Website Design by Blue Genie Digital. Debunking the Myth of Wool Allergy: Reviewing the Evidence for Immune and Non-immune Cutaneous Reactions. If youâre liked me, you probably heard the word âwoolâ and immediately thought that merino would be one itchy, uncomfortable fabric. Contact Dermatitis, 39(3), 103-107. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0536.1998.tb05856.x. The original poster brought up the extremely useful point that you should not waste your time knitting wool garments for people who think wool is too itchy. 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). Likewise, the smaller the micron, the softer it will feel. There are also adult alpaca fibres that are extremely sensitive and pleasant for your skin. I'm the Furious Knitter (FK), and I write KNIT FURIOUSLY to share what I've learned from over 15 years of knitting. Those people with sensitive skin may feel the itchiness the most. I mean, does anyone actually want an itchy sweater? Irish Wool - This is wool that is taken from an Irish sheep. Look for woolen garments that have already been lined, perhaps with a cotton fabric. Browse our all-natural bedroom furnishings and luxury wool bedding solutions. Since 1997, we have sought to connect with a growing audience that desires a healthier home and living environment. Hemmons Hiatt, June. So far, we’ve seen that a blanket avoidance of sheep’s wool is not necessary to prevent itchiness. What kind of sheep did the wool come from? Maybe you’re visiting a quaint yarn store on vacation and don’t have time to purchase a skein and knit a swatch, let alone wear it under your bra all day. Experienced knitters know that using the right needle size can mean the difference between a well-fitting and overly large sweater. Wool is the fibre that grows on the body of an animal e.g a sheep or a goat etc. Silk is another animal-produced fiber, though it has a distinctive look and does not have the same heat-retaining properties. Instead of swearing off knitted items for good, learn about the factors that contribute to the dreaded itchiness. Higher-end wool is less likely to cause itching. Coarse, itchy wool has 1-2 crimps per inch of fiber, while high-quality merino wool has closer to 100. It would be unfair to completely dismiss this myth without acknowledging that some coarser wools can in fact irritate delicate skin, because sheep that live in certain environments can produce coarser fibres. 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. The colors are gorgeous, but I would have to wear any garment made of Jamieson’s over top of a long-sleeved tee-shirt. Medium wool 24.6-32.5 microns Coarse wool >32.5 microns Fine wool fibers are used for clothing, while the thicker fibers are used for rugs and interior textiles. The worst thing you can knit is the item that you won’t wear. However, pulling on an itchy sweater or climbing into bed with an itchy blanket can ruin any relaxation time you had planned. Wool has a reputation for being itchy, primarily due to the make-up of the individual yarn fibers. Welcome to the Shepherd’s Dream blog! This irritation is undeniable, though the severity varies from person to person. (2007) found that fine and ultrafine Merino did not trigger skin irritation, so this is a great place to start. You are not limited to just sheep’s wool when knitting; there are many fibers out there. The list goes on!) Wool comes from the coat of an animal, typically a sheep. 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. In this process, the wool is washed in an acidic bath that smoothes some of the natural roughness of â¦ âWhy is wool itchy for some people and not others?â There are several factors, but you might be surprised to learn that allergies are really quite rare. The factor that most contributes to itchiness is the diameter of the wool strand. Wear it for a few hours and see if you can tolerate the feeling of it close to an area of sensitive skin. While these are not “wool,” they are natural fibers from animals that will retain heat and give you a similar look to sheep’s wool. 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. Get the best night's sleep you've ever dreamed of on soft, luxurious organic cotton sheets, comforters, pillows and bedding sets naturally made in the USA. Then, you have the inner layers of the wool, which are called þel in Icelandic. Larger fibers are less flexible â¦ Many people erroneously think that they simply cannot wear knitted garments, but it might actually be the type of fiber or how the yarn was processed that affects them. Wool that is on a sheep has an oily coating called lanolin, which acts as a natural water repellent and softener. With our extensive research and experience, we believe that a properly maintained wool-filled bed is the most ideal sleep environment available. 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. The Bradford system is a traditional but “hand-wavy” index to indicate the quality of wool. The technique has wool fibers sticking straight out and pricking or annoying your skin. Wool has long been considered the best material for warm winter clothes. The Principles of Knitting. With that said, letâs now dive into 3 reasons why wool is itchy and some options to make it less itchy. (Also, camel! Buy a natural mattress made from pure materials that offers dreamy comfort and support. Shepherd's Dream is a local, eco-centered small business. 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). The Myth of the Lanolin Allergy. Sweater examples: Brynja, Hulda, Edda, Skjöldur and Snorri. 1. Studies show that people sleeping on wool bedding have a lower heart rate, less sleep disturbance and increased duration of beneficial REM sleep. Why is that? Some knitters find that their sensitive skin can tolerate alpaca, angora, and cashmere. Enter a world of coziness, tranquility and comfort with a Merino wool blanket from Shepherd's Dream. Many associate itchiness with wool due to the diameter of the fibers found in typical wool. 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). Only a few with extreme skin sensitivity may not be able to tolerate this, but overall, itâs a soft fiber. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 97, 906-915. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-2655. A micron is one-millionth of a meter or about .00004 inches. There are 3 types of Icelandic wool in Icewear´s products, each with a different degree of softness. This website (knitfuriously.com) is owned and operated by the Furious Knitter (FK) and is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 12 Common Causes of Itchy Red Bumps on Your Skin. Buffalo! Anecdotally speaking, I am much more likely to develop a rash (which looks like an allergic reaction) to certain fibers than my husband. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. What's the difference between a mattress topper and a mattress pad? So, you can blame the itchiness of your least favorite sweater on the thickness of the wool strand. You can often find her on the couch, eating snacks and knitting furiously (in both senses of the word). (Also, buying an extra skein of yarn to test with gauge swatching is never a bad idea.) Common Misconceptions About Wool, Myth #1: âWool is Itchyâ Wool was one of the primary sources of fiber used by humans for thousands of years. This property is what gives wool a fluffy touch (and also causes pilling). 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. You deserve it! Merino wool is the finest fiber, with a diameter of 10-15 microns, and many consider it to be the softest. Understandably, these experiences can make some worried about other wool clothing. A process called “scouring” removes some but not all of this waxy coating before the wool is made into yarn. 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. However, due to the advancement in technologies used to produce synthetic fibers, wool gradually became more scarce. A wool mattress provides a supportive sleep surface to keep your spine naturally aligned. Our 5th avenue throw is a great example. Merino wool is finer (or thinner) than your average wool, which makes it softer, less itchy and more flexible. Choose wool thatâs blended with fibers that you know to be soft and silky. Feel free to, One major reason wool can feel itchy or scratchy is the quality of the wool being used. It balances softness with strength and has a beautiful luster. It sound like a severe immune reaction, of which the steroid cream might help. Wool is a wonderfully cozy fabric thatâs fun to wrap up in the winter time. âWool shoes? Recommendations when wool is itchy. If youâre itchy when you wear wool, you might be sensitive or allergic to lanolin, a substance found in wool. 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). Best of health- â¦ This stiffness can contribute to the itchy feeling as your skin reacts to the style of the yarn. 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. Other factors that may contribute to itchiness include: dyes for coloring the yarn Many people, my mom included, have been told and/or believe that they have a wool allergy. It can be corse and some find this type of wool in their Aran sweater itchy to wear. What started out as a basic survival instinct for us hairless mammals at the very top of the food chain has since evolved into an industry of farming domesticated animals in the name of fashion. 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. Due to the coating and/or removal of scales, superwash wool can feel smoother or softer than other yarns. It’s a great approximation of what wearing a sweater made from that yarn would feel like! Wait, what?!?!? Zallmann, Michaela; Smith, Pete K.; Tang, Mimi L. K.; Spelman, Lynda J.; Cahill, Jennifer L.; Wortmann, Gabriele; Katelaris, Constance H.; Allen, Katrina J.; Su, John C. (2017). 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. It replenishes itself each time a coat is taken off and continues to grow back throughout the animal's life. New York, NY: Touchstone. The itchy feeling is coming from the regular wool not the higher quality alpaca version. For reference, Merino clocks in between 60 and 90, and the vast majority of wool has a count between 40 and 60. For the last 30+ years, we have handcrafted the best organic wool bedding with 100% natural materials available in our northern California workshop. I've been noticing some of them are starting to get more itchy. The main reason for its very low itchiness is because Merino wool has smaller and more delicate diameter fibers. I know that wool is warm and can be really beautiful, but itâs 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. Yak! But I donât want itchy feet!â Luckily, you donât have to worry about being itchy and uncomfortable with all wool! Some of our sweaters here at Icewear are knitted of little processed wool or âplötulopiâ and are very soft. All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray!). ... "Wool is notorious for creating a sensitive reaction. Itâs also cool, breathable and moisture-wicking, which is why merino makes for such a good base layer during hiking or exercise. The bra test saved me from spending over $100 on Icelandic yarn that I saw online; it was way too scratchy for me. In doing this research, I was surprised to find that modern research indicates that wool allergies may not–gasp— even exist! Zallmann et al. If itâs regular wool, then chances of being itchy are high. 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. That combination will reduce the itch factor. Look at them under the microscope. This is the layer of the wool which causes it to be scratchy against your skin. 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. Then thereâs yet another element to itchy wool, Brewer points out. It combines both the fineness and the micron diameter. Instead, you want to look for yarns that are made with finer fibers that don’t irritate the skin. I knit furiously, meaning that I am a fast and prolific knitter and that I swear loudly every time I drop a stitch. This means that some of the fibres stick out of the yarn. Aim for premium apparel brands like Smartwool, Icebreaker, Fjallraven, and Patagonia. However, Merino wool is very high-quality wool, and thus it itches very little or none at all. The factor that most contributes to itchiness is the diameter of the wool strand. The breed of sheep, as well as living conditions, diet, and age, etc., all contribute to the diameter of the fibers in the fleece and therefore, its itchiness. Doctors give trusted, helpful answers on causes, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and more: Dr. Lin on wool is itchy: It is worth a try. Have you been skin tested for other allergens? For non-animal options, there are also several plant-based fibers, such as cotton, linen, silk, and bamboo. This fiber has that natural sheen to it which makes fabrics and yarn shine when hit by the light. Due to their natural smoothness, they are not likely to cause skin irritation in those who cannot tolerate sheep’s wool. The highest quality merino wool is naturally soft, but some modern wool garments are treated for softness. Fortunately, by using a few household items, you can soften your wool pieces and make them comfortable to wear and use again. The stereotypical âitchyâ wool sweater occurs when the retailer uses a larger micron diameter wool, as the rough ends of these fibers scratch the skin. It might prove useful. In general, sheepâs wool has a specific reputation for being itchy, so weâll start with that. 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. So if it’s so soft, why don’t we all just knit with 100% Merino all the time? Wool is the full fleece sheared away from a sheepâs skin, not to be confused with hair from other animals that are sometimes blended with wool. « Ways to Use Pillows to Get Better Sleep & Reduce Pain, Is Your Mattress Biodegradable, or Will It End Up In a Landfill? Another soft option is yarn made from Bluefaced Leicester wool, though it is harder to find than Merino. Like many other infections, the cause of your itchy â¦ They all use fine wool which is much less rough than course wool. 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. Some fibers are itchier than others, so with thoughtful selection and know-how, you can find the perfect yarn for your project. Merino wool is noticeably less itchy than regular wool; it feels like it's not even wool. 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. It’s affordable, natural, and 100% free of chemicals. Note, however, that Hemmons Hiatt (2012) surmises that the rise in cases of “wool” allergies stems from the proliferation of man-made materials, which can be sharp and irritating on the skin. Alpaca wool or its fibers can be stiffer than Merino or Cashmere wool fibers. All of our products are grown and processed in the USA without toxic chemicals or flame retardants. Weâve all experienced that itchy and uncomfortable wool from a grandmotherâs sweater, right? ), 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. 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. WebMD looks at the possible causes, from minor irritants to serious illnesses. Or we've had to strategize with collared shirts or turtlenecks under itchy sweaters to keep woolen fibers away from our skin. Luckily, merino wool isnât anything like the wool your grandpa used to rock. What makes wool itchy? Read all the facts about natural wood bedding and accessories. I don't wash them often, and when I do I use Ivory Snow on the gentle (wool) cycle on my front load washer and lay them all flat on the dining room table, on some bath towels, overnight to dry. Thicker strands feel itchier and coarser. Thicker strands feel itchier and coarser. Mohair is a kind of luxurious wool that is popular through its lustrous and strong fibers. And you have options! Tighter spun yarn and weaves have more potential to be itchy. Reason 1~The Breed Of Sheep Wool is a staple fibre spun into yarn. 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. The main reason wool feels itchy is because of the way it is spun or woven. Although rashes can affect any part of the body, they often affect the legs, arms, and torso. However, this is not the best way to determine if the yarn will be itchy. In addition, wool that is extremely soft and smooth (especially superwash) will not naturally cling to itself as readily as coarser yarns. I have a handful of wool garments- mostly Ibex. Buy a more expensive woolen fabric, such as merino wool. Can you wear itchy wool, or do you opt for soft yarns only? The reason for people to find wool itchy is a mechanical one. There is another cause of itchiness in wool and it is not due to the fabric either. And I personally never want to wear anything itchy. Choose a thinner, finer wool that has a better quality wool fiber. Wool myth number 1: Is wool itchy? When you're knitting something that needs to stretch, you need the right stretchy cast-on to match. Not all merino wool is going to be high-quality no-itch, so buying from reputable yarn companies is a good idea. FK is a mostly self-taught knitter who has opinions on things. These fibers are very flexible, which makes them perfect for long-wearing. Additionally, where you wear the fiber affects the perceived itchiness. Finding out how itchy a newly purchased knit actually isâdespite how soft it felt in storesâmight be the one downside to sweater weather. In this case, my go-to method for a quick test is to rub the yarn against an area of delicate skin. Once these fibres â¦ 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. After those two reasons comes the stiffness factor. Is Merino wool itchy? 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. It makes the wool much stiffer, in fact. Shop our non-toxic and eco-friendly mattress. A recent review of various literature from the past hundred years found that the wool fiber itself does not cause allergic reactions, just irritation. ». Itchy skin is a common problem that can be hard to diagnose. Coarse wool with a short staple, or fiber length, often causes more itching. And, of course, blends of all these fibers can tone down the itchiness of 100% wool. 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. (2012). 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. Part 1 Alpaca Wool and Fine Wool is Less Itchy Cheap wool is going to be itchy; thereâs no getting around it. In general, sheep’s wool has a specific reputation for being itchy, so we’ll start with that. Fine wool sheep produce wool fibers with a very small fiber diameter, usually 20 microns or less, according to Sheep101.info. These fibers simply are not as strong and durable as yarns made from thicker, coarser ones. 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! After acne, rashes are the second most common skin infections. We offer a selection of chemical-free or organic wool mattress toppers handmade in the USA. Merino wool has thin and flexible fibers which make the material not prickly or itchy. Possibly the most common misconception of wool â is wool itchy? But unlike other wool fibers, Mohair is less itchy. 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. “After all, wool is made from the same protein as human hair and fingernails, and people have worn wool for millennia without complaint.”. The trade-off, though, is that itâs anything but soft! Sleep better with Shepherd's Dream organic sleep systems. According to Devon Fine Fibres, a farm producing cashmere, mohair and wool, the key to choosing wool is quality. 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. When it comes to baby alpaca wool it never itches (unless the wool comes from a sick animal or went through very bad processing). link to All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray! batting. I was shocked the first time I felt the Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift yarn, which is used for iconic Fairisle sweaters. Basically, all the consumer needs to know is that the finer the wool fiber, the less potential there is for itchiness. First, try yarns made with Merino wool, particularly fine and ultra-fine. A lanolin allergy is sometimes cited as the root cause of adverse reactions, but some medical research indicates that no such allergy actually exists (Kligman, 2007). Louise Scolley of the excellent WoolWork podcast rejects this way of testing yarn, which she calls the “hand-squish-grab” method. These are usually from fine breeds like royal alpaca or made from animals that are extremely well catered for. It is important to remember that the softness of finer wools comes with a trade-off. For example, “lamb’s wool” comes from sheep that are less than eight months of age and typically feels softer and finer than wool from older animals. At Shepherd’s Dream, we use a premium blend of smaller micron wools from various breeds of sheep in all our products, such as our. However, according to recent medical research, this condition is much rarer (if not non-existent) than the many claims would have you believe. The small diameter of the fibers causes the wool to be more comfortable by bending and fitting when pressed up against the skin. The insides of my wrists are relatively sensitive, so I put back any yarn that I absolutely can’t stand the feel of in that area. Are you allergic to your bed?