Thursday, 7 February 2013
Even the most experienced of us make mistakes in laundering. I have two stories about sweater shrinkage. The Christmas my niece Clementine was five, I gave her a pink angora/mohair sweater I'd knitted for her. Clementine only got to wear it once. I had told my sister-in-law not to put in the dryer, but she did and it shrank several sizes and had to be given to Clementine's two-year-old sister. My sister-in-law reported that "there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth" on Clementine's part, adding to my mother, who lives half an hour's drive from my brother and sister-in-law's farm, "I'm surprised you didn't hear her screaming from here." After that I never gave my sister-in-law's children any items that needed special care. She had three children under six and it just wasn't fair to saddle her with extra work.
Then circa 2003, I, who until that point had never ruined anything in the wash in my life, shrank three sweaters in a six-week stretch. Fortunately they were thrift shop finds rather than handmade, but still. One was completely trashed but the other two shrank down into perfectly proportioned little sweaters, so I gave them to my niece Peaches, who was then about seven. I was told she got lots of wear out of them. And, for the next two or three years, Peaches would occasionally ask me, very hopefully, "Aunt Orange, did you shrink anything else in the wash lately?"
Do you have any horror stories about the time you shrank a hand-knitted item? Feel free to spill them in the comments section. There's nothing like laughing at someone else's hapless shrinkage story to make one feel better about one's own.