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crochetstepmom

I'm allergic to crochet!

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...really, I am...

 

I have a strange problem, and I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this thread. Whenever I crochet for more than about 2-3 hours or so at a time, my forearms develop a nasty rash. I use mostly acrylic yarns, so I am assuming that I have a sensitivity to something in the acrylic yarns. It happens no matter what brand I use, and I remember it happening when I was a little girl when I first learned to crochet.

 

I doesn't happen if I crochet for a short period of time...just during marathon sessions like I had last night. It's not painful (although it does sting and itch a bit,) but it looks REALLY bad. My arms turn red, the skin is raised and hot to the touch. It's gotten so bad at times that I usually keep of bottle of Benadryl gel in the house.

 

Whatever it is that causes it must wash off of the yarn in the laundry, though. I sleep under an afghan almost every night; I cover up with one while watching TV; I wear shawls in my office nearly every day; and I have lots of scarves that I wear in the winter. None of those instances break me out.

 

I don't care if my entire body breaks out...I am not going to stop crocheting!!!!!:D

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Gee, that does seem strange. Try crocheting with cotton yarns and see if the problem still persists. If it does, then it is something else and not the yarn. This may sound weird, but maybe it is the activity/movement of the arms that is triggering some allergic reaction in your body.

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Sounds similar to what I get after extended periods of walking sometimes which my doctor called hives (although different from what other ppl seem to call hives) although what I get is extremely itchy (as well as hot, red and raised .. or rather, it gets red and raised if I itch it).

 

Whatever it is, you are a trooper! I'm proud of you for keeping at it! :D:lol

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If it is the acrylic yarn, I've seen people hear say that you should wash the skeins before using them. If you put them in a nylon and tie the end off, it won't mess them up and they'll get clean. Good luck!

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Could it be where you keep your skein as your crocheting? If you have it so it rubs on your arms as you unwind it...over an extended period it may be some kind of friction rash?

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Maybe dry skin? Mine gets really red when its not moist enough, try rubbing a good lotion over the spots BEFORE the rash comes in... it helps my hands.

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If it is the acrylic yarn, I've seen people hear say that you should wash the skeins before using them. If you put them in a nylon and tie the end off, it won't mess them up and they'll get clean. Good luck!

 

I second this vote. If you regularly use/wear other items make of acrylic yarn, the culprit could be sizing or some other chemical in the new yarn. Remove the label and put the skein in a new or used clean pair of nylons or a small lingerie bag. Launder as normal.

 

Let us know if it works if you try this!

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The same thing happens to me, but only with Red Heart; although I have only had a crochet marathon with that brand, so it's possible it could be others. My arms would have purple welps on them, but my yarn never touches the tops of my arms, which was weird. Like you, it's not a problem with anything that's been washed. It is very frustrating. It really freaked me out the first time (trying to get my mom's afghan done in basically a couple of days) because it really set me off, and I had purple splotches from head to toe, even on my face! They faded away and quit itching after a couple of days, but now if I use Red Heart even for just a short time, it starts up.

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Wow, that's too bad. Your forearms and not your hands/fingers too? Hmm.

 

You know, back in ancient times...I think right after hoop skirts...:P...they used to have these cuff things you could wear in the office, to keep carbon copies from smudging your sleeves...back when spreadsheets were PAPER, not Excel...:lol

 

If you can sew, and for when long sleeves aren't an option, it might be worth trying to make a set and see if it helps. Basically, they were a tube that went over your arm from wrist to elbow, and had elastic at the wrist...the old ones were one-size fits all and were pretty loose, you might be able to make more custom fitting ones out of some lightweight fabric, even a piece of an old sheet, and forgo the elastic. Just a thought, and worth a try to get more crocheting time in!!

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Personally I'm allergic to the preservatives in all new fabric.

I have to wash all garments I buy, and I sometimes get rashes from yarn as well.

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I tend to think it might be the dye in the yarn, rather than the acrylic... I could be wrong. Try taking some Benadryl half an hour or so before you sit down to crochet.. might not completely prevent the rash but it won't irritate so much.

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I also have this problem, but mostly when I use black yarn. It's probably the dye as I have this problem working with unwashed fabric too. All the new fabric I bring home goes promptly in the wash, but I usually just tough it out with the yarn sometimes with a little help from benadryl and/or hydrocortisone cream.

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I can have this problem too and I really think it has something to do with the repetitive motion. I find that my arms rub on the project or my clothing and then they get red, warm and itchy. It helps if I rub my arms periodicly and put the project down for five minutes.

There are times though when I wonder if I am allergic to the dye that is used. Hope it get's better for you.:)

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If you have not already, try wearing a longsleeve, washed, cotton shirt (men's sizes are more readily available and comfortable). Also, as a suggestion ,there are lotions that can be applied to protect your skin, not just moisturize. Some mechanics and gardeners use them to protect their hands while working and are greaseless.

It might be that you will need to use the suggestions from others to launder your yarn before use. Use gentle/knit cycles on the washers and dryers though to prevent shrinkage.

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http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/9248/knitting_with_organic_yarns.html

 

Could indeed be the finish on the yarn. If what you try doesn't get rid of the problem. Baking soda or white vinegar to wash the skeins with might help.

 

Or a weak solution using Dr. Bronner's liquid, organic, castile Baby Soap.

 

Otherwise it might be the fiber content. Are your afghans and shawls nylon, polyester, acrylic, rayon, or ???? Acrylic is a petroleum derivative.

 

Organic fibers might be the answer. Ooh, are they nice.

 

It could also be your crochet hooks. A lot of people have trouble with nickel, which is used in many aluminum and steel alloys. Some people can't wear clothes with zippers, or those metal buttons which are used on jeans.

 

I'll try to think of something else. Will you let us know if something works or not??

 

All the best to you. I'm sure it's hard.

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Are you sure it's the yarn and not your hooks? If you are using the aluminum ones, especially, try switching to plastic, wood, or bamboo for a couple of weeks. If the rash disappears and doesn't show up again, you may have developed an allergy to the aluminum. This is why I can't use Addis--they're made of nickel and I'm allergic, so I don't get to try what I hear are some of the best out there. :hook

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Wow! Thank you for all of your replies and suggestions. It's nice to know that I am not the only one who has had this happen. I'll try some of the things that you all suggested over the next few weeks and see what happens. I'm afraid, that for the time being anyway, I'll have to stick with acrylic yarns as I am in the middle of Mother's Day gifts for my mother and mother in law. I'll try the cotton sleeves and see if that helps.

 

On a side note, early this morning DH and I were watching the news and saw something on the economic stimulus checks that start going out this week. We discussed it for a few minutes and then went on about our morning. A couple of hours later, we had the following discussion:

 

:queen: Someone on Crochetville said that I should try cotton yarn for a while to see what happens with my rash.

 

:king: Uh-huh.

 

:queen: So I suppose that I'll have to go buy more yarn so that I can test this, don't you think?

 

:king: Let me get this straight...you want to buy more yarn...for medical research? Is that what you're saying?

 

:queen: :yes

 

:king: Next you'll be telling me that you're buying it to stimulate the economy!

 

:queen: :no This time it will be to help the environment. Cotton is a natural fiber, you know...:D

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On a side note, early this morning DH and I were watching the news and saw something on the economic stimulus checks that start going out this week. We discussed it for a few minutes and then went on about our morning. A couple of hours later, we had the following discussion:

 

:queen: Someone on Crochetville said that I should try cotton yarn for a while to see what happens with my rash.

 

:king: Uh-huh.

 

:queen: So I suppose that I'll have to go buy more yarn so that I can test this, don't you think?

 

:king: Let me get this straight...you want to buy more yarn...for medical research? Is that what you're saying?

 

:queen: :yes

 

:king: Next you'll be telling me that you're buying it to stimulate the economy!

 

:queen: :no This time it will be to help the environment. Cotton is a natural fiber, you know...:D

 

:rofl:rofl Good call!

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Try taking an antihistamine before crotcheting?

 

Make a little cover for your arm so the yarn doesn't touch it so much?

 

 

Good luck.

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I sometimes have a similar problem, and I'm alergic to plastics (synthetics). For me it seems to be the "dust" that comes off the yarn as you work, you know those little fibers that end up floating in the air all around you as you work. :mdust They settle on my arms and make me itch. Washing your yarns like was suggested will probably get most of those out, especially if you use a fabric softener. It will also soften any sharp ends on the fibers that can make tiny scraches in your skin> (I think what my problem is.) If I remember right, I also had the problem the one time that I was lucky enough to work with wool and that's netorious for being itchy. Good luck. :yarn

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Gee I'm glad to know I am not the only one. I've been crocheting for many years and this never happened til about 2004. If I crochet for short periods of time, it doesn't bother me, but if I crochet a lot, I get a red bumpy rash on both my forearms above my wrists. The yarn doesn't touch me there, so I just think it's weird!

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That was cute!

 

It sounds like either you're allergic to the sizing (the stuff that makes it stiffer to work with and why it softens up when you wash it) or the 'dust' from it. Skin on the forearms is more sensitive than skin on the hands.

 

I know a person that only breaks out like that when she uses RH Claret. So it could possibly have something to do with the dye.

 

If I had to take benedryl before I started crocheting I wouldn't be able to crochet for very long at all before I was too snoozy to function or count.

 

Do you have any long sleeve tshirts?

 

i know people that wash yarn. Especially cotton yarn to get the color bleeding out of it before they use it. Panty hose or knee highs and a couple times thru the dryer -the inside takes forever to dry.

 

If you can afford the more expensive yarns you can try the different fibers and see which ones you can work with without discomfort. IT might be at the expense of a larger stash but not breaking out would be well worth it.

 

The one thing I've hear often is that allergies get worse with time and exposure. If this is an allergic reaction then it would make sense that it could get worse.

 

I hope you find something that works for you.

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Gee I'm glad to know I am not the only one. I've been crocheting for many years and this never happened til about 2004. If I crochet for short periods of time, it doesn't bother me, but if I crochet a lot, I get a red bumpy rash on both my forearms above my wrists. The yarn doesn't touch me there, so I just think it's weird!

 

 

A couple of people mentioned rash caused by exercise; it sounds more like that to me, since the rash is where the yarn doesn't touch you. here is some info about exercise-induced rash http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=79103

 

there are lots of different antihistamines http://www.webmd.com/allergies/antihistamines

Zyrtec is non-prescription now and is pretty strong.

Go figure, I can't take benadryl because it makes me jittery:lol

 

A cortisone cream or lotion might help too.

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