Acrylic yarns – Pill or Anti Pill

“100% Anti -Pill Acrylic” have you seen this on different brands while you’ve strolled the yarn shops, craft stores or big box stores? I sure have and have often wondered what exactly is anti-pill acrylic and what’s it good or not good for.

Firstly, what is an acrylic yarn fiber? Acrylic is at its forefront a synthetic fiber that mimics wool yet is able to sustain washing and drying unlike 100% natural wool. The excerpt below from Wikipedia describes our crafter relation to this fiber.

Acrylic is the “workhorse” hand-crafting fiber for crafters who knit or crochet; acrylic yarn may be perceived as “cheap” because it is typically priced lower than its natural-fiber counterparts, and because it lacks some of their properties, including softness and propensity to felt. The fiber requires heat to “relax” or set the shape of the finished garment, and it isn’t as warm when wet as alternatives like wool. Some hand-knitters also complain that the fiber “squeaks” when knitted, or that it is painful to knit with because of a lack of “give” or stretch in the yarn. On the other hand, it is machine-washable and extremely color-fast. This makes it useful in certain items, like garments for babies, which require constant washing. However it is much more flammable than its natural fiber counterparts, so caution should be used when making items for babies and children.

Historically the complaint from most knitters and crocheters is that the items made with 100 % acrylic yarns start to get fuzzy little balls around it. THAT my friends is pilling. Usually most wear and tear is where there’s friction. Sweaters may notice pilling under the arms, around the hips where the arms swing naturally. Socks get some pilling at the heels and toes. Makes sense now right? So when you hear “anti-pilling” you’re first thought says “Yes, I want yarn that lasts longer and looks fresher” but does it really?

From what I can tell as a yarn hoarder, this anti pill yarn has a coating that makes the pill factor waaaay less than a standard acrylic. However, with that being said acrylic yarns have come a really long way. EVERYONE knows Red Heart yarns, normally it’s the Super Saver that we classify as stiff and scratchy, but even the revered company has upped its acrylic game.

Since this isn’t a “professional” review of anything but rather one yarn lovers modest opinions, it’s all yarn to me lol. Yep, after combing through pages of “What is acrylic, how is it made” my brain cells stopped short of actually being dedicated to knowing the difference. I will say from various hats, mitts, and sweaters AntiPill does NOT pill as quickly as it’s predecessor. BUT, yes a big BUT… yarn is so new and modern that you can no longer lump a brand type or material composition into one category of Good vs Bad. This really is your preference.

Just be sure to follow the labels washing and care instructions as well as being mindful that everything needs a little TLC. I won’t go on the rant of “This is why we swatch” because “WE” don’t always swatch. So, if you see some pilling, take note of what you used, what you made and either don’t do that again or get a shaver and spend a few minutes caring and loving on your handmade item.

Have you experienced something different? 🤔 Have you noticed a remarkable difference? Let me know below.

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