Knitting yarn allergy


I’ve knitted and crocheted for many years but now I’ve become allergic! Within 30 mins of knitting I suffer strong flu like symptoms, including aching head and eyes, streaming nose, sore throat and tongue, chest congestion with cough and generally feeling unwell. I’m devastated as I’m disabled following a brain haemorrhage and stroke 3 years ago and being mostly housebound knitting/crocheting has kept me sane! Has anyone else ever had/heard of such an allergy?


I don’t think knitting itself can cause an allergy, but the yarn certainly can and possibly the needles you have if you’re allergic nickel. I’d start figuring it out with the yarn though as it’s the most likely culprit. What yarn is causing the problem? Is it a new fiber? Say a new wool? I know of someone who’s allergic to the lanolin in wool.


I’m making (or rather was as I’ve had to stop due to severity of the allergy) a blanket crocheting flowers I made on a loom into squares using up the huge amount of odd balls I’ve accumulated. It is definitely the yarn causing it as I’ve noticed quite a few times before feeling unwell when I’m using yarn. This time though was really scary as I struggled to breathe and had to take allergy medication for a couple of days. I suspect it is the fibres in the yarn. Thinking of seeking out those paper masks that surgeons wear to prevent breathing them in and trying again. I really miss my hobby.


It may be one specific type of yarn or it could be lanolin in wool as Jan suggested that’s causing your allergy. Since it’s such a serious reaction, it would be best to see a doctor to find out exactly what’s causing it rather than risk a repeat of the severe reaction.


@lorrainecornwall I agree that seeing a doctor is important in this case because the allergy was so severe as to be dangerous.

That said… I would have someone else toss that yarn into a bag and donate it or throw it away. It’s clearly not safe for you. Try using another fiber like pure cotton. If that works then you could try using a fiber blended with cotton like acrylic or bamboo and see how you react. If you want to keep knitting you kind of need to do this process of elimination to to find what works for you.


Don’t mess with allergies that bad.

I put up with itchy hands for years because I liked to make felted things, but once the wheezing and hives started, I finished what I had on the needles with the dust mask and exam gloves and swore off wool. There are a few people who are allergic to acrylic, cotton or other fibers, but it’s much less common.


Fortunately I’m not allergic to anything fiber related that I’m aware of. I can knit with wool and animal fibers, but my skin on my neck/chest is so sensitive I can’t wear it. It’s super annoying, but what are you going to do. So I use a lot of yarns and make hats and other items for charity and stick to the yarns I can wear for me. I’m glad I live in CA and don’t usually need large amounts of woolly items.


Hello I’m new here! My allergic symptoms to acrylic prompted me to Google the topic, and I found this forum and felt compelled to join and reply.
Yes, yes, yes! I’m terribly allergic to acrylic. I cannot wear it and it’s a bear to knit with it because of the reactions I get.
I’m making a quick rug/mat with various yarns on speed sticks, and already I’m coughing, eyes watering, lips burning, itchy itchy itchy! I really don’t like the fiber, and thankfully this fast project will be over soon, and I won’t be wearing it. I knOw it’s not costly, widely accessible, but it’s a lousy fiber for those who react to it. And wool isn’t my thing either.

You’re not alone!