We Fell Out … But Is It The End? Me & Acrylic Yarn …

Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always made space in my stash for the dreaded acrylic yarn.  Making space for acrylic is a sometimes hot button topic in the crafty world primarily because of the unnatural nature of acrylic and how it’s produced.  But one of the, if not the greatest selling points of using acrylic, is wash-ability aka the “many non crafters don’t care to hand wash so let’s use acrylic” reason.  Then there’s the price point.  Need I say more?  Added to those, it’s come a long way and is now softer than your grammy’s old Red Heart,  and there’s more variety than ever before.  So what’s the problem?

In my earlier, not so discriminating days as a knitter, the only thing I thought of was colour.  There was absolutely no concept of fiber, how to match particular weights with projects, none ah dat!  All I lived for in the early days was  … “ooooooo pretty!!”   Needless to say, I have a cruise ship worth of acrylic, and no tan lines or hot pool boy to show for it!  😀

Recently, I was commissioned to make some boot cuffs.  I picked a lovely pattern, then I got started.   By the time I got to the the second cable repeat, I smelled gasoline.  So much so, while I talking to my mom on the phone, she suggested that I called the super of my building to have him investigate.  Yes, that’s how much it smelled.  It’s a good thing I didn’t.  I kept smelling that gasoline smell, then my hands started to itch.  Then my face, then inside my mouth.  I got up to wash my hands then realised that it was the yarn that smelled like gasoline.  I’d actually thought it was the heating radiator in my apt. My mom thought I should toss that suckah asap, but nooooooooooooooo, I had to finish the project because I didn’t have yarn in the requested colour other than for this single skein.  So I plugged on, finished the project then ditched the rest of the yarn.   The boot cuffs turned out beautifully but I had to ask myself — when is enough, enough?    I don’t consider myself a yarn snob and I do believe that acrylic has it’s place, but honestly, after all that drama, I really just feel like sticking to natural fibers only or at the very least, acrylic blended with natural fiber.   If I do that, what do I do with the acrylic I have?  What do I do with the acrylic I have and like?

What’s your take?  Do you use acrylic yarn?  Do you think that the rest of the cruise ship load is worth keeping?

While you answer me, here’s a picture of the boot cuffs.  They turned out really nice despite me almost ripping my skin off from the itching.  😀

Boot Ready II

Boot Ready

Pattern: Up On Top

Designer: Bruggadung

My Ravelry Page: You Almost Killed Me!

Mods: None

18 thoughts on “We Fell Out … But Is It The End? Me & Acrylic Yarn …

  1. daniellajoe December 26, 2014 / 11:18 pm

    To be honest, I use acrylic but I tend to choose the ones that are very soft and if possible mixed with something else. I once bought this horrible cheap acrylic at Joan’s and had to take it back, I could not crochet with it because it was itchy and hard etc…I think that was the worst of the worse lol 🙂

    • Nicky December 28, 2014 / 10:20 am

      I’m with you. I went through my stash last week and took out all the soft acrylic and the skeins that are acrylic/wool blends. The rest have been banished to the storage closet. 😀

  2. Toni December 11, 2014 / 10:01 pm

    Wow! Now THAT is a bad acrylic experience! For some things, I don’t mind it. There are a couple craft things that I actually make with the Red Heart acrylic, but yarn with fumes is a new one. Yikes!

    • Nicky December 12, 2014 / 11:45 pm

      It was really something! Like I said, I thought it was my apt’s radiator the smell was so strong! I’ve started another project with acrylic this week — no negative reactions, so far so good.

  3. hardknitlife December 10, 2014 / 1:40 am

    I will say that acrylic has it’s place…like baby knits since they are so easy to care for and if it’s “nice” acrylic, it can definitely be used. I would hold onto the stuff you like and maybe try to find a guild or a program that teaches knitting to donate the stuff you aren’t crazy about…or if you can stand to knit with it, knit hats or scarves or something to donate to charity.

    The St. Louis Knitter’s Guild I’m part of takes donated yarn (mostly acrylic or blends) to knit up charity projects for local causes.

    • Nicky December 10, 2014 / 11:44 am

      Thanks for weighing in Jenna. I didn’t think about charities was going to drop the ones I don’t love off to Goodwill but charities work even better.

  4. QuaintrelleNoire December 9, 2014 / 3:06 pm

    Sometimes it depends on what I’m knitting. If it’s something that’s gonna be washed often like a baby blanket I may opt for an acyrlic yarn. When I’m making gifts for others or commissioned as someone else said, I usually will go with acrylic for the same reasons you mentioned, being machine washable. And cost is a big factor too. I’m doing multiple gifts for relatives this year and bought a big stash of acrylic on sale to save money.

    For my mom on the other hand I’d be willing to make gifts for her out of handmade yarn. She’s the only one who would know how to take care to handwash (or at least the delicate cycle in the washing machine) something made from more expensive yarn.

    For myself, I splurge and use the handmade yarns, of course, LMAO!!

    • Nicky December 9, 2014 / 4:20 pm

      I work the yarn like you do. And I think I’m going to continue to. For some people I know, there’s just no way I’m going to use expensive yarn then have them ruin it by tossing the item in the washer / dryer. Then there are some who tell me outright that they’ll never hand-wash!

  5. dwj1978 December 9, 2014 / 1:41 pm

    So I hate Red Heart Super Saver with a passion. But I can’t sing enough praises for Caron Simply Soft. I think it depends on the brand. But that would completely turn me off.

    • Nicky December 9, 2014 / 4:21 pm

      I’m tending to agree with you. I’ve seen some of the blankets you’ve made with CSS and they’re gorgeous. Red Heart has a soft version and I’ve used that with success, but this SS experience has me thinking about ever using that line again.

  6. Preeti December 9, 2014 / 12:38 pm

    Such lovely boot cuffs! Whoa, that’s a really bad reaction to the offending yarn. That said, acrylic does have it’s place especially in the gifting-to-non-knitters world. I’ve given away almost all of my crayola colored acrylic, but I’ve held on to the staples and some primary colors for quick gifts and such. In fact, my daughter wants to learn to knit (yes, my mama heart is singing!!) and so she’s getting needles and some rainbow-colored acrylic in her stocking. This stuff is so soft, the colors are gorgeous and it cost a whopping $4 – can’t beat that! Donate/toss any yarn that smells like gasoline, the allergic reaction isn’t worth it 😉

    • Nicky December 9, 2014 / 4:51 pm

      Yeah for KiKi!!!! 😀 I can’t wait to see her first projects.

      I take the same position as you do re the yarn and since I have it already, I’m going to use it. Well at least the ones that don’t send me running for the hills or wearing a face mask.

      La Gasolineo has already been tossed, I’m hoping I don’t find anymore.

  7. Tracey December 9, 2014 / 7:50 am

    I prefer to knit with natural yarns, but I do knit with acrylic when gifting to single young men who I know won’t hand wash or for a lot of baby items that will need to be washed often.
    Sometimes acrylic is okay, I knit a shawl in acrylic string [I thought it was cotton] and then I killed the acrylic which was pretty neat.

    • Nicky December 9, 2014 / 4:52 pm

      I love the idea of killing acrylic. It really does have it’s uses when we find the right one for us.

  8. savethestationery December 9, 2014 / 1:45 am

    It is a definite no for me except for commissions. I find the knit picks acrylic to be really nice. Just one thing, aren’t you worried the giftee might itch from the yarn too?

    • Nicky December 9, 2014 / 6:29 pm

      I agree re the KP review. It’s nice or at least the ones that originally came from Turkey. Now I hear their Brava lines are being made in China. I have one colour way and it’s thinner and super shiny. But all that aside, their Brava line is really soft. Getting ready to knit a throw with some now.

      Re the giftee, after I photographed the project, I washed the cuffs in the industrial washers in the laundry room. The smell was gone but the yarn still made me itch. On her absolutely no reaction. It was pouring rain today, she probably has them on right now! 😀

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