Cotton is used in a vast amount of products. You will find it in everything; clothing, home goods, linens, towels, toys and more. We’ve all seen the commercials for cotton and recognize it has a reputation as representing the fiber of America. Cotton threads can be spun into light airy yarns, industrial strength materials and everything in between. This fiber is strong, versatile and impressively durable. Even when exposed to hot water washes, cotton emerges unscathed. Terrycloth, velvet, corduroy and denim are all examples of cotton created fabrics.

While most of Knit Picks’ yarns are derived from animals (Sheep and alpacas and worms, oh my!), the source of cotton is a plant. If it comes from an animal, it is called a protein fiber. If it comes from a plant, as cotton does, it is referred to as a cellulose fiber. Cotton, more specifically, is a seed fiber that is farmed all over the world from the United States to India to Egypt.

There is an appraisal process that is unique to cotton. Fibers are evaluated in several categories including color, fineness, length, strength, trash content and uniformity. All of these criteria combine to give the cotton a report card using the High Volume Instrument (HVI) system. (Knit Picks only uses cotton that qualifies for the honor roll.) The HVI system is similar to the micron count assessment given to protein fibers.

While cotton knitting yarn isn’t elastic, there are many ways to knit it so that the item you create stretches. For instance, knitting cotton yarn in any sort of ribbed stitch allows the item to expand and contract with ease. Knitting in a loose gauge also helps to provide some give.

Read further about some of the specific breeds of cottons that are featured in Knit Picks yarns including Pima and Tanguis.


Pima is a relatively new development. It was introduced in the early 20th century and named for the Pima Indians. Pima is up to 30% stronger than Upland cotton, which is the standard and most plentiful type of cotton in the world. It was founded in the United States but is now produced in a few other parts of the world such as Peru and Australia. The trademarks that have made Pima cotton so desirable are its pale color, its soft feel, and its unbeatable fiber length and strength.

Knit Picks offers 3 yarn lines available in a range of weights that include Pima cotton. In the catalog or on the web site you will find a selection of our cotton yarns along with dozens of pattern suggestions for each line. Our Shine line (sport weight and worsted weight) has endless possibilities for items that you want to have that subtle, special something about them. Our Comfy line (fingering, sport and worsted weight) is soft, machine washable, and lightweight – the ultimate solution for easy care and warm weather knitting. Finally, Billow is a slightly textured 100% pima cotton bulky yarn that works up quickly with a cloud-like softness


Coming to you straight from Peru, this cotton has an impressive fiber length which is why we like it. It holds dyes extremely well and shows colors beautifully. Named after the farmer who cultivated it, it now makes up the majority of the cotton produced in Peru.

CotLin features a blend of linen and Tanguis cotton. With thirty delightful shades to choose from, look to CotLin when you’re choosing a light project yarn or summer knitting pattern.