Yarn Profile: Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton
By special guest reviewer Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting
This is dishcloth cotton, plain and simple. While other yarns are sipping from demitasses and making sparkling conversation upstairs, Kitchen Cotton is in the scullery, scouring the pots and getting shouted at by the cook. Don't be fooled by the fresh, pretty colors; Kitchen Cotton works for a living.
Once you're accustomed to the yarn's slight tendency to split (due to the loose twist) and its utter lack of elasticity (a characteristic of even the most luxurious unblended cottons), Kitchen Cotton knits up just great.
I picked up a pair of short, snub-nosed bamboo needles, cast on the time-honored Ballband Dishcloth pattern, and sighed with happiness as rows of colorful bricks appeared. Kitchen Cotton's stitch definition is crystalline, with stitches that are regular in size and shape.
The yarn does feel coarse and dry in the hands, which may cause the uninitiated to whimper. But in the finished handknit, "coarse and dry" translates to "sturdy and absorbent."
Both qualities are a plus for any knitted item that is destined for daily service in the kitchen or bath.
Blocking / Washing
I washed a sample dishcloth in hot water (on the ominous "sanitize" setting) and set the dryer to "normal." The colors faded a bit, and there was some shrinkage (10 percent or so) on this first wash, but the cloth smelled and felt great. It went straight into the dishcloth drawer and assumed its place in the sink rotation.
If you're knitting a blanket or sweater from this yarn, the label's care instructions will yield a softer fabric that will probably look nicer for a longer time. I laundered another dishcloth (why knit a swatch when you can knit a dishcloth?) according to the instructions on the label, and it faded very little and had a less cardboardy feel.
But I do not recommend making a garment out of a yarn this rough. A baby blanket—another item that sees hard wear and frequent laundering—maybe, but not a garment. There are cotton and blended yarns available in this price neighborhood that are more suitable for clothing.
But paradoxically, if Kitchen Cotton is knitted to gauge (or a bit tighter), the knitted fabric is tough and durable; it pills very little.
Dishcloth Nation (yes, there is a robust culture of dishcloth knitters) will likely squawk about the yarn's limited color range (only 14 on the current shade card), since a major attraction of knitting small kitchen items is the opportunity for low-risk color play.
As any kindergartner can attest, a box of crayons with only 14 colors is not as much fun as the flip-top box that includes "Burnt Siena" and has a built-in sharpener.
About the author
Lion Brand Yarns
4.5 sts/inch using US7 (4.5mm) needles
Average retail price
Where to buy online
Weight/yardage per hank
57g / 99 yards (90m)
Country of origin
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Machine wash delicate cycle, tumble dry low
Colors used in dishcloth
Vanilla (098), Pumpkin (133), Grape (147), Citrus (157), Hot Pepper (113)
Source of review yarn