Achoo! Or maybe “Itch you” is more correct. For those dying to spin yarn, but who are allergic to wool, here’s good news: you can spin acrylic, silk, synthetic, and other eco-friendly fibers. OR you can blend fibers for stunning yarn results.

A blend of acrylic top and yarn plies, silk, rose fiber, rayon of bamboo, and maybe some other stuff too—100% sheep-wool-free

I have little respect for people who sneer at acrylic yarn as though it and anyone who uses it is a sub-citizen. (Evidently they also have little respect for me…) While I love the idea of 100% natural, I don’t balk at the beautiful results we can achieve with synthetic stuffs.

The first time I used acrylic fiber on my blending board I was a little nervous. What if the fibers just sat there, stuck in the board? What a mess to have to clean up. So I started with a thin layer of wool, added some Tussah silk, bamboo, acrylic and more wool. It came off just as easily as other blends. Spun it on my wheel. Worked great.

Wool, Tussah silk, bamboo, acrylic and more wool

Wool/non-wool blend

Next I tried straight synthetics, but I only used about 1/3 of the board—just in case. (Technically silk is not a synthetic, but I frequently lump it into that category in this post because it’s too annoying to type out synthetic and silk every time.) This blend also came off like a dream.

Rayon (teal), acrylic top, acrylic yarn plies, Tussah (pink)

Fibers on blending board

I decided to spin it on a spindle because there was such a small amount. The drafted fiber broke a few times at the outset, but once I got going it was fine. (I think the breakage was due to nervousness because I haven’t had any problems spinning acrylic on a spindle since then.)

Wool-free acrylic blend on the spindle

I didn’t take a picture of the acrylic yarn by itself, so here it is in a crowd with wool yarn (the yellow and red wool cakes were also mixed on the blending board).

The acrylic blend is the blue cake of yarn on the right

Something I noticed from the experiment was that the acrylic yarn has a bright translucence the wool blend lacks. It’s difficult to capture in a photo. That might explain why I usually prefer to spin wool blended with silk. I definitely prefer the color variations I can create in my own blend.

From L to R — 1st: Wool/acrylic blend, 2nd: 1/2 wool/acrylic blend with 100% acrylic blend, 3rd: 100% acrylic blend

After that initial experiment, I’ve used my blending board for acrylic many times and never had any synthetic-specific problems. (The only “problem” I ever have is that sometimes not all the fibers lift out of the board together. Just have to watch for that and use a long, blunt weaving needle to help them join the group.)

Acrylic blend

Acrylic blend

Acrylic blend. While spinning this one I decided it needed some pizzazz, so I cut short strips of pink acrylic yarn, unplied them, and drafted them into the fiber blend as I spun the green yarn

Yarn drying after wet-setting the twist

Finished yarn cakes

I really love pin loom weaving and love seeing the beautiful results of MY OWN handmade yarn.

Helpful links:

Google results: How to Use a Blending Board
Pearl infused rose fiber
Where I buy acrylic fiber and rayon bamboo
Probably my favorite Etsy seller
You can find many interesting types of fiber on Etsy and eBay—search for spinning fiber: acrylic, silk, tencel, rayon, bamboo, viscose, nylon, faux angora, faux cashmere…
Spinning acrylic yarn Part 1: Unplying

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation