ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Acrylic Yarn?

Updated on December 1, 2012
My stash of Red Heart Super Saver yarns.
My stash of Red Heart Super Saver yarns. | Source

Whenever I browse online sites for yarns, I find myself wondering whether or not the fibers really matter in a crochet project or not. Acrylic yarns are cheaper and have more yardage for every dollar spent on it. But, then again, how come there are other fibers available, like cotton, wool or silk?

This hub discusses what an acrylic yarn is, its properties, benefits, and uses in knitting and crochet.

What is Acrylic Yarn?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, acrylic is defined as "a manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is any long chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units". In layman's terms, acrylic is a man-made fiber made from a form of plastic.

This means that acrylic yarns do not contain any natural animal hair (like sheep or camel) or cotton materials. Unlike other fibers, acrylic yarns are not spun. Instead, they are twisted together to form long lengths of material.

What is 100% Virgin Acrylic?

Much like the definition of 100% virgin wool, a label with 100% virgin acrylic means that it has only been twisted once and has never been recycled to make into a different project other than its current state. By law, once you wore a knitted or crocheted item with this label and resell it, you should cut off the label that says "virgin" before doing so.

Properties of Acrylic Yarn

  • Variety of colors easily available;
  • Comes in all weights and sizes;
  • Inexpensive;
  • Machine washable;
  • Has good elasticity (stretch capability and memory);
  • Not as strong as other synthetic fibers (e.g. nylon and polyester);
  • Some are made lightweight and soft; some are stiff and scratchy;
  • Resistant to moths, mildew damage, oils, chemicals, deterioration from sunlight;
  • Can be made to copy other fibers;
  • Hypoallergenic;
  • Wicks moisture away;
  • Does not stain;
  • Requires heat to block; and
  • Not as warm as other alternatives, like wool.

Benefits of Acrylic Yarn

Whenever you want to give a handmade item to someone, you have to make sure they are not allergic to the material you used. Some people are allergic to wool or any other natural fiber. Acrylic yarns will be your go-to material as it is hypoallergenic and comes in a whole array of colors.

Not to mention the fact that it is machine washable and is quite low maintenance compared to other fibers. Just tell the receiver to not iron your handmade gift and they will be all set. It is also quite durable and should last as heirloom pieces for their kids and grandchildren.

The most important benefit of using acrylic yarn, in my opinion, is that it is very inexpensive. When you are just starting out with crochet or knitting, you want to start making small, easy projects and acrylic is the cheapest way to go about creating simple, durable items.

Uses of Acrylic Yarn

While some might not like its stiffness, if you have no intention of wearing the project or putting it against your skin, its toughness can be a good thing, as it is known to be tougher than other natural fibers. There are several brands out there that sell soft yarns made with 100% acrylic that are indeed soft to put against your skin. While these yarns tend to be more expensive than the normal ones, you will find that they are still cheaper than natural fibers.

Acrylic yarns will not felt or shrink when you put them in the washing machine. Because it is low maintenance, items that need frequent washing (e.g. children's clothes or blankets) are usually made with this material. Due to the need for hypoallergenic things, especially when it comes to newborns, baby yarns made from 100% acrylic are very popular.

Acrylic is lighter than other fibers, like cotton. This makes acrylic a good material for making afghans or blankets, providing warmth without being heavy.

Due to some of its properties, acrylic is a popular material for blending with other fibers. Love the feel of wool but hate that it splits while you work? Why not use two strands at the same time, one wool, one acrylic, to make the best of both worlds? You get the property of warmth from the wool with the durability from the acrylic. Yarns made from natural fiber blended with acrylic are good alternatives if you are on a tight budget.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      I love acrylic for my afghans and scarves. It makes caring for the items so much easier than wool or cotton, for example. And I love that it's so inexpensive!

      Great hub. Voted up and useful!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)