Unshrinking wool?

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minds_eye

Full Member
Aug 30, 2011
217
17
South West UK
So, to cut a long story short I accidentally put a wool blanket on a 20 degree wash which has seen it shrink considerably to the point it is pretty felted and now more of a prayer rug than the 7 foot blanket that it was before.

Normally I’d just chalk this up to a mistake and buy another but this was a gift with a degree of sentimentality to it, as such I’d like to rectify it.

Reading around the web there are plenty of remedies, mostly involving soaking in vinegar or hair conditioner, some of which look / sound promising but somewhat labour intensive.

With that in mind I was curious if anyone had successfully unshrunk a blanket or very thick wool garment and if so by which method? I’d like to give it a go but don’t want to waste my time if it’s going to gain me an inch on 6 foot blanket.

cheers!
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,270
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If you discover a way to un-shrink wool , you will get a Nobel's Prize for sure!

Same applies to Cotton. My wife is a Serial Cotton Shrinker. Blames the tumble dryer, but I know better.....
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,308
2,299
S. Lanarkshire
If it's very lightly felted, then it's possible to ease and stretch an item out to almost the same size.
If it's felted and shrunk considerably, then they're talking mince when they say that it's completely reversible.

Sorry....been there, shrunk an entirely hand sewn, naturally dyed, pure wool, medieval gown, size 16, down to fit a six year old with one careless wash :sigh:
It shrunk perfectly in proportion too. Looked lovely on Trisha's six year old Hannah.

I think you'll just have to find some way of accepting the smaller blanket if you don't want to cut it up. If you do, then somewhere there are upcycling patterns for hats, gloves, boot liners, etc.,

M
 

beachlover

Full Member
Aug 28, 2004
2,309
153
Isle of Wight
So, to cut a long story short I accidentally put a wool blanket on a 20 degree wash which has seen it shrink considerably to the point it is pretty felted and now more of a prayer rug than the 7 foot blanket that it was before.

Normally I’d just chalk this up to a mistake and buy another but this was a gift with a degree of sentimentality to it, as such I’d like to rectify it.

Reading around the web there are plenty of remedies, mostly involving soaking in vinegar or hair conditioner, some of which look / sound promising but somewhat labour intensive.

With that in mind I was curious if anyone had successfully unshrunk a blanket or very thick wool garment and if so by which method? I’d like to give it a go but don’t want to waste my time if it’s going to gain me an inch on 6 foot blanket.

cheers!

Did exactly the same to a huge alpaca throw my daughter bought me for Christmas. It just about fitted the dog bed afterwards. To quote a an orthopaedic surgeon I once worked with when writing to a GP about remedial surgery on a kid's botched surgery... "It's buggered and can't be de-buggered but further re-buggering."
Go with Mary's gloves and 'fess up to the gifter. :(
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,082
1,628
63
Pembrokeshire
Since I lost a lot of weight and dropped 2 sizes and more (XL to S/M) I have found that the shrinkage of even well washed wool is quite extreme ... at 40 degrees I shrank some shirts that I had worn for several years to fit a body 1/3 smaller than it used to be!
I have never heard of a truely effective way to unshrink very shrunken and felted wool....
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,870
1,787
McBride, BC
The physical organization of the stranded wool protein molecules is altered by the washing and the drying.
Set as such, you can't "undo" the new links and get all the old links absolutley correct again.
A rotten lesson but that's it.

I had a wool jacket that I was very fond of. Got soaked in the rain.
Used the clothers dryer. That poor jacket would fit a Barbie doll.
 

Chief

Member
Dec 18, 2019
17
8
36
Lincs.
I misread the title as wood..... but in terms of wool I have a vague memory of somewhere hearing that you can partially restore some shrinkage by dousing the item in cold water first (this was either wool or sheepskin but I forget which) and laying it out flat (possibly as Toddy said by easing/stretching it) but that it would never get fully back to its' original size.
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
3,042
2,165
62
Exmoor
I remember sending my 9 yr old son off to his mates for a play day in a very expensive wool sweater.
He got it dirty so the mother bunged it in the washing machine and I got back a plastic bag with a sweater that barely fitted a six month old!
It has to be faced. It's a gonner as far as origional size. No rescue possible.
Would it make a nice bedside rug? Or utilise it in other ways as already suggested by others.
 

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