This irritation is undeniable, though the severity varies from person to person. Wool and hair in garments is something we humans have used since at least 6000BCE, when ancient Iranians began to domesticate wool sheep, to keep our bodies warm. Other factors that may contribute to itchiness include: The diameter of wool is measured in microns, typically ranging from 8 to 70 microns (Hemmons Hiatt, 2012). The factor that most contributes to itchiness is the diameter of the wool strand. The worst thing you can knit is the item that you won’t wear. In this process, the wool is washed in an acidic bath that smoothes some of the natural roughness of … In general, sheep’s wool has a specific reputation for being itchy, so we’ll start with that. There are also adult alpaca fibres that are extremely sensitive and pleasant for your skin. I've been noticing some of them are starting to get more itchy. If you’re itchy when you wear wool, you might be sensitive or allergic to lanolin, a substance found in wool. Sheep have a natural conditioner on their hair called lanolin, and people have always found that if you leave this grease on the wool, it acts as a pretty effective water repellent. Tighter spun yarn and weaves have more potential to be itchy. Reason 1~The Breed Of Sheep Are you allergic to your bed? Many associate itchiness with wool due to the diameter of the fibers found in typical wool. The Principles of Knitting. However, Merino wool is very high-quality wool, and thus it itches very little or none at all. This method of testing seems like a lot of hassle, but just imagine how much worse it is to buy all the yarn, knit the entire sweater, and then hate how it feels. Understandably, these experiences can make some worried about other wool clothing. That combination will reduce the itch factor. Part 1 Irish Wool - This is wool that is taken from an Irish sheep. (Also, buying an extra skein of yarn to test with gauge swatching is never a bad idea.) Enter a world of coziness, tranquility and comfort with a Merino wool blanket from Shepherd's Dream. I have a handful of wool garments- mostly Ibex. With our extensive research and experience, we believe that a properly maintained wool-filled bed is the most ideal sleep environment available. It can be corse and some find this type of wool in their Aran sweater itchy to wear. Mohair is a kind of luxurious wool that is popular through its lustrous and strong fibers. We offer a selection of chemical-free or organic wool mattress toppers handmade in the USA. Additionally, where you wear the fiber affects the perceived itchiness. Only a few with extreme skin sensitivity may not be able to tolerate this, but overall, it’s a soft fiber. Shop our non-toxic and eco-friendly mattress. Likewise, the smaller the micron, the softer it will feel. Some types of wool are softer than others -- for example, those with a wool sensitivity might find that merino and lambswool don't irritate their skin as much. It’s affordable, natural, and 100% free of chemicals. Larger fibers are less flexible … First, try yarns made with Merino wool, particularly fine and ultra-fine. This fiber has that natural sheen to it which makes fabrics and yarn shine when hit by the light. ), link to How to Knit an Actually Stretchy Cast-on, recent review of various literature from the past hundred years, any chemicals for processing or added fragrance, “leftovers” in wool that was minimally processed, such as bits of hay, twigs, or pollen. I knit furiously, meaning that I am a fast and prolific knitter and that I swear loudly every time I drop a stitch. Read all the facts about natural wood bedding and accessories. If you’re liked me, you probably heard the word “wool” and immediately thought that merino would be one itchy, uncomfortable fabric. The main reason wool feels itchy is because of the way it is spun or woven. Thicker strands feel itchier and coarser. Then there’s yet another element to itchy wool, Brewer points out. Anecdotally speaking, I am much more likely to develop a rash (which looks like an allergic reaction) to certain fibers than my husband. The outer fibers of the wool, which is called tog in Icelandic, is tough, long, fleecy, glossy, and is the layer of the wool that is also water-resistant. (2007) found that fine and ultrafine Merino did not trigger skin irritation, so this is a great place to start. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 97, 906-915. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-2655. Coarse, itchy wool has 1-2 crimps per inch of fiber, while high-quality merino wool has closer to 100. In this case, my go-to method for a quick test is to rub the yarn against an area of delicate skin. If you are creating a pattern that requires some degree of natural felting, such as for steeks, a very soft yarn may not be the best option. Then, you have the inner layers of the wool, which are called þel in Icelandic. Shepherd's Dream is a local, eco-centered small business. Some fibers are itchier than others, so with thoughtful selection and know-how, you can find the perfect yarn for your project. Louise Scolley of the excellent WoolWork podcast rejects this way of testing yarn, which she calls the “hand-squish-grab” method. I know that wool is warm and can be really beautiful, but it’s also one of the most common fabrics that irritate sensitive skin.Sometimes wool can be scratchy and rough, so wearing it against your delicate skin can lead to itching and even rashes or hives. It makes the wool much stiffer, in fact. WebMD looks at the possible causes, from minor irritants to serious illnesses. Instead, she suggests doing the “bra test”: knit a swatch with the potential yarn and tuck it under your bra strap (or in the waistband of your pants for those who don’t wear bras). Doctors give trusted, helpful answers on causes, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and more: Dr. Lin on wool is itchy: It is worth a try. Aim for premium apparel brands like Smartwool, Icebreaker, Fjallraven, and Patagonia. And, of course, blends of all these fibers can tone down the itchiness of 100% wool. When it comes to baby alpaca wool it never itches (unless the wool comes from a sick animal or went through very bad processing). (Also, camel! And you have options! It’s also cool, breathable and moisture-wicking, which is why merino makes for such a good base layer during hiking or exercise. But unlike other wool fibers, Mohair is less itchy. Through our blog, we hope to educate people about the dangers of sleeping on mattresses with petroleum-based foams and toxic flame retardant chemicals, and deliver useful information about healthier alternatives like natural wool bedding.To become a well informed buyer, start by browsing these informative and insightful posts about the benefits of wool, tips on healthy sleeping and living, Shepherd’s Dream products and specials, and much more. Some of our sweaters here at Icewear are knitted of little processed wool or “plötulopi” and are very soft. Buffalo! However, due to the advancement in technologies used to produce synthetic fibers, wool gradually became more scarce. But many of us have felt that prickly, itchy irritation from a wool jacket or sweater that made us reach for a different wardrobe choice. Kligman, Albert M. (2007). A too-tight cast-on makes even the most beautiful pair of socks unwearable if you can't get it... Hello! When you’re starting out, you may gauge the softness of wool by squeezing the ball or skein when you’re at your local yarn store. It is important to remember that the softness of finer wools comes with a trade-off. If you’re going to put in the money, and more importantly, the time into hand-knitting something, you should be sure that it is actually something that you or the lucky recipient will feel comfortable wearing. Basically, all the consumer needs to know is that the finer the wool fiber, the less potential there is for itchiness. After those two reasons comes the stiffness factor. Silk is another animal-produced fiber, though it has a distinctive look and does not have the same heat-retaining properties. If you have torn off the offending garment in protest and noticed a rash or red skin, it is most likely due to your skin being irritated by the coarse fibers, not an allergy (Zallmann et al., 2017). Itchy skin is a common problem that can be hard to diagnose. Your hands are much less sensitive than other parts of your body that may be covered in this finished garment, so they are not the best judge of texture or itchiness. Not all merino wool is going to be high-quality no-itch, so buying from reputable yarn companies is a good idea. The sensitive skin around your neck may not tolerate scratchier wools, but your arms and forehead may do just fine with a rugged Shetland sweater or hat. Higher-end wool is less likely to cause itching. Wool has long been considered the best material for warm winter clothes. Luckily, merino wool isn’t anything like the wool your grandpa used to rock. “Wool shoes? What's the difference between a mattress topper and a mattress pad? Look for woolen garments that have already been lined, perhaps with a cotton fabric. Merino wool is the finest fiber, with a diameter of 10-15 microns, and many consider it to be the softest. Feel free to, One major reason wool can feel itchy or scratchy is the quality of the wool being used. Choose a thinner, finer wool that has a better quality wool fiber. Even if science eventually determines that a wool allergy is not actually an allergy, that doesn’t mean that wool will magically feel smooth and nice to some people. Have you been skin tested for other allergens? Like many other infections, the cause of your itchy … This ensures that all our wool blankets, pillows, comforters, beds and other products retain all the beneficial properties of wool while feeling smoother to the touch than coarser, larger micron wool fibers. What kind of sheep did the wool come from? Merino wool is finer (or thinner) than your average wool, which makes it softer, less itchy and more flexible. Once these fibres … Alpaca wool or its fibers can be stiffer than Merino or Cashmere wool fibers. You can often find her on the couch, eating snacks and knitting furiously (in both senses of the word). link to All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray! The itchy feeling is coming from the regular wool not the higher quality alpaca version. The highest quality merino wool is naturally soft, but some modern wool garments are treated for softness. New York, NY: Touchstone. Look at them under the microscope. The reason for people to find wool itchy is a mechanical one. In doing this research, I was surprised to find that modern research indicates that wool allergies may not–gasp— even exist! It sound like a severe immune reaction, of which the steroid cream might help. “Why is wool itchy for some people and not others?” There are several factors, but you might be surprised to learn that allergies are really quite rare. Best of health- … The trade-off, though, is that it’s anything but soft! Wool is the full fleece sheared away from a sheep’s skin, not to be confused with hair from other animals that are sometimes blended with wool. You deserve it! It replenishes itself each time a coat is taken off and continues to grow back throughout the animal's life. These fibers are very flexible, which makes them perfect for long-wearing. Thicker strands feel itchier and coarser. A few years ago, I saw an interesting thread on Ravelry (the social network for fiber folk) about the annual tradition of griping about ungrateful recipients of knitted Christmas gifts. The factor that most contributes to itchiness is the diameter of the wool strand. There is another cause of itchiness in wool and it is not due to the fabric either. For the last 30+ years, we have handcrafted the best organic wool bedding with 100% natural materials available in our northern California workshop. It might prove useful. Website Design by Blue Genie Digital. There are 3 types of Icelandic wool in Icewear´s products, each with a different degree of softness. They all use fine wool which is much less rough than course wool. Fortunately, by using a few household items, you can soften your wool pieces and make them comfortable to wear and use again. Due to their natural smoothness, they are not likely to cause skin irritation in those who cannot tolerate sheep’s wool. Wait, what?!?!? After acne, rashes are the second most common skin infections. Instead of swearing off knitted items for good, learn about the factors that contribute to the dreaded itchiness. What makes wool itchy? A recent review of various literature from the past hundred years found that the wool fiber itself does not cause allergic reactions, just irritation. Items made of softer yarns will pill and wear out quickly, so consider how durable and long-lasting you want your finished item to be when picking yarn. Buy a more expensive woolen fabric, such as merino wool. So, you can blame the itchiness of your least favorite sweater on the thickness of the wool strand. “After all, wool is made from the same protein as human hair and fingernails, and people have worn wool for millennia without complaint.”. Since 1997, we have sought to connect with a growing audience that desires a healthier home and living environment. I was shocked the first time I felt the Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift yarn, which is used for iconic Fairisle sweaters. Instead, you want to look for yarns that are made with finer fibers that don’t irritate the skin. Mix and match any of our bedding and furniture to customize your own space — or combine all of these items to create a beautiful bedroom that is 100% luxurious, modern, and inspired by nature. Generally, the larger the diameter of the strands of wool being used (measured in microns which equals 1 x 10. meters in length), the itchier it will feel. However, bear in mind that the processing of superwash affects the natural absorbency of wool and may cause more moisture to accumulate on your skin, leading to other discomfort and irritation. These fibers simply are not as strong and durable as yarns made from thicker, coarser ones. Merino wool has thin and flexible fibers which make the material not prickly or itchy. But I don’t want itchy feet!” Luckily, you don’t have to worry about being itchy and uncomfortable with all wool! However, according to recent medical research, this condition is much rarer (if not non-existent) than the many claims would have you believe. These are usually from fine breeds like royal alpaca or made from animals that are extremely well catered for. The stereotypical “itchy” wool sweater occurs when the retailer uses a larger micron diameter wool, as the rough ends of these fibers scratch the skin. Buy a natural mattress made from pure materials that offers dreamy comfort and support. (2012). However, pulling on an itchy sweater or climbing into bed with an itchy blanket can ruin any relaxation time you had planned. In general, sheep’s wool has a specific reputation for being itchy, so we’ll start with that. The technique has wool fibers sticking straight out and pricking or annoying your skin. And I personally never want to wear anything itchy. So if it’s so soft, why don’t we all just knit with 100% Merino all the time? « Ways to Use Pillows to Get Better Sleep & Reduce Pain, Is Your Mattress Biodegradable, or Will It End Up In a Landfill? Fleeces that are coarse, thick, or scraggly typically end up in carpets, not in garments and or the skeins that you see at your local yarn store (LYS). Why is that? Zallmann et al. For example, if you’ve seen “Merino wool” advertised on storebought sweaters, that is most likely a marketing tactic to capitalize on the association with fineness and quality. Can you wear itchy wool, or do you opt for soft yarns only? Wool comes from the coat of an animal, typically a sheep. In addition, wool that is extremely soft and smooth (especially superwash) will not naturally cling to itself as readily as coarser yarns. The colors are gorgeous, but I would have to wear any garment made of Jamieson’s over top of a long-sleeved tee-shirt. Finally, acrylic and other synthetic fibers are an option if sheep’s wool is simply not an option for you or the recipient of your knitting. If your mom, nephew, or friend says that they find wool itchy, it’s not worth your time and hard work to knit them a beautiful sweater that they won’t wear, even if you think it’s soft. This means that some of the fibres stick out of the yarn. Wool myth number 1: Is wool itchy? 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