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Topic: Wool Allergy/Just ready to use acrylic?  (Read 2510 times)
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2007 07:34:59 AM »

I have made two things with simply soft, a modified Blaze https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=123268.msg1188531#msg1188531 and a Tempting II for a friend.  The Blaze was knit with US size 7 circs and it has a great drape (and I love that color), and wearing it, it feels no warmer than any other sweater.  I wear it all the time, especially if I'm particularly tired when I'm getting dressed.  For Tempting II, I knit with it double-stranded, and it was for a friend, so I'm not a great judge for this, but as far as I could tell, it wasn't too warm.

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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2007 09:16:35 AM »

I don't find simply soft too warm, but it does make me sweat.  It just doesn't breathe.  So I find myself avoiding the sweater I made with it (here it is: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=106163.0).  Also, it's so slippery that the woven-in ends tend to unweave (anyone have a solution to this?).  What about machine-washable blends? (cotton/acrylic/nylon, etc.)

« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2007 09:40:43 AM »

I made a sweater with Simply Soft and found it comfortable for winter wear here in Tampa.  This was one of my first goes at making sweaters and was happy with the yarn working up.  I did do a kind of loose gauge and that may be the cause of the problem I had.  The sweater seemed to grow. 

When the fabric was warm, either from the dryer or from my body, the sweater would "loosen" and get bigger.  Especially at the cuff, waist and neck ribbing.  I've been afraid to use the Simply Soft again even though it was a pleasure to work with.
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2007 09:53:50 AM »

Are you machine washing your swatches because that's how you plan to wash the finished items?  Machine washing and drying is hard on yarn items from the agitation.  While animal fibers will felt, bad things will happen to other fibers as well.  Cotton will get surface abrasion (think about what happens to your jeans over time), acrylic can pill.  I've certainly had Caron Simply Soft Quick (the bulky version) pill insanely after being machine washed and dried conventionally.

Some things need to be beaten to bits to develop softness, like a stiff linen.  However, most things, even acrylic things, benefit over the long term from a little care in the washing process.  I wash everything that matters by hand, or by the modified machine method (fill the machine with water and detergent of choice, soak item, short spin cycle, soak again if necessary to rinse, short spin cycle, remove to dry - no agitation cycles), and air dry.

So, while it may seem like a given that you can machine wash/dry non-animal fibers, it may not be the best thing for them.  And if it turns out that you're *not* going to wash those things by machine, well, just hand wash your swatches. 

Use acrylic if you *want* to.  If it fits the project and what you want from it.  There are countless different kinds of synthetic, vegetable and non-hair protein fibers around, all of which behave differently.  Acrylic microfiber behaves differently from conventional acrylic, and there's soy yarn as well as regular silk.  They even make spinning fiber out of kelp and stuff like chitin these days.

Keep in mind that different fibers behave differently, as well.  Cotton doesn't shrink for the same reason wool shrinks.  It shrinks because it was stretched in the processing.  When it is exposed to hot water, it tries to return to its pre-stretched length.  This is called "relaxation shrinkage" and happens to all cotton.  Which is why some cotton garments will say they are pre-shrunk, they are washed ahead of time to allow the shrinkage to occur.  Mercerization doesn't affect this.  Mercerization is a treatment which makes the fiber stronger, and also glossier.

Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing with cotton because knitted cotton garments have a tendency to "grow".  Because the fabric is heavy, they stretch out over time, sometimes drastically.  Shrinking in the wash can help counteract this.  However, it is imprecise and hard to control.  It's best to consider ahead of time whether cotton is an appropriate fiber for the project. 

Another option, of course, is cotton blends (elastic, acrylic, etc.) which help the yarn preserve some bounce and memory.  Cotton/acrylic is useful for people who want something warmer than cotton (cellulose conducts heat well, making cotton feel cool to the touch and down right useless against really cold temperatures) for cool weather.  Acrylic doesn't breath, which means it can be clammy to wear, and then it doesn't insulate well once one is clammy.  Mixing it with cotton gives the fabric some wicking and breathability with more memory and insulation.
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2007 01:12:11 PM »

Wow, this has been a *great* thread so far!

The yarn I have is actually TLC cotton plus, which is a cotton/acrylic blend. From what I hear, that sounds like I got the best of both worlds for what I need.. the cotton for the breathability, the acrylic for the nature of it. I think Im going to go ahead and just hand wash the sweater, and keep it away from the dryer and such.. it would help the longevity of it, Im sure.

And thank you, Djinnj, for your very infomative answer on this!

I sweat pretty bad due to some meds that I am on, so I think for a full sleeved sweater Ill stay away from 100% acrylic. But, I am not gonna rule it out for a tank, shrug, etc. But it sounds like the TLC cotton plus will be pretty good for the sweater. :-)

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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2007 01:20:50 PM »

Oh---and keep an eye out for Lion Brand Cotton Ease.  I've only seen it at my LYS--and they only had two skeins, but it is SO SOFT.  I loved working with it!  I believe it's the same idea as the TLC Cotton Plus.  I worked with Simply Soft A LOT when I first started crocheting since it is so inexpensive and some things have pilled a lot, and some show no "fuzz" at all.  Maybe it depends on the color or batch.  Still, it gets very warm just working with the stuff, so like you said you would, I'd stay away from making anything that doesn't have a loose, open stitch. 

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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2007 08:04:57 PM »

Yes, cottonease is great to work with. It might be in Joann's by now, but it's certainly on their website as well as discountyarnsale.com. They discontinued it, then brought it back in muted colors that I think are much nicer than the brighter ones they used to have.


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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2007 11:18:26 PM »

I made a sweater out of simply soft. It's cuddly and warm, and hasn't stretched too much. I wore it tonight in 50F weather with a chilly wind and was comfortable. I'm a bit tight when I knit, and used the reccomended needles of US 8.

Then again, I like acryllics. Sure, I'd love to use something more expensive and fancy, but I'm a mother of 3 kids...and the money tree died Sad  Wink

OH! And I crocheted a granny square blanket (the kind without gaping holes) and Other than getting about 6 inches bigger total, it's not changed much. AND it's resisted all the mess my baby has thrown (or dropped, or leaked) at it. It's wasned well, and was so warm and cuddly. It's my favorite acryllic to work with, to be honest.
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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2007 09:03:32 AM »

It sounds like if you use a small gauge it knits up better. I may try a shapely tank out of it, or something similar.. just to see how it acts.


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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2007 12:23:58 PM »

simply soft pilled like crazy for me after one washing - I couldn't wear the shrug I made after that. 

Reynolds makes a much nicer 100% acrylic that would be barely more expensive than simply soft.  Also I think a nice blend of cotton/acrylic is really great.  I've made countless baby items out of GGH Samoa (50/50 blend) and they've washed and dried great in the machine. 

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