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Skein Lane Studio
208 Carmel Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530

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About Cotton

Cotton comes from the cotton plant, and specifically, the boll. After harvesting, the plant parts are separated and the fibers are blended, processed and spun into yarn.

Cotton, like linen, is one of the oldest textile fibers known to man, and it has been used throughout the world for thousands of years.

Fiber Properties

Cotton absorbs moisture very quickly, and dries fairly quickly too. Cotton yarns are not susceptible to attack by moths, but if kept too damp, it can mildew.

It is a nice choice for baby items, because it can be machine washed and dried and gets softer with age. All cotton is non-allergenic. 

Because it shrinks initially, it is worth making the garment a little larger to compensate for shrinkage. Cotton is not as elastic as wool, and heavier garments can stretch out permanently.

Cotton is often blended with wool, rayon, silk and other fibers, making soft and durable yarns.


Cotton is a strong fiber, but has a fairly short staple, or fiber length.  When treated to be "mercerized", cottons are stronger, smoother and less prone to shrinkage than untreated cottons. The yarn label will indicate whether the cotton is mercerized or not.

Cotton is often blended with wool, making it softer and warmer. When blended with linen, it becomes stronger and makes the linen softer.

Cottons are great for all kinds of projects, from afghans to baby items to sweaters. Cotton is also frequently blended with wool and nylon for socks, resulting in a really comfortable sock.

Cotton fiber is also susceptible to attack by moths, so use mothballs to protect your yarn and garments. If you don't like the odor, periodically place the yarn or garment in a plastic bag in the freezer for 48 hours to kill moth larvae. You should also air out stored fibers in the sun every now and then.


Always read and use the care instructions on your yarn's label. If you need help interpreting the symbols used on the label, check our Yarn Label Symbols page.

Generally, you can handwash or machine wash cottons - check your yarn label. Machine drying produces a softer and softer garment, but if you machine dry the item, it will shrink some.

Skein Lane recommends using a "wool wash" product such as Eucalan, and tepid water (not cold); it's not just for wools. Never use Woolite, as it contains a bleaching agent that can discolor your yarn. You may add touch of hair conditioner to rinse water for extra softness.

To prevent bleeding when washing hand-dyed yarns, add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the wash and rinse water. This will set the dyes and make the garment softer.

Do not wring or twist the wet item. Wrap in a towel and gently squeeze out the excess water. Machine dry if desired and the yarn label indicates that it is safe to do so and at what temperature.


Some popular cotton and cotton blend yarns at Skein Lane Studio are:

  • Brown Sheep......Cotton Fleece


Learn more about

Acrylic  Alpaca  Angora  Bamboo  Cashmere  Linen  Mohair  Nylon  Rayon  Silk  Wool

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