When it comes to crochet, two popular types of yarn are cotton yarn and acrylic yarn. Both have their own unique qualities and are suitable for different projects. Let’s explore the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of cotton yarn and acrylic yarn for crochet.



  • Availability: Both cotton yarn and acrylic yarn are widely available in various colors and thicknesses, making it easy to find the right yarn for your project
  • Durability: Both yarn types are relatively durable, although cotton yarn tends to be more resilient in the long run.



  • Fiber Composition: Cotton yarn is made from natural fibers derived from the cotton plant, while acrylic yarn is synthetic and made from acrylic fibers.
  • Texture: Cotton yarn has a natural, soft texture, while acrylic yarn can have a smoother, silkier feel. Acrylic yarn may also have a slight sheen to it.
  • Absorbency: Cotton yarn is highly absorbent, making it suitable for items like dishcloths or towels. Acrylic yarn is not absorbent and may not be ideal for projects that require moisture-wicking properties.
  • Warmth: Acrylic yarn tends to be warmer than cotton yarn. It has insulating properties and is often used for projects like blankets or winter accessories. Cotton yarn is more breathable and better suited for lightweight, summer garments.
  • Care: Cotton yarn is generally machine washable and can withstand higher temperatures, while acrylic yarn is also machine washable but can be sensitive to high heat and may require lower temperatures or air drying.


Pros of Cotton Yarn:

  1. Natural Fiber: Cotton yarn is made from a natural plant-based fiber, which can be appealing to those looking for environmentally friendly options.
  2. Breathability: Cotton yarn allows air to circulate, making it comfortable to wear in warm weather.
  3. Softness: Cotton yarn has a soft texture that can be gentle on the skin, making it suitable for baby items or those with sensitive skin.
  4. Absorbency: Cotton yarn absorbs moisture well, making it great for projects that require absorbent properties.
  5. Longevity: Cotton yarn tends to withstand wear and tear, making it a durable choice for long-lasting projects.


Cons of Cotton Yarn:

  1. Lack of Stretch: Cotton yarn doesn’t have as much stretch as acrylic yarn, so projects made with cotton may not have as much give or elasticity.
  2. Prone to Shrinking: Cotton yarn can shrink if exposed to high heat or improper washing techniques, so it requires careful care instructions, typically washed by hand with cold water and air dried.
  3. Limited Color Range: Cotton yarn may have a more limited color range compared to acrylic yarn, which often offers a wider variety of vibrant and bold colors.

Check out our top pick for a durable, yet affordable cotton yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Yarn


Pros of Acrylic Yarn:

  1. Affordability: Acrylic yarn is generally more budget-friendly than cotton yarn.
  2. Versatility: Acrylic yarn is available in a wide range of colors, textures, and thicknesses, making it versatile for various crochet projects.
  3. Low Maintenance: Acrylic yarn is easy to care for, often being machine washable and resistant to shrinking or stretching.
  4. Warmth: Acrylic yarn provides good insulation, making it suitable for cozy blankets, winter wear, and cold-weather accessories.

Cons of Acrylic Yarn:

  1. Synthetic Fiber: Acrylic yarn is made from synthetic fibers, which may not be as environmentally friendly as natural fibers like cotton.
  2. Less Breathable: Acrylic yarn can be less breathable than cotton, making it less suitable for warm climates or summer garments.
  3. Pilling: Acrylic yarn has a tendency to pill or form small fuzz balls with extended use.


Check out our top pick for a soft and colourful acrylic yarn: Red Heart Acrylic Yarn


yarn up close

Ultimately, the choice between cotton yarn and acrylic yarn for crochet depends on your project requirements and personal preferences. Here are a few additional factors to consider:

  1. Project Type: Consider the purpose and desired characteristics of your crochet project. If you’re making a lightweight summer garment or an item that requires absorbency, such as dishcloths or towels, cotton yarn may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you’re creating a cozy blanket or a winter accessory that requires warmth, acrylic yarn might be more suitable.
  2. Texture and Appearance: Take into account the texture and appearance you desire for your project. Cotton yarn has a natural, soft feel, while acrylic yarn can have a smoother, silkier texture. Acrylic yarn often offers a wider variety of vibrant colors, including variegated and self-striping options, whereas the color range of cotton yarn may be more limited.
  3. Care Instructions: Consider the ease of care and maintenance required for your project. Cotton yarn is generally more tolerant of high temperatures and can withstand frequent washing, while acrylic yarn may require more delicate care to avoid issues such as stretching or pilling.
  4. Allergies and Sensitivities: Some individuals may have sensitivities or allergies to certain fibers. If you or the intended recipient have specific sensitivities, it’s important to consider the potential reaction to either cotton or acrylic yarn.
  5. Budget: Acrylic yarn is generally more affordable than cotton yarn, which can be a deciding factor if you’re working within a specific budget.

It’s worth noting that many crocheters often combine different yarn types in their projects, using cotton for specific parts that require breathability or absorbency and acrylic for sections that need warmth or durability. Both cotton yarn and acrylic yarn have their own advantages and considerations. Understanding the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of each can help you make an informed decision based on your project needs, preferences, and budget.