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Life of Colleen: How to unshrink a shrunken wool sweater, part 2

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How to unshrink a shrunken wool sweater, part 2
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-01-10 at 3:36 PM (Pacific)

claymation sheep knitting

See How to unshrink a shrunken wool sweater.

I did try the "soak sweater with hair conditioner" method (and have since read to use 1/3 cup of conditioner, more than I'd used before), and had gotten some results...but I've wanted to try the "soak with mild soap, don't rinse" method for some time now.

For this you are to soak the sweater in lukewarm water with a mild soap, then grab it out (no rinsing), blot excess water in the sweater with a towel, stretch the sweater back to its original shape, and dry flat.

I should say I've been avoiding sweaters that shrink in the washer to begin with. Finely-knit lambswool or merino sweaters don't shrink much, as long as you put them in mesh bags--when you take them out, you can gently stretch them back into shape and hang them on the line. It's those loosely-knit, fat-yarn wool sweaters that seem determined to lock up on you, even with the mesh bags.

I don't have much space to dry anything flat, and don't like hand-washing clothes for the same reason I avoid ironing: it's time-consuming.

Okay back to the sweater...I tried it today, using a gob-load of Johnson's Baby Shampoo (enough to make the lukewarm water a tad slippery). It did seem to relax the wool some, so I grabbed it and stretched the bejabbers out of it. Hm. It's a nice day, so I put it on the line to drip to its heart's content. It looks bigger, but I'll post back when it's dry and I attempt to put it on again.

Why so many laundry- and mending-related posts? Maintenance is always a bit more key than acquisition. Acquisition is the flashier, more glamorous topic, but where are you going to put it? How are you going to take care of it? How long is it going to last? These should all factor into the cost of the item.


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