Saying Goodbye to my Beloved Cotton Yarn

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I am head-over-heels in love with cotton yarn. I love how it feels. I love how it works up. I love the colors. I love how smooth the texture is.

But it seems that cotton yarn doesn’t love me back.

I began having pain in my elbow approximately six months ago. The pain continued to get worse and worse. I finally went to an orthopedic doctor and he diagnosed me with Lateral Epicondylitis, also known as Tennis Elbow, due to repetitive motion from crochet. He gave me a cortisone shot right in the joint to relieve the pain and inflammation. OUCH! It definitely helped but I have since read that repeated cortisone shots could damage the joint long term so I will not be getting another one. The shot definitely helped the pain. It almost went away completely but within four weeks or so the pain was back and much worse.

I have taken a lot of time to research repetitive motion pain in knitters and crocheters. I have found that it’s more common than I thought! I have discovered, for myself, that making amigurumi is the culprit and that cotton yarn is the accomplice. Making amigurumi requires making single crochet stitches over and over again. There is very little variation which I believe is the problem.

While listening to a Bhooked podcast about how wool yarn is made, I heard something that I hadn’t heard before. Cotton yarn doesn’t stretch, which can cause problems with hands, elbows, or wrists for knitters and crocheters! NOOOOO!!! I knew that cotton didn’t have any stretch, which is why it’s really good for amigurumi! But it’s not good for my joints.

So now I am trying different fibers to see how they behave with amigurumi but also how my elbow feels with more stretch in the yarn. I am currently trying Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran, which is 50% wool and 50% acrylic.  It has a bit of a fuzzy texture when you look really really closely but other than that it looks fairly similar to the cotton yarn.


I’m hoping that stretchier fibers will be the antidote to my tennis elbow but only time will tell.

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  1. I am really sorry to hear this as I too an a fellow lover of cotton and it’s sad to read you think it’s adding to the pain, and that the only solution is to stop using it :-(.

    It’s interesting to hear that other crafters think it’s due to cotton not having stretch to it and it’s why working with other yarns can help solve the problem you are having. I wonder if there is another way for you to still enjoy cotton but to get the stretch you need that could help with your problems? I am thinking yarn blends that have cotton but that are mixed with other fibres, and some of these would of course give some stretch to the yarn.

    I have personally made Amigurumi with a 50/50 Cotton bamboo blend and the results for this are lovely, I wonder if trying a yarn like this could be worth a try for you? Another blend with cotton would be an acrylic cotton blend and I’m actually trying a yarn with this blend myself right now. It definately has some stretch but still gives a nice result for amigurumi (not in love with this yarn as much as my others though). I also know of some other cotton blend yarns that have been used for Amigurumi like Scheepjes Stonewashed. I just wonder if some of these options might be worth trying as well?

    Depending on availability it might also be worth trying bamboo and seeing how you get on with that? As I’ve made some amigurumi with 100% bamboo and I wonder if you’d find that easier on you too. I have yet to try tencel but this might also be worth a try :-).

    Of course I know there are animal bases yarns you can use that will probably solve this as well. I just know you love cotton and given I have tried some cotton blend yarns I wondered if that might be a solution for you? If it was then it gives you more options when it comes to creating Amigurumi :-).

    I truly am sorry to hear you’ll have to let your cotton yarn go and I do hope you can find some other yarns that work better for you. I hope that maybe a few of my suggestions might even help a little!

    1. I would love to try bamboo! I actually haven’t really investigated it but I love the idea of only working with natural products, which is one of the reasons I love cotton. I mentioned this in my reply on your other comment that I think once my tendonitis is completely healed I will be able to return to the cotton. I just have to be smart about it. Thanks again for your input! It’s very much appreciated!