You can use a similar fiber as the pattern does, often they're much too expensive for us regular knitters to use. Washable yarns - acrylics, super wash wools, cottons, blends - are better for baby and little kid things, or large items like blankets. They can also be used for sweaters and hats too if you prefer not to hand wash. Soft yarn of any fiber can pill (the little pully things) but it is soft. Some of that can be minimized by knitting it at a tighter gauge, but then it turns into something not so soft, so there's always a trade off somehow.
sue- knitting heretic