Mechanical? Merino wool isn’t itchy _for you_, but it’s itchy for plenty of people. I’d appreciate a piece clarifying and comparing the environmental costs of non-fuzzy animal choices (superwash, synthetics) and maybe others as well (cotton, bamboo, linen must go through some processing as well). 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 heard recently that some people in the U.S. are making it using less toxic methods. 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. Linda. You have the warmth of wool, plenty of yardage and the added benefit of machine washability! Double whammy! I’m so confused what yarn would work best. The worst thing you can knit is the item that you won’t wear. But I want to knit another one and I want to be sure that I’ll have the right size. (You can even do a search through them.) The scales on fiber are what help yarns hold together when they are spun and plied. Due to the coating and/or removal of scales, superwash wool can feel smoother or softer than other yarns. Wool that is on a sheep has an oily coating called lanolin, which acts as a natural water repellent and softener. If I go inside wearing it, I break out in a sweat immediately – and moisture does not get wicked away like with non-superwash. I usually knit hats and scarves with them. Thank you! I made a second sweater “Roger”, but this time a little tighter tension and have not blocked yet. The stuff is just no longer “wool” as you do well describe. What do you look for if you don’t want yarn to pill? Bamboo also. Luckily it is flat stockinette and I can shave those pills off. Raíz by Amores Yarn Studio is dyed just for us in a palette of harmonious contrasts. When they are noticeable enough to remove without ruining the garment, I do. I’ve only used the dk but loved it, too: made a highly textured baby sweater and texture totally popped, which hasn’t been my experience with regular SW wool. I know my stash is stuffed with colorful superwash yarns of all sizes. Because more dye makes a deeper color, and altering the scales on the fiber allows for increased absorption of dye. Together with woo/acrylic blends, they’re hard to beat for children’s & young adult gifts. There are many wonderful things about superwash merino wool but it wouldn’t be fair to tout its benefits without sharing its drawbacks. But the bad news: wool can be prickly. Merino and those breeds that have a lot of merino in their breeding are my go-to for spinning and yarn buying. In today’s world where we are drowning in our own waste, consumers need to be informed as to what exactly we are buying before making a choice to buy or not. These articles are fascinating; opening up a new world of knowledge for me. Unsurprisingly, the hairs are finer. Please let us know about them. I usually knit my scarves a little bit shorter because after blocking it becomes longer. 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). Snippets is the Saturday newsletter full of MDK news, specials, and first look at new offerings. And, of course, blends of all these fibers can tone down the itchiness of 100% wool. yes, superwash really behaves differently – but even more: not long ago I knit a beanie in some superwash, but I don’t like wearing it anymore because I either sweat or freeze in it. However, this is not the best way to determine if the yarn will be itchy. Just the ticket for children’s clothes, afghans, charity knitting and gift knitting. I’ve never liked superwash and only use it for gifted baby things. I was wondering the same… Gonna have to get myself some and find out…. Great blogpost. I’ve spun wool, starting right from the sheep, and the lanolin makes my hands soft; they don’t break out. If, however, I suggest to her I’d like to pet her in a way that works for many other cats I know, but not her, I find teeth and claws attached to my hand. I breakout in a lovely rash. I was shocked the first time I felt the Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift yarn, which is used for iconic Fairisle sweaters. In addition, it was itchy. Debunking the Myth of Wool Allergy: Reviewing the Evidence for Immune and Non-immune Cutaneous Reactions. When it’s knit looser than suggested gauge it really doesn’t hold the shape of the stitches well, dry or wet. There are some interesting fibers out there made of things like soy and milk. Is it soft or rough, stiff or drapey? The article further says people shouldn’t argue against superwash b/c that will damage the American wool industry, while acknowledging that perhaps it is not an environmentally friendly process. I think your confusion is merited, but what is not commonly understood is that not everyone who has a problem with wool is reacting to the lanolin (or chemicals used on commercial wool). Additionally, where you wear the fiber affects the perceived itchiness. Most of the wool comes from China where they process it into superwash using toxic chemicals to remove the scales, and resins/ plastics to coat it. It’s also worth noting that merino, like all wools, takes ages to dry, stretches out, is ‘warmer when wet’ when compared to cotton, rather than being truly warm, and wears out quickly, which is why it’s so often blended with synthetics. Since merino wool is super soft & it’s fibre shaft are smoother, those whom only have sensitive skin &/or allergic to lanolin can tolerate superwash wools. That cabled swatch is also flat and limp because that particular yarn is not spun tightly. Cutaneous irritation from wool relates to high fibre diameters (≥ 30-32 µm). But according to an msnbc.com article, a new wool processing technique claims to eliminate the itch factor. Two questions: How about a guide to the most vivid colors in non-superwash yarns? There are the very occasional stiff hairs, but those are easy to pull away as you knit. This approach may not work for all with critter allergies or sensitivities but I am ever so happy it works for me. It balances softness with strength and has a beautiful luster. The Principles of Knitting. Depends on the brand, & the superwash process used, but generally speaking yes, superwash yarns do need to go through a warm dryer. I struggle with deciding to knit with superwash. In doing this research, I was surprised to find that modern research indicates that wool allergies may not–gasp— even exist! Superwash is actually more elastic than acrylic. There is nothing approaching crisp stitch definition unless it is knit tightly. — And you WILL block it, right? Someone told me it was because it was washable wool but I didn’t quite believe it until now! It is, however also because the fibre absorbs water and dye much more quickly than wool in it’s natural state. Plastic is now believed to be in our water cycle. I’ll just have to throw it in the machine and not treat it like he heirloom I was hoping. Sweaters with superwash are a recipe for disaster and disappointment. I blamed the design, but this was unfair I realize. Started using super wash wool this past year for baby things and went on to make a crib blanket in it and was generally disappointed. Wollmeise feels like cotton to me. My favorite yarns are both superwash: malabrigo Rios and malabrigo chunky. Knitted gauge according to pattern, but gauge must have looser than called for by the band! Now, I am a yarn snob and want to use wool exclusively. She also mentioned how it squeaks when knitted, and how it stretches out. The would like to hear about them. 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. I am sure some of you out there have chemistry backgrounds and can share suggestions that would make reading yarn labels easier. Can you wear itchy wool, or do you opt for soft yarns only? Pictured above are three superwash merino yarns, from the top: Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Sock (shade: Hampden), Malabrigo Rios (shade: Apple Green), and Fiberstory Core Bulky (shade: Flutter). Unless it’s treated to be superwash. While it was blocking my cat pulled two very long strands out from the front panel. However if the garment is likely to be machine-washed (mainly for babies and children with very busy parents), I use a yarn that will stand up reasonably to the process, either Superwash wool, cotton or a mixture like Baby Bamboo. Stay tuned for more info on superwash than could fit in this article, which focuses on how these yarns behave. Look for superwash wool. The yarn compresses since some of the structure is missing. The hand is how a knitted fabric feels. Why? There are a few reasons why this wool different from the others: Fiber lengthMerino wool has an excellent fiber length. Oh it’s funny! It stretched beyond belief. I checked the Malabrigo website for any washing tips and it says to dry flat. A process called “scouring” removes some but not all of this waxy coating before the wool is made into yarn. Any advice is appreciated, but please do not suggest I quit knitting!!! Even though most are machine dry, they often last longer if they are dried on a line (or laid flat to dry). I also seem to have trouble with alpaca. Under this process, there is no need to coat the yarn with resin. If you are looking for a cable that stands at attention, superwash yarns can be a little, um, flaccid. Instead I have a stash of polyester/acrylic that I use for hats and mittens etc for the family. I’d like to make them in something soft but wont stretch out. From shawls and scarves to lightweight sweaters, this family-friendly yarn … It will instantly soften whatever it’s blended with, as well. Superwash merino is a joy to wear. Over the years I have hand washed and machine washed these (on warm gentle cycle) and they still look and feel fabulous! I love super wash yarns – some of the best ones feel like cotton without the stiffness. Coating the yarn, like putting pomade on your hair, compresses and smoothes the fibers, making the yarn dense and even. Wear it for a few hours and see if you can tolerate the feeling of it close to an area of sensitive skin. I can run a skein of wool across my neck and red blotches/itching begin. Might you share just what the process is that removes the yarns scales? They tend to be very silky and lovely to wear, although my experience was that they will pill. Thicker strands feel itchier and coarser. N.B. And I personally never want to wear anything itchy. Same here. Forest floor - 20g mini skein - 4ply platinum sock yarn - 75/25 BFL (Blue-faced Leicester) superwash wool and nylon - green, brown, gold sillylittlesheep. (2007) found that fine and ultrafine Merino did not trigger skin irritation, so this is a great place to start. Love this article! I wear it anyway even if it was more beautiful before. This machine-washable and dryable yarn offers you a selection of solid and heathered colors that will compliment any project. I haven’t used superwash yarns before, but now I can since I understand what it means….thanks again. These yarns are much closer to non-SW wool in my experience – bouncier, less dense, feel more wooly. The wool is non Superwash. Then I washed it and VOILA it stretched to the pattern! The article you link to explains how superwash yarn revitalized the American wool industry, apparently in large part due to the military need for superwash wool and the requirement that it buy American. Another soft option is yarn made from Bluefaced Leicester wool, though it is harder to find than Merino. 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.
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