April 2005

Tip of the Month; Yarn Fire Safety

Last week our faculty member, Diane Sack, brought the recall of Bernat's "FUR OUT" yarn to my attention. You can find more information about this recall at Bernat Yarns Website. We have talked about fibers in detail before. But this recall reminded me to talk a bit more about the fire resistance property of different types of yarn.

The most fire resistant yarn is the one that is made from animal fibers such as wool, mohair, and alpaca. These fibers do not catch fire easily and when on fire they smolder, hence do not cause much harm.

Next in the rank are yarns made of plant fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp and rayon. These fibers are less fire resistance than animal based fibers, but they turn into ash very fast and fall off the body. As a result harm to the wearer is minimal.

The most fire prone types are synthetic fibers such as polyesters, nylon and acrylic. These fibers melt and stick to the body. On top of that, they produce toxic fumes. Most synthetic fibers are treated with chemicals to make them more fire resistant. Nevertheless, some of these chemicals wear off after several washes.

Keep in mind that when fibers are mixed to create new yarns such as acrylic/wool combo each fiber carries its own characteristic to the combination. Another factor to keep in mind is the fuzziness of the yarn. Fuzzier yarns catch fire more easily.

So what should we do, especially about the new beautiful fuzzy yarns that have filled the market these days? My answer is common sense. They are too beautiful to resist, but do not wear your synthetic or fuzzy items, especially loose fitting garments and scarves, close to open fire. It is always a good idea to be careful about what we do and how we dress.

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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