Monday, February 05, 2007

my non-wool thingy

Ginger_nut asked in the comments to another post just what is up with my wool avoidance. For those who know already, my apologies. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it. :-)

For those who wonder, here's the deal.

1. I am diagnosed allergic to wool [with the scratch test at a doctor's office, when I was a wee bairn].

2. I am highly sensitive to most animal fibers, including alpaca, mohair, cashmere, llama. You name it.

2a. My sister has the identical physical reaction to these fibers that I do.

2b. My mother knits and wears wool.

2c. Neither my sister nor I are adopted. Genetics are cruel.

3. My immediate reaction upon touching something with one of these fibers in it is usually a prickling sensation which quickly changes into a strong burning feeling. If I wash my hands thoroughly, the feeling subsides reasonably quickly.

4. When I was in college, I ran a self-test. I knit a hat from a 75% acrylic, 25% wool yarn. I ignored the prickles and burnies in my hands and kept on knitting. And had a full-on head cold in 3 days.

So there you go. I have no respiratory symptoms, but my skin is ridiculously sensitive. Instead of being a joy, touching cashmere is a cruel trick. It feels soft for a second or two, and then it starts to hurt. My self-test is clearly anecdotal and not really evidence of much. But what it comes down to is that it just doesn't feel nice to me to knit with wool or animal fibers, so I don't.

There you go. The full story. Weep not for me. I have silk.