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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 12-09-10, 12:25 PM   #1
no motor?
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Why can I wear wool socks but not wool sweaters?

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way too. I've worn wool socks for years, and generally find them to be pretty comfortable. As well as being really warm. But wool sweaters (and I'm unsure of the type of wool in the socks and sweaters) are too itchy to wear too close to my skin. I've had many pairs of wool socks that were comfortable, and several wool sweaters and shirts that were scratchy to rule out one sweater being the cause. The homunculus shows the feet have many more nerves than the chest that carry the sensory information to the brain, which means my feet should be uncomfortable way before my chest is even if things aren't that way. What gives here?
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Old 12-09-10, 12:54 PM   #2
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Try 100% cashmere or 100% silk. They both have wicking/heat retention properties. No blends...even 5% will cause them to retain body odors. Used to use closeknit merino wool until finding the cashmere and silk. One needs to look in the women's section. The one(s) I found were size 16 which fit me perfectly.

Don't know the answer to your question as I experienced the same thing for years. After complaining to a friend he, being a cross-country skier made the suggestion re cashmere or silk.

Now I use merino as my 2nd layer when it's below 25F and though I get overly warm sometimes, I don't get itchey.
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Old 12-09-10, 12:57 PM   #3
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same here. even with turtleneck and long underwear beneath the sweater, i still can't stand it. wool socks against skin, no issues at all. wool hat also = itch!
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Old 12-09-10, 01:11 PM   #4
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foot skin if probably tougher/thicker than torso skin. also, are we talking about merino wool sweaters? because i have no issue with those. normal wool itches for sure.
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Old 12-09-10, 02:26 PM   #5
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make sure it's not a wool blend. Lots of companies try to trick you with "wool" or "cashmere" sweater when it's really a blend and I've seen them as low as 5 or 10% of the claimed material. There are also different grades of wool that you might be more/less sensitive to.
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Old 12-09-10, 03:02 PM   #6
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you want merino wool.
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Old 12-09-10, 03:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mustachiod View Post
same here. even with turtleneck and long underwear beneath the sweater, i still can't stand it. wool socks against skin, no issues at all. wool hat also = itch!
I've got one thick wool sweater that needs so many layers underneath it to keep me from itching that makes me so hot it's hard to wear inside without sweating. Sounds like we need some 100% merino to quit from itching.
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Old 12-09-10, 03:27 PM   #8
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you want merino wool.
+1

It's about the quality of the knit, wool, length of fibers, that sort of thing. Cheapo thick sweaters aren't comfortable (although the itchiness fades after a half hour for me). Soft quality wool (like Smart uses) is fantastic and comfy. More comfortable than any other material in my opinion.
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Old 12-09-10, 04:12 PM   #9
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right now I am wearing a merino wool sweater ,6.00 at a thrift shop. Italian Merino is pretty decent, I too got tired of body odor retention in polypro. Make sure you hand wash it in COLD water, and be gentle with it, it's not the most durable.

Today I wore that as a base layer, an old synthetic jersey over that, a cashmere sweater (super comfy) and a basic shell.

I was fine, no scratchies. Personally I can live with the scratchiness instead of the dreaded B.O.

I read somewhere, BTW, that using Borax with synthetics helps remove the bacteria a lot. Also, if you must wear "pile", rinse it immediately in a plastic bin in the shower to get rid of bacteria. If you do this, you'll be much happier, and save on washing bills. Use the leftover shower water, it works fine.

Sometimes I just use hot water to rinse the pile, just get the bacteria out immediately. A really cheap way to soften the water is toss some water softening salt in the bin (25 LB. bag is only 4.99 at Home Depot. )
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Old 12-11-10, 07:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I know I'm not the only one who feels this way too. I've worn wool socks for years, and generally find them to be pretty comfortable. As well as being really warm. But wool sweaters (and I'm unsure of the type of wool in the socks and sweaters) are too itchy to wear too close to my skin. I've had many pairs of wool socks that were comfortable, and several wool sweaters and shirts that were scratchy to rule out one sweater being the cause. The homunculus shows the feet have many more nerves than the chest that carry the sensory information to the brain, which means my feet should be uncomfortable way before my chest is even if things aren't that way. What gives here?
I'm the same way. Wool makes me itch. Either that or the flame retardant chemicals they put on it does. I don't have as much problem with wool socks. It could also be the dye they use.
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Old 12-12-10, 11:18 AM   #11
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Merino needs to be superfine grade to avoid ichiness in most people. Normal sweater merino is a coarser grade.
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Old 12-13-10, 01:06 PM   #12
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Made in Italy Merino Wool the best, just like their bikes!!!!!
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