Friday, October 19, 2007

Superwash Wool & Allergies

My allergies are about itch factor. I find it itches and I get red bumps in the area where I am wearing something that affects me. I don't have hives or trouble breathing. It isn't that sort of thing. It is mild. But it is too irritating to actually want to wear anything made with wool.

When I posted to a dyeing group about my allergies, a woman told me that superwash wool should not set off my allergies. She explained they are treated with a polymer to coat the wool (thus making it machine washable). This coating should allow me to use superwash without the response I normally have.

I was certainly willing to give it a try. There are some beautiful superwash wools out there, especially a lot of hand dyed ones that are amazing.

My mother-in-law was kind enough to give me some Sockotta yarn. It was leftover from pair she did. I made a swatch in the round a couple days ago. I wore it around my wrist for all of about 10-20 minutes before I took it off. I found it was scratchy and not good for me.

I check online and read some reviews. It seems that people without wool allergies have also had some trouble with that yarn. A lot of people complained it was rough, scratchy & hard to knit. One woman even said it was so scratch she threw out the yarn. So it may not have had anything to do with allergies.

So I knit a test swatch of Sarah's Yarns Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Silk Blend. It is 65% super fine grade merino, 20% bamboo and 15% silk. Machine-wash-and-dry which has so much appeal. I wore the swatch for about 3 hours yesterday and another 2-3 in the evening. It didn't seem to affect me at all! Woohoo!

So it seems I may be able to wear some superwash wools. But it seems to come back to *some*. Not all. So I need to feel it & do a test swatch before committing to it.

On the plus side, I can always check out some of the superwash wools at NY Sheep & Wool this weekend! Woohoo! I definitely want to feel the Socks That Rock yarn after hearing so much about them. I don't know if I will buy any there. I will see. I have heard the Fold is the place that sells them. And last year the wait to pay was 30-60 minutes! That seems way too long to wait if I can order them online. But I will see.

I suspect I should limit my superwash purchase to enough to make 2 pairs of socks for me. I can always pick up wool yarn for others. But in case it doesn't work for me, I would rather not have a bunch of yarn I can't knit for myself.

*wiggles happily* In less than 24 hours I should be there!

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