Wool, and some other animal fibers make me itch

Posted by on July 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm.

Sheep

You know what’s strange?

I can crochet or knit with wool, cashmere, and mohair (as long as I keep it in my hands) but I’d itch if it were applied to other areas of my body. But trying to wear an item made out of those fibers will still make me itch. I’ve always had sensitive skin.  A few of my friends aren’t even able to use animal fibers period, and so I consider myself fortunate that I can work with them as long as they’re only in my hands. Honestly, I didn’t know that I could crochet or knit with it, until I was in my 30s.

Imagine my shock, when I stumbled upon a site, where a knitting designer was encouraging other knitters to make items for people who “claimed they were allergic to wool, and other animal fibers.”  Her reasoning was that they most likely weren’t allergic to the fibers. It’s all in their head. So you can make them something with the fiber, and simply not tell them. While there are some say they do,  might not have a reaction, there are many of us who do.

As a child I had a few experiences where people knew I had a bad reaction with animal fibers, and would still give items to me, since in their opinion, the itching was all in my head, because if I didn’t know the item had wool, cashmere, or mohair, I wouldn’t be itching. Yeah right. And while I thought the fibers were fine (because I believed them) my body knew, and as soon as I put on the item, the itching would begin since the animal fibers were in contact with my skin. Those who gifted me with these items,  were apologetic, but I was annoyed that they doubted what I’d already said. In my twenties, I became good at spotting clothing that contained wool, cashmere, and mohair, and never had to worry about anyone trying to trick me.

Instead of trying to trick a person, be understanding. People can be sensitive to a variety of things, if you know they have a reaction to something, be considerate and give them something that won’t cause a reaction.

In other news…

We’re having a great time in South Carolina, I’m working on a cable knitted purse. Recently I wrote about knitting using the cable stitch. Cable and ridge stitch are some of my favorite knitting stitches. I’m still unsure of who the recipient will be, but I most likely will be gifting it to someone for the upcoming Christmas holidays.

I’m almost finished, and most likely will post a picture of the knitted purse sometime tomorrow. I’ll be sure to post some lovely photos of South Carolina too.

13 Comments

  • Iggystar says:

    I’m the exact same way. I can knit with just about anything, but I can be sensitive to animal fibers. Not all, but some. I can deal with superwashed wool, some blends, but I tend to just stay with plant fibers and acrylics just in case.

    My skin is pretty sensitive though. If I use a fragranced body product then it itch-city.

    [Reply]

    Opal Reply:

    Hi @Iggystar, I tend to stick with plant fibers and acrylics too, I’m pleased to see how far acrylic has come. Some of them are incredibly soft.

    My skin is the same way, it’s sensitive, so I can’t use the fragrance stuff on my body, too be on the safe side, I make most of my lotions, soaps, and shampoos. If I want some scent, I’ll add essential oils, flowers, or herbs. Most of those don’t bother my skin.

    Thanks for stopping by my website. 🙂
    Opal recently posted..Knitted ribbed beanie hat; complete but it’s missing something

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  • DragonLady says:

    That is so aggravating to be told a physical reaction is all in your head. I argued up and down with my parents for years over what I could hear when we would walk into a particular store in town. It was only the one, and I never could (still can’t) describe the noise, but they said it had to be all in my head. It only bothered at the front of the store, but getting past the registers was awful for a few years.
    DragonLady recently posted..“We can dance if we want to…”

    [Reply]

    Opal Reply:

    Hi @DragonLady, I had the same reaction, in one store, it was Hechinger’s. The noise was high pitched, and boy was it loud, and painful!

    My parents didn’t hear it, but I did. I told them that some people most likely could hear high pitch sounds that most others couldn’t hear, similar to how dogs can hear sounds we can’t hear. After a few times, my parents only went to that store when I wasn’t around.

    Years later we stopped by so my father could pick up a tool for a project he was working on around the house. I was a teenager, and I forgot about that high-pitched noise. It’d been years since I’d been in there, although my father went constantly. He loves his tools. I do remember that my brother was with us, as soon as we went in the store; it all came back, because the noise was still there. It was painful! My brother heard it too.
    Opal recently posted..Free day = work day

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  • DragonLady says:

    And I meant to add, I am glad you guys are having a good time in SC. 🙂
    DragonLady recently posted..“We can dance if we want to…”

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    Opal Reply:

    Thanks @DragonLady, We’re having so much fun, It’s hard to find time to post pictures. 😉
    Opal recently posted..Heavy downpour, plants rejoice

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  • Teeni says:

    People are weird. I don’t know why someone would take it upon themselves to try and trick someone if they were told that person was sensitive to something. Not to mention all the time and effort put into making something by hand. It doesn’t make sense to give it to someone who can’t use it for whatever reason. I did have someone once tell me pretty much that I should never try and trick them into eating “health food” when I was following a vegan diet. She went on to tell me how one person did that to her before and she ended up in the hospital. I have to laugh about it though because first of all she worried that I might trick her into eating “health food,” when all I was really eating at the time was just real food without animal products, so mostly vegetables. I don’t consider that health food, just food, period. Second, that she thought I would force my diet on her, and thirdly that she pretty much just stated that eating real food put her in the hospital. How messed up is that? All I could think was that her system was so used to junk food that the “health food” someone once tricked her into eating must have sent her system into shock! Anyway, that makes me laugh but just because of the irony, not because she had to go to the hospital. Besides, I would never trick someone like that. I think everyone has the right to know what they are eating. Funny story, though, right?
    Teeni recently posted..Green Eggs and Spam

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    Opal Reply:

    Yeah that’s interesting @Teeni,
    Some of my friends used to be amazed at a variety of healthy foods I’d prepare. They simply didn’t believe it could taste that great and still be healthy. I must be tossing some unhealthy junk in it to make it taste so good. Yeah, I don’t think so.

    Since they know that I use only whole food/healthy foods there I wasn’t sneaking them healthy ingredients, since they knew eating at my place that’s all they’d be getting — healthy food. I would ask to see if they had any allergies, some did, so naturally I’d avoid those ingredient, anything else was fair game. 🙂

    But a few of them were shocked when the healthy food that was supposed to taste “awful,” actually tasted good. So I guess you could say they were “tricked,” since based on past experiences or “What they heard” had made them think it certain healthy foods tasted bad. That’s definitely not true. 😉

    One of my friends was great, and told me to surprise them, so any time they’d come over it would be an adventure. I think the best dish dessert dishes that I blew them away with were; chocolate truffle pie, and the very berry cheesecake.

    I used tofu for the truffle pie. Tofu isn’t something I use a lot. I might use it every few years, but they were impressed at how it can mimic the flavor of whatever you combine with it. The cheesecake was all raw; even the crust.
    Opal recently posted..Knitted cable purse; style

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  • Teeni says:

    MMMMmm – raw cheesecake! I once went to a raw vegan restaurant in Boston and they had that for dessert. It was delicious. And yes, tofu definitely mimics the flavor of what you combine it with. I used it only rarely myself too but one thing I loved was making feta “cheese” with it. So good on a salad or a vegan greek style pizza!
    Teeni recently posted..Green Eggs and Spam

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