I follow several yarn manufacturers on Facebook and noticed two of them posted hat patterns this week (well more than two, but two we are going to talk about). It really frustrates me when yarn manufacturers perpetuate the myth that all yarn work for fitted hats. Yes, you can make a hat using any yarn. However, will the hat turn out how you expect it to and function like the type of hat you desired? As the cold weather hits, we are all thinking toward warm knitted and crocheted items to keep us warm outside.
One manufacturer was advertising a 100% Egyptian Cotton yarn with their crocheted toque/beanie pattern. Here are reasons that a 100% cotton yarn is not going to create the beanie hat you will love. a) Cotton is not a warm fiber. Yes, covering your head with anything is better than nothing, but even acrylic is a warmer choice than cotton. b) Cotton has no memory, meaning it will stretch out and not return to shape without washing. These are the top two reasons I would not choose to make a toque/beanie or anything you want to stay true to the finished shape out of a 100% cotton yarn. It should have more wool or man-made fiber than cotton in the yarn, if you wish to have something that will not stretch out of shape.
The second manufacturer is advertising an alpaca yarn with a brioche knit hat. It is a GORGEOUS pattern but here is why you do not want to use a 100% or heavy alpaca based yarn for a toque/beanie. a) Alpaca is a heavier fiber than wool and gravity will drag it down. It will get longer and longer and will not return to its original size/shape until it is washed. b) Alpaca also has no memory and will stretch out until you wash it to have it return to its original shape. Alpaca should be at least equal in content with wool or man-made fiber to overcome its shortcomings. It is a gorgeous yarn and tremendously warm if you use it in appropriate projects.
I really wish that yarn manufacturers would help consumers learn about the properties of the fibers by suggesting appropriate patterns to use their yarns in rather than just throwing things out there and letting us create crafting disasters that do not make us happy in the long run.
Talk to your local yarn store employees to learn which yarns will give you the best finished project and will do the job you are asking them to do. We all love the super comfy, cushy, cozy yarns but be sure that you are spending your money smartly by purchasing the fiber that will do the job right.