This has been a long time coming, but I finally have a yarn substitution recommendation for use with my Perfect Loofah pattern... Spa by Naturally Caron. Really, with a name like that, how can you go wrong? But I wanted to make a full size loofah, test it out for a bit, and wash it before making a recommendation. Anyway, here are some key facts about the yarn.
~ It's 75% acrylic, 25% bamboo. I know there are knitters who are anti-acrylic, but this yarn is so soft. It feels great on the skin! Unless of course you enjoy that scratchy scrubby feeling of nylon mesh.
~ It's DK weight. This loofah came out much fuller than the ones with Cool Crochet (which is sport weight). It's kind of nice because it helps it keep its round shape better when wet, but it still lathers up nicely and dries out quickly (I doubt if this would still be true if the yarn had a high cotton content). That said, I would definitely not go any heavier (ie worsted weight), unless you enjoy spending money on soap.
I've been using a loofah made out of Spa for about a week or so and I'm really happy with it. I washed it yesterday (as a test - it didn't really need it yet) in the machine on the gentle cycle and tumble dried on medium heat, and it held up great. There's no noticeable wear or anything.
I will try to get a picture, but my laptop is being repaired (been at the shop two weeks tomorrow and they're still waiting for the part), and last time I tried to install the programs I use on this computer (Cale's desktop), it decided it didn't want to start up and I ended up spending half a day trying to get it to work again.