Yarn Allergies

Probably one of the worst things that can happen to someone who :heart: to work with yarn: I’m allergic to wool.
Actually, I’m allergic to most animal fibers. Seems to be a family thing. Though, in my brother’s case it means reaaaally bad skin breakouts and in me, it’s just itch-o-rama.

Someone once told me that it’s not the fiber itself, but the substances used to treat it. At the time I was going into class and I didn’t follow up on the conversation.

So…I use mostly acrylics and cotton to work with.

Do any of you have a skin reaction to animal fibers and have found a way to work around them?
Do you have any recommendations on non-animal fiber yarns?

Thanks :sunny:

Alpaca is supposed to be hypoallergenic–you might want to try rubbing some on your neck at the yarn store. Bamboo and soy silk are nice, non-animal yarns, too.

Wool makes me itch, too. However knitting with it hasn’t been a problem at all. I guess my hands aren’t as sensitive. If you don’t break out or wheeze you may not have a true allergy, but an intolerance which is common I think. Some fibers are so much softer than others you might give it a try.

I don’t think sensitivity to wool is a true allergy, but more a sensitivity. I believe true allergies involve proteins somewhere.

I had another thought–superwash wool hasn’t got the little hairs that are on regular wool (which make wool felt). That may make a difference.

I sniffle a lot when I knit with wool, but, I HAVE to knit with wool so I just have tissues handy.


I’m in the same boat…whether it’s a true allergy or a sensitivity, all I know is it makes me miserable. I remember wearing wool slacks once - I had tights on underneath, and I still had a horrible rash from it, so I’ve avoided it like the plague.

I use acrylics exclusively - not only for myself, but for others I knit for. Since I don’t know what their tolerance is, I’d rather not take a chance on spending hours on something they can’t wear.

I’m also at the beginner/novice level, so I don’t use really expensive yarns, either. Red Heart, Caron, Lion Brands…they all have nice acrylics that don’t cost an arm and a leg. I just ordered some Bernat Solo at a huge discount, and can’t wait to try it out.

Don’t feel badly about not using wool. You can make things that are just as beautiful with non-animal yarns. And, if you are knitting for others (besides yourself, not exclusively LOL) the love you put into it means more than what type of yarn you use. :thumbsup:

Just my humble opinion.

Wool sensitivity here, too. So I won’t be buying any wool yarn, that’s for sure. I remember my early Army days in basic training and those wool socks! :shock: Yikes! That was so uncomfortable, I tell ya!

I was looking for yarn last night and sure did like the way the wool yarns looked… Maybe one day I’ll be brave and try some of that perdy wool yarn…

Thanks for your responses :thumbsup:

I think depending on who you’re talking in my family it can be an allergy or a sensitivity issue. My mother and brother cannot even be in the same room as wool.
I get scratchy.
And my brother, sister and I have varying degrees of non-wool related skin sensitivity.
Last year I made my brother a blanket, and made it entirely out of acrylic.

Robin - My bf too went through basic training (AF), and got close and personal with wool socks. He got an acrylic blankie from me was well :lol:

:lol: Diana. How sweet of you to make him a blanket while he was in traiing! :heart: What colors did you use?

Actually, I met him after training. He’s been in for 6 years and just re-enlisted for 4 more.

Curiously enough, his favorite colors are also military colors: blue and green.
So I came up with this…weird design for a blanket, that was made up of 4 panels. Two panels in blues, two panels in greens. Each panel was made up of 4 smaller panels, with different hues of the color chosen for the panel…yeah, it was a weird one.

Add to that, that I made it during breaks at school >> …<<…and during class. So the calculations I had originally figured for the size-blanket I wanted ended up waaaaaay off the mark.
Since he’s a tall guy (6’4"), and likes to “taco” himself in blankets, I wanted to make a queen size. The final product can cover two full size beds put together and still drapes over the sides.
He still liked it though :slight_smile:

That’s what it looks like…

How nice, Diana! :slight_smile: It’s huge! He can not only taco, but buritto and enchilada himself in it, too! :lol:

Wow, what a huge blanket!

I can’t handle working with yarns which have more than about 30% wool in them. Also, I’m allergic to lanolin, so I have to be careful about hair products, lotions, moisturizers, stuff like that. I’m an obsessive label-reader!

Fortunately, there are plenty of good fibers to work with. Just think of all that silk out there waiting for you, and the pima cotton, hemp, soy, bamboo…

I do get a little wistful when folks are showing off their felted bags, though.

I tend to break out in a cold sweat when I enter a LYS, but I’m pretty sure it’s the combined effect of “OOOOOHHHHH, I NEED THIS” and “OOOOOHHHH, I’M GOING TO SPEND TOO MUCH MONEY!!!”


Seriously though, I think there are so many yummy fibers out there that you can be comfortable knitting beautiful things!!


I can usually handle wool blends to work with, but I can’t wear 100% wool. Although, I haven’t tried every kind. I think I could knit with just about anything. I just ordered some cascade wook to make a bag, so I am interested in how that will go.

Have you considered getting some of those super thin white gloves and just cutting off the finger tips? I have a pair like that for another reason, but I bet it would help if your hands are sensitive to the wool.