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24/7 cotton

  • Get To Know 24/7 Cotton

    Like its name implies, 24/7 cotton is ready for your projects around the clock. Whether you're interested in making a hat, afghan or bag, you can reach for a ball of this yarn. The sheen imparted by the mercerization process adds depth to the simplest of stitch patterns while the structure of the yarn gives definition to more complex ones.

    Swatches crocheted in 24/7 Cotton yarn.

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  • What is Mercerized Cotton Yarn?

    You found a pattern that calls for cotton yarn and immediately start searching for the perfect match. Browsing through yarn options you might find that some use the term mercerized cotton in the fiber content. This description is unclear to many people, especially if you have never seen or felt different cottons.

    In brief, mercerization is a way of treating cotton that makes it stronger and more receptive to dye. After the process you have a smooth, luminous yarn that is easy to care for.

    Where did it Originate?

    Like many inventions, the term “mercerized” was derived from the name of the person who created it. In 1844 John Mercer (see the connection?) experimented with using sodium hydroxide to treat cotton. The chemical caused the fiber to swell and compact thus increasing its tensile strength. However, it also resulted in fibers shrinking by as much as 25% percent.

    Improving Upon a Concept

    While the idea behind mercerization was good, the shrinkage of fibers was not ideal. In the 1890s H.A. Lowe improved upon Mercer’s idea. He discovered that holding the fibers under tension during the process reduced shrinking and also created a lustrous sheen.

    What is the Mercerization Process?

    Mercerization can be done on any cellulose fiber (i.e. cotton, hemp, linen) in fabric or yarn form. To mercerize fiber it is submerged in sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as caustic soda or lye. This is done in repeated bursts of four minutes or less. While immersed in the solution the fiber is kept under tension (the improvement developed by H.A. Lowe) to prevent shrinkage. An acidic bath is used to neutralize the alkali treatments.

    Any cotton fiber can be mercerized, however, long-staple varieties respond best.

    24/7 Cotton, shown above, is a worsted weight 100% mercerized cotton from Lion Brand yarn

    Mercerized Cotton or Not?

    Neither type of cotton is hands down better than the other. Mercerized cotton will be shinier and stronger than non-mercerized varieties. Dye takes to mercerized cotton easier and thus produces richer tones. Somewhat contradictory to that, non-mercerized yarn will be more absorbent making it a better choice for items like washcloths.

    Part of mercerized cotton being stronger means it sacrifices softness. If you are making something where strength of the fabric or structure is important than mercerized cotton will be a better option. An item that relies on softness and drape is better suited for a non-mercerized cotton. However, mercerized cotton will soften with washing and wear and is still useable for garments.

    Try It!

    Want to try mercerized cotton for yourself? Lion Brand Yarn offers a worsted weight option, 24/7 Cotton, as well as many patterns to pair it with.

     

    Patterns Shown

    The Coffee Shop Wrap
    Coachella Boots
    Chelsea Cape
    Springtime Stroller Blanket

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  • Show Your Love with This Quick Coffee Cozy

    Happy Valentine's Day! What better way to show your romantic side than by crocheting a quick, sweet mug cozy filled with love?

    love at first sip

    The Love at First Sip coffee sleeve is a sweet project you can make in a snap, thanks to our friends at A Crocheted Simplicity.

    This pattern takes two colors of 24/7 Cotton® yarn and a size G/6 (4.0 mm) hook. Rose and White are great colors together, as you can see, but you could also have fun with palette. Red and Pink could look hardcore Valentine's Day-esque,or you could do something a bit more unexpected like Lemon and Silver or Navy and Ecru. Have fun with the colors!

    The great thing about using cotton yarn is that it's easy to care for when you inevitably spill coffee on it. Machine washing is super important for anything that's going to be in a messy situation. Projects like this that will be near food (also think: place mats, trivets, potholders, and so forth) need to be washable. So do projects that will be around other messy recipients, like pets, kids, or particularly clumsy adults. You can machine wash and dry 24/7 Cotton®, so it's perfect for all of those situations. Including when you run to catch the bus and your coffee sloshes everywhere.

    The main part of the sleeve looks like a granny square, but it's actually worked back and forth instead of out from the center. Once you finish the motif you work simple ribbing around the rest of the piece and sew it together. It's fairly simple, and would be perfect for anyone who knows most basic crochet stitches and can read a chart. If you're more of a beginner and want to try graduating to some of the techniques used, like ribbing or a granny motif, this is a great way to do that, too! Since it's small, you can try it over and over until you get it right.

    Whatever kind of crocheter you are, the Love at First Sip coffee sleeve made in 24/7 Cotton® is a quick and cute project. Start it today in honor of Valentine's Day and enjoy the beautiful design all year round.

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