Soft, not itchy, yarn

Hello everyone. Another hot, humid day here in the Chicago area. It's 92F (33C) and very humid, a perfect time to think of knitting something warm and cozy for winter!

I have made a few items since I started knitting back in September and find that everything I make is itchy. I want to make some scarves and maybe a sweater vest if I get brave enough. I know that wool is a very nice yarn to use, but what kind is not itchy? I really like cotton yarn, but only use it for non-wearable items it seems...gotta love washcloths and such. Silk is a wonderful fabric and I enjoy working with it. I don't like the smell of it though when it gets wet. I've never tried cashmere because it's a bit pricy.

What fabrics are used for making clothing for babies and kids? I know that acrylics are durable and washable, as are some acrylic/wool blends, but the yarn snob in me doesn't want to give a gift made from acrylic. I have some acrylic things that were made from me and after a few years, they don't feel so soft and welcoming, unlike the folks who gave them to me, whom I adore.

Do any of you massively talented guys have any suggestions? I value all the advice I get on this site, so who better to turn to than Men Who Knit! :)

Thanks, guys.



Bill's picture

for children's knits... I highly recommend Cascade 220 superwash! ...nice to knit with, great colours, affordable...and launders grandson picked it out!

Tom Hart's picture

I'd have to second Bill's Cascade 220 superwash suggestion. It's very soft.

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks Bill and Tom. I just recently learned about Cascade 220 superwash, so that is definitely something I am going to check out!

bobinthebul's picture

As someone who grew up in Iowa, I feel your pain! Summer in the Midwest is sort of like living in a sumo wrestler's armpit...

What kinds of yarn are you using now that are itchy? Also of course, something that feels itchy on your skin in hot humid weather might not in winter. And lastly, some people are more sensitive to wool than others. To me, acrylic feels more abrasive than some wools.

Generally for me, a good 100% merino doesn't feel itchy at all. Noro Kureyon does feel a bit itchy at first, but when I block, I put a little hair conditioner into the water, and that also helps a lot.

I'm sure others will have more ideas.

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks! I just finished a 80% acrylic, 20% wool blend scarf and I'm going to wash it to see if it will soften up a bit. The merino wool sounds lovely. I found some on the Lion Brand site, so that is something I may try.

AKQGuy's picture

I agree with Bob here in the fact that you may be sensitive to the wool. Dare I say, even a little allergic if most of what you come across feels to scratchy.

100% Merino is the way to go for softer wools. I too recommend in your final rinse (If you're not using a rinseless wool wash)or just with the wet down process as you start blocking, gather some water in the tub, and in a glass, dissolve some of your hair conditioner in warm water and dump it in the water and let it sit for a few. Drain your water and continue blocking as planned. IT helps soften that fiber just like your hair and might make it more skin friendly for yourself. And hey, it will smell kinda good. I know wet wool bugs some. I kinda dig it myself.

Really what you need to do is just go pet yarn. It stirs the creative juices, eases stress, and dammit, it's just fun. As much as I dislike some of the dye issues with Malabrigo, the feel of the Malabrigo "Twist" yarns is amazing. I am not a fan of Noro's color ways but their silk garden is a nice blend, and I just dig the recommendation of Cascade. They're affordable yet delicious feeling yarns.

And let's face it. I'm a complete yarn snob(It's taken time to admit this, but I'm finally there) and steer most away from acrylic. Though I have to say, Berocco has some nice blended yarns that I've even enjoyed using.

dt1612's picture

Try baby alpaca. Merino/silk blends are also really nice on bare skin. If you're even considering Noro, I would recommend Malabrigo...

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks! I found a couple sites that sell the Noro yarn. It has a nice blend of fabrics.

aah's picture

Look for merino wool, it is very soft. a friend of mine used it for knitting underwear.

CLABBERS's picture

Knitted underwear is certainly an endorsement for merino wool. Thanks for the insight.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

All these suggestions are great. I adore alpaca but have a pair of socks that were to die for only last one wearing. I guess I'll have to frog the beasties and reknit the pair at a super tight gauge. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

superi's picture

Malibrigo is really soft but can be a bit pricy. Knitpicks chroma is just as soft as malabrigo and has some nice colorways. Its a 70/30 wool nylon blend. I like knitpicks wool of the andes its not as soft as malabrigo, but very affordable at 1.99 a skein per 110 yds worsted. If you're going to use alpaca or cashmere. I suggest find a blend because these fibers tend to stretch. I just made a log cabin blanket from lion brand wool ease and it softened up real nicd after a wash and dry. Since you don't like the smell of silk try to find a bamboo or soy silk yarn. They're just as shiny and soft; though not very elastic.


CLABBERS's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. I also like the KnitPicks selections as well. I'll give the Malibrigo a look. I think I'll make a cowl which doesn't take much yarn anyway, one skein I think.