking it will ease up a bit but the goal is to have a more fitted tee with elbow length sleeves (I’m hoping it will pair nicely with a lovely green pleated skirt I have) that’s perfect for spring, summer and fall.
So don’t let cotton intimidate you, figure out ways to make it work for you and the pattern you’re working on. Anyone else want to offer any tips for knitting with cotton?