My name is Birgit Wyss and I have been handcrafting for over 45 years. In 2016, I made a little more of this versatile passion and founded my online shop and brand Chiemseegarn. Since 2016 we have been producing gradient yarns made of polyacrylic and cotton, which is why I would like to answer the question in this blog post: why do we produce gradient yarns made of polyacrylic and cotton?
Polyacryl is a synthetic fiber, which is very resistant, machine washable and also colourfast. We use them in our gradient yarns to combine the advantages of this synthetic fiber with the advantages of cotton.
But that's not all, polyacrylic gradient yarns offer many other advantages, namely that they are light and dimensionally stable. How you can bring your works back into shape with hair conditioner or get them into shape without the annoying tensioning is described in the course of this article. or
Why do we make our gradient yarns from polyacrylic and cotton?
We manufacture our gradient yarns from polyacrylic and cotton because they make our yarns resistant and machine washable as well as pleasant and skin-friendly.
Our gradient yarns are ideal for all kinds of handicrafts, whether knitted or crocheted. You can make dreamy vests and jackets from them, soul warmers to cuddle up to, casual tunics and of course shawls, scarves and loops in all conceivable shapes, sizes and colors. It is also the ideal material for blankets or baby blankets.
What are the advantages and properties of polyacrylics in gradient yarn?
Polyacrylic is a synthetic fiber and has a soft feel, similar to that of wool, and has a heat-insulating effect.
- machine washable up to 40 °
- suitable for the dryer
- the natural fibers felt less
- because the fibers have a low density, they are very light
- Polyacrylic absorbs little moisture and is therefore quick-drying
- Polyacrylic fibers are fluffy and wool-like - therefore they keep the warmth well and have an insulating effect
- it creases very little
- it can be colored well
- it is elastic
- it's soft
- it is also suitable for allergy sufferers
- hardly pills
Polyacrylic is usually cheaper to buy and therefore the gradient yarns are not that expensive. This is a good solution, especially if you have to keep an eye on the money or have just started handicrafts. That being said, the global production of natural fibers would not be enough to meet the demand for textiles!
Yarns with a plastic component usually do not felt (that's why sock yarns also have a plastic component!) and can be ribbed without problems, which is hardly possible with yarns with long fibers such as mohair. p>
Our yarns made of cotton with polyacrylic are also suitable for the vegan lifestyle.
What are the advantages and properties of cotton in gradient yarn?
Cotton is an excellent fit for the currently very current topic of sustainability, because it is a renewable raw material. The wearing comfort is high because it is breathable as well as very absorbent and light in weight.
- much more tear-resistant when wet than when it is dry
- soft and skin-friendly and without scratching
- low allergy potential
- very heat-resistant
- durable and easy to care for
- temperature and moisture regulating
- easy-care and very resistant
- hard-wearing and elastic
Can you compensate for the disadvantages of the individual raw materials with a mixture of polyacrylic and cotton in the gradient yarn?
Where there are advantages, there are unfortunately also disadvantages. Because the gradient yarns are mixed in terms of the material, the advantages are increased and the disadvantages are minimized.
The production of acrylic requires a lot of energy, much more than that of cotton. In addition, polyacrylic is based on acrylonitrile, which is made from petroleum. However, there are already research projects that want to produce acrylic from renewable raw materials.
Another problem with polyacrylics is that microplastics are produced during washing. Research has shown that an item of clothing can lose up to 1,900 fibers per wash, which then end up in the wastewater. Sewage treatment plants are often unable to filter out the tiny particles completely and so they end up in bodies of water and oceans.
This can be avoided or at least greatly reduced by only running the washing machine fully loaded with polyacrylic with short wash cycles and a low spin speed.
Polyacrylic is currently very little recycled, although there are already a number of approaches . You can hand in clothing and materials that are no longer wearable at the nearest recycling center. The employees know best about professional recycling. If the things are still in order, you can also hand them in at a second-hand shop.
Cotton also has small disadvantages, but in my opinion these are not very relevant. Due to its low elasticity, it wrinkles easily and becomes quite heavy when wet.
Inferior colors can quickly look washed out. If you want to make sure that cotton does not change in size or shape during washing, you should knit or crochet a small sample of stitches and machine wash it.
Why don't we make our gradient yarns only from polyacrylic?
Because different materials are used, the advantages of the different materials are combined. For example, with our gradient yarns, the cotton ensures that the finished work feels pleasantly soft and also has a high level of breathability. The polyacrylic content, on the other hand, ensures durability and makes it possible for the yarn to be washable and very dimensionally stable.
There are also color gradient yarns that consist exclusively of polyacrylic, which is not objectionable. Of course, only the advantages and disadvantages of this material come into play and not those of the enclosed material. This means that advantages and disadvantages cannot balance or complement each other.
What is polyacrylic?
Polyacrylic - to be precise it is called polyacrylonitrile (PAN) - is similar to polyester a synthetic fiber based on petroleum, which consists of polymerized acrylic fibers.In its pure form it is hard and inflexible, but it can be dissolved in certain chemicals and thus converted into the polyacrylic fibers necessary for textile production
Polyacrylics are often added to other materials to complement their positive properties. If you want to work durable pieces, whether crocheted or knitted, you should pay attention to a mixture of polyacrylic with another material.
In this post I will explain to you how gradient yarns are made from polyacrylic and why the properties of polyacrylic and cotton complement each other perfectly.
How is polyacrylic made?
Acrylic is produced using both wet spinning and dry spinning processes. The mass to be spun is either pressed through a nozzle into a warm air shaft or shot into a precipitation bath with a special chemical, in which the material then solidifies. Acrylic is always produced and used as a so-called crimped staple fiber.
What is cotton?
Cotton, English: cotton, is a plant-based natural fiber that consists of around 91% cellulose, which is obtained from the fruit capsules of the cotton plant (belongs to the mallow family).
There are 51 types of cotton worldwide, but only 4 of them are used, namely:
- Levante cotton fibers
- Tree cotton
- highland cotton
- Sea Island cotton fibers
The highland cotton is used the most worldwide with a share of approx. 90% of the total production. A very high quality and also more expensive type is the Sea Island cotton fiber with a share of approx. 8%).
How is cotton made?
When the cotton fruit is ripe, the seeds burst and the typical cotton wool-like image of the ripe cotton plant emerges. These cotton bolls are either harvested traditionally by hand or by machine. However, since not all fruits ripen at the same time in most species, there is a lot of waste with mechanical harvesting.
The processing of the cotton plant
Now the contents of the capsule must be separated from the remains of the fruit capsule, the seeds and leaves. The combed out seeds are processed into oil or replanted. The seed coats are used in animal feed or chicken litter.
Next, the cotton fibers are pressed into bales, sent to cotton spinning mills, where they are sorted and classified according to quality features, purity and staple length. These spinning mills are mostly located near the growing areas in Asia and India.
The fibers are now brought into shape and twisted into yarn by a spinning machine. A chemical impregnation liquid is added to prevent the thread from tearing during weaving - but later it washes out again.
When cotton is “mercerized”, that is, it is refined with caustic soda, the structure of the cotton changes. The cell wall of the fiber swells, the surface is smoothed and thus the cotton is easier to dye and wash.
Which yarns are made from cotton besides gradient yarns?
There are many other yarns that are made from cotton, depending on the intended use, e.g.:
- Pot holder thread
- baby cotton
- School yarn
- Filet crochet thread
Can other fibers be added to polyacrylic?
Gradient yarns can be made from many different blends, the following blends are often used:
- with alpaca yarn
- with merino wool
- with virgin wool
- with silk or silk and cotton
- with mohair
In the next paragraph I explain the ratio in which the different materials are processed.
In what proportion are fibers mixed in gradient yarns?
There are different mixing ratios for gradient yarns. We use 50% cotton and 50% acrylic yarn. But there is also the ratio 60/40 or 75/25. In this way, the respective advantages are emphasized and the disadvantages are reduced, depending on what is important to you.
For example, a glitter thread in various colors or a sequin or pearl thread can be added as a filler thread.
There are also yarns in which merino wool is added to the polyacrylic instead of cotton, or alpaca and / or wool are added. Here, too, the ratio is plus / minus 50/50.
There are also color gradient yarns that contain about 20% mohair.
If three components are included, the ratio is usually divided into thirds, for example 34% silk, 33% acrylic and 33% cotton.
The variants are diverse and everyone can choose the thread that suits them best, which best suits them in terms of processing, the intended use of the finished work and of course their preferences.
But as mentioned before, the disadvantages complement and balance each other out and the advantages of the two different materials combine great and are wound into our beautiful gradient yarns.
Tips and tricks for the correct care of gradient yarns made of polyacrylic and cotton
Since our gradient yarns can be machine washed at 40 °, but fabric softener only becomes active at 60 °, you can add a dash of hair conditioner as a fabric softener replacement. This softens the work, gives it a nice shine and a pleasant scent.
Since polyacrylic does not tolerate high levels of heat, the works made from our gradient bobble cannot be ironed. To make them nice and smooth, it is sufficient to simply lay them out on a blanket or carpet when they are damp, pluck them into shape and let them dry. So you don't need any needles for tensioning.
Garments can also be wrapped in a towel after washing, squeezed out a little and then left to dry lying down or hang over a hanger..