OK, let's get it out of the way. I'm a yarn snob. I only like to knit with natural fibres. Wool, alpaca, llama, and sometimes silk and bamboo make up my collection of yarns. And I'm beginning to shy away from bamboo, since the process of creating yarn from it does horrible things to the environment. I like the way wool smells, sometimes very sheepy, redolent with lanolin. I love the softness of alpaca, how good it feels against skin. When I'm knitting, I always smile when I come across a bit of bracken entagled in the yarn. Even though it might be dyed fire-engine red, or autumnal sky-blue, this fibre was once part of a living animal, and I marvel again at the millenia-old partnership between humans and beasts.
All that said, I am not such a snob that I will disdain common yarns. Cascade 220, that work horse of the knitting world, has some amazing colours, and makes a warm wool hat. Beruocco ultra alpaca, that 50-50 blend of wool and alpaca, makes terrific hats and scarves, with the warmth of alpaca and the memory of wool. Which is not to say I'll turn down something exotic and wonderful if it's in my budget. And as God is my witness,
But I won't knit with acryllic. No. I don't like the way it feels, I don't like the way it drapes, and I don't like the way it can't be blocked. I know that it's great for baby things: blankets, hats, sweaters. I don't have any babies. And I'm not so foolish to knit things for them since they'll out grow anything I make before I get it off the needles. OK, I admit to making a few baby hats. I use cotton for those. But no acryllic. Not now, not ever.
Give me natural fibre. And I'll make you something that will keep you good and warm through our damp New England winters.