Why I Love Acrylic Yarn
I am old enough to remember when being a snob was considered not only poor form, but actually bad.
Then, when I took up crochet, I discovered that in this era of excess, snobbery has acquired an obnoxious foothold in our culture, and people now proudly claim the right to look down their noses at those who don’t have what they have or do what they do.
Some of this snobbery has been directed at my chosen craft — crochet.
Once while on a long train ride from New York City to Rochester, I took the opportunity the ride afforded to finish work on a small afghan I had made to give as a gift.
I was sitting alone. In another aisle, my husband watched over my then two-year-old. I marveled at the freedom I felt to be able to sit at a window seat while traveling and work on my crochet. My attention alternated between gazing out the window and weaving in ends. It was utterly delightful.
My reverie was interrupted when a woman I had never met decided that with all of the empty seats in the car, she needed to sit in the one next to me, and then, without even a “how do you do,” she looked over the project in my lap and said:
Knitting is much better than crochet.
I was put off by the woman’s attitude, and her general nastiness has colored my attitude toward knitting and knitters in the intervening twenty years, but her attitude, however unfortunate, is one that I have encountered more than once in the world of fiber crafts.
And this attitude of exclusion is not limited to one’s choice of craft, it extends to one’s choice of crafting materials.
So at the risk of slipping off my soapbox and hurting myself, it is with some trepidation that I step up and proclaim my wholehearted and unbridled enthusiasm for the very low-brow and incredibly affordable acrylic yarns.
Acrylic yarn is too scratchy for some delicate souls. They will complain longly and loudly about the awful sound acrylic yarns make when used to crochet or knit — although I must say, whatever noise an acrylic yarn makes it is nothing compared to the howls of a yarn snob — and they will go on ad nauseam about how scratchy it is.
And while I’m not going to tell anyone that acrylic yarn feels like a soft, cotton knit, I can assure you the only thing that scratches my skin more than sheep’s wool is steel wool.
Further, not every crafter has the means to buy the latest and greatest hand painted alpaca merino wool blend, and this inability doesn’t mean that they should have to miss out on the joy of crafting because someone who would never want to spend time with them anyway is offended by their choice of fiber.
Another plus? Acrylic yarn is machine washable — which comes in handy if the item you spent hours crafting should ever need to be cleaned. Need another reason? It comes in a huge assortment of colors, but the truth for me is this: I flat out like acrylic yarn and I enjoy making things with it.
I don’t live a dry-clean-only, hand-wash-in cold-water life. I live a life that while quite grand is also messy and often requires soap and water to restore it, and I want to live my life in the world, not a museum.
I also don’t want to be that nameless woman who is remembered twenty years from now as having been the rude person who sat down without invitation and insulted someone just because I could.
As a devotee of acrylic yarn, I know that I don’t belong to a terribly exclusive club; I belong to a very inclusive one, where everybody is invited to join in the fun.
Now, I need to carefully step down from my soapbox and get back to my crochet.