For those of us out there who are slightly more delicate and are searching for yarns for sensitive skin I’m here to help you! For us unlucky few, the very thought of wool can cause us to itch. When we unknowingly touch this beautiful enticing fibre, our skin starts to burn and becomes oily due to the lanoline within the sheep’s wool. At times it can seem like the yarn industry is dominated by wool or wool blend yarns and we are left with only synthetic or cotton yarn. But these fibres don’t tend to replicate that beautiful earthy texture that is characteristic of wool.
Over the yarns of crocheting within 2 very different climates (from the harsh cold winters of Germany to the tropical summers of Brazil), I have tried and tested many different ‘hypoallergenic’ yarns for both hot & cold weather. Today there are a huge variety of alternative yarns for every season which are lanolin and itch free. They come in a range of gorgeous textures & colours that you will be proud to have a wool allergy!
So here is my line up of natural fibre yarns for sensitive skin.
One of my favourite yarns for winter is alpaca and with good reason. This gorgeous yarn is strong, soft and light weight. Baby alpaca yarn (this is defined by the grade of how fine the fibre is & not sheared from a baby alpaca!) is 7 times warmer than standards sheep’s wool, therefore you can use finer weight yarn to crochet or knit a beautiful delicate scarf with the same warmth as a bulky wool scarf. A breathable fibre which is also naturally water repellent, this is something which comes in handy when you are cycling on your bike in -15 degrees in a German winter and each exhale freezes into droplets within a second. On top of all this goodness alpaca is naturally elastic therefore keeps its shape well & is less likely to pill. The main reason above all of these fantastic points is how luxurious it feels, this is a truly special yarn and anything you make with it will be a luxury to wear.
Lamana have a beautiful collection of fine baby alpaca yarn available in the most beautiful earthy tones! I am in love with the copper, jeans & basalt blue.
With many qualities similar to Alpaca, Llama yarn is lightweight due to its hollow fibres which help keep in the warmth, strong, durable and water resistant. A hypoallengenic yarn which is lanolin free therefore itch and burn free. Llama yarn is soft and retains slightly less elasticity than its cousin the alpaca. But it makes up for this with the large range of natural colours which include solid, patterned and even spotted varieties therefore resulting in more eco-friendly yarns.
Cashmere is one of the most luxurious of all natural fibres in the world. This highly sought after wool is obtained by combing the undercoat (the bottom layer of fur) of Kashmiri goats from China, Nepal & Mongolia. Cashmere is delicate, soft, and feels beautiful against the skin. As well as keeping you warm, cashmere holds its shape with no stretch or fading. This gorgeous yarn will make an accessory or item of clothing that you will love for many years.
Ito yarn have just released a gorgeous new collection – Ito Karei. A Mongolian cashmere with a tweed effect which is definitely on my to buy list this year!
Silk is the most beautiful yarn you could every possibly use. Silk is made from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm mainly in the east. It has a gorgeous fluid drape, is light delicate and strong, perfect for the warmer spring & summer months. In specialist yarn shops you will be able to find a large variety of silk yarns, ribbon silk, raw silk & my current favourite is an organic silk yarn called Kinu made by Ito Yarns, which is produced from the leftover of spun filament silk in 2 colours creating a gorgeous almost tween effect within the yarn.
Good old traditional cotton is a classic for a reason. This natural plant fibre yarn has so many good qualities that we will always return to it. Breathable, sturdy, durable, with no stretch, this yarn is perfect for so many projects, clothing, amigarumi, blankets and many more. A good quality cotton becomes softer every time you wash it. On top of all of these fantastic qualities cotton is light on the purse strings. There are a variety of cotton yarns to choose from cotton thread, organic cotton to Egyptian cotton which I like to use to make my crochet clothing.
When you have sensitive skin linen is one of your best friends. Made from the fibres of flax (linseed plant), which can absorb 20% of its weight in water without feeling damp due to the pectins. This gives the fibre a heat regulating quality which is both moisture absorbing and releasing, making linen ideal for delicate skin which can easily overheat. The yarn will feel cool and crisp against your skin in hot weather. Linen can feel stiff to start with, but over time & washes the fibre softens & smoothens creating a beautiful drape. Linen is a luxury yarn which has a beautiful earthy texture and sheen, that I believe cannot be matched by any other fibre.
Bamboo yarn is made from bamboo grass that is harvested and distilled into cellulose, which is finally spun into yarn. This is a naturally antibacterial fibre which inhibits bacterial growth therefore ideal for anyone who suffers from eczema. Strong yet soft this breathable yarn has both a beautiful shine and drape. Today it is easy to find baby reusable nappies, clothing & bedding made from bamboo, because of these fantastic natural properties.
Made from the raffia palm, raffia fibre is widely used throughout the world to make twine, rope, baskets, hats and shoes. As a yarn it can be a little stiff to work with but can create beautiful structured hats and bags which are lightweight, breathable and some yarns are even water repellent.
Traditional from Japan, paper yarns are finding their place in the yarn world with their delicacy, strength and structure. A breathable natural fibre yarn which is hypoallergenic, looks modern and classic at the same time. Although I have not to date used this type of yarn (I think an order is due this year!), I am enticed by the cultural tradition of this yarn. This is a yarn made with time, skill and care. Online you can find a few high quality yarn stores selling these beauties from single linen based paper yarn to luxurious linen paper wrapped in silk.
I hope this post has helped you find alternative yarns for sensitive skin. Love Roseanna.