Is there a way to reverse shrinkage of a wool garment that has accidentally been in the drier?


It’s possible to reverse shrinking, to a certain extent. The type of garment shrunk matters, as does the degree of shrinkage. The garment is, however, unlikely to recover to its former glory. The simpler the garment, the better the outcome: for example, a scarf or shawl will stretch out better than a glove or jumper. In general, it’s not worth trying this on baby garments: put them on one of the baby’s dolls or teddies instead.

The technique involves wetting the garment thoroughly and stretching it. You’ll need a lot of muscle power to do the stretching – you are, after all, tearing the bonds between the fibres that have snagged together. The garment should be pinned out at its maximum dimensions and be allowed to dry naturally. It’s sometimes possible to repeat this procedure for improved results, but the downside is that the fibres will weaken, and you may tear holes in it.

If this fails, you could gift it to someone whom it will fit! Alternatively, it could be cut up for use as placemats, cushions, or even blankets.

What crafts would you recommend for a woman who has had to stop crocheting due to arthritis in the hands?

I’d keep crocheting, to be honest. Needlecrafts are to be recommended for pain management: many people with arthritis and other hand pain report considerable relief from pain due to knitting or crochet.

It might be worth investigating different hooks. Some people with arthritis find simply switching from metal hooks to wood or bamboo is enough. There are many ergonomic hooks on the market today which some people swear by. One example is Knit Picks Amour hooks, which have a contoured rubber handle, and are available in large (wool) and steel (lace) sizes. These are great if you normally hold the hook in a knife hold. If you’re a pencil-hold crocheter, you might be better with Addi’s basic grip hooks, which have a thicker pen-like handle that doesn’t need the tight grip of basic metal hooks. I’ve also heard good things about Furls hooks, but can’t comment myself.

Alternatively, you can purchase ergonomic handles for the hooks you already have. The Eleggant hook and handle set is recommended for hand therapy. There’s also the Boye Crochet Dude handle:

Some crocheters even craft their own ‘perfect’ handles using Fimo, Sculpey, resin, etc (a possible crafting substitute – and income stream!). I’ve also heard of people using pen grips!

If crochet is genuinely beyond you now, you might consider weaving – shuttles being substantially larger than hooks – needle-felting, or nuno felting:

Or a combination of all three. A fibre artist friend of mine produces some true works of art this way, incorporating fleece, wool, silk, bark and found objects into her tapestries.

Quora linky.

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