There are many subtle aspects to knitting yarns that need to be taken into consideration when knitting garments or any items that people will be wearing. The main differences will be in the make of the yarn that is being used. Cotton yarns are more absorbent and thus are not really great for mittens, hats or other protective gear, whereas other natural fibers like wool and alpaca have natural oils that help to stave off wet and cold weather conditions much better.
The yarn you choose can ultimately have a very definitive impact on just how well your knitted garments function no matter how nice they look. Traditionally, most knitting yarn is made from cotton or wool but such is no longer the case. Still, since the cotton knitting yarn is very popular, it will certainly not hurt to begin looking there. The most common types of Cottons used in knitting yarns are the American Cotton, the Egyptian Cotton and the Pima Cotton.
The knitting yarn made with American Cotton is generally available in the widest selection of colors. It is very absorbent and easily takes dyes evenly and completely. While there will still be slight variations in the dyes between batches, those skeins that are made from the same batch will generally have only very minute deviations in color and it should not affect your work any at all. The American Cotton can also be easily treated with certain chemicals or combined with other fibers that do make it more resistant to adverse weather conditions and longer lasting.
The Egyptian Cotton is also a very popular material for making knitting yarn. The Egyptian Cotton is generally much softer than the American Cotton although it does not seem to possess the same tensile strength. Being a very soft and absorbent cotton it is generally very absorbent and thus, it can have slight color variations that may show in your finished products. Advances in technology over the last century or so have drastically reduced this problem but it is still a good idea to thumb through the yarn in the skeins when you are purchasing large amounts of Knitting Yarn made with the Egyptian Cotton.
Pima Cotton is a very nice blend of the Egyptian and American Cottons that is a very soft and strong knitting yarn. This particular blend brings out the best of both cottons and works great for almost any type of garment. However, all of these types of cotton knitting yarns do have some issues that may make them nicer or not so nice for individual knitters depending on their personal strengths and weaknesses.
The pure and blended cotton knitting yarns do tend to be very soft and for that reason, some people like them but some people will have a difficult time with them. They do come unraveled rather easily and may require a bit of a soft but firm handle on your work. Once you get used to working with them though, they really are among the best knitting yarns for all-around use. For those people who may not be so comfortable with them, there are many cotton blend knitting yarns available. Just make sure that you check the label before you purchase any large amount of yarn and you should be fine.