Monday, August 21, 2006


Smackdown: Sugar N' Creme versus Holly

I have to admit I am not enjoying working with cotton yarn. I feel like I am wrestling an alligator whenever I pick up my knitting needles to work on my ballband washcloths for the Mason Dixon SwapCloth. I first thought that it was the bamboo needles that made me loath knitting with cotton, but it seems to be a similar case with using metal needles. Nevertheless, progress has been made and contrary to the pictured evidence (also on my blog HollYarns), I am almost done with this ballband washrag.

Bum deal, my not liking knitting with cotton because I was really thinking I would love to make a cotton blanket for my bed using some sort of cotton--maybe something denim-ish like Rowan's Denim. I don't know if this will make sense to anybody besides myself, but I like the weight of the cotton washcloths and it seems to me that an entire sleeping blanket made of cotton would just be perfectly weighty.

Try Lambs Pride Cotton Fleece - I'm making my log cabin out of it and it's just a dream to knit up
Hi Holly,

You mentioned you've tried both the bamboo and the metal needles while knitting with cotton.

May I ask what brand of metal needles you've tried? I use Susan Bates and for me, knitting with them and the Sugar and Cream or Peaches and Cream cotton yarn is like running a hot knife through butter. They just seem to glide right along! :)

Best regards!
I was going to say I understand what you mean, but I like it (I feel more in control of my stitches)
However I glided right along on the MD washcloth (p. 55) when I used my AddiTurbos, so don't give up just yet. (Mind you I am not saying go out and buy pricey needles, but maybe Karen is right about yarn.)
Also I prefer Peaches as opposed to Sugar, and am not quite sure why.
You may want to try Cotton Classic yarn. I have had good experiences with it. Plus, it is mercerised, so it won't bleed, fade, or shrink as much as Sugar n' Cream.

Another option, though not mercerised, is Bernat Cottontots. It is very soft and enjoyable to work with.
In lots of knitting literature people write that they don't like cotton. I like it. Maybe because I'm a relatively new knitter and don't know any better. But when I started knitting I began making all sorts of dishclotsh- they are very good practice, quick projects and a good way to learn different stitch pattersn. In the beginning I liked the cotton because it didn't split and I could see what I was doing. Metal needles do help though... I guess no solid advice, just my two cents.
Try CottonTots, its a lot softer.
Perfectly weighty is the perfect description. Hand knit cotton blankets are comforting, conform to your body and breath but not so much that you lose warmth.

I hope you find the right combination of yarn and needles the blankets are worth the trouble.
I love weighty blankets, too. When I was a kid and I was sick, nothing was more comforting than a heavy (not thick, heavy) quilt. None of those fluffy quilts for me!
In order, for me, knitting either P&C or S&C: 1. Addi Turbos: speedy and easy, especially when doing projects that involve picking up stitches; 2. Denise: just slippery enough plastic; and 3. Clover bamboo: slow -- it feels like the yarn sticks to the needles, although I've found if I use a size 6, things go faster. Hope this is helpful -- Kelly
The first one I made I used bamboo needles. After that I used Addi Turbo and I can't even begin to describe the difference. It was so much easier and faster.
I too love making warshcloths and dishrags - have for years. It took me forever to find the right needle combination to use. All wood, bamboo, and/or straight needles hurt my wrists. The addi's were too slippery. Susan Bates is good, but sometimes they get sticky or something. Denise ended up being perfect for me, and I now use my Denise needles for ALL of knits (except socks - only Crystal Palace Bamboo makes me happy there).

Good luck finding your right combo. It took me a LONG time, but it's so much fun now (for me) to finally knit with cotton. ;}

I love Debbie Bliss Denim. I used it to make my kimono. The Sugar and Cream is much rougher and harder to knit with then some other cottons like Rowan Denim or some of the others. Debbie Bliss Denim did not feel much different to me than knitting with Cashmerino.

Take care,
Going up a needle size can help, too. The first warshrags I made I was using some leftover Debbie Bliss Cotton DK I had lying around and size 6 needles. When my humongous order of Sugar 'n Cream arrived the other day, I used the suggested size 7 for the 'swapcloth' I'm knitting and kept using the 6 for another dishcloth knitalong. While I like the firmer fabric with the 6, it's a whole lot more comfortable to knit SnC with the 7.
I also really like the gedifra cotton and takhi cotton classics (and I find cotton much easier than wool when it is hot out, my hands don't get so sticky) so I hope you work it out. A blanket will be heavy to knit, I'm sure, but heavenly to sleep in!
I used my Denise needles to knit a baby bib out of Sugar N Creme- they worked great.
I just finished two kimonos, one in Sugar n' Cream, one in a Filatura di Crosa yarn called Porto Cervo. You wouldn't believe the difference! It's a whole different knitting experience! Porto Cervo was positively dreamy to knit with. I wouldn't give up on cotton yarn until you've tried a few. People have given you some great suggestions. I'm sure you will find just the right thing for your blanket. Good luck!
Recently I've found that the fastest needles for knitting with the Sugar'n Cream is the the jewel plastics from Susan Bates - just zips along! :)
This is such a great point and I'm so glad you made it so that I could read other people's comments. I also have really had trouble knitting with cotton in comparison with wool. It seems so slippery and loose, floppy, I couldn't get a consistent guage etc. I bought some Rowan handknit cotton DK yarn and I really love knitting with it. It's an expensive yarn, which I'm sure has something to do with it. But, also it is spun a certain way that is different from some of the other cotton yarns I have tried. Unfortunately, I don't know the names that describe the different ways yarn is spun. I can just see that this yarn has several strands that are wound around each other relatively tightly. I use wooden needles and am getting great results with this yarn. I think wooden needles are better for me with cotton because there is a little more friction between the needle and the yarn, so I can knit a little more tightly.
Wowzers! Thanks for all the advice. I am actually using some Susan Bates needles in size 5 and the work much, much better than the bamboo. I guess where my problem with cotton yarn lies is in the yarn itself. It just doesn't have the pliable feel like wool. It has no give and so sometimes I feel like knitting is arm wrestling. I will definitely have to try the other suggested yarns in the future, but, in the meantime, I'll have to finish out my small stockpile of Sugar N'Creme. Once again--THANKS for all the advice!
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