Thursday, July 09, 2009

A moth flew by…

Last week, I went out to the storage shed for my gardening gloves. As I jerked open the door, a moth fluttered by.

Not one of those big white ones that like to hang out in the garden. Not a big, smooth-cruising one.

A tiny brown one that fluttered unsteadily, as though it had been sniffin’ hard on the wool fumes.

I have never had a moth infestation before. This is rather remarkable, considering the large and varied stash I’ve kept through the years. I’ve had everything from the finest cashmere to the lowliest of raw wool go through my stash, and never once have I had a problem with moths.

Until now.

When I started my Etsy shop, I moved a fair bit of my stash out to the storage shed. I wanted to keep my “store” in my best storage spot – the bedroom where the cat isn’t allowed to hang out, in the sturdy lidded bins that repel invaders like cat hair, dust and spiders. (Having never seen a clothes moth up close, they simply never entered my mind.)

Most of the moved stash went into lidded boxes and Space Bags (praise $DEITY)…but there was a fair amount of overflow that didn’t fit into what I had. Oh well. No big. I’ll just put it out here in baskets for now, and I’ll get around to buying more bags soon…

Every single woolly thing that was not in a box or bag was gnawed upon. Judging by the decimation, they have a distinct preference for alpaca, but are not adverse to a nibble or three of Merino either. They ignored the superwash and anything with other fibers blended in – if there was cotton, nylon or acrylic in it, they (apparently) gave it a miss.

Naturally, I had just filled up the freezer from the meat market a few days earlier. Of course! Couldn’t happen when my freezer was stark and empty oooooooh no, where would be the challenge in that?!

So, cussing steadily, I rearranged like a madwoman so that I could get everything from the shed (regardless of visible damage or lack thereof) into the freezers.

My husband thinks it’s funny, seeing all those trash bags full of yarn crammed into the freezer. HAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah, it’s hysterical. If I could figure out a way to attract rust to his Shopsmith, I so would do it. Because hilarity loves company, people, and I am not in a charitable mood right now!

I think the thing that just really burns my cork is the loss of my super-fine alpaca. I had two giant skeins of beautiful dark gray alpaca that shouldn’t have been out there, but I couldn’t keep the kids (particularly Boo Bug and Captain Adventure) from messing with it. It was sooooo soft and lovely, and both of them loved to play with it. Boo Bug kept unwinding the skeins and spreading them out on the bed (repeated verbal warnings didn't work, and I'm told breaking their fingers is a no-no), and Captain Adventure was determined to make off with it. It wouldn’t fit in any of the bins, so I put it out in the shed “for now” while I figured out a better place to keep it.

Those damned bugs have left me with what will probably end up being nothing more than about 3,000 one-yard strips.

Why couldn’t they love acrylic? Huh? Why? Why did hafta be my lovely alpaca?!


I think they came in snuggled in a bag of raw fleece. It’s really the only place they could have come from…to add insult to injury, it’s crap wool someone gave me because they didn’t know what else to do with it. And I kept it because I do that with wool, even the crap stuff.

I hate learning lessons, sometimes. Especially the ones where you have to put on the Dunce cap because you so should have known better.

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner feeling sorry for myself and putting ice on my backside, which I’ve been kicking ever since that tiny brown critter fluttered drunkenly past my nose…


knitalot3 said...

I am so sorry. I feel sick and need to go lay down now. Moths... I HATES them.

Louiz said...

Oh no! I had an infestation a few years ago... I now have a very expensive ziploc habit and everything goes into a bag - raw wool, skein, ball, or finished product not actually being worn or washed. You have my sympathies:(

Iron Needles said...

I am wordless. Well, not really, I guess...but I am strong in the empathy with you.

One of the benefits to living in the dry, high country, fewer bugs like it here. We don't get lightening bugs, but we don't have the fleas, chiggers, or...clothes moths so much, either. I so appreciate that, because I have lived the other.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Oh no - not the lovely alpaca!

Sometimes I wonder if alpaca in general isn't meant for general consumption. It's gorgeous and soft on the skein, but it attracts moths like no other, and I've never met a dog that can resist its allure, either (woe is me and my deceased sock and *two pairs* of mitts)

Not to mention, half the time when you knit it up you end up with a garment that stretches and fuzzes and pills.

But all that aside....oooooh look at the soft! ;-D

Sorry to hear about your yarn loss :-( A good lesson for us all.

Fibra Artysta said...

Oh so have my sympathy. And first thing tomorrow I'm bagging up the rest of my stash that I've been letting languish because "it could wait."

I hope you kill them all dead.

PipneyJane said...

NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Not moths! Nightmare!

My deepest sympathy to you. Do you remember my UFO from hell? A long gone sweater that I frogged when I was 95% complete. Anyway.... One of the problems with it was that several skeins had been mothed. I think they were sold to me that way because I'd bought the entire plastic packet's worth of yarn. I soldiered on in ignorance, blaming the manufacturer for creating dud yarn. It was a long time later that I realised the damage was due to moths. (Last year, in fact.)

Virtually all my stash is now in ziploc bags. The hardest part is actually getting hold of the 2 gallon sized ones, since they aren't sold retail here. I begged a few from The Natural Fibre Company (I asked them to sell them to me, they sent me a pile free).

Moths - Enemy of Wool!

- Pam

Lisa said...

Oh, no! The dreaded "M" word!! That's awful.

Maybe you have a titch of that rum left over from baking pies to help ease the pain??

SuperM said...

Much better than the freezer (doesn't always kill them) is to put the yarn or fiber in an opaque black garbage bag tied shut and leave it in your car (preferably in the sun) for a couple of days or a week.

I now do this with most of what comes to live here, especially anything that comes from a fiber festival or more or less direct from a farm.

Sorry about the m***s -- I live in fear of them!