Thursday, February 25, 2010

Protect your wools & silks from moths!

Knitting Tip #4
It's one of the things that I periodically preach about, but clothes moths will eat your yarn and sweaters. They will lay eggs in your unprotected wool, silk, and wool- and silk-blend yarns and clothing. The hatched larvae will eat your yarn and make holes in your clothing! You can get an infestation in your closets and they will get into your sweaters if you don't protect them! Think of all that lovely work gone awry... You can buy clothes moth pheromone traps that hang in your closets and interrupt the mating cycle, thus ending their horrible lives. (I wonder what IS the clothes moths purpose on earth other than to eat clothes!?) If you encounter eggs and larvae, be sure to try the traps. You'll want to treat every closet that has woolens in them, and replace the traps every 3 months for awhile. Vacuum the closet and infested areas thoroughly (can you say Yuck?) at least once every week to get the eggs and larvae out of there.

Clothes moths are attracted to human oil scents and to the smell of the wool. So an important part of caring for your finished sweaters is to wash them often in a wool wash such as Eucalan (which we love and carry in the shop). There are other good wool washes out there such as Soak and Kookaburra, but please DON'T use Woolite. It's not good for your fabrics. Remember to wash every woolen article that you've worn over the winter before storing them. I store scarves, hats, and mittens in plastic bins over the summer. You could also store your sweaters in plastic bags or bins, as well! An extra ounce of protection will save you more than you can imagine. If you have a garment that has holes in it from moths you can launder the garment and mend it, but the mending can be difficult!

Now on to your yarn closet: Keep your yarn in plastic freezer bags and/or plastic bins and store sachets made with strong scents such as lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus, menthol, etc. in the boxes. The scents confuse clothes moths, and hide the delicious wool scent from them. Avoid moth balls as they are a pesticide that probably isn't good for you.

In Iowa we are hopefully awaiting warmer weather. In the event that it arrives I thought I would pass on advice for protecting your yarn and handknits.

Keep on knitting!