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wool vs. acrylic? question from a new brother


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#1 KT

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 08:41 PM

Glaisne pm'd me with this question, which I think is a great topic to get many opinions on!

What is the difference between the woolen and acrylic kilts? I've always had wool in the past but found a saffron on in acrylic?

Can you be of assistance?

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#2 Barley Bird

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 09:09 PM

In short, acrylic SUXXORS.

No really, it is a terrible fabric, speaking from the point of view of somebody that knows just a tiny bit about fabrics.

First off, flammability. ALWAYS a fun issue. When this stuff melts, it is like napalm. It will stick to whatever when it is burning. Also easily ignitable. Heat retention. But not when you want it. In the summer, acrylic simply does not breathe all that well, and holds heat. Especially damp acrylic. Which is going to be a problem because acrylic has absolutely horrid evaporation rates. So if it rains, and you become waterlogged, you are going to have 20 pounds of soggy around your middle that is going to take forever to dry. In the winter, acrylic suddenly forgets that it holds warmth. It can be warm, but it is not a great winter weight fabric. Wool and hemp are far better. And heaven help you if your kilt gets wet in the winter, you will freeze your fecking balls off. Acrylic is not a hygienic material. Mold, mildew, fungus, nasty stuff grows really well in acrylic, especially in acrylic around sweaty areas. This is why I am loathe to deal in acrylic yarn for my hats and stick to wool. Wool has issues too, but it leaps and bounds better than acrylic.

It should be noted that I own two acrylic kilts... One of which I can no longer wear because I sweat almost pure acid and one kilt melted to the point where it actually split apart while I was wearing it out on a kilt night. Whoops. The second, well, to be fair, it has held up well. It is one of the heavyweight acrylic models offered by Stillwater kilts, in the blackwatch tartan. It has survived being out with me in ice storms, severe winter weather, and severe rain. It has pilled up terribly on the front apron. It is starting to melt inside where it has contact with my skin. It has endured a great deal of hard wear and abuse, and the construction has been top notch. It still has a great deal of wear left in it most likely.

Acrylic is my least favourite material to deal with.

#3 Adam

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 09:20 PM

Thanks for the info. I think I'm going to use it to decide on my next kilt purchase.

#4 Glaisne

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 09:45 PM

Dreadbelly,

Thank you, sir! That will help me greatly. KT thank you for the help as well.
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#5 Barley Bird

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 09:48 PM

For a cheap low budget kilt, spring for a wool heavyweight from Stillwater Kilts if you can. It is very hard to beat wool.

Personally, I love hemp in a kilt. You can't beat it.

#6 Glaisne

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 07:31 PM

Am looking at a few Stillwaters now. Saffron is first choice. They don't carry family tartan there. Lots of nice stuff there. I appreciate your wisdom.

KT, the package arrived today. Thank you as well. I am now official at #93.
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#7 IEScotsman

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:15 PM

Am looking at a few Stillwaters now. Saffron is first choice. They don't carry family tartan there. Lots of nice stuff there. I appreciate your wisdom.

KT, the package arrived today. Thank you as well. I am now official at #93.

A caveat: You deserve to make an informed purchase and this only matters to some kilted folk, but I count myself amongst them. Stillwater kilts come from Pakistan. The wool tartan and kilt construction are all Pakistani. That's why they are so cheap.

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#8 Barley Bird

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:09 AM

Yes. The wool kilts come from Pakistan, but are extremely well made.

#9 Adam

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:42 AM

And the shipping seems to be able to time warp itself. Only problem with Stillwater is that they are out of all standard and heavyweight kilts in my size. Do you think an acrillic would be a good temp kilt until I save up some more money or should I just not put out the effort?

#10 Barley Bird

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:43 AM

And the shipping seems to be able to time warp itself. Only problem with Stillwater is that they are out of all standard and heavyweight kilts in my size. Do you think an acrillic would be a good temp kilt until I save up some more money or should I just not put out the effort?


Save your money for the xmas restock that is coming!

#11 IEScotsman

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:54 AM

Or save your money for a Brotherhood membership and save 10% at great retailers. B)

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#12 Barley Bird

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:58 AM

Or save your money for a Brotherhood membership and save 10% at great retailers. B)


Well yes, there is that. Just think of the money you will save!

#13 Tartan Jack

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 07:10 AM

I'll just say . . .
A "Brotherhood membership" pays for itself fairly quickly. FIRST of all, there is the "membership" package. Second, the discounts, which can save a BUNCH over the course of a year. Third, at THIS point in time, you ave the chance to help SHAPE the BotK for the FUTURE!


Back to topic:

EVERY material has its pros and cons. It is all a question of whether the pros outweigh the cons for you.

Wool has MANY pros and 2 main cons:
1. Must be either hand washed in cold water (my preference) or dry cleaned.
2. CAN be expensive, esp for worsted wool.

Questionable pro or con-> are various types of ways to make wool into fabric, with each having its own pros and cons. REMEMBER: "Fuzzy"/Saxony/blanket wool is a rather different material (esp. in thermodynamics) than Worsted (which is pretty AMAZING in what it can do).

All in all, I have a marked preference to wool, as its pros are REALLY good and I can work around the cons fairly easily.
May the Kilt be with you, always!

#14 Mr. MacDougall

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:03 AM

I guess I'm going to be the dissenting voice, here.

First of all, on the subject of Stillwater -- While you won't get a BotK discount on his merchandise, everything I've bought from Jerry (the owner at Stillwater) has been very high quality, and I've been very satisfied with it. His shipping times are phenomenal, and his customer service absolutely can not be beat. When my best friend decided to get kilted, Stillwater was my first recommendation to him for a starter kilt.

Secondly, I really like the acrylic fabric Stillwater kilts are made of. It's heavy-weight... indeed, heavier than the wool in the Black Watch heavyweight kilt I purchased from Stillwater. It's also softer, and doesn't have "prickles" the way wool does.

I'm not going to argue what the "proper" fabric for kilts is, or that acrylic is better than wool, but for casual, day-to-day wear, I find a Stillwater standard in accrylic to be an excellent choice and value.
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#15 Barley Bird

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:08 AM

Acrylic is heavier than the wool?

How so?

10 ounce acrylic vs the 18 ounce wool or so that Stillwater uses for their blackwatch heavyweight?

I may have misunderstood what you are saying. My apologies.

#16 Tartan Jack

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:37 AM

What KIND of wool is the Stillwater Heavyweight?
Saxony is SIGNIFICANTLY more "prickly" than worsted and also pills more than worsted.

All wools are not equal.
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#17 turpin

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:57 AM

Acrylic is heavier than the wool?

How so?

10 ounce acrylic vs the 18 ounce wool or so that Stillwater uses for their blackwatch heavyweight?

I may have misunderstood what you are saying. My apologies.

There's no way that SWK heavies are 18 oz wool. Jerry told me it is more like 13 oz. when I ordered my saffron
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#18 Barley Bird

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:14 AM

There's no way that SWK heavies are 18 oz wool. Jerry told me it is more like 13 oz. when I ordered my saffron


Saffron is 13 ounce along with the others, the blackwatch, at least the last I heard anything, was about 18 ounces.

Since you have access, go search XMarks. Plenty of posts about how heavy the blackwatch kilts were.

#19 KT

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 12:32 PM

I have an Irish saffron heavyweight SWK, and it is heavier than my 13oz tartan kilt make by House of Edgar, or at least it feels that way to me.

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#20 Barley Bird

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 12:40 PM

What KIND of wool is the Stillwater Heavyweight?
Saxony is SIGNIFICANTLY more "prickly" than worsted and also pills more than worsted.

All wools are not equal.


This is so very true. Merino wool for example, has more bulk to it than regular wool. With standard wool vs Merino, you have more bulk for the same weight.

It is kinda poofy. Which is why I love merino wool for my bonnets.




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