Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knitting Talk: Acrylic’s Bad Name

In one of the podcasts I’m listening to, the podcaster made mention of acrylic yarn in a negative way. She may have just been rambling, and maybe the acrylic she used was yucky (some are), but it kind of irked me a little bit that acrylic has such a bad reputation.

Acrylic yarn (to bring my non-knitting friends up to speed) is synthetic yarn. It may come blended with animal fibers, but some knitters refuse to use it, wanting only to use yarn that comes from a natural source (sheep, bunnies, alpacas, etc.). Some find acrylic to be less texture friendly. Red Heart yarn of the old school variety helped with this bad reputation. It’s stiff and somewhat scratchy. However, many of the newer acrylics are much softer. Even Red Heart knits up some good things, like afghans and animal beds, really well.

I don’t take exception with people for not wanting to use acrylics. It’s a personal choice. I enjoy using acrylic yarns. Their texture doesn’t bother me, they come in all kinds of colors and they’re cheap, which means more affordable knitting. New knitters shouldn’t feel like there’s anything wrong with acrylic yarn, especially if they’re not entirely sure they’re going to enjoy knitting (or crocheting).

When I first started knitting, I was reading blogs and books about it and came across several harsh comments about acrylic. Considering that was what I was using at the time, I wondered if I was less of a “knitter” for not working with wool. I’m glad I got over that in a hurry and now know that there are people who don’t like working with wool either.

There are a lot of different yarns out there with different feels and different costs. I finally moved to something besides acrylic: first cotton (great for washcloths) a merino wool and nylon blend for a pair of socks. I love the feel of both of this yarns. Does this mean I’m going to shun acrylic and lock it in the closet like an evil poser? Nope. I have a ton of acrylic that can still be used for something awesome, including some old Red Heart which…rough as it is…softens really well in the wash.


1 comment:

  1. We were discussing acrylic yarn this past weekend. I tend to knit with alpaca and wool mostly but have found that there are many acrylics out there that aren't that bad actually! I knit my step mom an afghan out of Red Heart several years ago and it has held up better than a few of my sweaters knit out of expensive wool that are now pilly and look horrible. I think gone are the days of "squeaky" cheap acrylic. It has come a long way!