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Thread: Wool Blankets - Shrinkage?

  1. #1
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    I inherited an old cedar chest that had two(2), older, wool blankets stored in it. My first thought was to try and shrink them. I ran them through the washer in a "hot" cycle, rinsed with "cold" and threw them in the dryer. Then, I did it again for good measure. They only shrank a tiny, tiny bit - really not noticable.

    How much shrinkage should I expect???
    Does it depend on the kind of wool blanket? These are "Moorland quality", virgin wool.....
    I am confused - I thought wool shrunk :?:
    Thanks for any help :)

  2. #2
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    Another question with an "it depends" answer.

    They may have already been washed several times.

    Some wools are more tightly woven than others.

  3. #3
    Super Member earthwalker's Avatar
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    Yes, bearisgray is right....sounds like you've done your best to shrink them as much as possible...generally a hot wash or two plus dryer time should do the trick. I have deconstructed quite a few woolen garments which had only been drycleaned (the chemicals that are released is astounding), put them through a "killer" wash/dry and they haven't shrunk at all.

  4. #4
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    So, it sounds like I've done all I can to shrink these guys then....
    Would you still cut them up and use them for appliques and such?

  5. #5

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    It's not that wool really shrinks it just felts. But of course any wool that you probably sew with is already felted. So the more you wash it the more tighter the wool is going to get and the less likely it is to shrink.

  6. #6
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    they are not going to shrink any more..they may felt some more, but I doubt it...
    you really need boiling water, then ice water, then boiling water again...and all it will do the old blankets, since they are thicker than sweaters, or wool jackets is make them dense...almost too dense to use for anything other than pot holder liners!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    they are not going to shrink any more..they may felt some more, but I doubt it...
    you really need boiling water, then ice water, then boiling water again...and all it will do the old blankets, since they are thicker than sweaters, or wool jackets is make them dense...almost too dense to use for anything other than pot holder liners!
    Now that is a good idea!
    Would it be thick enough so you wouldn't burn your hands?

  8. #8
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    they were probably pre-shrunk when they were made- you can (test) to see if they are (done) by just clipping a little corner- does it fray? if not they have been washed/shrunk enough.

    i work with wool alot- i usually just use my water as hot as it gets out of the tap-then i turn on my tea kettle and add hot water to the washer as the water cools down. i make sure to have good agitation - sometimes it takes an hour- sometimes wool will felt/shrink fairly quickly-
    rinse in cold (never heard of using ice cubes- plain cold water has always worked just fine- then into a hot dryer

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