Solve the Knitter's Dilemma of Natural vs. Synthetic Yarncomments (0) May 19th, 2008
In the course of my knitting career, I have relaxed my attitude about synthetic yarn and have been delighted with the outcome of the projects in which I used a blend. I still covet the “Rolls-Royce” yarns, but I’m happy to test-drive a “Hyundai” from time to time, getting to my destination comfortably, at a great price, and in relative comfort!
You can find wide variety of natural fibers available on the market today. There are animal-based fibers such as wool, alpaca, llama, angora, camel, mohair, cashmere, and silk. Plant-based fibers include the ever-reliable cotton, ramie (very hard to find), and linen along with the new kids on the block, including soy, bamboo, corn, and hemp. Have you heard about the yarns made from milk, Chitin (made from shrimp and crab shells), stainless steel, buffalo, paper, pineapple, qiviut (musk ox), and silver?
Commonly, synthetic fibers are combined with natural fibers to add durability, improve the texture, and/or lower the cost of the yarn. Viscose, rayon, polyester, nylon, acetate, microfiber, and acrylic are the most common synthetic fibers incorporated in hand-knitting yarn. Synthetic fibers are integral to the creation of the wide variety of novelty yarns on the market including eyelash, ladder, sparkly, etc. These yarns would be impossible to manufacture in a natural fiber.
Knitting should be an artistic activity that that should be accessible to people from all walks of life and income strata. Hats off to the mass-market yarn manufacturers, including Lion Brand and Red Heart, who are making an effort to incorporate more natural fibers into their products.