the best cotton yarn for crochet and knitting this spring and summer

Cotton yarns that are perfect for your spring and summer projects.

Want to crochet or knit something cute for summer but you're not sure which yarns to work with? In this guide I'll show you what's on offer when it comes to cotton. 

Here is my selection of cotton yarns that are perfect for your spring and summer projects. 

This blog post does contain affiliate links. This means that I do earn a small commission at no cost to you. 

Plant based yarns

Cotton is a number once choice for summer and it's easy to understand why: 

  • It's machine washable.
  • It breathes. 
  • It comes in a range of vibrant colours. 
  • It works with everything from washcloths to sundresses. 

Types of cotton yarns on the market: 

Pima cotton- This is generally understood as yarn that is 30% stronger than regular cotton. It is made using longer fibres of cotton and therefore results in a softer cotton than standard. Pima cotton is very popular for making clothing worn close to the skin. It has a silk like quality thanks to its sheen and feel. 

Mercerised cotton- This cotton yarn will be soft and silky when you handle it, too. The reason for the softness of mercerised cotton is the finishing process. The threads are then passed through caustic soda under tension. This swells the fibres and makes them thicker but also, stronger and softer than standard cotton. 

Standard cotton- You'll see this especially with yarns that are used for toys, bags and home wares such as washcloths. The way it is spun is slightly looser than pima and mercerised but it is still strong and durable. Standard cotton can be soft, too as it depends on the thread count of the fibre. The only main difference here is that standard cotton yarn hasn't been treated for softness so after a few washes, your crochet garment may feel washed out

Here are my top choices for cotton yarns.

1. Sirdar happy cotton DK is my number one choice for amigurumi and toys. It is available in a range of vibrant colours and comes in 20g balls. This means that you won't end up with lots of yarn after making a small project. It's a great choice for the minimalist or the amigurumi enthusiast. 

Sirdar happy cotton dk. The best cotton yarn for crochet toys
2. King Cole Cottonsoft DK  This cotton yarn is exactly what it says on the label- it's soft. It's a cotton yarn making it soft and durable for clothing and things like baby blankets. You could also check out King Cole Cottonsmooth which is a mercerised cotton version of this yarn and is even softer but it is slightly more expensive than Cottonsoft. 
King cole cottonsoft dk. Colourful yarn for summer crochet
This yarn makes excellent summer garments as it is soft and machine washable. I find that a lot of cotton yarns have a tendency to feel like a hard dishcloth after a few washes but cottonsoft is different. It would work really well for something like the Summer Lace Kimono Cardigan. 
Summer kimono cardigan pattern. Crochet garments using cotton yarn.
3. Stylecraft Naturals Bamboo and Cotton  This range of bamboo cotton yarn is a great plant based material for your next crochet project. It's 60% Bamboo and 40% cotton so if you find cotton a bit too tough to wear, try this. The bamboo adds more breathability and softness. This yarn is also available in DK and you get 250m per 100g ball. I'd recommend using this for all crochet projects that ask for DK cotton yarn. 
Stylecraft naturals bamboo and cotton yarn

Sheepjes Catona 4ply cotton yarn. 

The widely popular Scheepjes Catona yarns have become a go-to yarn for many crafters.

It's made from 100% Mercerised Cotton. It's a fingering weight yarn and it is naturally breathable and characterised by a soft, delicate sheen and a smooth and supple touch.

You can use this one to create a range of garments, amigurumi, accessories, homeware items and toys for kids as it is so versatile. It comes in handy 50g balls. You get 125m per ball. 

Being EN71-3 certified, Catona is safe to use by those with a sensitive touch such as babies or children, not to mention that this yarn is produced using recycled waste water, offering a more sustainable choice as well for eco conscious crafters.

Sheepjes catona cotton yarn for knitting and crochet

My favourite thing about Sheepjes Catona in particular is the range of colours. I can imagine the Enchanted garden blanket being worked up in one of these shades!

Cotton yarn for lace baby blankets.

Not a fan of 100% cotton? Here are some synthetic yarns that have been blended with cotton, wool or silk. 

I'd recommend these yarns if you really love natural fibres like cotton but like to work with a bit of stretch. 

1. Sirdar Snuggly Cashmere Merino is 57% Wool 33% Acrylic 10% Cashmere. Although acrylic is known to be quite sweaty in the summer, this blend of acrylic with cashmere and merino ensures that it is soft, has a bit of stretch and is breathable. Merino wool is celebrated as a moisture wicking fibre that also regulates the temperature of the wearer so you really shouldn't leave it out of your summer options.

This yarn is available in a range of delicious jewel tones and is a more sustainable option than acrylic alone. Wool fibres make excellent summer cardigans, wraps or sweaters as they can be lightweight and easy to wear as part of a layered outfit. If you live in the UK, I'm sure you are familiar with the need for layers! 

Don't be fooled by Sirdar snuggly's excellent track record of baby yarns either. This yarn is perfect for garments for you. Although it would make an excellent baby yarn, it does run the risk of shrinkage and felting as it is such a delicate yarn. It would therefore make a beautiful summer crochet garment or accessory that doesn't require much washing as wool is antimicrobial. 

sirdar snuggle cashmere merino. Baby yarns for summer.
2. King Cole Linendale DK is a linen blend yarn. It's 57% cotton, 30% Viscose and 13% linen. This is an excellent summer crochet yarn as these three fibres are so very popular in summer clothing. Visit any high street shop and you'll find this fibre content in most things. Viscose is a semi-synthetic fibre, also known as rayon. It is made from regenerated wood pulp and is incredibly lightweight. This yarn would therefore make an excellent breathable, light, warm weather wearable. 
Use it in place of any DK yarn. Remember to check the gauge! 

3. Last but not least is the Sheepjes whirl cake in 4ply. 

This is such a gorgeous yarn and it takes care of the colour changes for you! You get 1000m of yarn in a 150g ball of 4ply. It's made of 60% cotton and 40% acrylic so you really do get the benefits of both fibres. 

Knit or crochet absolutely anything in it. My crochet shawl, Aurora Nox was made using Sheepjes Whirl in Forbidden Fuschia. 

Modern crochet patterns. Modern lace crochet shawl pattern. Scheepjes whirl shawl patterns.

If you would prefer to knit a shawl, Louise Tilbrook's St Bees Shawl is an excellent use of a Sheepjes Whirl cake. Louise used the colourway green Tea Tipple. 

knitted lace shawl using a sheepjes whirl cake

As you can see, there's lots of fun to be had with a Sheepjes whirl cake. I think the cotton element gives it that lightness and drape but the acrylic keeps the stitches in place. It's very hard to stretch this out of shape like you can with 100% cotton. 

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