Revive those old shrunken wool sweaters!

Originally published at: Revive those old shrunken wool sweaters! | Boing Boing


I imagine this would work better or worse depending on the type of wool. The conditioner drops the pH, which should make the fibers relax, but some wool fibers are very “scaly” and kinkier which would make the fibers “lock” in a way that can’t be released. Wool shrinking is actually it felting, which is when the fibers curl and lock together.

A few years back I did some research on felting and wool properties to try and replicate a 19th c Absinthe coloration filter. It worked brilliantly, but of the many wool variations I bought, only one really felted the way I wanted to and I’m certain that it wouldn’t un-felt or stretch. It was tight as hell.

Action shot:


Once it is felt it stays felt.


please, elaborate


What you see is it, really. Absinthe is colored after distillation by hot steeping (very briefly) melissa, hyssop and Roman wormwood (Pontica). It is then immediately filtered before aging. My buddy collects fin de siècle distillation equipment. We made absinthe on an era-appropriate still and with all era-specific equipment. What you see is the business end of a tinned copper filtration cone, which is basically a fancy Imhoff cone. The point wasn’t to just be nerds about exactly replicating an era-specific process, but discovering why they did it that way and what benefits wool felt would confer. After all the lanolin was washed off (:nauseated_face:), it worked better than anything else in acting like a neutral depth filter.

ETA: Actually, it’s worth noting that 100% of our knowledge on wool and felting came from the Sheep and Wool Festival. We had the opportunity to talk to dozens of farmers and wool nerds and get enough historical context to understand what quality of wool was needed and likely used in that era. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s even remotely interested in farming and textiles.


Link to HGTV now 404s.

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Oh, to be in that room. Super cool! I’m still learning about what my yarn(s) will do.


If the sweater has shrunk because of wear or you put it in the washer but not the drier, this would work. It might take a couple of rounds of soaking and stretching (It’s called “blocking”).

If you washed AND tumble-dried it, it’s felted and you may as well give it to a toddler.


I asked a few people in the garment district in Toronto if they knew where I could get felt.

Their answers were…unhelpful.


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