Comparing Cotton: Knitcraft vs. WAK

When I launched this site, I asked for comments suggesting post ideas. One of the most common responses was people asking for reviews of cheaper yarns and seeing how they compare with more premium options. Hopefully, this post is going to be the first of many such comparisons. I’m comparing WAK’s Pima Cotton (full review here) and It’s Only Natural Light DK Yarn from Knitcraft, Hobbycraft’s own-brand yarn (full review here). I haven’t used the latter in a project yet, so I’m omitting the ‘Versatility and Use’ section of this review as it isn’t a fair comparison at present. When I have used the yarn properly, I’ll come back and fill this section in.

I think these two make for a very interesting comparison. They share a lot of characteristics and have more in common with each other than with Shiny Happy Cotton from Wool and the Gang (review here and comparison with WAK’s cotton here). The Pima Cotton by We Are Knitters is my gold-standard and, for the most part, the comparison with It’s Only Natural is very positive. The main difference, as we’ll see shortly, is in the colour range. If you’re working on a budget, however, you could certainly do worse than Knitcraft’s offering.

You can purchase We Are Knitters’ Pima Cotton through the WAK banner on the right-hand side of this page and Knitcraft’s It’s Only Natural here.

Let’s go!

Knit Craft It’s Only Natural in Cream

We Are Knitters Pima Cotton in Natural

Cost

We are Knitters’ Pima Cotton costs £8 for a 100g/212m-long skein. The hand-painted skeins are bit more expensive, at £11 a ball instead. You can also buy this yarn in in 5-, 10-, and 15-skein bundles, though, which brings the price down significantly. A 5-ball bundle costs £32 with a 20% discount; a 10-ball bundle costs £60 with a 25% discount; and a 15-ball bundle will set you back £84 with a 30% discount. WAK also sell ‘special’ bundles of this yarn that come with 5 skeins and an online pattern for £40. When purchased as part of a kit, the yarns become more expensive since there is a higher mark-up on these products. This is a GMO-free pima cotton from Peru and I think the price point is reasonable for the quality.

It’s Only Natural, on the other hand, costs £2 for a 50g/105m-long skein. Without any extra discounts, it’s literally half the price of WAK’s cotton. Hobbycraft often have 3-for-2 offers in place but there are no standard bulk discounts as there is with WAK’s Cotton. Even so, the yarn is very competitively priced. Considering this is an organic yarn, this is a really impressive and appealing price point. As I write in my full review of this yarn, the quality far exceeds my expectations at this price.

Left: Knitcraft It’s Only Natural in Cream. Right: We Are Knitters Pima Cotton in Natural.

Needle size and gauge

I wouldn’t necessarily suggest it, but I actually think that these yarns could be used interchangeably for most knitting patterns. It’s Only Natural is a hair thinner than WAK’s Pima Cotton, but they knit up to roughly the same dimensions on a range of needle sizes. This is not the case for crochet; as my small sample shows, WAK’s cotton works up to be a fair bit bigger than It’s Only Natural.

We Are Knitters suggest that their yarn be worked on 5mm needles and crochet hooks. When held double, We Are Knitters suggest a 8mmm/US 11 needles. To achieve a gauge of 10x10cm on 5mm needles, you will need to knit 23 rows of 18 stitches or crochet 20 rows of 17 stitches. When crocheting with this yarn, I like to go down to a 4mm/4.5mm hook to get a more opaque fabric. This is a Sport/DK weight yarn.

 According to Hobbycraft, their yarn is best knit on 3.75mm needles and 22 stitches knit over 18 rows should produce a 10cmx10cm swatch. This seemed accurate to me and like the finished look of the swatch. I’ve also used 5mm needles and the finish here is good, too, if a bit loose. It would do the trick in a pinch, though. The packaging recommends a 4mm crochet hook, which is fine. I would maybe go down to a 3.5mm hook, but I do tend to crochet loose. This is a light DK weight yarn.

Left: Knitcraft It’s Only Natural in Cream. Right: We Are Knitters Pima Cotton in Natural. From top to bottom, these swatches are knitted on 5mm needles, crocheted with a 4mm hook, and knitted on 3.75mm needles.

Colour range

This is where these yarns diverge.

The Pima Cotton is available in 30 shades. These include a good range of neutrals, bright colours, pastels, and hand-painted options. Excluding the black and white shades, there are slightly more cool-toned colours than warm-tones. There are only 6 darker colours, including Black. In my experience, these dark colours are still quite bright. I can see how some crafters might struggle with this colour palette. If you’re looking for a nuanced take on colour, you will appreciate WAK’s offerings here. The downside of this is that the colour palette gets a bit repetitive and it is sometimes hard to tell the colours apart online.

If you struggle with WAK’s colours, however, you’ll really struggle with Knitcraft’s. As I mention in my review, I really don’t like the colour range here. There are only eight shades, none of which really appeal to me. They’re just a bit… meh! There are two pinks, two blues, one purple, one yellow, one sage green, and one off-white. I have only tried the latter and it’s fine, but even this shade is a bit off. It almost looks dirty, rather than consciously off-white, if that makes sense. The colour selection is just a bit nothing-y. The colours aren’t neutral enough to be a true range of pastels but they lack the vibrancy to be brights.

In these photos, I’m comparing WAK’s Cotton in ‘Natural’ with Knitcraft’s in ‘Cream’. I don’t think my photos quite convey the difference between the shades. The former is a warm and, to my mind, true off-white. The latter is cooler and not quite as bright. It’s almost a putty colour. The difference is subtle and I might be being pedantic, but I think the distinction is worth making.

It’s Only Natural
The Pima Cotton

Final thoughts

These are both really, really lovely yarns. For me, WAK’s Pima Cotton has the edge for a few reasons. First, the colour range is so much more appealing to me as a knitter. Second, I think the yarn has a better, softer drape and a silkier feel (but only just!). Third, I think it’s a more versatile yarn. It works really well on a range of needle sizes, whereas I think It’s Only Natural is more suited to smaller needles.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that It’s Only Natural is a ‘dupe’ for the Pima Cotton, but it’s the closest I’ve come across so far. I’m intending to order some Paintbox Cotton to compare with both of these and will update this post accordingly, so make sure to check back!

I don’t want people to come away from this post thinking that It’s Only Natural isn’t good; indeed, it’s not just good for a budget yarn, it’s just good and it stands up to WAK well. It has a really nice drape and is also very silky. If the colour range was better, I’d say that they were almost on a level playing field.

In any case, there’s definitely room for both of these yarns in my stash and I will continue to reach for them both. To modify the old saying, the more cotton, the merrier!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Post

Knitcraft: It's Only Natural Light DK Yarn

Next Post

Wool and the Gang: Billie Jean Yarn