My mom likes to tell stories about when I was a kid. How I was terrified of worms on the sidewalk; how I scratched my face all red and puffy before my baby pictures; how as soon as I learned to dress myself, I would change my clothes 5-10 times a day; how I would “scream bloody murder” if there was a tag in my clothes.

It’s possible that I had what is now called sensory processing disorder. It’s also possible that I still have it and have just learned to control myself or deal with the issues. What does this have to do with crocheting, you ask? Quite a lot. I use a lot of acrylic, cheap yarn. Yarn that is cheap is usually scratchy. Yarn that is scratchy drives me nuts. It was years before I could use the afghan my great grandma crocheted for me for more than a few minutes – because the yarn was scratchy and stiff. Even yarn that is soft can, on occasion, really bother me. If you are like me and have some sensitivities to the yarn you are working with, here are some tips.

1.Stay hydrated. I know, this isn’t fitness we’re talking about, why do we need to stay hydrated? Because staying hydrated keeps our skin softer. When my skin is dry, yarn tends to irritate me far more than when my skin is not dry. And on that note….

2.Moisturize. I’ll tell you, I am constantly using lotion. I use it when I touch too many papers (because again, I hate the feeling more if my hands are dry), when I’m putting away clean laundry, and when I crochet. I even have to resist using lotion when I am cooking (because no one wants to eat lotion – yuck!). I use lotion before I start crocheting and let it soak in, then I am usually good for my session. Sometimes I’ll have to use more lotion during my crochet time, but usually once I get going I’m okay.

4.Soften your yarn before you crochet. There are all sorts of tutorials out there on how to soften your yarn. The best one I’ve seen is here. The basics are removing the labels, making the skeins a little looser by digging in your fingers, putting them in a lingerie bag, and then wash and dry like a normal load.

5.Use softer yarn. Obvious, right? I tend to go with the cheaper (scratchy) yarn because A)cheaper! and B)sometimes softer yarn gives me a whole different set of issues that I don’t know how to solve other than powering through it.

Have you had issues with scratchy yarn? How have you solved them?

Take care,