View Full Version : I really don't understand this

04-15-2007, 03:20 AM
Well, for the yarn swap, I was dyeing some wool. Since I'm allergic to wool, I didn't like the feeling. When I took it out, it was itching and it hurted my hands. My mom told me it was nice and soft, but I couldn't feel that. I soaked it in vinegar to dye it, and after I did that, I was able to handle the yarn, without pain and itches. Even now it's dry, I can pick it up without too much itching, althoug I can't hold it quite long. Does anybody understand what happend with the yarn that made this huge difference?

04-15-2007, 03:38 AM
You dye uncolored, and untreated wool. Wool in it's raw form is what you're reacting to, but you processed the wool, which helps. You'll still have a reaction, but, as you noticed, much less of one.

I think. :shrug:

Susan P.
04-15-2007, 04:03 AM
Lieke, I would recommend you not work as you are with wool if you have that kind of allergy. If there is some reason you must then perhaps wear latex gloves or similar gloves that do not have latex but that are like a second skin. The vinegar would have altered the Ph of the water and I'm guessing you had your hands in that even for a few moments - this *may* have helped reduce the inflammation and itching and of course the whole process may have rid the wool of some filaments and microscopic bits that would stick to your hands. But, you are really better off not using wool as such. This aside to test whether the vinegar is helpful, buy apple cider vinegar and soak your hands in a bowl of this (half vinegar/half water) for 5 min and dry before you handle the wool and see if they helps delay the reaction a little wool. You might also need to consider - if you're buying the undyed wool whether it is mercerized etc or has gone through any chemical process.
If the wool is extremely 'natural' you may be allergic to the lanolin on the wool.

There are various steps you can take to test whether you are actually allergic to 'wool' (or the lanolin on the wool) or the chemicals used in processes. The easiest way to test for lanolin of course is to get a small tube and dab it on your inner wrist and wait. If its not that then try and get a small amount of natural (no process) fleece, rinse it in clear water, let it dry and then rub that on your inner wrist. If both THOSE turn out ok it could be the chemicals or processes used in the mill. That's more something a doctor or dermatologist could apply tests for. At least if you knew which chemical is the problem you could try and locate mills that don't use it.

04-15-2007, 12:51 PM
well, I know I have a reaction to lanolin, my boyfriend uses it for his skin and has to stay away if he just applied it. I did understand my initial reaction, because this is untreated wool. What I didn't understand was my reaction going away (becoming less) after the dyeing. What you say makes a lot of sense. The wet yarn doesn't make me itch (soaked in vinegar) but the dry yarn starts to itch after a few minutes. I did wash the yarn after the dyeing, so the vinegar can't help me on the dry yarn. What you say makes sense, because I do get a reaction, it only takes a bit longer. Plus, handling the yarn more makes the reaction come sooner, so I think you are right about the microscopic bits and I think handling make them hurt my hands again. I was just curious. Not that I had the slightest bit of hope that I would be able to knit with wool. I've given up on that years ago. (I actually started knitting because of my woolallergy)