Help for a giant hat, and acrylic question

I used US size 8 needles and acrylic yarn. I made the hat about an inch longer and wider than the pattern called for because we have giant heads in our family. I measured the gauge and it was right on, but the hat came out far too big, even bigger than I’d expect from the extra inch. My questions: a) I blocked the hat by running it under the faucet, squeezing it, and putting it over a small mixing bowl to dry–is that the correct way to block a hat? b) Is there any way to shrink this hat back to human proportions? Also, I thought the acrylic I used was pretty soft, but the more I read the more I see that people seem to despise acrylic. I worry about knitting in wool because the wool clothes I’ve tried on made me itch. Is there something between the two, and why do people dislike acrylic? Thanks for any advice and opinions! Amy

That is the correct way to block a hat, but acrylic doesn’t usually block to well, so it’s iffy. If it works this time, you’ll have to do it again when you wash it.

Acrylic isn’t all bad, and sometimes it’s the best thing for the job. There are some nice ones out there. It’s just that there are some inexpensive, readily available ones that are truly awful to knit with after you’ve used some of the better fibers.

There are acrylic/wool blends that are non-itchy, washable and dryable and reasonably priced, like Plymouth Encore, Patons Decor and Woolease. I like Encore for childrens’ things because of the care factor and softness.

Alpaca is supposed to be hypoallergenic and is super soft and warm; cotton blends are nice, too, if you can’t wear wool.

Thanks for the help! I’ll try not to worry about the hat (am doing the pattern again, much smaller) and I’m making a note of the blends you recommended. Part of me wants to wait for better yarn until I’m a better knitter, and part of me thinks that’s crazy talk. Amy

Well, you don’t have to go out and buy cashmere, but you also don’t have to knit with pound o’ cheapola, either. :wink: