You can crochet potholders using any type of yarn that you want, of course, but you will quickly come to learn through trial and error that some yarn options are far superior to others for this type of project. There are pros and cons to different fibers for crochet, which this guide explains so that even the beginner can easily understand which yarn to use for items like potholders that need to be functional in the kitchen.
Cotton yarn is the top choice for making potholders for the following reasons:
- Cotton yarn won't melt. This is the most important thing to consider when choosing yarn for making potholders. You will be putting hot pans on this item; you need it to be made from a material that will not melt.
- Cotton yarn is easy to clean. Your potholders obviously get dirty pretty quickly. You want to be able to use them, wash them and use them again. Cotton is the best choice.
- Cotton yarn is absorbent but inelastic. You can absorb liquid spills without changing the shape of the crochet potholder.
Cotton yarn is definitely the most popular choice for kitchen projects including potholders, hot pads, dishcloths, placemats, and coasters. Note that there are different kinds of cotton yarn including mercerized cotton thread. You can use any cotton yarn/thread for crochet. However, the very best options is a type called "kitchen cotton". It is known for being particularly sturdy, absorbent, inelastic, and machine washable. It is usually considered "matte" in tone. You may also want to consider the option of organic cotton yarn for environmental considerations.
Although cotton is considered the best choice for potholders, it's not the only option. Wool is also a great choice for crochet potholders. Like with cotton, wool is not going to melt. Even better, wool is self-extinguishing, so if you accidentally catch it on fire, the fire is likely to go out on its own. That's a great feature for a kitchen product!
The downside to using wool as compared to cotton is that wool is not as easy to clean. If your potholders aren't designed to be felted, they might accidentally end up that way if they are washed/dried in a machine. This changes their design as well as their size. If you don't want to have to carefully hand wash your potholders then most wool yarn is not right for you.
Wool isn't the only self-extinguishing fiber, but wool is a more practical choice than some of the other possibilities available. For example, silk is also self-extinguishing, but it isn't very common for people to want to use a fiber as nice and expensive as silk for making everyday-use objects like potholders.
What Not to Use
Do not use acrylic, polyester, or similar fibers for crocheting potholders. Don't use plarn either. This is because any of these options melt if they come into contact with a hot dish or other hot item.