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Old 03-14-2006, 08:37 PM   #1
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acrylic vs wool??
I went to my local craft store today, and came out empty handed because the acrylic vs wool thing confused me! Is one better than the other? I noticed that acrylic was cheaper, but does this also mean a "cheaper" quality garment in terms of look and wear? The good thing about acrylic that I found was that it can be both machine washed and dried, which is a good thing, since my boyfriend (who I'm knitting for) rarely checks labels. And I know wool can be scratchy for some people...

I guess the most important question I have is, will acrylic yarns make the garment look cheap? I'd hate to put long hours into the sweater, only to have it look bad.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:48 PM   #2
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I'll take a crack at answering your question, but I'm sure there are others on this forum that will answer it better...

Not to sound like a "natural" fiber snob, but wool does have it's benefits over acrylic. I used to use only acrylic for a looooooooooooong time. I find that some acrylics are scratchy (the exception is the baby yarn in acrylic, but then you are pretty much limited to pastelly colors) and not as pleasing to the touch as "natural" fibers. Yes, acrylic is washable and that makes it great for people who don't want to handwash their garments. With natural fibers, you can get yarn that's incredibly soft. Merino wool and alpaca are two of my favorites. I use the regular cheaper wool for felted items and it works great! Some of the "cheaper" wool will pill and not wear right on a garment, but if you are unsure, most of the time someone here will have used the yarn before and can tell/warn you! :D

Of course, if you are allergic to wool or other natural fibers, then acrylic is the way to go, but for the most part, I've found that once you've worked with the better natural yarns, you'll never want to touch acrylic again, unless you are making a baby item and you need it to washable.

Really, I'm not a natural fiber snob... In fact I'd never worked with natural yarn until recently, but I'll never go back!
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:50 PM   #3
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There are nice looking acrylics and there are cheap looking acrylics; just as there are nice looking wools and cheap looking wools.

The beauty of acrylics are their easy care. I compromise by using a blend, like Plymouth Encore, for childrens' sweaters and for other things that won't get any special treatment.

If you buy the Pound o' Yarn for a Buck, your sweater probably won't hold up very well. If you invest in some of the softer, better feeling acrylics you'll be fine.

But stay away from Homespun.
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:32 PM   #4
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I just checked my pattern and it calls for bernat denimstyle, which is a cotton-acrylic blend. Must I stick to acrylic-cotton blends or can I use wool or plain acrylic too?
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:44 PM   #5
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I've used the Denimstyle quite a bit, and it's a decent yarn for the price. The twist could be a bit better, but I've not had any real problems with it when crocheting or knitting with it. It washes well, and except for extreme wear areas {like an elbow}, I've had no problems with pilling. I like the colours it comes in, since I prefer muted and tweeded shades.

Since it's a basic worsted weight, you should have no trouble finding a suitable sub for it. Any basic WW that has a bit of give or forgiveness in it {unlike 100% cotton} would probably work. Anything that has a texture or nubbiness to it woud change the finished look of your project.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:28 PM   #6
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I hate to admit it but I have just become a yarn snob. I'm making a sweater (acrylic) and socks (wool) and can't believe I thought "yarn is yarn". The softness of the wool, the sandpaperiness (new word lol) of the acrylic (which I know will be softer after finished and washed, but still...). Lusting over the KnitPicks catalog. :rofling:
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by LM Needle Fanatic
I hate to admit it but I have just become a yarn snob. I'm making a sweater (acrylic) and socks (wool) and can't believe I thought "yarn is yarn". The softness of the wool, the sandpaperiness (new word lol) of the acrylic (which I know will be softer after finished and washed, but still...). Lusting over the KnitPicks catalog. :rofling:
Exactly what happened to me!
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:40 PM   #8
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It is a slippery slope! Even when I knit with 'rough' wool, it's preferable to me than most acrylics. There are some that I just can't stand the feel of anymore. I knit the preemie hats with acrylic and I didn't have a seizure or anything, but I don't think I'd be happy making something large from it, even though it's soft and not plastic-y feeling like some are. I never expected to feel this way, but quality is quality. Now, once you've used alpaca. . . . .
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Old 03-15-2006, 06:02 PM   #9
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Stephanie...now to figure out what to do with my acrylic stash.

Ingrid...I'm fighting not to order the alpaca/cashmere Ambrosia from KnitPicks. I want it sooooo much, and the sweater pattern that goes with it (heck I can afford the pattern lol)
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Old 03-15-2006, 06:11 PM   #10
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Sometimes elann has alpaca for a good price.
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