Acrylic vs Cotton Yarn: Which One to Choose

Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
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Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: September 13, 2023
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Getting a cozy, warm, and comfy blanket for your baby could be all that you need. Unfortunately, not all kinds of yarn suit the purpose of making baby clothing. If the baby blankets are rough or prickly, that can cause irritation and discomfort to the baby, which would be the reason for endless cries. Luckily, you can avoid all this if you choose to go through this useful article that compares acrylic vs. Cotton yarn. You will be able to know the best yarn to make your baby blanket while ensuring her comfort is well taken care of.

One of the vital considerations for a baby blanket yarn is the material. Ensure you get a soft material with a good drape and can easily be washed too and taken care of. Durability is also essential. It also needs to be heavy enough to keep the baby warm and snugly yet easy to carry around with much ease. Keep reading to know the best yarn for your blanket and possibly find the one you have been looking for to make your blanket for your baby.

Acrylic yarn

Acrylic vs Cotton Yarn: Which One to ChooseIf you are a crochet enthusiast, then you must have come across the popular acrylic yarn since it is readily available. It is available in various colors and more affordable, unlike other choices of yarn. It is a highly recommendable option for beginners. The crucial part is that some acrylics could be cheap but challenging to work with since they easily split apart. Even though it might not be common, it happens. If you started to crochet with acrylic yarn but are experiencing tough times, you can opt to switch to other acrylic yarn brands, including cotton and wool yarn, and see what works for you. Learning to crotchet should not be troublesome.

What is it?

Acrylic vs Cotton Yarn: Which One to ChooseIt is a fiber that is made from polymers. For a fiber to fit in the acrylic category, it must contain an 85% acrylonitrile monomer. The acrylic fiber Trusted Source Acrylic fiber - Wikipedia Acrylic fibers are synthetic fibers made from a polymer (polyacrylonitrile) with an average molecular weight of ~100,000, about 1900 monomer units. For a fiber to be called “acrylic” in the US, the polymer must contain at least 85% acrylonitrile monomer. was first created in 1941, and they traded under the name orlon. It was made for the first time in the 1940s, but massive production happened in the 1950s. It is a strong and warm fiber that is suitable for tracksuits and sweaters. It can also be used for furnishing fabrics and carpets. It is manufactured as a filament that can be cut in short lengths similar to wool hairs and be spun to form yarns. The end of the acrylic includes hair extensions, faux fur, wigs, and protective clothing.


Cotton is one of the highly used fibers in the manufacturing industry globally, with an estimated production of at least 25 million bales each year. Since it is a natural fiber, it is a renewable resource that is biodegradable.  The cotton yarn is normally spun to create threads that can be used to make breathable yet soft textile fabrics.

Cotton is preferable since it is not only soft but also comfortable and durable. However, just like other fabrics, it has advantages and disadvantages.

Noting there are numerous kinds of yarns in the market, acrylic yarn is the best. Here are the pros and cons.
  • Affordability

Even though acrylic yarn prices can differ, they are more affordable than the wool or cotton yarn used for crochet.

  • Durability

It is a kind of fiber that tends to last longer than other types of materials; hence it makes them durable items hence it is a great choice. However, durability varies from yarn to yarn.

  • Non-allergic

Many people tend to be allergic to wool and other fiber products from animals. If that happens, you can choose to go for acrylic since it is a non-allergic option.

  • Washable

You will need to look at the yarn label to know if they can be cleaned and dried in a machine or not, even though it is the case in most instances. It is a great feature since people want easy to care items.

  • Availability

You can purchase acrylic yarn from most shops, especially the big box stores. They are widely available online. Due to the variation in the acrylic yarns’ production, they are available in varying colors, which makes them a suitable option for many crocheters.


  • Rough texture

The acrylic fibers are not as soft as the natural fibers, even though they improve with the new technology.

  • Unsafe in some instances

Acrylic is considered highly flammable hence not suitable for items used in the kitchen. It is human-made, and therefore people who prefer to shop locally from the farmer who they know about the practices in yarn making may find acrylic yarn unsuitable for them.

What it’s best for

Over the years, different people prefer a given fiber for particular reasons and depending on the item they are making. But acrylic fiber has its place in crochet since it is the best yarn in terms of strength and warmth, and hence designers often use it for sweaters, tracksuits, furnishing fabrics, and carpets. Looking at most of the reviews, the best material is Bernat Softee Baby Yarn that is made from acrylic yarn since it has soft fabrics that make it ideal for use to knit and crochet baby projects.

Cotton yarn

Acrylic vs Cotton Yarn: Which One to ChooseIt is an inelastic fiber, which is a bit challenging to make crotchet with, unlike wool. However, it is still something you can try as you begin. If you are learning crocheting during summer, you might find it unpleasant to work with. Cotton fiber is preferable since it is light, soft, breathable, and versatile; hence it is suitable for most knitters. The cotton yarn is popular due to its soft and versatile nature, which readily accepts dyes to give beautiful shades. Cotton yarn is breathable, which makes it preferable for use throughout the year. Basing it on most of the reviews, the top material is certainly Lily Sugar’n Cream Cotton Cone Yarn since it features natural, soft, and absorbent cotton material hence making it an ideal option for making blankets.

What is it?

Acrylic vs Cotton Yarn: Which One to ChooseIn the 800 A.D, Arab merchants would sell cotton cloth in Europe. In 1942, when Columbus discovered America, he found cotton growing in the Bahamas Island. In 1500, cotton was getting popularly known in the world. There is a belief that cottonseed was planted in Florida in 1556 and 1607 in Virginia. Today, cotton is the most highly used textile in the world. The yarn is spun to a thread that makes soft, breathable textile used for making clothing worldwide. It originates from a natural plant-based fiber, which is surprisingly one of the oldest materials, yet it remains very popular for knitters. Since the start of the 1700s, there has been the mass production of cotton. The knitters in mild climates can enjoy knitting throughout the year. For those with wool allergies, a cotton is a great option.


Acrylic vs Cotton Yarn: Which One to ChooseIt is suitable for all seasons. It can keep you cool on hot summer days but offer insulation on cold days. They are environmentally friendly, natural fibers since they are less toxic, unlike polyester or acrylic fibers.

They are comfortable since they make soft clothing. That is why they are used to make undergarments since they are not only soft but also breathable and highly comfortable. In addition, their excellent machine washability makes them best for making baby blankets.

They don’t cause skin irritations; hence they are highly recommended by dermatologists.


Unlike synthetic fiber; hence they won’t be your best option if you are trying to keep the cost down since they are expensive. They shrink easily after several cycles in the dryer, and the clothing may no longer be fit. You can avoid that through sun drying.

They are not strong, and hence they can wear out easily. It can get damaged by damp conditions and also fades in the light. It also creases quite easily hence making it necessary to iron it before use.

Cotton yarn is stretchy is but not stretchy while working with it. That is a challenge if you want to bounce to your knitting. While knitting with cotton, you might need to go to the needle size to get close to the same gauge you would get knitting with wool. Also, cotton tends to shrink when washed and stretches a bit when worn.  That is an important consideration while deciding which project you want to work on with cotton.

What it’s best for

Acrylic vs Cotton Yarn: Which One to ChooseCotton fiber is the most widely used natural fiber as it has a huge appeal in the manufacturing industries across the world. Noting that it is highly breathable and absorbent, it is suitable for making warm weather clothing, and it is also the best yarn for scarves.  Due to its soft nature, it is a suitable option for making formal and business clothing. The draping abilities make it suitable for yarn for making dresses.

Final thoughts

It can be a daunting task to select the best yarn, particularly with the many color options available in the market. It is not just about the type of yarn but also the other important facts that make it stand out amid other low-quality options. As a beginner, you might find all the yarns looking alike and get confused on which one to pick. However, it would be essential to know the important factors to look at to help you make an informed decision and save you the struggle to work with unsuitable yarn. Therefore, any knitting enthusiast will find it useful to have this guide as it compares acrylic vs. cotton yarn helping you to know what suits your purpose.


Acrylic fiber - Wikipedia
Acrylic fibers are synthetic fibers made from a polymer (polyacrylonitrile) with an average molecular weight of ~100,000, about 1900 monomer units. For a fiber to be called “acrylic" in the US, the polymer must contain at least 85% acrylonitrile monomer.
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