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Topic: softening acrylic yarn?  (Read 5218 times)
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« on: October 28, 2004 09:30:03 PM »

So this is the dumbest knitting question Ive ever asked....
Long story short a bunch of my friends are vegan, and they all refuse to wear anything made from wool, and slightly protest alpaca, chinchilla & angora.... so when I knit for them they'd just perfer that I use cotton, hemp or acrylic.

So Ive knitted some acrylic scarves, and they all feel a bit stiff to me. Is there any way to perhaps let them sit in the sink with a bit of fabric softner & water.... then lay them out to dry. Would that work?
Ive never had to think about it before, and theres no way Im going to ask my local yarn shop about it.... they are total yarn snobs and would snub me if they knew I secretly used acrylic.  Shocked Ha!
But considering the circumstances, actually I bet my local yarn supplier would actually be willing to help.

Suggestions please.
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2004 09:48:08 PM »

Have you tried running them through the washer and dryer a couple of times?  Seems to help some, in my experience, though it does depend on the yarn itself.  Some very cheap stuff my mom gave me won't soften the least bit (to get even, I'm making something for her with the leftovers) but some others I've noticed a huge improvement.
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2004 09:50:20 PM »

Im afraid to run it through the washer.... perhaps on the gentle cycle... but Id just perfer to hand wash it honestly. Do you think the dryer softens it? Im afraid it will make the garments get fuzzies.
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2004 09:54:44 PM »

To be honest, I'm not sure which part does it.  I always do both, since most of what I knit with acrylic is given as gifts and I know it will likely be abused anyways.  Which is the reason I use it.  I figure they're going to toss it in the washer and dryer without a second thought, so I may as well do it first to make sure it stands up to it!  I haven't had anything come out too fuzzy, I thought that natural fibers had that problem, not acrylic, though I suppose again, it depends on what exactly you're using.
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2004 09:57:11 PM »

I think that some brands of acrylic will never feel soft while others feel really nice and almost "natural".  I end up using acrylic a lot as it's generally cheaper (sob) and I was recently pleasantly surprised when I started a couple of projects for my nieces in TLC "Essentials" which is just basic worsted weight, but it has a nice feel when you are working with it and it is quite soft knitted up on size 8/5mm needles.  (Keep in mind that the comparison here is the cheap-o Red Heart that I was using for another nephew project)

Another thought is that if you go up one needle size from what was suggested you will get a slightly looser knit, making it softer (in theory)

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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2004 07:40:16 AM »

you should check out Caron "Simply Soft."  also, Lion Brand "Microspun" feels really nice too. i myself have troubles wearing a lot of wool (think red blotchy mayhem), and both of these yarns are really softies.  As far as the fuzzies go, you could knit something up for a test run and see if drying it in one of those mesh bags used for washing/drying delicates.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2004 07:51:34 AM »

Well, I throw acrylic stuff in the washer and dryer, too--I think the last acrylic blanket I washed I did on the "no wrinkle" cycle (my washer doesn't have a "gentle cycle" per se) and dried it on "no heat" (or "low heat"--it's been awhile).  It does soften it up.  Lion Brand's "Pound of Love" is marketed for baby items and as easily washable--I made a baby blanket out of that and it softened up nicely after a wash and dry.  It does get *slightly* fuzzier, but I rather liked it.  

As far as acrylic goes, I like Lion Brand.

And I was also going to suggest trying out washing/drying combos with test swatches, but it seems Kadreath posted that idea while I was still typing!  Wink

Great minds think alike.   Cool

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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2004 01:51:28 PM »

I also love the Lion Brand Microspun...veryyyyy soft and nice.

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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2004 02:47:14 PM »

You could iron it. Put your iron on the lowest setting and spray it with water so it kind of steams it, just don't leave the iron it for a long time, you just want to lightly slide it over the yarn. It gets really thin, soft, and a little shiny. 

« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2004 02:55:30 PM »

Are you sure? That sounds like it would melt the acrylic..... Im not sure about this method, Id try it on a swatch before Id go after a whole scarf or something.
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