Friday, April 3, 2015

Care of the Hand-Knitted Sweater: Easy-Care Acrylic

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where it appeared on February 5, 2014. Image credit: Tori Cooley, of the sweater available here.)



Yesterday I made it all the way to the computer center...and the Internet connection was "down." I sat here for six hours, watching the little circle slowly rotate backward to indicate that the browser wasn't getting anywhere, and retyping old material from the very back of the backlog for easy posting here. Because I wasn't able to post yesterday's Bubbles yesterday, my plan for today is to post yesterday's five Bubbles even before going to "Notifications," then post today's five bubbles toward the end of the day...so here's the first piece in a series about caring for hand-knits. 

Many Greensleeves sweaters are made of pure acrylic yarn. Most of this yarn is top-grade Wintuk, Sayelle, Dazzle-Aire, Red Heart, or comparable name-brand acrylics. These yarns are almost indestructible. They will hold their shape and color through years of machine laundering. They feel comfortable, although extremely thick and warm, next to the skin. The colors may be subtle and tweedy, but will not fade. The life expectancy of a top-grade acrylic sweater remains unknown. Most will last long enough to be handed down to the next generation.

Sometimes acrylic yarns that aren’t top-grade have some sort of special appeal. The color is still part of the fibre and won’t fade, but the yarn may need a little extra care. If acrylic loses its shape it will stretch, and it won’t shrink back easily—or at all—so it’s good to avoid hanging sweaters on hangers, and to pulling on wet acrylic material. 
Although some knitters and wool shops sometimes try to market the more expensive natural materials by acting as if nobody they knew would ever wear anything made of acrylic yarn, the majority of people who've actually bought Greensleeves knits have bought acrylic.