Cotton tends to be the de-facto choice for crocheting. While an animal-based fiber does have stretch, it can also come with a higher price tag.
Also, if you don’t want to use animal-based fibers, there are some plant-based blends with stretch as well. You’ll need to assess them yourself to determine if it has the amount of give that you want.
100% Cotton fibers can also weigh quite a bit – causing stretching out both when wet and when dry. If your item is going to weigh a lot, a blend that includes a lighter-weight fiber may be the way to go.
What about Polyester?
Today’s polyesters are NOTHING like earlier ones. They have more give, more breathability and less pilling.
Even if you’re reticent to use polyester, I suggest you give it a try.
The Importance of Stretch
I suggest starting with something with stretch. This likely means an animal-based fiber (wool is the natural choice) or a blend.
It can mask uneven stitches and make your work just look “better” – especially in the beginning.
This is just a sampling of what’s in our Crochet 101 PDF!
What about Lycra (and other elastic additions)?
While elastic *will* make your yarn have more stretch, crocheting with it can come with some challenges. It can be harder to create consistent stitches, and when you’re starting out, achieving consistent stitches can be challenging enough all on its own.
When possible, I suggest that you *don’t* use a fiber with elastic when you’re starting out.
There are lots of other fibers as well, but we’ll keep it simple and just focus on these few.
What Fiber Should I Choose?
Regardless of which you choose, you’ll need to try them out for yourself.
I can also say that from personal experience, some fibers are great to hold but not great to work with. IOW, just because you like a fiber when you see it, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll also like it to crochet.
Superwash or Not?
There’s enough to say about “Superwash or Not” that we’ve dedicated an entire post to it.