Puddles ears covered a rarity

Q&A: Organic Cotton for Winter Hats

Lindsay LewchukAnnouncements, eco world, Fiber Focus, How-Tos, Pattern Related, Q&A, Yarn Leave a Comment

Instagram Post
Instagram post that got you asking!

On IG Thethoughtfulknitter asked “p.s. how do you find using cotton for cold weather hats? I lost my hat and going to knit one.” Thanks so much for your question! Since snow is once again in the forecast, I thought this an ideal topic for this week’s blog.

Organic cotton (and cotton in general) is an excellent option for cold weather knits! As important as the fiber is, however, I’ve found that the needle size, pattern, and fit play a stronger role in whether or not the fiber will keep you cozy in the coldest climes.

Needle Size: the smaller the needle size with the thicker the yarn, the warmer your FO will be! The thicker yarn creates a density and the small needle size makes the natural gaps (or holes) from the knitting process less likely to become air holes. Ideally for cold weather I use a worsted + fiber weight with a US 7+ needle. Keep those stitches as close as possible!

dad in his squid hill hat
Using worsted weight organic cotton on US 7’s created an impenetrable fabric that dad loves all winter long Squid Hill Hat by Nina Machlin Dayton

Pattern: double knitting or even finding organic cotton roving to thrum, will provide extra layers of protection against the biting air.

double knitting
Upcycled cotton scraps created a double knit DK weight on US 4 headband… even with the lace design on top, the solid under layer does the job right! Although playing tug of war on skis with a powerful Great Dane probably wasn’t the best idea – I won, but…

Intarsia knitting, color work, stranded knitting also are great for layering up warmth.

intarsia knitting keeps you warm
I wore this Evergreen Sprig Headband knit in Blue Sky Fiber’s Worsted Organic Cotton in 11 degrees and was very comfortable all day long to walk around my favorite city.

Cables and textured stitches are the next level of protection. Lace and drop stitches would be least protective.

Zipline as a hat
Mocking double knit – when you pull the ties you get a triple layer of protection with this Inca Eco thick thin worsted weight 100% organic cotton with eco dyes from Galler Yarns on US 8 needles.

Fit: In addition to pattern considerations is how the hat fits. In particular ear coverage – leaving those little tips of your ears exposed, I find, causes cold to set in faster than anything!

Arctic Climes
Knit in Classic Elite Yarns Sprout – bulky weight 100% organic cotton – on US 10 needles is my go to each time the weather drops because it keeps the earlobes completely covered, which keeps the chills off!
Puddles ears covered a rarity
Even Puddles knows that when the temperatures are below zero he needs to wear his snood as a snood rather than a cowl… 2×2 rib on US 7s with organic cotton worsted weight keeps his floppy ears cozy and him running free!

Snug it up! A hat that fits leaves less room for cold air to accumulate and helps keep your own natural body heat in too.

Vegan Woolies close fitting hat
Knit in 100% organic undyed cotton worsted weight on US 8, Vegan Woolies’ pattern forms to fit you while the twisted rib acts almost like a double layer of knitting.

CaveatWIND! Despite my love for all things eco the thickest yarn on the smallest needle still struggles to cozy through harsh winter winds. I’ve considered using an inner layer of a fine silk or bamboo on a tiny needle to protect from the gales or even thrumming, but those are just hypotheses. Because truly when the wind howls strongly enough to break through the barrier that lofty bulky weight cotton provides, it is generally also saying that it isn’t a good time to go outside due to dangers from falling trees and limbs.

Curious about all things eco? Drop me a note and your question may be featured on a future blog too!

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