Sweater Weather: Wool vs. Cotton


Pure Handknit, Coasting Cardigan

Chic, comfortable, and cozy, hand knit sweaters have been around for centuries. I am a big fan of bundling up in them as soon as the weather starts to drop. There is something comforting in wearing a hand knit chunky sweater, not only in the warmth they provide, but in the inherent magic when sporting something made by human hands. The highest quality sweaters often come in natural fibers, the most popular being wool and cotton.

Here is a little background on these two popular options to help you make your sweater weather shopping easier:


When you think cold weather clothing, images of wool sweaters probably pop in your head. Wool is considered to be one of the warmest materials for clothing. There are many different types of wool available, the most popular includes sheeps wool, Merino, a fine fiber that is much softer and less scratchy than other wools.

To the mindful and conscious shopper, the environmental and ethical issues of using an animal product for clothing could be an issue, with images of animal cruelty going through your mind - poor sheep crammed into cages awaiting painful sheerings. However, not all wool is guilty. There are certified organic wool products out there that are ethically sourced and produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production. You just have to find them.



Cotton has been around forever, seriously it goes back. Soft and not scratchy, cotton yarn is a popular choice for those especially sensitive to the feel of wool sweaters. Also a natural fiber, cotton is animal friendly though not as warm as wool. Environmentally, cotton is a thirsty crop and requires lots of water for growth and in the manufacture of garments, and require hazardous fertilizers. But the use of organic cottons are becoming much more widespread, and easily identified in today’s day.

Virtually season-less, soft to the touch, economical and *easy to care for, the cotton sweater is a popular choice. Yes, they have their place – you might opt for wool when out fishing the Arctic Waters, but mostly cotton makes an all season garment. Cotton is perfect for mild weather, but what I love about cotton sweaters is that during my east coast winters, I can also wear them under a coat and not overheat. Availability, pricing, and global economics all play a role in the use of wool and cotton in your apparel selection, but the choice is yours to make when you are shopping for you or your family.

*It is important to us, LISSA the shop, and our designer, Pure Handknit, to have our customers care for their garments in an environmentally friendly way. Click here for Pure Handknit’s step-by-step instructions to care for their 100% Cotton hand knit sweaters.