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Judith Browning wrote:
As for potholders...I use the old woven type every day all day long made with a metal potholder maker and they are all cotton...a solid very tight weave...some are more than thirty years old.  



I'm pretty sure I have two of those, too! My neighbor's grandma made some and gave them to my mom, a good 25+ years ago. I took two when I moved out of my mom's place. They are both working wonderfully, though I wish they were a bit longer. So, I tried to knit one with cotton on tiny needles, and it stretched too much and the heat came right through the holes. I then tried to weave more cotton through the loops. It didn't work. My wool hotpad/oven mitts are actually modeled after the woven ones
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Woven cotton potholder
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side view of woven cotton potholder
 
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Dave Burton wrote:So, I have this fuzzy skein of what I think is wool. If I made a hotpad out of this and then posted the pics,, do you think I would be able to get certified for this BB?

Does this skein look like wool to you, Nicole? It is soft, fuzzy, and has a wispy quality to it.



That looks very much like an acrylic yarn, especially with that sheen. Pretty sure I've knitted with that type of acrylic "Boucle"-stlye yarn. Acrylic should melt when ignited--and does not make a good potholder because it'll melt against your skin. Judith's burn test is a really good way to test to be double sure.
 
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Nicole, the old potholder in your image looks as though it was woven with thrums on a floor loom or some sort of loom with harnesses and maybe with a linen warp?...it's wonderful!  

I love the felted wool ones for this project and might have to dig out some homespun and a set of knitting needles.

The cotton ones I mentioned are made on the little 'loom' that used to be every child's first taste of weaving...the sets, frame and loops, are still made but in plastic and sometimes with synthetic loops that of course are not useful at all because as you mention, a synthetic will melt to your hand.  


and below is my drawer full of cotton potholders...
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Umm, well, I guess that’s the trouble I run into with using stuff I got in bulk from a thrift store that was mostly unlabeled. (And we’re not allowed to play with fire on campus, which is where I’m back to right now, so I can only try to figure out by pictures and touch) I looked at some pictures and descriptions of prewashed wool yarn.

I really want to say this is wool.... what do you all think?

Does this look like the right (wool) yarn to get certified for knitting a hot pad?
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wool?
 
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It looks to me like cheap acrylic yarn, which can be rather scratchy. It has a bit of sheen to it that's common with acrylics, but that could be the lighting. Sadly, for many many many years, most craft stores had only acrylic and maybe cotton yarn. Wool made a bit of a comeback recently at my local store...only to have them reduce stock because no one wanted to pay $10 for a skein of wool, when they could get acrylic for $3.

One test you could do is to scrub a few inches of it under hot water and scrub for a couple minutes. Then switch to cold water and scrub for half a minute, then back to hot. If it's not prewashed, it'll felt up.

Or, just walk out to where the ashcans are and use a match/lighter on it (I'm assuming your campus probably has designated smoking areas--people might give you some interesting looks, though!). It'll be pretty obvious if it's acrylic.

EDIT: It's also in a skein...and I rarely see wool sold in skeins. I usually see it sold in balls or in twisty loops like this

 
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dave wrote:Does this look like the right (wool) yarn t



I very rarely find wool at thrift stores...most are synthetics/ acrylics.  It's hard to tell from a photo...

 I think if wool is made too alkaline it can dissolve so maybe could try a strong baking soda mixture to test some of the fibers.

Keep the pH of the wool on the acidic side of 7. Alkaline pH will harm the wool and make it coarse. If the pH is high enough, the wool fibers will dissolve completely.  



The problem would be that if this method is not decisive and it is not wool but a synthetic, and used for a potholder it will possibly catch fire easily or melt like plastic.

I wonder if you could heat a bit of it some other way, without burning but enough to get a smell of hair if it's wool?  Does it have any 'sheepy' smell at all?
 
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So, with wool being sometimes hard to find in larger craft stores, expeically in more rural/less-hipster areas, I thought I'd search through Amazon and posts some links for wool yarn.



Paton's Classic Worsted Yarn $8.49 I've not used this yarn before, but worsted is a nice size of yarn. When knitting normally, you can use size 8 needles. If felting (or doubling up on the yarn), size 10 or 11 needles work well.  Comes in 9 colors on Amazon.




Knit Picks Worsted Wool of the Andes $32 for 10 assorted skeins. $29 for 10 skeins of the same color. Each skein is about 1/2 the lenght of Patons or Cascade yarn. So, this ends up being a better deal if you plan on doing a lot of knitting with non-prewashed wool (it will felt!). I've not used this yearn before.




Flora Knit "Medium" chunky roving yarn This is FLUFFY, thick yarn. It will tear easily and felt easily. You could knit a hotpad super fast with this--knit it really loose and then felt it down. Check on it carefully while felting--or hand felt it--because it'll get out of shape fast. $15 for 1/2 pound. 14 colors.



Cascade 220 Worsted Wool, official website Cascade Yarns @ Yarn.Com $10.50/hankAmazon has the yarn sold individually, with prices and shipping varying. Amazon's link to Cascade Superwash Sport (which is thinner than worsted weight, and won't felt) 7 colors and $9/hankThis is the wool sold in my local craft store. They have it in different thicknesses and have prewashed and non-prewashed. I love the feel and warmth of this yarn. They offer an insane amount of colors, too. You have to wind the hank into a ball of yarn before using it! I usually stick it on the back of a computer chair with enough pillows to hold it up. THen I spin the chair while winding the yarn. If you wind it the spiffy way, you can make a ball of yarn that you can pull from both the middle and the outside.

 
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I did a less intense felting test. I wetted two pieces of the yarn and tried to fuse them together by rubbing them dry between my fingers. The strands of yarn did not bind together. So, yes, I think it is likely acrylic yarn. So, I’ll go back to knitting and crocheting just for fun and relaxation. And I’ll get back to this BB when I have the correct materials.

I’ll go check out those Amazon links for wool. I might hold off on buying them, because I do have all this yarn, and I still think I ought to be making something with it all.
 
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Would alpaca fibers work? I don't think that they would felt but do you think that they might work for heat?

Otherwise I have some wool but I was just curious.

Thanks
 
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I'm thinking alpaca fibers would work. They singe, rather than burn, like wool, right? I've honestly never worked much with alpaca, but I'm thinking any sort of animal fiber yarn would work. Hopefully Raven can chime in, as she knows a lot more than me about fibre!

EDIT: Did a little research, and it looks like alpaca is flame resistant and does self-extinguish, like sheep's wool does.

The fiber will not burn unless it is in direct contact with a flame and therefore offers the wearer greater safety. High strength and elasticity make this fiber highly durable and lasting longer. Alpaca is flame resistant, meeting the standards of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's rigid testing specifications as a Class 1 fiber for use in clothing and furnishings.



https://alpacasofmontana.com/pages/frequently-asked-questions

So, yeah, I'm thinking it'd be perfectly fine to make a hot pad out of alpaca yarn!
 
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