Join Date: May 2010
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Re: Bunch of random sewing and knitting questions...
I disagree. Especially because she lives in Florida, wool might be encouraged. Wool is far superior to acrylic (man made, plastic, essentially) or cotton in allowing the body to remain comfortable in extreme climates. Disagree with me? The Army issues and requires soldiers wear wool socks even when in Iraq and both the low and high lands of Afghanistan which gets FAR hotter than Florida does. Now, acrylic has it's place, I am sure, but when recommending it, all sides should be disclosed. Acrylic will not allow for the wearers body to self moderate, if they sweat (and they will, if they are wearing plastic) that excess heat will be retained by the acrylic and make them more hot... vicious cycle. Ever wear polyester pants in the heat? Why would you subject your kid to doing so, especially if you already have them in a pocket diaper which is probably loaded with other non breathing, man made fabrics? Microfiber and PUL work at their intended purposes but they do not breathe (which is why they don't leak!) so you put your kid in 1-2 lbs of plastic clothing and expect them to be comfortable? I'd sooner suggest sposies! I'm not really trying to be argumentative and any edge to my words should be chalked up to it being the middle of the night and I'm not sleeping like I should be. However, wool is far superior to acrylic and I'd recommend cotton before acrylic because at least it has some benefits. Now, cotton is not that much cheaper than some commercially available wool yarns BUT does not have the benefits. As far as wool being available in FL, I can't speak on that but most yarns that are available in craft stores are more expensive than online and not any "better". Wool does not have to be super expensive to be good, if you are willing for it to be a little rougher, not come from a certified humane, domestic, small farm with specific breeds, you can get a much better deal, price wise.
Originally Posted by Queen_Celeste
If you are in FLorida, I wouldn't really use wool. First off it will be harder to find down there. And, unless you are doing diapering I would probably start with something inexpensive like acrylic. Even then, I have a few pairs of knit pants that are made from acrylic and we use them all the time, mostly over pocket diapers since you have to wash once it gets peed on.
As for sewing, what sort of sewing do you want to try? A simple project that was my first sewing was pajama pants or pajama shorts. You can get an Easy Sew or maybe Qwick Sew pattern for less than $2 and make it out of old cotton bed sheets if you want to practice on cheap or free things. Really sewing and knitting are two very different and equally expensive hobbies, so it might be better to just start with one at a time.
In summary, acrylic is not "bad" but it needs to be used in applications where the knitter is aware of it's properties. Personally, I'd rather not knit than use acrylic. I can't stand the feel of it and it really defeats the "benefits" to the earth I am responsible for by being ego friendly. $1 skeins of Red Heart is as rough or rougher than the roughest wool I've ever felt but with no benefit. Blends with a high wool content are not completely bad and are cheaper than 100% wool if price is an issue. Wool has it's own issues like felting but what material doesn't require special care? You can machine wash acrylic but if you dry it, it will melt! Anyway, I'm sure I am rambling now and every knitter is entitled to use whatever her wallet and hands can afford, but since OP asked for advice, I gave mine.
Fabric.com has some really great fabrics and you can get some super discounts. Ebay and Craigslist are both great places to get "used" fabric, or, lots of uncut yardages bought by someone else. Etsy is a great place to get patterns and some sellers run sales or discount codes for their patterns... You can get patterns from ebay, but I don't find deals that way very often. Sign up for Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Joanns newsletters. Even if they are not near you, they all will usually honor the others coupons. If you have a Joanns near you, or get their newsletter, several times a year you will find them running 10 for $10 patterns or something... where you can pick what you want within a pattern line. Good deals can be found since commercial patterns can run up to $20 each! When you get your computer up and running again, or if you can use someone elses, just do searches for tutorials. Good luck on both sewing and knitting. It is really amazing to be able to see what your hands can produce, and don't be afraid to break a few rules, some amazing things are discovered that way!