Wool is back! All those funky, chunky L.L. Bean wool sweaters that I always loved can now emerge from their mothball moratorium. Hooray! However, there’s a reason my beloved sweaters were sent to storage for so long. They ITCHED!! They remained stored away in a Tupperware container, instead of being tossed, in hopes that one day they would suddenly stop …. itching!
My passion for wool ignited again when I stopped in a thrift store the other day and there but to my wondrous eye appeared a beautiful, almost-new, L.L. Bean turtleneck sweater. It was a wool blend and it felt just yummy to the touch. Excited beyond words, I washed it as soon as I got home (by hand) and set it out flat to dry. I checked it twice a day for the two days it took to dry and at the appointed hour, on it went and shortly thereafter – off it came. It ITCHED!! I wanted to cry.
Unwilling to be thwarted, I began an Internet search for how to eliminate wool’s itch. Was this even possible? To my delight, I found a good bit of information. Here’s what I learned:
- Wear things under the wool garment: long sleeved tee or under-shirts, camis or another garment that is comfortable next to the skin.
- Use talcum powder: it is great for protecting skin.
- For itchy-neck, turtle-neck wearers, add style with scarves smartly tucked into the top of the sweater.
- Opt for Marino or Angora, higher-quality wools that are generally non-itch.
- Choose wool garments that have linings, which protect the skin from direct contact with the wool.
- Hand-wash wool garments and use a mild soap or even vinegar which is known for adding softness to clothes.
Also in my Internet travels I learned that after a 15 or 25-year fashion hiatus (because of itching?), British fashion houses, including Ralph Lauren and Chanel , are glomming on to this rediscovered fabric-treasure and fashioning it into high style clothing. Besides flexibility, wear ability and durability, wool is the essence of green – think natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable!
As for my treasured L.L. Bean sweater, with my new information, in tow, the project of de-itching (it or me?) has begun.
Interested? Take a look at “Why is wool spinning back into fashion.”