When we think of those scorching summer days, when the heat radiates on our skin we at Mary Maxim like to wear one thing in particular: Cotton! Or, at least we like to wear and work with Crochet Cotton blends. As one of our favorite summer yarns cotton is the most widely produced natural fiber on our planet and is 1 of 4 prominent natural fibers commonly used in North American textiles, including yarn.
The 4 most prominent natural fibers in North America are Cotton, Silk, Wool, and Linen. Cotton is made from the fibrous cells that grow on the outer layer of the cotton plant seeds. Silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms. Wool is spun from the fleece of sheep which produces various types such as virgin wool, merino wool, and etcetera. Finally, linen, which is made from the fibrous stems of flax plants.
Currently, 56% of all textile fabrics in the United States are made up of cotton or a cotton blend. The use of cotton in garments can be found as long ago as 3000 B.C and found at that time period in both India and South America.
It’s easy to understand why cotton is a favorite among North American Textiles. Cotton Fibers are sought for their versatility and natural properties such as:
Absorbency– Cotton absorbs moisture and wicks it away from the skin. This also makes it a great crafting fiber for home goods like dishcloths, baskets, and towels.
Breathability– Cotton fibers are breathable allowing moisture to pass easily through the fibers and regulating body temperatures.
Strength- cotton fibers are inherently strong, and the fiber gets stronger when it’s wet.
Cotton in its simplest form can be crafted into many types of textiles from the roughest canvas to the softest chenille.
Staple Categories in Cotton
The actual cotton fiber is the seed coat of the cottonseed produced after it flowers. Cotton fibers are categorized into three groups based on staple length. The staple length is the length of the individual fiber before it’s woven or spun. The longer the fiber or staple length, the stronger and finer the yarn is.
Fine fibers range from 1 to 2.5 inches. This category of fiber is the most difficult to grow and are more costly but superior. This category would include Sea Island, Egyptian, and Pima Cottons. Finer fibers produce softer and more luminous fabrics.
Standard Fibers range from .5 to 1.3 inches. This category of fiber is the most common and includes cotton breeds like the American Upland cotton.
Short Staple Fibers range from .5 to 1 inch in length. This category of cotton fiber is the most coarse and is used to make inexpensive fabrics and blends.
We can divide our cotton yarns into two categories based on their process: Carded vs Combed, which is often determined by their staple length
Carded Cotton is often made from short stapled fibers and is often used as a crafting yarn. It’s great for dishclothes and other home items. Mary Maxim’s Scrub-it cotton is a great crafting cotton. It has a terry cloth feel, to it which makes for a gentle exfoliant.
Stop by and discover our Scrub It Kits! We will be featuring some of these kits later in the month of April.
Combed Cotton is a high-quality fashion cotton like Mary Maxim’s Crochet Cotton. Crochet Cotton is beautiful mercerized cotton which is perfect for garments and accessories. Combed cotton has a longer staple and is smooth and luminous. It is softer yet also stronger because of the longer staple length.
Check out Mary Maxim’s Crocheted Sweaters crafted with Cotton. They are great spring projects for the approaching warm weather.
The Crocheted Cardigan is one of our favorite Crochet Cotton kits. This light, lacy cardigan is the perfect accent for any wardrobe shown in Ecru.
This crocheted cardigan is the perfect lightweight cover up with a delicate scalloped front edge. The Light and Lacy Cardigan kit includes Mary Maxim 1 lb. Crochet Cotton shown in Mauve.
Crochet this beautiful trendy sweater with a floral design. Shown in Ecru or choose any Crochet Cotton color.
Crochet this elegant capped sleeve that can be worn casual or dressy. Shown in Spring Green or choose any Crochet Cotton color.
This fresh, stylish crocheted cotton bag is a must-have to take anywhere. Kit includes Mary Maxim Crochet Cotton. Makes 2 bags, shown in Ecru.
Make sure to subscribe to our blog. Coming soon to the Mary Maxim Blog is Strategies on Creative Fatigue, Crafting with Scrub-it and next week stay tuned for Crocheted Hair Accessories made from crochet cotton.