Ack, any other autism-spectrum knitters have some tips on how to avoid or deal with the grungy feeling I get when I’ve been handling the wool for a while? I don’t want to stop, but the feeling of having a sort of sticky layer on my hands is unpleasant.
I want to start by saying, I don’t land on the autism spectrum (as far as I know), but I am also pretty sensitive to what I think you’re talking about. If you’re using 100% animal fibers, the lanolin might be what is causing your discomfort. I won’t use untreated alpaca fibers because the lanolin drives me nuts. Alpaca seems to have the most, in my experience, probably why the yarn is so soft. Another might be the heat in the room where you’re knitting. Sweat can usually make knitting or crocheting a bit frustrating.
If you’re not going for knits that can be felted, I would choose yarn that’s either wool blended with some kind of polymer (acrylic, nylon, etc.), or a wool that’s been treated (ie: Superwash), because those tend to have way less lanolin after being processed. Another option is to avoid animal fibers entirely, but I know it’s hard to find great acrylics in good colors AND textures. My favorite acrylic yarns are KnitPicks (the Brava line is really pretty great as far as acrylic goes. Much better than anything you’d find in a Joann or Michaels…OH! And I’d definitely not advise using Vanna’s Choice. It comes in great colors, but the pilling is ridiculous), and the Plymouth Dream Baby DK.
As for sweat, the only way to avoid that is to knit in places that are cool and dry, which can be pretty difficult depending on where you live. I’ve tried a couple things (I don’t have a/c), and I actually found that the drying Grip Sack things that bowlers use really do help (Baby powder is an easier-to-find, but less effective in my opinion, alternative).
That said, sometimes you have no other choice, and the only thing that works for me is washing my hands with cold water every fifteen to twenty minutes. (It probably helps to avoid repetitive motion injuries to take breaks anyway, right?)