View Full Version : Allergic to Wool.....What To Use????

06-27-2008, 11:06 AM
I have a friend interested in learning to knit and she is allergic to wool. I know there's lots of great stuff out there, besides acryllics but I don't want to advise her to buy something not suitable.

So what can one use?

If you're allergic to wool, I assume that includes 'exotics' such as Alpaca too????????

I'm glad I don't have this problem!

06-27-2008, 11:10 AM
For learning most people are recommending just doing a practice swatch or scarves or dishcloths for practical items. Cotton or acrylic or other manmade fibers would work depending on how she wants to get started. I wouldn't spend a lot on the first couple of skeins of yarn until she decides whether or not she wants to stick with it or what she wants to make.

06-27-2008, 11:11 AM
There are a lot of nice acrylics out there. Also wondefurl cotton blends, bamboo blends, soy blends - I just saw some Caron (can't remember the name) at Joanns that was acrylic and bamboo blend. It felt beeee-you-tiful.
Alpaca isn't wool - she may be able to tolerate it.

06-27-2008, 11:12 AM
Thanks. I just want to also know what else is safe for wool-allergy knitters.......i.e. bamboo, soy, etc.

06-27-2008, 12:07 PM
I'm allergic to wool and when I tried knitting with alpaca my eyes got watery, so I stay away from it as well. I know of people who've had good results with alpaca, so it just might be my level of sensitivity.

As a side note, someone from the SD Ravelry group asked me if I had ever touched non-comercial wool and suggested I try some. She mailed me a a tuft of freshly carded wool and lo and behold, I didn't break out. It must be the chemicals that comercial wool is treated with that make me go all woozy.

As for non-wool knitting, I'm still a fan of Caron SS. My budget's very tight, so I haven't tried too many alternatives.

06-27-2008, 12:23 PM
She mailed me a a tuft of freshly carded wool and lo and behold, I didn't break out. It must be the chemicals that comercial wool is treated with that make me go all woozy.

Well now THAT's interesting. :shock: Kinda scary, yikes.

Arielluria, if you or your friend at any point want the complete low-down, No Sheep for You (http://www.amazon.com/No-Sheep-You-Cotton-Delights/dp/1596680121/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214583586&sr=8-1) is a pattern book for wool-allergic knitters. It has very thorough info on the topic, as well as gorgeous patterns.

06-29-2008, 08:18 AM
I'm allergic to wool and just wanted to add my 2 cents--
First of all, yes, bamboo and soy and corn and milk are all great alternatives and work very well. Also, there really are some nice acrylics out there, soft, nice colors and knit up well.
If your friends sticks with it and decides to get into sock knitting, I think the best place for very fine yarns in "alternative" fibers is www.yarnmarket.com.
Now, as for the chemical/dye/only wool argument: I have found that animal fibers bother me, period. I know there are some people who can wear wool if it's 100% natural, or anything which is non-sheep, but there are also plenty who can't. So my recommendation is to make a pair of mittens in whatever it is, wear them for a while and see what happens. That way, you haven't invested in a lot of yarn and time before you know what your reaction will be. When I knit for other people whom I know to have a wool allergy or sensitivity, I just stay away from animal fibers for them, totally. It just isn't worth it to work on something with love and care, not to mention effort and $$$ and find that they can't wear it, they don't want to tell you they can't wear it so you keep knitting for them with that yarn, etc. Unless, of course, it's something suitable for framing, and then they'll have a nice cardigan hanging on their wall:cool: .

06-29-2008, 10:15 AM
She mailed me a a tuft of freshly carded wool and lo and behold, I didn't break out. It must be the chemicals that comercial wool is treated with that make me go all woozy.

That or the dyes in commercial wools.

Jan in CA
06-29-2008, 01:41 PM
I am not allergic, but have very sensitive skin so I bought the No Sheep for You book and it's great! I haven't made anything in it yet, but I will and it has a lots of information about yarn for allergies.

There is also a blog and Ravelry pages for the itchy among us-

Here's a list of fibers (yes corn and milk now!) I don't know names of the yarns though you could look them up on Rav (or google)
Cotton or cotton blends with nylon, acrylic, etc.
Bamboo and blends
Soy and blends

06-29-2008, 06:36 PM
To find the ones Jan listed (e.g. milk, soy, corn, etc.) go to www.yarnmarket.com and look in their "exotics" and "rockin' socks" and "eco-fibers" sections.

06-29-2008, 08:16 PM
There's also a lot of alternate yarns at soysilk.com and they don't mean the milk substitute....

06-30-2008, 07:20 PM
I'm lucky because I can work with alpaca and even soy/wool blends. But I also like the bamboo yarns. They are so soft and not overly expensive. You can get some really nice acrylics now too. That's how I started and then have slowly experimented with different fibers. Sometimes I can use a blend from one brand but not another. It's all just trial and error.