View Full Version : Warmth and wool alternatives

09-05-2006, 10:36 AM
This question has been nagging me for a while.

I'm allergic to wool and other animal fibers :pout:
I keep hearing that it is precisely wool and animal fibers that make the warmest items, from socks to sweaters, etc......but I'll never really be able to wear these.

So.......in terms of warmth and the overall "cozyness".....are there fibers out there that can provide, if not the same warmth of animal fibers, something similar?

I want to get into sock knitting eventually, and am looking for a good alternative. And I'm also determined to knit Starsky someday, hehehehehe.

Any help will be appreciated :notworthy: :notworthy:

09-05-2006, 11:30 AM
All my handknit socks are warm if I do the basic sock. I don't know about "cozy" but cotton mixed with bamboo or silk is nice.

Best of luck!

09-05-2006, 11:52 AM
My main concern with the sock yarn, was that my bf and I like hiking and camping and we're bound to hit cold weather at some point.

Cotton's considered a "summer yarn" from what I understand, and I don't know if socks knit with it would keep my feet warm in these occassions as well as wool would (he swears by wool socks).

09-05-2006, 03:27 PM
Yeah, wool is hard to beat for warmth, especially for hiking because wool stays warm when wet; great if your feet get wet.

Can you do angora rabbit hair by any chance? That's even warmer than wool, so much so that some say it's too hot to wear in most conditions. Works well in a blend though. You could try a cotton blend, like Serenade (http://yarn.com/webs/0/0/0/0-1001-1294-1323/0/0/1106/), or a Debbie Bliss cotton/angora which I think is now discontinued, but apparently some can still be found (http://froogle.google.com/froogle?hs=lLL&hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=%20cotton%20angora%20debbie%20bliss&btnG=Search&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wf). There's also this synthetic blend (http://yarn.com/webs/0/0/0/0-1001-1294-1323/0/0/2543/), and this 100% angora (http://yarn.com/webs/0/0/0/0-1001-1294-1323/0/0/2647/) which is on close-out.

Sorry if you can't do angora. I don't know, among non-animal fibers which, if any, might be warm enough for your purpose. .... I hope you can find something that works for you! Let us know if you have success!

09-05-2006, 04:12 PM
I'm not sure if it's true, but alpaca is supposed to be hypo-allergenic, and it's one of the warmest fibers there is.

09-05-2006, 05:25 PM
I am also highly sensitive to wool, in direct contact with my skin, but I'm going to buy 1 skein of the alpaca yarn to see if the stories of it being hypo-allergenic. I'll knit up a swatch and pin it to something so it against my skin for a while. I'll report back with my results. Worst case scenario is having to breakout a tube to "Cort-aide" to stop the itching. Heaven knows I have plenty here at the house. :teehee:

09-05-2006, 05:37 PM
Ingrid is right... my mother-in-law is very allergic to wool... dogs..and cats and a few years back i bought a baby alpaca scarf from peru for her ...she wear it during the winter all the time and she never had any problem with it ...u shld definitely give it a try ,,,baby alpaca is really soft...

09-06-2006, 11:12 AM
Well, I ordered a ball of baby alpaca. I'll knit up a swatch with it and tie it around my neck to see what happens..........I should also stock up on Benadryl :roflhard:

09-06-2006, 01:47 PM
Oooh, I hadn't heard about Alpaca being an alternative! Let us know if it works for you Diana!

09-06-2006, 01:53 PM
Try making hats, etc. in stranded knitting (the technique used in Latvian mittens, and I think Scandinavian sweaters) - the strands in the back create tiny pockets of air to keep you warmer.

Maybe this is a no-brainer, but I was blown away when I learned that this is the main reason Latvian mittens are so colorful and intricate.

09-06-2006, 05:20 PM
I know your problem, I'm also really allergic to wool and still haven't found sock yarn. Problem with me is that I also live in The Netherlands, I never ever saw alpaca here, or any other good substiture for wool.

I'm really jealous at you all, living in America and being able to buy all that nice yarns...

09-06-2006, 05:39 PM
I'm really jealous at you all, living in America and being able to buy all that nice yarns...

Aside from acrylic and kitchen cotton, I have to order yarn online :pout: The closest LYS is 50 miles away and I'm trying to save money on gas right now.

09-06-2006, 05:43 PM
get the alpaca wool at best deal on www.knitpicks.com ... i bought some and it really soft ..

09-06-2006, 06:17 PM
Yup, that's where I ordered my ball from. Andean Treasure in Embers.

Hopefully, I'll be able to make something out of it that's bearable ^_^

09-07-2006, 01:05 AM
I won a auction late this afternoon on ebay for some Lavish Fine 100% Alpaca yarn, from Interamerica. I got the Mixed Shades, which is a blend of chestnut, brown, cream, and tan. It is supposed to be all natural, no dyes, and hypo-allergenic. I can't wait for it to get here so I can start playing with it. The auction was for 10, 50 gm balls, so I'm going to have enough to knit another shawl, yeehaw. I sure hope it is as hypo-allergenic as they are claiming. The last item I bought something claiming that was a down pillow, supposedly safe for people sensitive to down. Yeah right, I didn't even make it through 1 night, actually it was less than an hour before my eyes started puffing up and itching like crazy, along with the rest of my usual symptoms that hit me when in close contact to poultry feathers of any type! Oh well, thank heaven for the advent of the down-alternative products, they make it possible for me to still have a comfortable, fluffy bed all winter. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and will post my personal findings as soon as possible.

09-07-2006, 02:02 AM
I'm really jealous at you all, living in America and being able to buy all that nice yarns...

Aside from acrylic and kitchen cotton, I have to order yarn online :pout: The closest LYS is 50 miles away and I'm trying to save money on gas right now.

The problem with ordering in America is that it's really expensive, or it'll take about 2 months !!!! for my yarn to get here. Dutch online shops don't have all those nice yarns, most online-shop yarns I have seen contain wool :(