We've made it to Friday, the last one this month. And this weekend is Halloween, so I have a slightly scary story to share today -- a story behind this mess:
Ignoring all shoes below the bench, what you see here is the contents of our winter accessory boxes -- the storage containers we keep on the shelf in our coat closet to hold the hats, gloves, mittens, cowls, and scarves we wear throughout the winter. Because they're up on that shelf and there's no light in the closet, we don't often look in those boxes, and that's a big mistake.
But I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. First, I have to come clean about a dirty secret, one that will strike fear into the heart of any fiber enthusiast: I have been battling a moth infestation. The source of it was a fleece that I bought several years ago. It was one I bought sight unseen, from the mother of a friend, and I made the mistake of not washing right away or even really inspecting when it arrived. I don't know if the moths were there when it arrived or not, but at some point I discovered that it was full of moths. Not wanting to waste the wool or the money I'd spent on it, I attempted to salvage it. After I washed it, I'd put it into a plastic bin and stored the bin in the basement -- far enough away from my handknits, or so I thought. After seeing quite a few moths flying around, I examined it again and found that the problem hadn't been solved, so the entire fleece went into the compost.
Late last week, when the temperature dropped and I wanted a pair of mittens, I pulled out one of my favorite pairs -- only to discover the telltale signs of moth damage, including a hole. That prompted me to pull out both bins to examine the contents, and sure enough, those blasted beasts had gotten to quite a few things. So now I'm in the process of washing everything. If there's any upside, it's that a lot of what was in Rainbow's bin was old and too small, and much of that was superwash or synthetic and easy to throw into the washing machine. The hole on my mittens was small and near the top of the hand, so I may just needle felt that spot so that it doesn't unravel further. One item that will require some more significant repair is a cowl that Rainbow knit herself (it's the yellow/pink blob near the far right in the photo) -- it was knit loosely in bulky yarn, and it looks like a strand was completely chewed through, causing some unraveling.
I'm posting about this so that my bad experience can be a lesson for all of you. Moths can happen to anyone, but you can take steps to prevent damage from them. First of all, if you are a spinner who likes to work from fleece, wash your fleece when you get it! Inspect the fleece outside and don't be afraid to toss any bit that looks suspect. But there are other ways for moths to get in, so you can do plenty to dissuade them from munching on your woolies. There are plenty of moth traps you can buy that use pheromones to attract the moths to land on a sticky substance from which they can't escape -- and you want to trap the moths, because what does the real damage is when they lay eggs on your yarn or projects and the larvae munch through it as they emerge. What attracts the moths more than anything is dirty wool, and in a knit/crocheted/woven project, that means the dirt and body oils that get on your wool items when you wear them. So an easy way to prevent the moths from getting to them is to wash them frequently! I typically wash my sweaters at least once a season (because I rarely wear them directly against my skin), but things like hats and mittens really should get washed more often. Most importantly, take your hand-made items out frequently and inspect them -- and remember that if you do find damage, it often can be fixed, and if not, the sheep will keep growing more wool!
I hope you have a great Halloween weekend without any moth-related scares!