In my yarn panel for my alternative fabrics rug, Got Wool?, I used a yellow cotton yarn I picked up from a local yarn shop called "Knitting in the Loop." I needed a particular yellow, and the only non-wool yarn I could find to use was cotton. It is very different from acrylic yarn so I am giving it a separate evaluation.
Cutting ease: on a scale from 1 to 5 with "1" being "Cuts like butter; easy as wool" and five being "So terrible don't bother," cotton yarn gets a "0" since all you have to do is snip off the end and start hooking. Just as a note, if you buy yarn that is not balled yet, be sure to ask the retailer to take the skein and ball it for you. It makes hooking the yarn easier than trying to deal with a skein getting tangled up or trying to ball it yourself. Retailers will have a little winding machine that should ball it quickly. I'm not sure about the technical term for this since I'm not a knitter and rarely deal with yarn but the point is, you don't want to hook from a skein that is knotted and will tangle up. You need to have a ball of yarn to pull from.
Hooking ease: on a scale from 1 to 5 with one being "Hooks like a dream; easy as wool" and five being "Why am I trying this?", cotton yarn gets a "3". Cotton yarn is a bit stiff so you have to work with it a bit to get the loops to sit the right height. The cotton yarn I used was variegated in width, and this made it a little more tricky because the really thin areas of the yarn didn't want to stay tall and put. In one area of my rug (pictured to the left) I doubled the cotton yarn as a hooked. In another area of my rug where I am hooking all the alternative fabrics together (and wow is this fun! but more on that in another post on another day) I am using only one strand. The one strand is a bit harder to keep even loops, but I think this is because the width of the yarn is variegated.
Overall look: on a scale from 1 to 5 where one is "gorgeous like hand-dyed wool" to "bad look even for a bad hair day", cotton yarn gets a "3". I'm not sure how much I like the look of cotton yarn. It is stiff in appearance, and the loops are really visible. It reminds me of cotton string - which I guess it is in some respect - although it puffs out a bit more than string when it is hooked because it is not as tightly wound as cotton fibers that make up string. I liked the fact that I could get really thin lines if I wanted them, and the cotton yarns I found at the yarn shop had a good range of color choices. I imagine if I really looked, I could find plain cotton yarn and dye it myself. But I would really have to want the stiff string look to go to that much trouble, especially when I have gorgeous wools in my hooking closet.
Average evaluation: 1.2 out of 5: "Not bad hooking, but it's string"