Allergy to wool

Hello to all…I have developed an impressive allergy to wool yarn while knitting a stranded sweater pattern (Noux Sweater) with Rauna Fillungarn yarn. Also a scarf knit with Lettlopi yarn set off an array of symptoms years ago, but I was in denial at the time. I was so delighted with the results of my Noux Sweater but had to frog it and purge comparable yarn from my stash. Can anyone suggest specific natural yarn blends that would work well with Fair Isle or other colorwork projects and be able to hold the shape for sweaters and other garments? Thank you so much…

I cannot (yet) think of a yarn that meets this requirement, but will keep thinking and keep an eye on the thread to see if someone out the knows the answer!

My daughter is allergic to wool and wanted socks. So I knit her a pair using Bamboo Pop Sock that I happen to see on my last visit to Webs. We’re testing them now and so far so good. They have some PBT - swimsuit thread - which helps maintain that stretch for socks that cotton alone won’t do.

Not sure if this is appropriate for color work but perhaps some other bamboo blend would work?

Hi there - please let your daughter know that I 110% feel her pain. I am also allergic to wool, as well as anything which comes from an animal (think angora etc) - very allergic. Super wash wool has the to layer of scales removed (or something like that), I have no idea if this would make a difference or not but it might be worth looking into. As noted above there are several sock yarns made from plant fibers with manmade fibers, as well as just manmade fibers (not sure it’s technically a fiber……but that is another note). I do actually knit in wool, but I give everything away to the homeless. I wear the thin surgical gloves so I can feel the knitting and not risk exposing my hands to the wool. I also take allergy shots (even at 60+ years of age) and wear a mask which helps a lot. I like knitting too much to give it up even if allergic to wool. So sorry about the longish reply. Best of luck to you and her.


Thank you both for responding so quickly.

Like you, ElleMC, I love knitting too much to give it up. Yes indeed, a mask and gloves will likely help as well as another trip to the dermatologist. Also, a purge of 100% wool yarns from my stash. The kind and generous women in my knitting group accepted some of the yarn and the rest will be donated to a local community thrift store.

I appreciate both of you mentioning sock yarn. Perhaps a bend of natural and plant fibers (nylon too) will help inspire new kniting projects. Just a bump in the knitting road, not a dead end. My best to you both and again, a big thank you…


Dana at does a lot of colorwork using a wide variety of yarns, including cotton. You could try looking at some of her projects and the yarns used for inspiration. Good luck!


Thank you so much for recommending as a possible resource. I can see how beautifully cotton can work for stranded knitting, and its very helpful that Dana recommends specific brands which is what I’m looking for right now.

The jury is still out on whether or not I can knit with any amount of wool in yarn. So your email was very reassuring that I can continue exploring stranded colorwork - just with a different fiber. Once I started looking I realized there are lots of possibilities out there. Thank you once again for taking the time to respond.

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You’re very welcome. I hope you find some new yarns you love!

I agree with @jhausen, I’ve knitted a lot with cotton, linen, and blends of those. Very enjoyable and they have their own fiber advantages. Enjoy!

I don’t know if this will help you, but I was thrilled to learn that I have no allergic reaction at all to merino wool. I knit with some lettlopi recently and developed a rash on my hands, and my hands react to yarns such as Cascade 220. But 100% merino - no reaction! It’s so wonderful! I thought I couldn’t tolerate wool at all! I especially love Malabrigo yarns.


Super interesting, hadn’t thought of different breeds might make a difference. Given that I’m allergic to all dogs and cats, regardless of breed, my guess is that it might not make a difference - but it is an interesting idea. I wonder if a local yarn store would let her take the yarn outside (sitting inside with yarn would be an issue for me) to hold the skein and see if she reacts. LYS’s are usually very helpful and understanding. Best of luck

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My thanks to all who responded to my question regarding an allergic reaction to 100% rustic wool yarn. After giving away all the suspect skeins to the wonderful knitters in my knitting group, I’m on new path exploring alternative yarns that could work for me. Thinking of giving up knitting is unthinkable so thanks again for all your suggestions.