How to deal with yarn’s mortal enemy – moths

I have a problem. Well, I have 2, the second being an unfortunate consequence of the first.

The first is – I am a yarn hoarder. I go to yarn shops, or fairs, or markets – anywhere yarn is being sold – and I can’t help myself, I buy some beautiful ball of possum (NZ) or alpaca or bison wool. I then leave it in my stash, hoping for inspiration for some beautiful garment that I will make, which will inevitably end up being a scarf because I’m also tight and usually only buy one skein.

Which brings me to the second problem – moths. I got my stash box down to start packing and found living moths crawling over much of my lovely wool, evidence of eggs and then when I delved into the balls, damage. I was devastated.

I wasn’t intending to take my whole stash back with me, rather just a few balls that I particularly love (the above-mentioned bison and possum for a start).

I had no idea what to do – mothballs are for deterrence not dealing with the actual critters. So I did what any self-respecting citizen of the 21st century does. I googled it.

The advice I got was somewhat surprising and has led to this situation.

The advice was, wash the yarn in a mixture of water and white vinegar (50/50). Dry, wind, then seal the ball of wool in a zip-lock bag and put it in the freezer for a week. Take it out, bring it to room temperature then freeze it again.

And then keep your yarn in ziplocked sealed environments. I don’t know why, I sort of had the impression that plastic wasn’t good for natural fibres. But having seen the damage done by the moth larvae, I’m ready to take my chance.

And when I unpack these yarns at the other end, I will do so outside, checking carefully for signs that I missed one of the little bastards and doing the whole process again if I did.

Published by Antonia

I'm a British citizen, living in Melbourne, Australia. I head up the Community and External Relations division at Uniting Vic.Tas, a large community services organisation. I went to the London School of Economics and University of Melbourne. In 2008 I took part in the Eisenhower Fellowship Multination Programme, the subject of 3 of my blogs. You can find me on Twitter as @euonymblog or @antoniam

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