Thank you for bringing this thread back to life; I hadn't read it before.
Re. acrylic vs. wool--my personal experience, although limited in knitting (I have lots of crochet experience), is that the stitch definition in acrylic isn't as clear as that in wool. Over the past five years, I made myself several hats in a 75% acrylic/25% wool blend which can be washed in the washer and dried in the dryer (to restore the "spring"/"bounce" in the acrylic) vs. one hat out of wool (Knitty's Coronet http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter03/PATTcoronet.html
Now, it's of course possible that the washing-machine treatment itself has blurred the stitches in the acrylic-based hats, but the hand-washed Coronet hat's cable band and stockinette crown are as clear as the day I finished the hat approx. February 2012. Likewise an all-wool diagonally patterned Cascade 220 hat with a crocheted Koigu ruffle (because the hat, a class pattern, was too short). Pattern is just as clear as it was Summer 2011.
I've almost finished my first wool shawl and will be able to provide comparative information on it vs.
my long-time acrylic crocheted shawl (made at a time when wool was completely beyond my means) in a few months.