Ok, I should totally know better, but here’s what happened:

First a little background.

It all started when I was in college.  My first two years, I lived at home & commuted to school to save money, and avoid the need to borrow.  By the time my third year rolled around, I decided I really, really, really, wanted to spend a semester abroad in Rome.  The expense was an issue, but I felt it this experience warranted the sacrifice of years repaying a student loan.

I had to rely on my own cash savings (which was borderline pathetic) and a small weekly stipend that the school gave us for living expenses.  Of course, I wanted to do as much traveling as possible while there, but the tight budget kept things modest.  So all of my trips were spent within the Italian border- I’d hop the train for a weekend in Venice or Capri, etc.  It was incredible, and I was totally satisfied to stay within one county. 

Toward the end of the semester, I realized that all of my thriftiness paid off (the US dollar was a lot stronger in those days), and I actually had enough money left for a dream trip to Ireland.  Yippee!

So off we went on Aer Lingus, for 10 days of backpacking through Dublin, Howthe, Kilkenny, and Killarney.  I won’t go into the details of the trip, (which was awesome) but I will say that when you’re staying in hostels, you have to bring all of your stuff with you everywhere you go, otherwise you run the risk of it all being stolen while you’re out. Just think about what you need to pack for a 10 day trip.  Yeah, I was a lot more fit in those days.

Now, add to this, it was an unusually warm April, so the heavy winter coat got stuffed in the pack as well.  My last few days there, I stayed at the Four Winds Hostel, right in the midst of Killarney National Park.  It was a beautiful half-hour walk through the forest every morning to get to town.  I guess I was inspired by the beauty & charm of the land, because it was here that I decided I was going to do it.  I was going to buy Irish wool sweaters for everyone in my family, including myself. 

I know, I must’ve been CRAZY- those sweaters are soooooooo thick!!  But I had always wanted one, and I hadn’t purchased any “big” gifts for my family yet…. I don’t know, maybe I was intoxicated by all of the babbling brooks, rolling emerald hills, and apparently, all of the sheep (they were literally everywhere).

Well, to this day, I still don’t know how I managed to cram 4 humongous woolly sweaters into an already over-stuffed pack, but I did it, and they made it back to Italy with me, and then back to the US to their recipients.  The one I got for myself was especially large, since I really wanted it to be something I could wrap myself up in, something big enough to use in place of a coat if I wanted.  Let me tell you, there is nothing out there that is warmer than this sweater.

 So…… you know where this is going, right?  After everything I went through to get my treasured sweater, the sweater that represents one of the best trips of my life, the sweater for which I sacrificed miles & miles of aching muscles and sore back…  the sweater which has become one of my most cherished wardrobe companions, is now…..

a belly shirt.

I know, I know, I know, you’re supposed to hand wash wool, (right?) but the truth is, hand washing doesn’t seem to get things clean enough (plus, I’m just lazy).  I’ve thrown this thing in the washer on gentle/cold many, many times & it’s been fine, as long as I let it air dry flat.

Well, I guess this time around, I forgot it was in there with some other laundry, & it got thrown in the dryer, and….. all I can say is….. I’m so sorry, buddy!  That’s no way to treat a friend… I suck.  Can you ever forgive me?

<sniff, sniff>

I’ve peeked around a little on the internet, so I know there are some ways to “unshrink” wool, but has anyone ever tried this & had success with it?  If so, what method did you use?  I would be ever-so-grateful, as my post baby (x 2) mid-section is in no shape for belly shirts!


9 Responses

  1. I am SO jealous of your trip to Ireland. Although, when on my trip with a tour guide we got to stay in hotels and leave our stuff because no one in their right mind would steal anything.

    I also bought a wool sweater, that was made in the Aran Islands. Let’s just say that thing STINKS when wet. I haven’t gotten mine into the dryer only the washer, so I can’t help with the “unshrinking” issue.

    That thing is very warm. I don’t wear it alot around here because how cold does it really get in the Philly area? Well except for today.

    There is a great Irish store here in Jersey I could check out for you. Everything is imported from Ireland and they have sweaters as well.

  2. I have no way to help with the shrinking. I just wanted to add your trip sounded so awesome! I just wish that I would have taken the trip offered in high school to Paris. But I declined because I didn’t want to leave my at that time boyfriend behind. Wooo…if only I knew then what I know now about men, haha! I would have left on a plane in a heart beat!

  3. I am thankful that it was not me who did it.

  4. Whew, I thought you were going to say Bill shrunk it and now he is in the doghouse! I am sorry about that sweater, and I have no idea what to do. I love your homemade items. I am thinking about a set for my grandbabies. Email me your prices, please?

  5. ohhh man. poor sweater… at least you got a lot of good use out of it, eh? i have a sweater i bought in poland ~ on my semester abroad. dear god. i think i may have given it away… it was handknit but still smelled like sheep. the 5 of us on the trip were enamored with the sales-ladies in the town square and decided we would ALL get these sweaters. we wore them on the same day and smelled like a wet herd of sheep. HAHA! they were gorgeous, tho itchy as all hell.

    sorry – i am rambling today. brain is still much after the first big test of the semester yesterday!

  6. Seems to me like you need to swipe one of the other 3 sweaters that you lugged all over Europe! I’m sure there’s atleast 1 of them that is just tucked into the drawer not being worn. Go for it!

  7. I am no good with wool and washing – washing is hard enough without doing it by hand. 😦 poor seater!
    I had no idea you could unshrink wool – maybe you could felt it and make a cute softie or 2????

  8. You could always use it as an excuse to go back to Ireland and buy a new sweater……it is a necessity afterall (the sweater).

  9. I’m impressed that you bought four of those sweaters…

    On my first trip to Ireland I bought an Aran sweater. I shrunk it after a couple of years and gave it to my SIL. I tried to unshrink it- to no avail.

    We leave on Friday for Ireland (all of us plus my mom), my third trip, and an Aran sweater in my family weave is the only thing I want. I showed it to Doug online thinking he would be impressed by the design but all he said was “$200?!?”

    PS I’m going to add you to my favorites…

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