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!
Pattern: double knitting or even finding organic cotton roving to thrum, will provide extra layers of protection against the biting air.
Intarsia knitting, color work, stranded knitting also are great for layering up warmth.
Cables and textured stitches are the next level of protection. Lace and drop stitches would be least protective.
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!
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.
Caveat – WIND! 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!