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Topic: fiber type versus warmth?  (Read 512 times)
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superchloe
« on: January 08, 2008 02:05:30 PM »

Hey everyone!
For the last couple days, we've had unseasonably warm weather (mid 70s. yeah. it IS january).  It's going to get cold fast, and I was wondering what fibers you all would say are warmer than others. Does alpaca really insulate better than wool or plain old acrylic? are they really that advantageous over cotton? what about other fibers: corn, nylon, etc?
thanks in advance for your help!
-Chloe
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2008 03:38:14 PM »

I love wool blends and cotton blends, but I recently picked up Bernat's alpaca blend for some mittens. Lemme tell ya, those suckers are toasty! I'm definitely an alpaca fan.
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008 07:14:55 AM »

Alpaca is very warm. So is wool. Cotton can be but it's better for cooler weather not cold you know? I also find it's nice in the summer because it breathes really well.
Depending on who you are making the item for I'd check if they are allergic to certain wools or natural fibers. I'm allergic to alpaca and angora but most wool is fine.
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stripey_cat
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008 08:15:59 AM »

It matters!

Cotton, linen etc. are fairly cool.  Acrylic is less warm than animal fibres, but warmer than cellulose fibres.  Wool is moderately warm.  Silk is pretty warm, but not quite as good as alpaca, cashmere etc.  Also, animal fibres tend to be better at drawing sweat away from your skin, so you feel less clammy.

How the fibres are spun matters too: a fluffy woolen yarn is warmer than the sort of worsted you'd use to weave for a suit.  Brushed mohair and fluffy angora are warmer than smooth yarns of the same fibres.  Basically, the more air trapped in the yarn, the warmer it is.

On the flip side, the fluffier and softer a yarn is, the less resistance it'll offer to wind and wet.  This is why thrummed mittens (with very fluffy wool roving lining a shell made from tightly spun and knitted yarn) manage to be veyr warm and windproof at the same time.

K.
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jacquiw
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008 01:09:56 PM »

I am a spinner and Alpaca is warmer than wool definately and you don't need to knit or crochet it as thick. So a sport weight as compared to worsted . Also chiengora ( dog hair and no it doesn't smell like a dog when wet) and mohair(goat) are also very warm fibers, these on their own or blended with wool will be very warm.
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superchloe
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2008 12:07:51 PM »

the reason I initially asked was because I wanted to find out what the general consensus is in the knitting and crocheting community, just out of curiosity for my science fair project. I worked with stefferroo, another craftster. We created a science fair project out of it. If you'd like to more, it's over on the knitting board:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=198537.msg2105385#msg2105385
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