Which is really better – acrylic yarn or wool yarn? And is acrylic yarn really more popular than wool?
This has been an ongoing debate and an even longer discussion for ages between crocheters and knitters alike. The quality of the yarn will always affect your final artwork. That tiny ball of yarn will go through several transformations before it ends up in your hands from which kind of fiber is it going to be to what color it will be dyed.
That length of the fiber will affect the fabric you will be knitting. So it is very important to choose what type of fiber do you prefer and which fiber would work best for you. That ball of fiber will either be made up of either synthetic or natural fiber yarn.
But before we venture into that long debate, first we must determine what is acrylic yarn and what is wool yarn, and how do they differ from each other.
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What Is Acrylic Yarn?
Acrylic yarn is actually a type of yarn, which refers to a length of a continuously connected fiber, commonly used in producing fabrics that are commonly used for:
- Different types of crafts
However, acrylic yarn is made up of synthetic fiber yarn which makes it cheaper compared to natural fiber ones. This type of yarn is made up of plastic which is cheaper making it used commonly by the fast fashion industries.
Technically speaking, acrylic yarn is made up of acryl, wherein the characteristic remnants found in the compound are interlocked directly to an ethylenic carbon. Acrylic yarns were first made in the 1940s by Dupont.
Decades later, this type of yarn was being produced in large batches and quantities. The fibers are created by producing long strands that are string-like and then developed into a short, manageable length that would bear resemblance to wool hair and are eventually “spun” into the yarn that would end up in the stores near you ready to be purchased.
The Advantages Of Knitting With Acrylic Yarn
Acrylic Yarn was known to be stiff and scratchy before, thus claimed to be inferior to wool. However, studies show that the most popular yarns are made out of 100 percent acrylic.
Why? Well, it is because we now have high-quality fibers that are softer compared to years before. Along with its softness, acrylic yarn is known for its durability and can even be machine washed as well, making it the perfect yarn to crochet beautiful sweaters for your little one.
Plus, it is very affordable. The price is always something to consider when crocheting for a kid or a pet since these crochet items are at a huge risk of getting either destroyed or damaged.
Cheap Alternative To Wool And Good For Vegans
Since it is made out of plastic, it is automatically cheaper than having to use wool that is specifically taken from a sheep. Vegans can also use this to crochet or knit since it is not taken from any animals.
It is not only great for people who are vegan, it is also great for people who enjoy crocheting or knitting but is terribly allergic to other types of yarn.
This is a staple yarn when one is allergic to crocheting wools. Keeping in mind the cost, crocheting is an expensive hobby. Another reason why acrylic yarn is cheap is that it is commonly mass-produced.
When you are a beginner or you are teaching someone how to crochet, it would be easier for you and your pocket to use something budget-friendly. When practicing, it is important to grab the chance to save expenses as much as you can since the projects you are working on may or may not turn out as great as you expected them to be.
Acrylic Yarn Comes In A Huge Variety of Colors
One reason why acrylic is a good yarn to use is because of its huge variety of colors. Since it is man-made, it is easier to create more vast specifications, and that includes the color range. This type of yarn can provide you endless options of colors. With the help of advanced and modern technology, these are color-fast and are running-proof.
Even if you can’t find the color you wanted, you can even opt to dye the yarn yourself. One thing you can also note about using acrylic yarn is that it is easier to clean than any other type of yarn. This will not be ruined even when you put in a standard washing machine and you don’t even have to worry about it shredding or shrinking.
The durability that was briefly mentioned above is because it is a petroleum-based product that usually takes years to break down. Since it is made out of synthetic fiber, it is not prone to be digested by moth larvae. Acrylic yarn also provides warmth. It may not provide as much warmth as sheep wool does, but it can still keep you cozy and snug during a cold winter.
Not only is it warm, but it is also lightweight which is perfect for people who love to crochet large blankets but struggle because of how heavy it is. The synthetic polymers have a lower density than what a natural fiber has which makes it lighter.
What is Wool Yarn?
Producing wool yarn is an intensive process. Wool must be removed from the sheep first, then the wool is cleaned thoroughly using water.
Making and processing this type of yarn demands a lot of resources, and a significant amount of wool is lost compared to the starting amount since it undergoes an intensive cleaning process. A lot of resources are also laid out for the sheep to feed them as well.
Wool yarn has been a staple product used to keep us clothed for a long time now. Wool is primarily sourced from sheep however, there are also other animals that can also produce wool as well. Wool’s distinct features are stretchy, scaly, crimped, and grows in clusters makes it easier to spin into yarn.
We have utilized the great qualities of wool and we have recognized its reputation solid as we have utilized it up to this day forward.
Advantages Of Wool Yarn
Wool has great elastic fibers making it stretchy, which is because of its coil-like form. The natural crimp provides that stretchy and springy aspect. So you don’t even have to worry about wrinkling your favorite sweatshirt when stuffing it into your backpack.
Because of this, it is ideal to use it on gloves, footwear, outdoor clothing, and many more. Its ability to stretch also makes it extremely durable. The flexibility makes it less likely to tear thanks to the structure of the fibers.
Wool Clothing Keeps You Warm
Clothing made from wool provides great insulation. Huh? This may seem confusing to people who use wool sweaters to survive the cold harsh winters. Well, wool clothing may in fact keep you warm by trapping your body heat due to its bulky textile.
This is the reason why you get a light warm layer that keeps you cozy when wearing wool sweaters. However, using wool to keep your body cool is also possible. Wool delays heat transfer where it allows the clothes to breathe during warmer seasons. Wool also absorbs and retains one-third of the moisture but will not make you feel damp or moist. It is also quick to dry.
This is the exact reason why people who live in the desert uses wool to shield themselves from the harsh unforgiving heat of the sun. It is also great for crochet beginners since it is easier to control and allows you to work with more tension.
Surpringly Fire And Water Resistant
Wool is also fire and water-resistant. When wool gets caught on fire, it will rather char than burn when exposed to fire.
Wool fibers can actually soak up to 20 percent of their weight before it can leak through. It also holds out against static, which causes dust and dirt. Making it easier to brush the dirt off from your clothing.
The scaling effect also contributes to the easier removal of stain from the garment. Wool can also be easily dyed thanks to its fiber structure Using wool is a sustainable and renewable resource since it is from sheep’s wool that has been shorn annually. The products created from the wool are biodegradable therefore it is kinder to the environment.
Which Type Of Yarn Is Best For Knitting?
We have discovered that both acrylic and wool yarn have their own advantages when used, so why is acrylic yarn more popular than wool? Well, for several reasons. One, using acrylic yarn is cheaper than using wool yarn.
Since the wool yarn is sourced out from animals such as sheep or rabbits, it would cost a lot more since you are paying for both labor and food for the animals. Meanwhile, acrylic yarns are produced in larger bulk and are made from man-made or synthetic fibers so it is much cheaper compared to wool. It provides durability and a wide color range just like wool does.
Yes, there may be certain advantages and benefits wools can provide but people are ready to sacrifice those benefits for a cheaper alternative. It is much easier to wash clothes that are made using acrylic fibers since this fiber does not felt together.
When washing acrylic fiber garments, it is perfectly safe to machine wash them. With the several advantages acrylic and wool both have, it will all boil down to the user’s preference so it is always suggested to try out each type of yarn for yourself for you to decide which one you like the most.