A wooly experiment
I have a wool sensitivity (I won’t really say allergy, because I don’t know if it’s a true allergy or not). When I wear woolen things, I become incredibly itchy with possible rash and my eyes will get watery and red before I rip it off and realise that I am just not made for wearing wool.
I must be some kind of masochist, because a few weeks ago, I decided to try to reduce my sensitivity through moderated exposure. I chose an old knitted wool scarf and wore it for 20-30 minutes everyday. The plan twas to increase the time until I could steadily wear wool without a problem.
Of course, this was pretty much self-imposed torture that I discontinued the experiment soon after it started.
Then I decided that I had to try merino wool. Why yes, it’s still wool, but it’s a softer, finer version. Supposedly it’s the best wool to wear close to your skin since it’s way less scratchy compared to other wools. I settled on some virgin un-dyed superwash merino wool. Oh, and it’s in sockweight because I just wanted a lighter weight scarf, plus it takes longer to knit.
(Un-dyed means less chemicals to irritate my skin. Superwash means the yarn is sealed to prevent felting during the wash cycle, so maybe this means less lint particles to bother me.)
The knitting part has been surprisingly good to me. With the last wool scarf I knit, I was getting bleary-eyed and itchy just handling the wool for less than an hour. I think that might have had a lot to do with how much woolen lint came off that last scarf (this new yarn has much less lint). Once that stuff gets in the air, it completely ruins me.
Even though it’s going well so far, I am pretty sure I know how this is going to end up: I will have a gorgeous handknit scarf that makes my eyes water and my neck itch uncontrollably.
But then, I’ll give it away to someone else who can wear wool and all will be right in the world, so I guess in the end this will be a worthwhile experiment.