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Any ACRYLIC yarn weavers in the house?

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francorios's picture
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Joined: 06/08/2009
I wanted to see how many weavers are using ACRYLIC yarns?
 
I do like the ACRYLIC because you can wash the finished piece and it doesn't shrink. Especially good feature when I make scarves for my nieces. Washable is good.
 
I like cotton a lot. I have a lot of wool, angora (rabbit), mohair, and other fibers to work with. But they are not quite wash and wear.
 
I think I will let my ACRYLIC yarns out of the closet and put them to work more often.
 
The brightest colors always seem to come in ACRYLIC. You can always find good buys on ACRYLIC yarn in the yarn store and at the thrift store.
 
Tell us about your ACRYLIC yarn adventures.
 
Have a good day!
sittie's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2009
I have alot of acrylic yarns

I have alot of acrylic yarns in my stash.  I have plans to use them both on my tapestries and with my akl for scarves. I have other types of fiber too.

Joined: 06/20/2009
This is woven in a really

This is woven in a really cheap acrylic yarn that I bought at a street market in Ecuador. I had to respin it before using it on my backstrap loom.

It is a ''trial'' piece that I wove with a new techique that I learned in Ecuador. I didn't want to use any of my ''good'' and more expensive yarn on something I wasn't expecting to turn out very well. It turned out ok and I sent it to a friend in the US. She loved the slight sheen that it had and thought that it was pearle cotton! So I got a nice pearle cottony finish for a tiny fraction of the price.

Trina's picture
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 My father-in-law was in a

 My father-in-law was in a nursing home, almost completely blind and somewhat demented.  I wanted to make him something for Christmas last year, but knew it had to be big and bold for him to see.  He was always feeling chilled in the air-conditioned home, so I decided on an easily washable, light-weight acrylic lap blanket.  I chose a pattern from Handwoven (1987 issue I think), and tried to accommodate for the stretchiness of the acrylic warp.  It was in white, with a bold black cross and bright red center.  If he couldn't see that, he couldn't see ANYTHING!!!

Well, it somehow turned out to be a wonderful success, and I really felt I had given him something worthwhile at the end of his life.  

He died in February of this year, and now my mother-in-law keeps it on the back of her sofa.

So I have learned NOT to be an acrylic snob!  I think we begin to feel only "natural" fibers are worthy of our loom efforts.  I learned a good lesson.

Trina

francorios's picture
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Joined: 06/08/2009
Thanks for sharing that story

Thanks for sharing that story Trina.

The acrylic yarn does has a place in the scheme of things.

I have some "Vanna" yarn that I used for one scarf, I still have a lot left and will weave up some more.

Have a good day!

Loominaria (not verified)
Loominaria's picture
 I usually use acrylic for

 I usually use acrylic for baby gifts and gifts for people I don't know well, such as our office gift game in December.  And some people I do know well are known to be 'handwashing-challenged' so they will also get acrylic or superwash wool.  (I like acrylic better than superwash, because it tends to hold its shape better.)  Like all yarns, there is a wide variation in quality and endurance with acrylic, and some of the lesser expensive ones hold up much better than the premium priced brands.

My concern with synthetics is their effect on the environment.  While the industrial production of natural-fibre yarns is certainly not completely innocent with respect to effects on the environment, at least the natural products are biodegradable.  I encourage my acrylic recipients to give their gifts a long life and recycle as much as possible.

You know those bound yarns like Lion Brand Homespun that have a spiraling thread that makes the texture?  The ones that fray like crazy when you cut the end?  How would you treat the ends of that type of yarn in the weft?  Does overlapping and beating in the next wefts keep the ends from fraying?

Anne Crowley's picture
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Joined: 09/10/2009
Being new here I am a bit shy

Being new here I am a bit shy to respond.... grin... however, I have hundreds of weaves and all of them are acrylic.  I weave trim for garb/costumes in historical re-enactment settings.  Budget restricts me from using expensive yarns, so I make do.

The funniest thing is that I was asked to include pure wool in my trim weaving.  I did.  I made some of what I think are the loveliest period appropriate weaves that the historical purists were asking for.  The laugh, or cry, is that not one of them sold or was even considered as usable.   It had nothing to do with the weave, they praised the weaves as awesome!  The final word was that they wanted pure wool for snob appeal, but refused to buy or use it because of shrinkage issues and the old standby "I'm allergic to wool".  Now I have a dozen wool weaves that I am going to make into bags or some such.

I tell folks when they see my weaves that they can be washed, dried, ironed and look great.  Heck, you can tow a car or tie up girl/boy friends with these weaves.  Acrylic is the best in my experience for durable, washable practical wear.

Happy weaving,

Anne

francorios's picture
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Thank you Anne! Thank you for

Thank you Anne!

Thank you for that information! I love telling people they can wash the acrylic scarves.

Do you re-spin your yarn before using or do you use it as is?

Have a good day!

cmtigger's picture
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 That's interesting, as the

 That's interesting, as the groups I'm most active in (mid 1800's) insist on all natural fibers in our clothing because of the fire risk of synthetics!

Sharonl's picture
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Joined: 09/04/2009
I use acrylic on my Tri

I use acrylic on my Tri loom.  My shawls come off a 7 foot loom. This makes the shawls a beautiful big size that one can wrap around like a nice big blanket. Its easy wear and washes in the machine, dries overnight. Perfect for the warmer climate of Queensland.

My current piece that I'm weaving on the backstrap is double knit chenille. I didn't want to wait while I dyed and spun fleece so used what I have in store. Its a difficult fibre to work with but so far looks good.

Loominaria (not verified)
Loominaria's picture
 I wouldn't put an iron too

 I wouldn't put an iron too close to acrylic unless you want a permanent sort of meltdown.  I have 'killed' acrylic with steam from a distance of an inch or so with a press cloth between, but that's as close to an iron as I would go.

Caroline's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2009
Like Sharon, I find pure wool

Like Sharon, I find pure wool far too warm for South Australia. I have worn cotton t-shirts for most of the last winter, with an acrylic jumper if it gets cold, so, to me, synthetics are common sense. The wash-ability factor is very important. I would hate to think I made a pure wool item that was thrown straight into the washing machine with the rest of the washing.

Unfortunately many weavers do not see things the same way, and for competitions, and some craft fairs, man-made fibres are a nono.

Sharonl's picture
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We're slowly attempting to

We're slowly attempting to change that up here and have a few more flexible entry criteria. Not everyone works with fleece, some are art pieces, alot weave and craft with acrylic and of course there are vegan weavers/crafters that need to have places to enter as well. Its a slow process changing rules and the opinions/acceptance of those I tend to think of as craft snobs lol.

Anne Crowley's picture
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Joined: 09/10/2009
Interesting that you should

Interesting that you should ask about respinning.... actually I had never heard of this until I came here.  I use acrylic as it comes from the cheapest sources I can find... $2 big wads of the stuff.  And I iron it directly on the garment, the stuff is really tough.  When I had a dryer my garb went right in and I had no issues.

As for the purists who require real wool, they can't tell the difference unless I point it out or label it, sigh.  I have had to adopt the mindset in the venues I move in that if they want pure period, then why don't they do their own weaving.  I sell my 14 foot long weaves for an average $20 (way cheap, but they sell well).  I think in the end I make a special product that is growing in popularity and gets hand weaves out to people who otherwise would not have trim to enjoy.

I love to see the pattern grow and enjoy watching simple colors take a new life.  And now I am on the fast track to expand and learn backstrap.  I have so many designs in my heart that I can hardly wait!

Caroline's picture
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If acrylic and man-made

If acrylic and man-made fibres are not allowed, what about stainless steel, tencel,  video tapes, ingeo ( yes I know it ORIGINALLY comes from corn but its pretty synthetic by the time it gets to us), just to name a few of the new "art" fibres people are using? There is a world of difference now between the acrylics of old, and the new designer yarns, so the old argument that its a "cheap" fake wool no longer applies. Though having seen fake sari silk yarn in my LYS thats more expensive than the real thing, I have to wonder, <grin>.

 

desertweaver's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2009
 Acrylics!

 Acrylics!  Environment!

  Here's my thoughts on this.  I had a knitting machine given to me by a very prolific machine knitter.  I really am not a machine knitter and need to sell this item.  But, whal also came with the machine was 4 of those giant Rubbermaid tubs full of cones of acrylic.  Now, I didn't set out to purchase these zillion yards of acrylic, but I'm determined to weave it all up.

  Here's a question.  I am thinking of baby blankets, or lap blankets for senior citizens.  Really, I have my eye on a charity that gives blankets to those in New Orleans recovering from Katrina.  I need some advice from those of you who have woven with acrylics before.  Can I use the acrylic for the warp and then weave, say a crackle pattern, and use a cotton, nubby weft?  Has anyone had success with this?

Janice

 

janice m's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2009
 When washed the cotton will

 When washed the cotton will shrink and the acrylic will not - so better make a small sample first.

Loominaria (not verified)
Loominaria's picture
Some blanket/quilt charities

Some blanket/quilt charities and nursing homes prefer or insist that donations be machine washable and machine dryable, so 100% acrylic is a good choice for charity weaving.  Some acrylics pill like crazy from beating with a rigid heddle and some are just more fragile than others, but you can (if you don't mind a reduction in speed) use the heddle just for changing sheds (still some pilling from that, but less) and use a beveled stick for beating.

Loominaria (not verified)
Loominaria's picture
Can you tell me whether

Can you tell me whether acrylic holds up well in direct sunlight?  I have the thought of weaving curtains, but I'm not sure which fibre would last the longest in the California sun.

Eva
Eva's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2009
I think there are pros and

I think there are pros and cons for every fiber that depends on what you're going to use it for.  I've used many types of natural fibers but I have also used acrylic for weaving.  Here's a close-up picture of a scarf woven with acrylic yarn (I wove a bunch of them some time ago and donated them to charitable fundraisers).  I thought they would be nice for children because they're allergy free and I tried to use colors I thought they would like.  I did wash them after they were done and very, very carefully steam ironed on low heat for a few seconds which made them flatter and look more handwoven.  As other people have said ironing acrylic is not really recommended, it can sort of melt.  

Eva

p.s. The pattern I used is "Twill Stars" (8 shafts) from handweaving.net.  I expanded it to 12 in this project but if you would like to see the 8 here is the link to it: handweaving.net/PatternDisplay.aspx

sequel's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2009
Wow, what a lot of interest

Wow, what a lot of interest in Acrylic! 

I've woven with the 2/24's you get for machine knitting.  It's suprisingly strong.  Just don't put it in a hot dryer.  I made a bunch of shawls and throws because people didn't want to buy something they had to dry clean - they also didn't want to buy anything made of acrylic... anybody need a wrap or scarf?

 

bwknits's picture
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Joined: 07/21/2009
I have used acrylic in

I have used acrylic in crochet and knitting since I learned how to 12 and 8 years ago, respectively.

I live about 35 miles from down town Atlanta and it was use acrylic from Wal-mart or Michael's or

drive a minimum of two to two and a half hours round trip for a yarn run.  (I found it very difficult to

order over the internet as I am one of "those people" who really have to feel of the fiber.)

Three years ago, a shop opened only 30 miles away and my yarn horizon broadened considerably.

Then I found out about, and spent my vacation at, SAFF (only 4 1/2 hours one way).

This past spring, a local yarn shop opened downtown and one in a neighboring town only 15 miles

away.  Fiber Heaven!!

Plus, Stitches South came to Atlanta!!

All this to say, I now have a wonderfully broad selection of fibers and I still will use only acrylics for

any baby items, charity items, or those going to people who are so physically/mentally/emotionally

impaired that they cannot/do not understand the concept of "hand wash with cool water and dry flat".

 

Different fibers for different jobs is my mantra.

 

Beverly in GA

Michael White's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2009
You can find a good source of

You can find a good source of acrylic yarn here http://www.designerdiscountyarns.com/category-s/38.htm they are in NC.

Michael

Michael White's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2009
Sample:  Fire Red

Sample: 

Fire Red Boucle Yarn
Fire Red Boucle Yarn
Our Price: $10.95 Per Cone  

Yarn Fiber: Acrylic
Color: Fire Red
Weight: 1500 YPP
Cone Size: 3 Pounds
  $10.95 per cone, 28 in stock
sequel's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2009
Well, most of those fabrics

Well, most of those fabrics you see for outdoor furniture are really acrylic.  Generic acrylic has been said to have very good resistance to UV, but there are acrylics and there are acrylics...

I personally have considered using Yarn Barn's 8/2 acrylic (which looks like, but doesn't quite feel like an 8/2 pearl cotton) for window curtains in a Bronson lace weave. 

 

francorios's picture
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Joined: 06/08/2009
    Scarf done with stick

 
 

Scarf done with stick weaving.

Yarn is Lion Brand acrylic. Detials on my blog

http://francosfiberadventure.blogspot.com/2009/09/stop-backstrap-pick-up-sticks.html

Have a good day!

antitrades's picture
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Joined: 06/10/2009
Thank you for posting this. 

Thank you for posting this.  I'm just getting into weaving and have been trying to keep it cheap while still learning.  For that reason I grabbed a bunch of acrylic and built my own inkle loom.  I've personally been happy with the bands I've made so far but was wondering if I'd have to change to "better" materials if I was going to sell them.  I'm hoping to get into selling mostly because I know my desire to weave will far outdo my needs for trim and straps.  Any tips for what you've found people are looking for?

Trey

Claudia Segal's picture
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Joined: 05/13/2009
Hi Trey, Good for you

Hi Trey,

Good for you building your own loom.  I would love to see a picture.  Have you posted it in the new Looms section?  It would be a great addition.

As for what people are buying.  That's a tough question.  I think it differs by where you live, where you sell and how it's displayed.  I suggest you look through the list of groups and find the ones that match your interests and post that question as a topic for discussion.  I know we have a group titled "Inkel and Tablet Weaving" which might be a good place to start.

Thanks for Joining the Weavolution! and welcome aboard.

Claudia, Weavolution co-founder

antitrades's picture
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Joined: 06/10/2009
No pictures of the inkle as

No pictures of the inkle as it's not much to look at.  Some of the pegs are sadly angled and it's got mdf for the sides.  Only cost me $30 to make though and it seems to work just fine.  I made it as big as I could while still being portable.  It can hold 3 feet 11 inches and weighs less than a guitar in case.

I did post a picture of a portion of my tapestry loom in the tapestry group page.  It's also home made.  Could use improvement but again functional.

I started with home made looms and acrylic yarn because they were cheap but I'm very pleased with my results and I don't see a reason to change any of it right now.  I'm sure I'll play with "better" fibers later but acrylic has plenty of uses.

I would warn that the softer acrylic was quite fuzzy when on the inkle.  Almost every pass the warps stuck together as they slid past each other and I was loosing material.  If I had to unweave any of it, the warp became quite ragged.  I made a guitar strap with a pick-up pattern but I'm worried about it wearing down.  I may put a fabric backing on it.  (Heh, a fabric backing on a cloth strap, I think you know what I mean though)  The yarn was the soft Bernat.  I think it's advertized for use in baby items.

Trey

Loominaria (not verified)
Loominaria's picture
 Hi, Trey-- You might search

 Hi, Trey--

You might search at etsy.com to see what others are using for their inkle bands.  I just got 178 results by searching 'inkle'.

Also, I've found lots of places to get yarns of every fibre far below retail. Many yarn shops have a basket or two for yarns that have been marked way down, usually because they're the last one or two of a dye lot or the shop is discontinuing a yarn to make room for something else.  Salvation Army and Goodwill sometimes have cheap yarn treasures.  Yard sales and estate sales.  And the online discount places like Smiley's have a great variety, if you've saved up enough to meet their minimum order requirement.  Some places have no minimum, but with shipping costs I usually set a minimum for myself to make it worthwhile.  There are also online groups dedicated to selling and trading yarn, and I've seen yarn and fibre supplies pop up on freecycle once in a great while.

Kurt

the bargain hunting enabler

Claudia Segal's picture
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Hi Trey, As for bargain

Hi Trey,

As for bargain hunting, you could post in the For Sale or Trade forum for a trade of yarns or a trade of an inkle band in exchange for any cast offs.  People sometimes think about clearing out their stash and aren't sure what to do with the stuff if they do clean out.

Our knitting (shh, I didn't say that) group has a stash swap annually and I know some guilds have sales too.

Claudia, also a bargain hunter

sittie's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2009
I'm using my acrylic stash. 

I'm using my acrylic stash.  Finding out which works best for warp and weft.  Then keeping a list for re-purchase.  So far they're coming out fine.  If i find something doesn't work well or wash/dry well, we keep it for ourselves.

sittie's picture
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What brands of acrylic do you

What brands of acrylic do you use and which do you find the best for weaving?

francorios's picture
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Joined: 06/08/2009
Just finished this today.

Just finished this today. Actually I finished weaving yesterday and finished the fringe today. I finished with overhand knots, then two more rows overhand knots for a macrame kind of finish. Then time for wet wet finish.

 

Here is the photo after wet finish and dry. I can really see how bumpy the selvedges are now. I’ll have to work harder at getting the knotted fringe to come out the same length.

I think using the variegated yarn as warp was a good plan. It gave some visual interest without any extra planning on my part. And it does make an attractive color feature in the fringe.

Not bad for a beginner piece. This was woven as part of a beginner rigid heddle weavealong at Weavolution. I’m going to do some more of these. I have two more skeins of this acrylic yarn to use. Have to keep practicing if I expect to get better at this.

Yarn is Vanna's Choice, solid tan for weft, variegated for warp.

Have a good day!

Loominaria (not verified)
Loominaria's picture
Hey, Franco-- I like the

Hey, Franco--

I like the variegated warps also. Your edges look pretty good. I've been having fun playing with a 2-clip fringe twister, but that's probably too high-tech for your liking.  :-)  Never fear, you can also twist fringe by hand, if you're interested in trying that.  I've used the Damascus edge frequently also and left the fringe to fray, but that can get ratty looking with wool and acrylic after awhile. Your knots look good, and there is no law that says fringe has to be all the same length. One of my online friends sometimes knots her twisted fringe at different lengths, with additional overhand knots inserted randomly along the lengths--looks very cool.

Here are a couple of things you might (or might not) like to try with edges:

Make the edge warps the same colour as the weft. Taking away the contrasting colours at the edges can help to soften the bumpy appearance, just as one usually does with warp-faced weaves.

Double the edge warp (easiest to do in a slot, unless you have a big-hole heddle like Ashford's 7.5 dpi).

Depending on the yarn, these things help me achieve the appearance of more tidy edges. Sometimes I do these things, sometimes not. Samples can be revealing, I'm told.

It's hard to nail the weft tension perfectly with stretchy knitting yarns. I still have a long ways to go. Or not. The Saori weavers don't fret about even edges, since this merely shows that a human weaver made the article by hands instead of by machine. We could just let the weaving express our love of making things by hands and not worry if they don't look made by a machine or a human acting like a robot.  :-)

Kurt

ajames (not verified)
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francorios's picture
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Autumn Red Scarf on the

Autumn Red Scarf on the Cricket

(click for larger picture)

This is a scarf woven for my son's friend at school who happens to be a girl. Since they've already exchanged gifts it's not a secret so I can post it. The scarf is about 4.5 inch by 72 inch. The yarn is Caron Simply Soft "Autumn Red" acrylic with a couple of strands of white acrylic for accent.

Here is the scarf on the loom. My son went with me to select the color and yarn. I warped it, started the first two inches and then he started weaving. He did a good portion of it over a couple of evenings, not bad for a kid who is 13 years old anyway. I had promised him we would not miss the deadline so I finished it for him when he had to go to an evening program at school.

So the next night we finished it, washed it, steam ironed it, wrapped it and put a bow on it. He gave it to her the next day. He says she liked it.

I promised him it would not look lame and I think we did good.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Joined: 06/20/2009
This is a great story! Wish

This is a great story! Wish we could have seen your son at the loom.........

Laverne

francorios's picture
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A tale of three scarves 3

A tale of three scarves

3 scarves made on Cricket Rigid Heddle loom using 10 dent heddle. All 6 inch wide and 72 inch long plus fringe. Made with acyrlic yarn, variegated yarn and solid white. Twisted fringe finish. (you can click on photo for larger picture)

This woven with all white warp and woven with two shuttles, one white, one colored. This spread the color change along the scarf.

This yarn was chosen for its earth tones. It's warped all white. I was worried about running out of white yarn and so I wove 4 picks of color yarn, 2 picks white, 4 picks color, 2 white. This did a good job of move the color sequence and the scarf looks different from the first one.

This scarf was made from two skeins of black and grey variegated yarn. I organized the warps into runs of color. I noticed that the color pattern was based on 11 inch sections and seemed to repeat every 88 inches, so I warped 88 inch long. The warp seemed to change to a different shade of color every 11 inches. I wove one shuttle on the weft. When it was time for new yarn, I made sure I cut the yarn at the same color change to preserve the weft color sequence.

I'm really impressed with how well it came out.

Have a good day!

Joined: 06/20/2009
Beautiful, Franco!! Are these

Beautiful, Franco!! Are these the acrylics that were hiding in the closet?

francorios's picture
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Thank you Laverne. No, these

Thank you Laverne.

No, these were not hiding, we bought these yarns for this project.

I have others to use up now.

Have a good day!

Caroline's picture
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Joined: 06/09/2009
Those look great! You have

Those look great! You have done an excellent job of manipulating the colour changes. Was this the yarn that produces regular stripes with longer runs of the one colour before the colour change, or the Faux FairIsle with lots of little bits of colour, or were the colour changes short and regular? I have a choice of 3 or 4 different yarns locally that can produce stripes or colour changes with different results so its interesting to see what can be produced without the end result looking a muddy mess. I think using the white has created a better looking scarf than not using it, however it would not have worked so well in the black/grey combination - that  has a nice dramatic contrast that would have been lost if you had used white there.

Now that Christmas is over its time to start thinking of winter; perhaps I should do some scarves.

francorios's picture
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Thanks Caroline, In this yarn

Thanks Caroline,

In this yarn the color sections are short about 11 inch/28cm, and run about 77 or 88 inch before the sequence repeats, so it's not like self striping yarn where each color is 88 inch/220cm long.

But the color sequence was reliable enough to make a plan.

I'm going to do another scarf and I'll take pictures to illustrate the plan. I'll be done by next weekend

Have a good day!

Michael White's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2009
Franco, very nice looking

Franco, very nice looking scarves. I guess you need them right now. It have been cool in your area.

Michael

francorios's picture
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Thank you Michael, I gave

Thank you Michael,

I gave those all away! But the womenfolk in the family love having scarves so it was a no-brainer decision to weave scarves and experiment with variegated yarn. The temps around here have been down into low 30F overnight. There is plenty of snow up on the moutains now and it looks like a lot of people are driving up the hill for a weekend of skiing/snowboarding.

Have a good day!

Alison's picture
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Joined: 05/13/2009
The scarves are lovely

The scarves are lovely Franco.  Like Caroline, I enjoy looking at how you handled the color mixing.  I hope the receipients were properly appreciative!

Alison

francorios's picture
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Correction on my scarf

Correction on my scarf note:

On first two scarf, warp is alternating half white, half color, not all white. That is two strands white, two strands color.

Too bad I can't edit my own posts after someone posts a reply.

Have a good day!

francorios's picture
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Autumn/Taupe Narrow Scarf on

Autumn/Taupe Narrow Scarf on Cricket

Using variegated color yarns gives a chance to embellish plainweave items with changing colors with a minimum of fuss. Usually I combine a solid color warp with variegated weft to get stripes. But I wanted to experiment with variegated warp. My first experiment went well with a black/grey warp and weft (scarf shown earlier).

(click on picture for larger image)

Here is a yarn I had. Vanna's Choice (VC) acrylic color called Autumn Print. I wanted to try it as warp with a solid weft, VC acrylic solid color Taupe. I stretched it between two chairs and soon found the color pattern repeats at about 198 inches. These chairs are 99 inch apart so once around is one color pattern then it repeats. So that is my warp length, 99 inch from back beam to warping peg. So I warped it and wound it on the beam.

 

If you notice, all the colors on one side are met with a different color on the other side. So I thought I would arrange the warp for thin warp stripes on the heddle.

 

Red=Light, Taupe=Dark, LL DD LL DD LL DD LL DD LL all the way across.

When I started weaving with the taupe weft, I had this piece that to me looked very mud colored. I didn't like it. I un-wove it and strung the heddle differently.

 

This time I put the center warps in a horizontal stripe pattern by warping

 

LD LD LD LD LD LD LD LD

 

I left two sets of stripes on the outsides for borders (LL DD LL DD)

This time the color is spread out over the whole width of the scarf. I also made it more warp faced by intentionally pulling the width closer. It's warped about 5 1/2 inch, I'm weaving about 4 1/4 inch wide. Since this is too narrow to beat with the heddle, I'm using a ruler to beat the weft and check my width. I'm making this 10 dent heddle piece into a 12 dent heddle piece. Next time I'll start with a 12 dent heddle.

 

I like this look a lot better. It should be finished in a couple more days.

 

Have a good day!

Joined: 06/11/2009
 Hi Franco, Very nice. I like

 Hi Franco,

Very nice. I like the second one better also. It's interesting how the colors moved a little bit so they don't have the abrupt change they seemed to in the first picture. I think it adds more interest to the piece.

Thanks for showing us your process. I learn a lot this way.

Carie

francorios's picture
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When I bought the yarn, I

When I bought the yarn, I bought Taupe solid to match the Taupe in the variegated yarn.

I didn't realize how "dark" it would make the pattern to have that much taupe.

Using the Cricket to test this is handy since its a small loom and changing the threading in the heddle did not take long.

Organizing the color bands for use as warp was the primary goal and I think it's a good technique. Kind of a crude form of ikat weaving.

Have a good day!

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acrylic yarns

I need to weave a baby blanket in a fine acrylic yarn.  Will 3/16 machine knitting yarn work?  What setting for a twill?  I am trying to replicate a 40 year old blanket and am having a hard time finding yarn that will work.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  And any suggestions where to find the yarn at best price?

mneligh's picture
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I am basically a natural fiber snob, but . . .

I am basically a natural fiber snob, but I am also a spinner, and I have a son who is in his 20's.  When he was in his teens (college), I got into spinning nylon-based synthetics (the faux cashmere, faux angora, etc) for things that he could use at school and not ruin, after having been given some faux cashmere at a spinner gift exchange.  I do several spinning demos per year, and when compared to about a dozen natural fibers, found people almost universally preferred the handspun synthetics to the handspun natural fibers including alpaca, merino, ingeo, bamboo, soysilk, and cotton.  Consequently, I decided there might be a place for them although we all should ask the sustainability question whenever we buy fiber in any form.

Recently, someone gave me 18 skeins of very soft fuzzy 2-ply novelty acrylic in 8 colors.  I made it into a krokbragd (3' x 4.8') rug.  It is not crisp, but as intended forms a gradient through the different colors that the fuzzy blur unifies.  It's a very pleasing rug to look at, a pure luxury to touch.  I would never have gotten the yarn myself,  but I'm very happy they gave it to me.

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Franco, my multicolored

Franco, my multicolored sampler that you responded to in the last couple of days [ subject line Outer Limits] I did with "gifted" acrylic knitting yarn.

ReedGuy's picture
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I just did a tartan sample

I just did a tartan sample last weekend in acrylic knitting yarn. It weaved fine, but I like the feel of wool much better. Yup, I like wool. ;D Wool in my area is just as cheap as acrylic. I can see some folks not wanting to mess with wool because of the extra care. Almost reminds me of folks buying cob corn all husked and packaged, so all they have to do is open the package and drop it into boiling water. No husking required. :D :D

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Acrylic yarn ... SURE!!!

I have woven just one real piece so far lots of samples though.  All have been acrylic yarns some with cotton warp...but Now I went out and bought lots of acrylic since its so inexpensive and holds up so well to washing, for kids scarfs a MUST.   I have put myself fully into scarf weaving for this comming Christmas for the whole family.  I have 20 scarfs to weave by Dec of 2013. most of them for youngsters. The colors seclection in acrylic is mind blowing. I love Caron simply soft , simply because it is just that if woven in a nice and lose it as soft as any expensive natural yarn and washs and wares like a dream for a long long time.   I have had one acrylic scarf for years and still looks great after many many washings! Count me in as an acrylic weaver !!!

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Acrylic yarn ... SURE!!!

I have woven just one real piece so far lots of samples though.  All have been acrylic yarns some with cotton warp...but Now I went out and bought lots of acrylic since its so inexpensive and holds up so well to washing, for kids scarfs a MUST.   I have put myself fully into scarf weaving for this comming Christmas for the whole family.  I have 20 scarfs to weave by Dec of 2013. most of them for youngsters. The colors seclection in acrylic is mind blowing. I love Caron simply soft , simply because it is just that if woven in a nice and lose it as soft as any expensive natural yarn and washs and wares like a dream for a long long time.   I have had one acrylic scarf for years and still looks great after many many washings! Count me in as an acrylic weaver !!!

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Acrylic yarn ... SURE!!!

I have woven just one real piece so far lots of samples though.  All have been acrylic yarns some with cotton warp...but Now I went out and bought lots of acrylic since its so inexpensive and holds up so well to washing, for kids scarfs a MUST.   I have put myself fully into scarf weaving for this comming Christmas for the whole family.  I have 20 scarfs to weave by Dec of 2013. most of them for youngsters. The colors seclection in acrylic is mind blowing. I love Caron simply soft , simply because it is just that if woven in a nice and lose it as soft as any expensive natural yarn and washs and wares like a dream for a long long time.   I have had one acrylic scarf for years and still looks great after many many washings! Count me in as an acrylic weaver !!!

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Nope!

Hello! This is a really interesting thread, and thanks to everyone for sharing.  I think about fiber types a lot, so it is wonderful to hear other people's views.

While I agree that acrylic has some really interesting and unique patterns, colors, and textures and can be used to make really beautiful things, I never use it. In fact, I recently donated all my acrylic to one of my room mate's therapy patients because it was much more useful to her than sitting in my closet :)

I don't use acryclic because I don't think it is manfactured in a way that is responsible. Petroleum and plastics are things I'm trying to get away from in my life. Naturally it isn't possible to be completely free of those things, but when I have the option I do what I can. Weaving is one of those places. Since it is a luxury when I can find time to weave, I like to make the best of that time, and I feel like it's okay to spend a little extra in order to reach that goal. There are so many ways to experiment with natural fibers that I don't think I am going to run out of options any time soon (especially because I am pretty new to this!)

Also, most of my friends who are having babies now don't want acrylics and polyester blends in the items that their babies use. So, I find that planning for the shrinkage of cotton is a better option in a baby blanket than using something that doesn't shrink.

Thanks all!

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The feel . . .

I don't use acrylic either.   I don't like the feel of it and I don't like how it's made.   It seems that if you are going to go to all the trouble to hand weave something, then it's worth it to use a really nice fiber - cotton, linen wool or silk.  Silk is by far my favorite, but it's expensive.

I might try tencil at some point, and I have some nice bamboo that I bought at a de-stashing sale, but haven't tried that yet. 

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Acrylic

The guild I belong to in NC hadd a winter challenge to weave blankets for Linus which give blankets to needy  children. The main requirement is that they be washable. I didn't want the stretchy quality in my warp so it is mercerized cotton and the weft is Red Heart Acrylic baby yarn. It is one ply yarn one ply a shiny material I sampled it and liked the effect. It was resonably priced. They were woven on a 24 shaft AVL and have the words Baby boy oh boy baby boy woven on the diagonal. 

I'm a spinner also and process my own fleeces but I feel Acrylic has a place  whether it is in weaving or knitting. Tencel  uses some chemicals to be produced, White cotton uses a lot of chemicals to be produced. It would be nice to be a purist but life is too short and I haven't got that much money!

ReedGuy's picture
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Natual fibre

Local wool I get is cheaper than acrylic, unless I get Softspun. Plus the wool is spun here. Softspun is ok for the kids for scarves, it hasn't got the lanolin all taken out, so it's softer and not as scratchy. And the Softspun is the better grade, and about $2.50 more a skein. Alpaca is of course more espensive. But in all, I like natural fibre like cotton and wool the best. Never yet explored linen or rayon. I like the idea of trying a wood product because rayon is also made here locally. The funny part of that though is that product is shipped from here to India. Although I have used acrylic, I am no fan of it.

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Not for Babies!

Hulloooo

I prefer the feel of natural fibers, and dislike the idea of supporting the petrochemical industries in any way, but often can't resist the fabulous colors and quirkiness of certain acrylic yarns. Plus, it is an option for the wool-sensitive folks.

BUT: Never use acrylic for babies. The way acrylic burns and melts and keeps on burning puts the baby at serious risk of harm. Everything I make for babies is either cotton or alpaca. Alpaca is best (and most expensive, of course) because it is naturally flame/burn retardant. And, cotton just keeps getting softer as you wash it. 

When I make a cotton baby blanket, I make it bigger than I want and then wash and dry it. And colors! Great colors!

 

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Acyrilc vs natural

There is really no comparing to be done.  I would of course love to weave with all natural yarns... here it would cost me to much for me to weave at all if I tryed to use all natural materials... we have no local stores for inexpencive natural yarns...  Walmart is my closest source for yarn..YES we do have several yarn shops but the yarns are Way Out of my price range and I do mean Way Out of my price range I can get the acrylic of less then 4.00(3.49) for 6oz scain (Caron simply soft)  which is just berely thin enough to use for warp without to much fraying in my little brio looms narrow heddle.

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Did somebody say acrylic
JacRoyce's picture
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buy online?

If the main reason you use acrylic is because it's the only thing you can get locally—or, at least, the only reasonably-priced fiber—try buying online. WEBS at yarn.com, Paradise Fibers, The Woolery, etc. Even if you only buy what they have on Sale, you'll do well. Also, don't overlook thrift stores. 

mrdubyah's picture
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Good and Bad and Physiological Effects

I use acrylic for baby blankets and clothes because its so easy to wash.  Unfortunately, it's also made of oil and therefore highly flammable unless treated with  fire retardants, most of which are carcinogenic.  A few researchers are begining to study the impacts of man-made yarns on human physiology.  See http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.10... for example.  Results indicate that clothing made of man-made fiber may have effects on motor unit activity and/or immune system response in the wearers.  Man-made fibers have changed the world, but not all the changes are improvements. 

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THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!

mrdubyah,

I read the abstract and downloaded the article so that I could learn more. I'm also going to link to it whenever possible. Just say no to petrochemical-based yarn!

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Acrylic Yarn

Very early in my weaving experience I used acrylic yarn with wool yarn in a plain weave doublewidth blanket.  My daughter brought me some wool yarn she wanted woven into a blanket.  There wasn't enough to make the size blanket she wanted, so I went to the local yarn store to buy some additional yarn.  What I found turned out to be acrylic.  I didn't even consider the shrinkage differential between wool and acrylic.  I think it came out great.

Rules are useful... until they're not.  I'm constantly amazed at how weaving projects don't necessarily behave as I expect them to.

The multi-color shiny yarn is acrylic, the solid color yarn is wool.

 

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Thanks for posting this.  I

Thanks for posting this.  I came across this thread a while ago and have been thinking about how to reply.  I take inspiration from the folks promoting mindful eating, where they encourage folks to think about where their food comes from while they are eating.  They ecourage you to look at the colors and beauty in the food, enjoy how it smells and tastes while you eat.  Visualizing the food as it comes from the plant or animal most likely will encourage one to eat more sustainably, which is better for our bodies as well as the planet.  I think the same can be said for the fibers we weave with. 

I wonder if we really want to wrap our babies or ourselves in fibers made from petroleum products?  Think for a moment about the source of acrylic yarns versus the souce of renewable plant or animal fibers. 

I have made wonderful, totally washable and machine dryable baby blankets out of Brown Sheeps's Cotton Fleece, sometimes, but not always, adding perle cotton to the warp.  I have one little friend who has loved her blanket for 10 years already.  The blanket has taken on features of the Velveteen Rabbit, and goes with her everywhere.  Each spring she brings it to my house and we celebrate her Special Blanket with a fancy tea!

You don't need to use plastic fibers to make heirloom baby blankets.

Happy Weaving,

Janene

ReedGuy's picture
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I don't know if it would be

I don't know if it would be heirloom anyway. I've seen what kids can do with a blanket and just wait until they play tug of war with the family dog with it. :D

Back in my grandmother's younger years there was no going down to the fabric shop to get yards of cloth. I don't even know if there were much for looms. But she used to make sheets and such from the White Clover flour bags, which were cotton. She kept some of those in an old trunk as  the years went buy. And my uncle lived at home all his life so he hung onto them to. He passed away last Nov and now mom has them and he told her not to toss them out. Now who in my generation and for what purpose would anyone want those old flour bag sheets? A many Hudson Bay wool blankets made a few winter coats as well.

momaine's picture
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Acrylic Baby Blankets

  I just finished these baby blankets out of a very soft acrylic baby yarn.  Very happy with the finish & the drape. 

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Acrylic Yarns

I am a beginning weaver who has not had a lot of time to experiment or take lessons as I am also a speech language pathologist & have been busy with "work"....ove the kids, hate the paperwork!  LOL!!!

I have a stash of "good yarns", but decided to go to W**Mart* a year & a half ago to look at "inexpensive" alternatives....I bought a BUNCH of Lion Heart Acrylics & am experimenting doing placemats & scaves for friends, before I use the "good stuff" for really nice gifts!  Meanwhile, I am getting compliments from a friend who was an Art History major on my choices of colors, textures, other fibers (e.g., jute., hemp, etc).

I will let you all know how my Jute/acrylic/waxed hemp combination placemats work out...a gift for a friend whom I see from "time to time".....They LOOK cool, but will they last????

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Mardonmac

Welcome to the group! Thanks for the post!Have a good day!

trkeyfrm's picture
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i'm still new, so i just thought it was a mistake

i was looking for more warp material... liked the colors, and the price.... and have been using acrylic ever since.   between that and the well washed t-shirts, polos, denim and what not... nothing has shrunk yet.

quepasoJackie's picture
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I like acrylic for many reasons

This is my first post, and I'm a fairly new weaver.

I love wool the best for the feel and the look, but I'm still learning so I like acrylic because I can afford to learn.  When I get better, I will use tencel and wool more. 

This is an all-acrylic throw which I just took off my 8-shaft loom (white and black are Caron Simply soft) and the Green is Joann's new Heartland heather yarn. I'm pretty impressed with this, and it is pretty fabuloulously acrylic!

Jackie in Texas

JacRoyce's picture
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Still: Acrylic is NOT friendly!

I don't wish to be cranky at anyone in particular, nor am I trying to insert shame into this discussion—I just want folks to THINK and to CHOOSE.

You all know by now that acrylic fiber is petroleum-based—remember the Gulf oil spill or the more recent pipeline disaster in the heartland?—and manufactured in ways that cause further damage to the planet. Do you really want to give those corporations any more of your money? And what's the point of making a baby blanket out of a material that represents the ongoing destruction of that baby's environment? Or any other clothing, accessories, throws, or pillows that can be used as an accelerant for a fire? Oh yeah, and the fiber causes physiological damage to the wearer and to the weaver...

Pretty? Sure. So what? Cheap? Not truly, especially in the long run.

sequel's picture
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Your data?

If you are going undermine this thread with negative opinions, please cite your original sources so that we can learn from them.

ReedGuy's picture
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Everyone has their own

Everyone has their own tastes.

mrdubyah's picture
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Facts vs Opinions

Let's distinguish between facts and opinions.  In my opinion, polyester yarns are fun to work with, inexpensive, and (with the right brand of yarn) make very lovely fabrics.  I find them quite useful for some purposes.  However, the facts clearly indicate that clothes made of polyester and other man-made fibers have adverse health effects on humans.  I've cited one source to document this fact above.  Here's another source: http://www.biotecharticles.com/Toxicolog.... There are plenty more sources available to anyone willing to do a little research.  In short, I don't have a negative opinion of polyester, but I do avoid using it for clothing that will be worn over bare skin and advise others to do so as well.

 

endorph's picture
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I have use

acrylic yarns over the years for many, many projects - as well as synthetic / natural blends. It is a personal choice and sometimes it depends on the project at hand and what will work the best. I fully realize that it is a petroleum based material - so are many of the other products used in everyday life nit the least of which is the gasoline burned in my car and most of the plastics found in common household and workplace environments. We can't escape petroleum based products in life unless you want to completely isolate yourself and go off the grid in so many ways.

I respect those weavers, knitters, etc. who do not want to use acrylics but please - while you are stating facts about how bad it is for the environment lets not ignore the fact that many of the natural fibers you want us to use instead are also processed with chemicals and dyes that are bad for the environment and the people handling them.

When I have the choice of a natural fiber over man made, I usually will go for the natural, but sometimes acrylic will work better or is more available for the task at hand.

Each to their own - if you like it great, if you don't, great - I am seeing some very nice and beautiful projects on this page - lets celebrate the creativity and skill of the people who have shared those projects with us.

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Facts vs. Opinions

Hullooo

Thanks again to Mr. Dubya for listing (again) the links to the scientific information about the dangers of using polyester fiber. Facts. 

I did not urge anyone to use other materials that are destructive. As I said, I wish folks to THINK and to CHOOSE. Of course, you're entitled to your own opinions, and to your own decisions about which methods and products you are comfortable with adopting in order to help provide a cleaner, safer planet for the generations who were not involved in changing the climate. You can only do what YOU can do.

My dad always told me that Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right. He was also big on "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but no one's entitled to their own facts."

Yes, there's a lot of beautiful work being displayed on this forum. This work would be just as beautiful if it were made with other materials.

Jac

 

mrdubyah's picture
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Caron Simply Soft

Lest you think me an anti-acrylic luddite, here's a lovely log-cabin baby blanket I just finished that is 100% acrylic.  Caron is perfect for baby blankets as it's very soft and very washable.  The recipient mom has been advised to limit long term skin contact and to avoid flames with this blanket.  She loves it and so do I.  

 

Doanart's picture
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re: Caron

The blanket is lovely!  The shimmering of the fibers look a lot like perle cotton in your photo!  I personally love working with natural fibers, but I have so much acrylic yarn that has been passed on to me that I will end up making more acrylic weavings. (The image on my thumbnail here is a weaving made with acrylic)

endorph's picture
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WOW!

mrdubyah what a beautiful blanket - I love the shimmer. I'm with you Doanart - I prefer natural fibers but I have to be careful about what dyes were used on them - I too have been gifted large amounts of various acrylic and acrylic blend yarns so they usually get used in mixed fiber warps. I have given a bunch away to friends and charities that want acrylic yarns so. . . .

mrdubyah's picture
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Fabrics that go bump

Thanks for your kind words.  One more point on man-made fibers: combining man-made yarns that won't shrink with wool fibers that will can give you lots of interesting 3d effects in wet finishing.  For example, try putting two or three bands of wool in an otherwise acrylic warp.  When you throw the fabric in hot water the wool will shrink and force the acrylic to pucker up in waves.  This can be fun!

sequel's picture
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Uh, data?

I read the article and do not see any citing of studies, data or links to the data the author used to support her conclusions.  Have you contacted the Center for Disease Control or National Institutes of Health for corroboration?

ReedGuy's picture
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You can read all kinds of

You can read all kinds of claims on the internet and believe what ever path you want to follow. If there is no peer review of the 'research' than you can consider it mostly a biased opinion. But there is a lot of stuff made of plastic, that should be made from renewables. Examples: berry boxes, grocery bags, window frames, siding, serving trays, cutting boards, furniture. Take a berry box, a single aspen log turned on a  rotary lathe can make hundreds of berry boxes and there are billions of aspen trees in colder climates growing like weeds. It's actually a very low tech process often done in a back yard shed. Here in New Brunswick we still make aspen berry boxes and any vender selling strawberries and raspberries here use them 100 %. In the store, if there are berries in plastic boxes they are 100 % imported.

mrdubyah's picture
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More Sources

Sequel - If you really want to learn more about this topic you can find plenty of scholarly sources yourself.  In addition to the citation above for Malgorzata Zimniewska & Ryszard Kozlowskia above, I recommend you try:

Clement, Anna Maria, and Clement, Brian, Killer Clothes: How Seemingly
Innocent Clothing Choices Endanger Your Health . . . And How to Protect
Yourself! Hippocrates Publications, 2011

EPA has published extensively on the health risks and carcinogenicity of Acrylonitrile (the major component of acrylic yarns).  See http://www.epa.gov/chemfact/acry-sd.txt for more details.

For information on breast cancer risks of occupational exposure to acrylic fibers see Labreche et.al. http://oem.bmj.com/content/67/4/263.abst....

There are also sources almost beyond count on the general ecological impact of the petroleum industry which I should not have to cite for you.  Suffice it to say that the largest manufacturer of Acrylonitrile in the world today is BP, and their track record should be obvious. 

None of this is intended to demonize petroleum based yarns.  They can be quite lovely and are certainly fun to work with.  Nearly all modern products have some risks.  The important thing is to be aware of the risks, manage your exposures and make informed choices.  Please do your own research and make up your own mind.