Let me start by saying that I love wool. I’m the type of person that will literally make a day trip of going to see a single breed sheep farm and drag others along. If I had the funds I would gladly spend all day buying all sorts of amazing, soft, luxurious alpaca, goat, sheep, and any other fibre animal’s greatest offerings.
However; I do not have the funds. I try to keep wool in my life- I’m always cold so wool house socks are a particular must. I love a good wool hat or scarf. Wool is the quintessential example of you get what you pay for. I’ve held wool that I swear was just spun cloud. I’ve also held wool that I swear was Satan’s nail clippings.
I’ve also seen some truly tragic acrylic. However, as technology improves it’s getting better and better. Besides some people having moral issues I’m not going to get into today, there’s also the issue of allergies. More than anything though I find the biggest champion for acrylic is low cost. Again, you do get what you pay for. The stuff that comes free with a magazine? It feels and acts like plastic. Would I make myself something out of it? Probably not. I love it for swatching though- if I muck something up or hate how it looks I’m not super bothered and it tends to have awesome stitch definition. Acrylic in all forms also tends to be washable, which I don’t think is talked about enough. A lot of us are really gross knitters who kind of just never wash our knitted stuff. Imagine the liberation that comes with just tossing it in the machine!
If you’re on a budget, try for an acrylic blend. I made this hat and mitt set out of an 80% acrylic, 20% wool blend I got from Aldi of all places. The acrylic keeps the wool from being scratchy, but it’s still wonderfully warm.
If you’re looking for an amazing 100% acrylic to start with, I’d recommend Vanna’s Choice. It’s really soft, the colours are amazing and proceeds go towards a children’s hospital. It’s also quite warm- I wear this hat a LOT.
Enough people have started knitting that we’re in this weird snobbery period in DIY. I’ve met knitters who won’t use anything that costs under $50 a skein. I think it’s just a really bizarre way to shop for craft supplies. Who cares how much it cost? If it feels nice and looks nice it’s best to give it a chance.