Common Misconceptions About Wool, Myth #1: âWool is Itchyâ Wool was one of the primary sources of fiber used by humans for thousands of years. It balances softness with strength and has a beautiful luster. A micron is one-millionth of a meter or about .00004 inches. Website Design by Blue Genie Digital. Thicker strands feel itchier and coarser. When it comes to baby alpaca wool it never itches (unless the wool comes from a sick animal or went through very bad processing). For example, if you’ve seen “Merino wool” advertised on storebought sweaters, that is most likely a marketing tactic to capitalize on the association with fineness and quality. You deserve it! Understandably, these experiences can make some worried about other wool clothing. Many people, my mom included, have been told and/or believe that they have a wool allergy. Additionally, where you wear the fiber affects the perceived itchiness. For example, “lamb’s wool” comes from sheep that are less than eight months of age and typically feels softer and finer than wool from older animals. The sensitive skin around your neck may not tolerate scratchier wools, but your arms and forehead may do just fine with a rugged Shetland sweater or hat. Items made of softer yarns will pill and wear out quickly, so consider how durable and long-lasting you want your finished item to be when picking yarn. For non-animal options, there are also several plant-based fibers, such as cotton, linen, silk, and bamboo. Fine wool sheep produce wool fibers with a very small fiber diameter, usually 20 microns or less, according to Sheep101.info. Other factors that may contribute to itchiness include: The diameter of wool is measured in microns, typically ranging from 8 to 70 microns (Hemmons Hiatt, 2012). A too-tight cast-on makes even the most beautiful pair of socks unwearable if you can't get it... Hello! Finally, acrylic and other synthetic fibers are an option if sheep’s wool is simply not an option for you or the recipient of your knitting. There are also adult alpaca fibres that are extremely sensitive and pleasant for your skin. What kind of sheep did the wool come from? Maybe you’re visiting a quaint yarn store on vacation and don’t have time to purchase a skein and knit a swatch, let alone wear it under your bra all day. The colors are gorgeous, but I would have to wear any garment made of Jamieson’s over top of a long-sleeved tee-shirt. Other factors that may contribute to itchiness include: dyes for coloring the yarn Some types of wool are softer than others -- for example, those with a wool sensitivity might find that merino and lambswool don't irritate their skin as much. The list goes on!) This stiffness can contribute to the itchy feeling as your skin reacts to the style of the yarn. Merino wool is noticeably less itchy than regular wool; it feels like it's not even wool. Shepherd's Dream is a local, eco-centered small business. After acne, rashes are the second most common skin infections. While these are not “wool,” they are natural fibers from animals that will retain heat and give you a similar look to sheep’s wool. The itchy feeling is coming from the regular wool not the higher quality alpaca version. Merino wool is the finest fiber, with a diameter of 10-15 microns, and many consider it to be the softest. (2007) found that fine and ultrafine Merino did not trigger skin irritation, so this is a great place to start. Feel free to, One major reason wool can feel itchy or scratchy is the quality of the wool being used. Or we've had to strategize with collared shirts or turtlenecks under itchy sweaters to keep woolen fibers away from our skin. Anecdotally speaking, I am much more likely to develop a rash (which looks like an allergic reaction) to certain fibers than my husband. That combination will reduce the itch factor. We offer a selection of chemical-free or organic wool mattress toppers handmade in the USA. What started out as a basic survival instinct for us hairless mammals at the very top of the food chain has since evolved into an industry of farming domesticated animals in the name of fashion. Not all merino wool is going to be high-quality no-itch, so buying from reputable yarn companies is a good idea. It’s affordable, natural, and 100% free of chemicals. Choose a thinner, finer wool that has a better quality wool fiber. Fortunately, by using a few household items, you can soften your wool pieces and make them comfortable to wear and use again. Through our blog, we hope to educate people about the dangers of sleeping on mattresses with petroleum-based foams and toxic flame retardant chemicals, and deliver useful information about healthier alternatives like natural wool bedding.To become a well informed buyer, start by browsing these informative and insightful posts about the benefits of wool, tips on healthy sleeping and living, Shepherd’s Dream products and specials, and much more. It can be corse and some find this type of wool in their Aran sweater itchy to wear. When you’re starting out, you may gauge the softness of wool by squeezing the ball or skein when you’re at your local yarn store. Luckily, merino wool isnât anything like the wool your grandpa used to rock. These fibers simply are not as strong and durable as yarns made from thicker, coarser ones. Generally, the larger the diameter of the strands of wool being used (measured in microns which equals 1 x 10. meters in length), the itchier it will feel. What's the difference between a mattress topper and a mattress pad? Wear it for a few hours and see if you can tolerate the feeling of it close to an area of sensitive skin. Those people with sensitive skin may feel the itchiness the most. For reference, Merino clocks in between 60 and 90, and the vast majority of wool has a count between 40 and 60. With our extensive research and experience, we believe that a properly maintained wool-filled bed is the most ideal sleep environment available. If you are creating a pattern that requires some degree of natural felting, such as for steeks, a very soft yarn may not be the best option. However, this is not the best way to determine if the yarn will be itchy. The stereotypical âitchyâ wool sweater occurs when the retailer uses a larger micron diameter wool, as the rough ends of these fibers scratch the skin. This fiber has that natural sheen to it which makes fabrics and yarn shine when hit by the light. There are 3 types of Icelandic wool in Icewear´s products, each with a different degree of softness. ». I'm the Furious Knitter (FK), and I write KNIT FURIOUSLY to share what I've learned from over 15 years of knitting. If itâs regular wool, then chances of being itchy are high. This irritation is undeniable, though the severity varies from person to person. If youâre itchy when you wear wool, you might be sensitive or allergic to lanolin, a substance found in wool. So far, we’ve seen that a blanket avoidance of sheep’s wool is not necessary to prevent itchiness. All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray!). They all use fine wool which is much less rough than course wool. (2012). This ensures that all our wool blankets, pillows, comforters, beds and other products retain all the beneficial properties of wool while feeling smoother to the touch than coarser, larger micron wool fibers. Get the best night's sleep you've ever dreamed of on soft, luxurious organic cotton sheets, comforters, pillows and bedding sets naturally made in the USA. Aim for premium apparel brands like Smartwool, Icebreaker, Fjallraven, and Patagonia. And, of course, blends of all these fibers can tone down the itchiness of 100% wool. Look for woolen garments that have already been lined, perhaps with a cotton fabric. Sheep have a natural conditioner on their hair called lanolin, and people have always found that if you leave this grease on the wool, it acts as a pretty effective water repellent. Yak! Wool comes from the coat of an animal, typically a sheep. If you have torn off the offending garment in protest and noticed a rash or red skin, it is most likely due to your skin being irritated by the coarse fibers, not an allergy (Zallmann et al., 2017). Wool is a staple fibre spun into yarn. Can you wear itchy wool, or do you opt for soft yarns only? Coarse wool with a short staple, or fiber length, often causes more itching. It combines both the fineness and the micron diameter. Itâs also cool, breathable and moisture-wicking, which is why merino makes for such a good base layer during hiking or exercise. The highest quality merino wool is naturally soft, but some modern wool garments are treated for softness. If youâre liked me, you probably heard the word âwoolâ and immediately thought that merino would be one itchy, uncomfortable fabric. batting. Louise Scolley of the excellent WoolWork podcast rejects this way of testing yarn, which she calls the “hand-squish-grab” method. 1. Have you been skin tested for other allergens? Mohair is a kind of luxurious wool that is popular through its lustrous and strong fibers. Contact Dermatitis, 39(3), 103-107. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0536.1998.tb05856.x. However, Merino wool is very high-quality wool, and thus it itches very little or none at all. Note, however, that Hemmons Hiatt (2012) surmises that the rise in cases of “wool” allergies stems from the proliferation of man-made materials, which can be sharp and irritating on the skin. Wool is the fibre that grows on the body of an animal e.g a sheep or a goat etc. Wool that is on a sheep has an oily coating called lanolin, which acts as a natural water repellent and softener. All of our products are grown and processed in the USA without toxic chemicals or flame retardants. Buffalo! Then thereâs yet another element to itchy wool, Brewer points out. A recent review of various literature from the past hundred years found that the wool fiber itself does not cause allergic reactions, just irritation. I have a handful of wool garments- mostly Ibex. Since 1997, we have sought to connect with a growing audience that desires a healthier home and living environment. Tighter spun yarn and weaves have more potential to be itchy. A process called “scouring” removes some but not all of this waxy coating before the wool is made into yarn. Then, you have the inner layers of the wool, which are called þel in Icelandic. WebMD looks at the possible causes, from minor irritants to serious illnesses. The outer fibers of the wool, which is called tog in Icelandic, is tough, long, fleecy, glossy, and is the layer of the wool that is also water-resistant. In doing this research, I was surprised to find that modern research indicates that wool allergies may not–gasp— even exist! The main reason for its very low itchiness is because Merino wool has smaller and more delicate diameter fibers. The factor that most contributes to itchiness is the diameter of the wool strand. It would be unfair to completely dismiss this myth without acknowledging that some coarser wools can in fact irritate delicate skin, because sheep that live in certain environments can produce coarser fibres. Merino wool is finer (or thinner) than your average wool, which makes it softer, less itchy and more flexible. These fibers are very flexible, which makes them perfect for long-wearing. Due to the coating and/or removal of scales, superwash wool can feel smoother or softer than other yarns. Another soft option is yarn made from Bluefaced Leicester wool, though it is harder to find than Merino. But unlike other wool fibers, Mohair is less itchy. ... "Wool is notorious for creating a sensitive reaction. In addition, wool that is extremely soft and smooth (especially superwash) will not naturally cling to itself as readily as coarser yarns. Wool is the full fleece sheared away from a sheepâs skin, not to be confused with hair from other animals that are sometimes blended with wool. The worst thing you can knit is the item that you won’t wear. Wool has long been considered the best material for warm winter clothes. According to Devon Fine Fibres, a farm producing cashmere, mohair and wool, the key to choosing wool is quality. Possibly the most common misconception of wool â is wool itchy? Larger fibers are less flexible â¦ Look at them under the microscope. A wool mattress provides a supportive sleep surface to keep your spine naturally aligned. In this process, the wool is washed in an acidic bath that smoothes some of the natural roughness of â¦ Wait, what?!?!? Irish Wool - This is wool that is taken from an Irish sheep. The Principles of Knitting. (Also, buying an extra skein of yarn to test with gauge swatching is never a bad idea.) âWool shoes? link to All about Knitting Needle Sizes (Hooray! Some of our sweaters here at Icewear are knitted of little processed wool or âplötulopiâ and are very soft. But many of us have felt that prickly, itchy irritation from a wool jacket or sweater that made us reach for a different wardrobe choice. Studies show that people sleeping on wool bedding have a lower heart rate, less sleep disturbance and increased duration of beneficial REM sleep. Zallmann, Michaela; Smith, Pete K.; Tang, Mimi L. K.; Spelman, Lynda J.; Cahill, Jennifer L.; Wortmann, Gabriele; Katelaris, Constance H.; Allen, Katrina J.; Su, John C. (2017). Zallmann et al. Many people erroneously think that they simply cannot wear knitted garments, but it might actually be the type of fiber or how the yarn was processed that affects them. This website (knitfuriously.com) is owned and operated by the Furious Knitter (FK) and is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Kligman, Albert M. (2007). Higher-end wool is less likely to cause itching. However, due to the advancement in technologies used to produce synthetic fibers, wool gradually became more scarce. I knit furiously, meaning that I am a fast and prolific knitter and that I swear loudly every time I drop a stitch. Alpaca Wool and Fine Wool is Less Itchy Cheap wool is going to be itchy; thereâs no getting around it. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. This means that some of the fibres stick out of the yarn. The factor that most contributes to itchiness is the diameter of the wool strand. This method of testing seems like a lot of hassle, but just imagine how much worse it is to buy all the yarn, knit the entire sweater, and then hate how it feels. Browse our all-natural bedroom furnishings and luxury wool bedding solutions. The trade-off, though, is that itâs anything but soft! Your hands are much less sensitive than other parts of your body that may be covered in this finished garment, so they are not the best judge of texture or itchiness. Finding out how itchy a newly purchased knit actually isâdespite how soft it felt in storesâmight be the one downside to sweater weather. The main reason wool feels itchy is because of the way it is spun or woven. Shop our non-toxic and eco-friendly mattress. (Also, camel! First, try yarns made with Merino wool, particularly fine and ultra-fine. Welcome to the Shepherd’s Dream blog! You can often find her on the couch, eating snacks and knitting furiously (in both senses of the word). âWhy is wool itchy for some people and not others?â There are several factors, but you might be surprised to learn that allergies are really quite rare. It’s a great approximation of what wearing a sweater made from that yarn would feel like! Instead, she suggests doing the “bra test”: knit a swatch with the potential yarn and tuck it under your bra strap (or in the waistband of your pants for those who don’t wear bras). Once these fibres â¦ Many associate itchiness with wool due to the diameter of the fibers found in typical wool. Instead, you want to look for yarns that are made with finer fibers that don’t irritate the skin. There is another cause of itchiness in wool and it is not due to the fabric either. FK is a mostly self-taught knitter who has opinions on things. Enter a world of coziness, tranquility and comfort with a Merino wool blanket from Shepherd's Dream. Reason 1~The Breed Of Sheep And I personally never want to wear anything itchy. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 97, 906-915. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-2655. In general, sheep’s wool has a specific reputation for being itchy, so we’ll start with that. Read all the facts about natural wood bedding and accessories. Sweater examples: Brynja, Hulda, Edda, Skjöldur and Snorri. Weâve all experienced that itchy and uncomfortable wool from a grandmotherâs sweater, right? Buy a natural mattress made from pure materials that offers dreamy comfort and support. Itchy skin is a common problem that can be hard to diagnose. However, bear in mind that the processing of superwash affects the natural absorbency of wool and may cause more moisture to accumulate on your skin, leading to other discomfort and irritation. Best of health- â¦ Wool myth number 1: Is wool itchy? A lanolin allergy is sometimes cited as the root cause of adverse reactions, but some medical research indicates that no such allergy actually exists (Kligman, 2007). Only a few with extreme skin sensitivity may not be able to tolerate this, but overall, itâs a soft fiber. In general, sheepâs wool has a specific reputation for being itchy, so weâll start with that. Although rashes can affect any part of the body, they often affect the legs, arms, and torso. Why is that? In this case, my go-to method for a quick test is to rub the yarn against an area of delicate skin. A few years ago, I saw an interesting thread on Ravelry (the social network for fiber folk) about the annual tradition of griping about ungrateful recipients of knitted Christmas gifts. The technique has wool fibers sticking straight out and pricking or annoying your skin. This property is what gives wool a fluffy touch (and also causes pilling). « Ways to Use Pillows to Get Better Sleep & Reduce Pain, Is Your Mattress Biodegradable, or Will It End Up In a Landfill? I've been noticing some of them are starting to get more itchy. Merino wool has thin and flexible fibers which make the material not prickly or itchy. With that said, letâs now dive into 3 reasons why wool is itchy and some options to make it less itchy. Doctors give trusted, helpful answers on causes, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and more: Dr. Lin on wool is itchy: It is worth a try. It might prove useful. I know that wool is warm and can be really beautiful, but itâs also one of the most common fabrics that irritate sensitive skin.Sometimes wool can be scratchy and rough, so wearing it against your delicate skin can lead to itching and even rashes or hives. New York, NY: Touchstone. The Bradford system is a traditional but “hand-wavy” index to indicate the quality of wool. The original poster brought up the extremely useful point that you should not waste your time knitting wool garments for people who think wool is too itchy. Part 1 “After all, wool is made from the same protein as human hair and fingernails, and people have worn wool for millennia without complaint.”. Coarse, itchy wool has 1-2 crimps per inch of fiber, while high-quality merino wool has closer to 100. If you’re going to put in the money, and more importantly, the time into hand-knitting something, you should be sure that it is actually something that you or the lucky recipient will feel comfortable wearing. Silk is another animal-produced fiber, though it has a distinctive look and does not have the same heat-retaining properties. However, pulling on an itchy sweater or climbing into bed with an itchy blanket can ruin any relaxation time you had planned. The small diameter of the fibers causes the wool to be more comfortable by bending and fitting when pressed up against the skin. After those two reasons comes the stiffness factor. I was shocked the first time I felt the Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift yarn, which is used for iconic Fairisle sweaters. Mix and match any of our bedding and furniture to customize your own space — or combine all of these items to create a beautiful bedroom that is 100% luxurious, modern, and inspired by nature. Basically, all the consumer needs to know is that the finer the wool fiber, the less potential there is for itchiness. Buy a more expensive woolen fabric, such as merino wool. These are usually from fine breeds like royal alpaca or made from animals that are extremely well catered for. ), link to How to Knit an Actually Stretchy Cast-on, recent review of various literature from the past hundred years, any chemicals for processing or added fragrance, “leftovers” in wool that was minimally processed, such as bits of hay, twigs, or pollen. Some knitters find that their sensitive skin can tolerate alpaca, angora, and cashmere. Wool has a reputation for being itchy, primarily due to the make-up of the individual yarn fibers. I mean, does anyone actually want an itchy sweater? If your mom, nephew, or friend says that they find wool itchy, it’s not worth your time and hard work to knit them a beautiful sweater that they won’t wear, even if you think it’s soft. When you're knitting something that needs to stretch, you need the right stretchy cast-on to match. Medium wool 24.6-32.5 microns Coarse wool >32.5 microns Fine wool fibers are used for clothing, while the thicker fibers are used for rugs and interior textiles. The Myth of the Lanolin Allergy. Choose wool thatâs blended with fibers that you know to be soft and silky.