L.L. Bean SweaterWool 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:

  1. Wear things under the wool garment: long sleeved tee or under-shirts, camis or another garment that is comfortable next to the skin.
  2. Use talcum powder: it is great for protecting skin.
  3. For itchy-neck, turtle-neck wearers, add style with scarves smartly tucked into the top of the sweater.
  4. Opt for Marino or Angora, higher-quality wools that are generally non-itch.
  5. Choose wool garments that have linings, which protect the skin from direct contact with the wool.
  6. 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.”

Nick DiChario

Reader, writer, life-long mistake-maker

Judith Shenouda

Author of Living Well in Froggy's World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud; A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way; and Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal; and Owner of Shenouda Associates Inc., Provider of Technical, Marketing, and Business Communications

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