Thursday, January 14, 2010


For many, working with any type of yarn is just an everyday thing. They crochet or knit their current projects in wool or a wool blend and don't have any problems, not me. I have a terrible allergy to wool. I don't understand it but it's very real. This past Summer I met a crochet designer in a yarn shop and then we went on a shopping/touristing excursion, but I digress. While we were still in the yarn shop my just met in person, crochet designer brushed my face with some wool/alpaca yarn to show me how soft it was and we oooh'd and aaaah'd over it. Not thirty minutes later my face where it had touched the yarn broke out in itchy blisters! It was a terrible experience believe me. Since then I can be in a store looking at yarn and if I even pick up a yarn to look at and it has wool in it, my hand or hands start itching. Therefore my yarn choices are either cotton which I love anyway, or they're acrylic. I've heard acylics run down terribly on different websites by women who are terrific crocheters. Now I've only been crocheting for one year and I don't make claim to being the world's greatest crocheter but I don't have a problem using acrylic yarn to do a project. In fact, I like acrylic yarn, though I will admit that some is softer than others. Can anyone out there tell me if what yarn I'm using is a bad thing or is it really alright to use the acrylic and cotton yarns without fear of what I'm making falling apart etc.?


Keri said...

Hi, Barbara! I've been meaning to track you down, but as usual, I got side-tracked in the process. I haven't been able to find a place on your blog to sign up as a follower. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. You have been to visit me at Greyt Balls of Yarn. Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate the kind words. I also wanted to mention your post about living in Arkansas and wondering if I did, also. Well, you probably figured out, after reading my "Happy Birthday" post for my sister, that we live in Okla. City. I just happen to work on a hospital account in Ft. Smith, which is Sparks. I see lots of patients come through from Ozark, although I haven't yet noticed one from Flippin. :)

My sister called me this morning to comment on my post. She first had to nag at me about telling the story about the colored wisdom teeth. Then, she laughed when she mentioned your comment about wondering if I had taught her to crochet. My sister, God love her, is very talented at many things. However, crafts, sewing, and needleworks are definitely NOT something she would attempt. We got tickled at the thought (and vision) of her, sitting in her police car, crocheting to pass the time. Makes me giggle just thinking about it. She wanted me to tell you that it would probably be MORE stressful for her to try crocheting while working. :)

As for your post this morning, I wouldn't worry one bit about what some people have to say about their yarn preferences. I think it's really a personal choice. I, personally, have never been to one of those upscale, fancy-schmancy yarn stores that you see pictures of in the crochet and knitting magazines. I usually buy my yarn at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or sometimes Wal-Mart. I do not care for some of the acrylic yarns because they seem scratchy, but even those yarns have their place for certain projects. If you read back through my blog, you might have noticed that I made some organizer boxes for my daughter and her friends. These boxes are meant to cover tissue boxes and have pockets for whatever you are wanting to organizing. I used up a lot of Red Heart yarn for those boxes because it's "hardy", and I figured it would hold up to 10-year-old abuse. So, just keep crocheting with whatever makes you happy and whatever looks and feels right to you.

Let me know how to sign up as a follower, and I'll jump right on and do it!

Keri said...

Hi, again! I finally found the "Follow" button. :) So, now I can keep up with you. I mean, we're practically neighbors. I love Arkansas, by the way. My ex-husband was a Razorback and went to the U of A. If you read back any in my blog and saw where my daughter cut her hair off, he's the one she was cutting it off for. Anyway, we used to spend lots of time in and around Fayetteville. He was actually from Southwest City, MO, but in the years before he passed away, he lived in Ozark, MO. I think Missouri and Arkansas are two of our most beautiful states!

Molly said...

As you know I am not one of those people that thinks I need to spend a fortune on yarn. I buy at WalMart, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby. I believe in using my money wisely. I love the coupons from the 2 stores. I find that the acrylic does get softer with washing, I always wash before gifting. Okay, I'll hush now. Take care.

Happy Crocheter said...

Hi Barbara! I'm that crochet designer that brushed the wool up against your cheek and am so sorry that I did so. I'm not sure if you told me before or after I did that awful brushing of your cheek? I was so scared when your face started blotching with red spots too. I was afraid I was going to have to take you to the emergency room. Thank God we didn't have to do that. I would like to say that before I started visiting my favorite LYS I wouldn't crochet with anything but acrylic and cotton yarn, and I had never been able to wear wool things. Once I found out from my very crochet friendly LYS owner that there are different types of wools and blends that I found I can actually wear and crochet with. I still love my acrylics (if they're soft) and cottons. I could crochet with these forever. Again, I apologize and would never do anything that would ever hurt you intentionally.

Jeanne said...

Hi Barbara! I hear what you are saying about people cutting down the regular yarns, but you know what? It's totally YOUR choice what to use. If you like what you are creating with the products you use, try not to worry about what others use. Me, I can't afford to buy the fancy schmancy yarns. So, I shop at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jo-ann's and Walmart. I go where I can get nice yarn for the project I want to make that's within my budget. Especially since you have an allergy, you pick what is safe and enjoyable for YOU!

Happy Crocheting!

AZ Belle said...

I agree with Keri. I have been crocheting several years now and I too buy my yarn at Jo-Ann, Michael's etc. I have been to my LYS but I only ooh and aah, have never purchased anything (mainly because of the prices!!) I have had no problems with acrylic yarn. I use the Super Saver, which is probably one of the more "scratchier" yarns, but I find it easy to work with and the price can't be beat. I remember reading somewhere on the internet recently that someone suggested putting your acrylic yarn project in the dryer after completion and that will make the yarn more fluffy and soft. I have not tried it yet, but it makes sense! So I say go with what you like to crochet with and what makes you happy!

Barbara said...

Thank you all for your comments. I know that I'll always do the best thing and that's to stay away from the woolies! lol

Shropshire Suz said...

Oh wow! what a reaction you have to wool!!
lots of cotton in your life then?..and what a wonderful yarn that is..adore cotton yarns
Thanks for the lovely comments on 'home' and we've got everything crossed for a smooth move hehe
Angels do seem to be on our side so far though lol
Hugs Suz xx

Beansieleigh said...

Hi Barbara! This is my first time here, so nice to meet you! I have been crocheting since I was a child!.. and all I EVER crochet with is acrylic or cotton! I love either one, and they work just fine for me, no matter what I'm making or using it for! Hope you're enjoying the weekend! ~tina

Indigo Blue said...

I think that you should use whatever yarn you like. If you have an alergy like this then you are bound to also use the yarn that you are able to use. I use anything. Cotton is lovely but also very expensive in the UK. I am learning to crochet, partly using a childs kit to learn. made loads of squares then decided to crochet them together to make a scarf. I went around the edges with black wool to make them look like stained glass windows. The black wool is acrylic. Did not stop people saying how nice it is.
Incidently, I am allergic to angora wool.

Barbara said...

So glad to see all you folks actually followin me! I am truly honored and humbled that you are interested in what I have to say.

Thank you.

Keri said...
The A to Z of Crochet: The Ultimate Guide, from Country Bumpkins Publications. This is one I don't have, and it looks like a good one!

Barbara said...

It looks like a good one to me also. I don't have it either, so you'll have to let me know if it's really a good one. lol

Kristy said...

It's funny that I own some wool yarns, but I have yet to use them. I prefer using cotton and some acrylics as well as some other types of yarns (bamboo & sugarcane, etc). Use what you like and don't worry about what others think are exceptable yarns.

Sonya said...

Hi Barbara,
I wanted to share my experience with acrylic yarns with you because personally that's pretty much all I use. First of all, I like crocheting with the acrylic or cotton yarns because they are slightly stiffer which is so much easier to work with in my opinion. And once it's washed, it's as soft as anything made from the more expensive yarns.
And as far as items made with acrylic yarn lasting? I have things I made 20 years ago, washed countless times, and used over and over and they are still in one piece and looking beautiful. My grandmother crocheted a baby layette for my brother to wear home from the hospital when he was born in 1950. My mom saved it and my brother's son also wore it home when he was born in 1977. Now he and his wife are expecting a baby in July and we pulled the layette out so his baby can wear it home. It's still in perfect shape after all these years. That speaks pretty well for good old acrylic yarn lasting I think. =)
Have a wonderful day and happy stitching.

Sandra said...

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Cute but, more importantly, so much wisdom contained therein.
As to the yarn, each and every yarn has a place. Acrylic is excellent for hard wearing items such as baby blankets for new mothers. Does any new mother want to use, everyday, a woolen blanket that needs to be tended to by hand? I use wool for special projects such as winter accessories and garments.
Cotton I use for dish and wash cloths, tea towels and burp pads.
Don't let someone else drag you down with their negativity regarding yarn. Even Red Heart has a place and that stuff is scratchy as all get out. Acrylic yarn, even Red Heart, after knitted or crocheted, may be "killed" to make it quite soft. You take a steam iron and hold it above the yarn and let the steam heat up the piece. Work slowly and eventually the entire piece will be soft.
If I'm knitting a shawl for rescue workers, I use acrylic as it's easy to throw in the washer dryer and ready to dry more tears.
Even though I raise sheep, spin my own yarn and have plenty of natural fiber stuff on hand, I still use acrylic and cotton. Right now I'm knitting a lot of cotton cloths to send to my nephew's unit in Afghanistan. Like acrylic, cotton serves a useful purpose.