Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Grrr... Factor With Acrylic

 I still have a few gifts to finish for Christmas. I've learned a few things along the way. I made the hats for the kids out of acrylic, ( all except the one year old which I used super wash wool). Typically I only use acrylic for waste yarn, but the Kid's mother doesn't hand wash. Since at their house the carpet is often littered with clothes and the kids calmly walk all over them I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the extra bucks on super wash wool.  

I found some acrylic I thought was pretty nice. It was soft, had a light shine, and lovely drape. Unfortunately as I pulled it out further and further from the center I found some bad parts. Easy to fix with wool but a real weakness factor in acrylic.

Though I wasn't happy, the kids had a ball on the knitting machine with the acrylic making their scarves and I crocheted lacey ends when they were done. The results were fast, just the pace children have patience for. The problem has come in that the scarves curled big time. I'm thinking the tension was a bit tight. Been four or more years since the machine has been out and I'm a bit rusty with it. I'm not so sure the yarn wouldn't have curled anyway. Seems I remember from my early years that acrylic curls. Acrylic is all the yarn my grandmothers used.

But I couldn't remember what to do about a curles. Hmm..... innocently I wetted the blue scarf down and pinned it to the ironing board and let it dry as if I was working with wool. I took the pins out. It curled up again as if nothing had been done to it. With three anticipating grand daughters I have to do something. So off to the Internet I went.  
Apparently you can steam them into shape. The steaming melts the fibers lightly. Ironing the fibers runs the risk of damaging them too much though that sounds far more easy. The problem was that I haven't used the steam part of my iron ---ever. I use a spray bottle. I soon found out the chamber was full of dirt and it spit up brown goo all over my just washed ironing board cover. Grrr...... I guess I should have taken it to the sink first. I have a bit of ADD and I should have reined it in but I just wanted this project over.

It takes forever to steam a scarf in this manner. I've decided that the extra cost of super wash wool is so worth it. But a bit too late now and though I've stood what seemed like an eternity, I'm not really happy with the results. I had one scarf done and started on another when I got side tracked packing to travel to a funeral and getting my husband off to the SHOT show in Las Vegas pushing it off to this coming week.  

Meanwhile I've been using some super wash wool to hand knit hats in color work when ever I get a chance or take time to wind down from all the stress of this past few months. I'll have to show you what I've got done so far. I've decided I'm really, really enjoying color work. Some how when I make my own combinations I'm most happy. But I'm not happy with this yarn either. My daughter pointed out some better selections when she was home and so I think I'll order some. I really need to form traditions for Christmas and birthdays. For instance books for their birthday and hats for Christmas or something like that. Do any of you have traditional gifts you give? I'd love some ideas. It is just too much stress trying to keep up and I do love working ahead so I'm looking for something I can buy and or make months before the event.

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