Sweater made of Acrylic: What are the rules?

So, I’m pretty new to knitting big things such as a sweater. I just finished all the pieces to the knitty.com’s Leo Sweater for a guy friend of mine. I used an acrylic yarn because I’m cheap, and I’ve been reading on some of the threads that acrylic yarn can’t be blocked. bummed out I know that it can be machine washed and dryed which sounds nice, but does that mean I can just throw it in the wash and it’ll just come out? What are the best ways for drying it? Laid out or in the dryer? Should I seam the pieces together before I throw it in the washer?

Basically, if someone could enlighten me on how I should care for this sweater so it has a prolonged life, and even just enlighten me about the things you can do with acrylic yarn for future projects. Basically, [i]what are the rules of acrylic?[i]

Also, because its in a 5x3 ribbing, it is elastic, and I’m worried that it’s going to be “tight” on him, and like… define his muscular structure and make him look buffer then is called for. I want this to be a sweater he’ll wear and not feel silly in it, are there any suggestions about that?

Thanks for answering my many questions in advance–much appriciated.

I think you can just throw it in the washer and dryer and will look nice when you’re done. You shouldn’t have a shrinking problem with acrylic although it may “firm” up a bit when first washed.

Seam it together as it is. Then you can wash it and dry it. I wash mine on gentle and take them out before they’re completely dry to avoid them getting overheated.

Is it suggested to wash an acrylic sweater before considering it “finished?” I was debating just these questions for the baby cardigan I’m finishing. Also, is blocking only for wool, then? What about cotton blends? I guess I have some research to do before I start any other garments!

I always think it’s a good idea to wash a baby sweater before you give it–you have to figure your hands have been rubbed on every inch of it. Very often washing acrylic sweaters will even out the stitches and soften it up nicely, so it’s not a bad idea.

Unless the cotton you use says machine wash, then you can lay it out blocked to dry.

Great, thanks for all your help! I can’t wait to see what it’ll turn out to look like. ^-^

Be careful with acrylic in the dryer, if it gets too hot it will melt. Acrylic is, after all, basically a plastic.