How to Shrink Wool Gloves

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Because wool has a natural reaction to agitation and sudden water temperature change when being washed, wool gloves that are too big can be shrunk to the right size fairly easily. Contrary to popular belief, it is not hot water that shrinks wool but agitation and use of water of different temperatures when washing. Wool gloves can therefore be shrunk by washing in warm water and rinsing in cold water or vice-versa. Doing this by hand a little at a time then blocking the gloves while they dry will ensure a perfect fit. The process will also felt the wool slightly with the added advantage of making the wool fabric more dense, therefore making the gloves warmer.

Things You'll Need

  • Wool washing detergent
  • Thick cardboard and scissors (optional)
  • Rustproof pins (optional)

Step 1

Fill a basin with warm water and a drop of wool detergent or a little dish washing liquid and submerge the wool gloves.

Step 2

Agitate the gloves by hand by wringing, squeezing and generally splashing them about in the water for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 3

Pour out the warm water and immediately fill the basin with cold water from the faucet, submerging the gloves in the cold water to rinse the detergent from them. The change from warm to cold water will cause the wool fibers to contract and therefore the gloves to shrink.

Step 4

Rinse the gloves several times in cold water to remove all the detergent, squeeze out the excess water and check the fit on your hands. If they are still to big, repeat the process from the beginning, but omit the detergent. Repeat until the gloves fit snugly on your hands.

Step 5

If you do not want to wear the wet gloves until they dry, trace around your hands on thick cardboard and cut out the shapes. Place these templates inside the gloves and secure to them the cardboard with some rustproof pins at each fingertip and along the bottom cuff of the glove to hold the shape until the gloves are completely dry.

Tip

  • If your gloves have shrunk too much, you may be able to rescue them by stretching and pinning them to cardboard templates while they are still wet. Use pins around the whole perimeter of the gloves. If you prefer to use a washing machine, use a gentle cycle and wash with some other clothes to aid agitation. This method gives you less control over the amount of shrinkage though. The method will not work if the gloves are made of machine-washable wool as the fibers will have been specially treated to prevent them from shrinking.

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References

  • The Best of Vogue Knitting, 2007
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