Thursday, July 05, 2007

Keeping the critters at bay . . . the mothaway sachet!

Let me preface this by saying that I've never (knock on wood, fingers crossed, say a little prayer) had a moth problem with any of my wool thus far and hope to not have one in the future. If you are a felt maker, spinner, weaver, knitter, crocheter, etc., etc., you can probably understand the constant concern in the back of my mind about those nasty little critters invading my wool stash. I've accumulated a large amount of wool roving, fleece, and yarn over the last few years and want to keep it "healthy" and critter free.

Until a few months ago, I had never even seen any moths in or around my house, but then I found one loner moth buzzing around my bathroom. He (or she) wasn't even in my studio/office area, but nonetheless, I panicked a little - okay, so my husband would say that I panicked a lot! I decided to prepare my wool stash against any possible critter invasions. By the way, that one loner moth didn't last long in my house, and fortunately I have not found any others since then.

First I researched a bit to find out exactly what the wool enemy was. If you Google "moths" and "wool," you can come up with some very interesting and scary articles. Please feel free to do your own search and add your two cents worth of advice or personal experience in a comment. From what I found, adult moths don't actually eat wool! It is the female moths who lay there eggs in wool (raw, yarn, or clothing form). Wool provides a safe place for the larvae which ne
eds to be away from sunlight and undisturbed. Once the larvae hatch, they use the wool as an immediate food source to survive. This is what can destroy your wool. The larvae can be identified by their cocoons. Also, not all moths are clothing moths and considered potentially harmful to your wool stash. I highly recommend doing an internet search on the subject for further information and tips on protecting your wool.

Well, that brief explanation being stated, I'll get on with what I've done to ease my very paranoid mind about moth invasion. First of all, I keep my wool roving and fleece all in one concentrated area. This way, I can go through it all periodically and check for anything out of the ordinary. You can see a photo of part of my wool stash here on my flickr account. I actually have it in a very small closet - I know, not the absolute best place for fibers, but it seems to work for me. I also use cloth closet organizers to store it in. Some other measures that I've taken is to buy a small light for my closet since moths like the darkness. I had tried to use chemical moth balls, but they smelled really toxic and made my poor little bunny eyes red and runny with all that nasty, overwhelming smell. I think that their smell also gave my husband and I headaches. Therefore, I decided to try a more natural route. I do use some cedar balls, but the acid from those can damage wool so you have to be somewhat careful when you put them near your wool. My favorite solution by far has been Mothaway Sachets by the Etsy shop Stony Creek.

So that's a big part of my point for writing all this - to tell you how much I like Stony Creek's mothaway sachets. After using the awful chemically treated moth balls for a while, my husband even encouraged me to just buy more of Stony Creeks wonderful smelling sachets. Although I've read online that nothing like that (cedar, moth balls, lavender scent) really helps, I still like these little sachets, and they give me some peace of mind. I've put them in my wool stash as well as in some of my storage bins for finished items. I just ordered a few more yesterday and really look forward to getting them. It had been several months since I started using the first set that I'd ordered. They are a little worn, but still smell strongly after that length of time. You can see a few of my old, worn ones in the photo below. If nothing else, they certainly make my studio/office smell wonderful!


I guess the best defense is to just be really alert and check your wool stash periodically for signs of invasion. I get nervous even bringing up the subject as if the moths know and will target me now for what I've said! It is a subject that is a bit hard to swallow, but I also think it is good to unite and share your defense ideas, especially when so many of us have spent so much time and money on our fiber supplies.

3 comments:

  1. Wow! What a GREAT post!

    I wish I had a tip to share - but I don't. I have had the same concerns about my wools always in the back of my mind. So far - no wee creatures in my studio.

    I use wool blend felt and wool cloth. I'm going to check out Stony Creek's shop - thanks so much for the link!

    And thanks for this informative post!

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  2. Shalana, I too worry about the moths. I keep my yarn and roving in clear plastic tubs - thinking let the light in. I am constantly buying sachets to throw in. An alpaca friend told me she always threw a dryer sheet into each plastic bag after shearing. Don't know if it works, but I use them with my sachets.

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  3. I had to laugh when I read your post as I have had the exact same one moth experience and I panicked - not even sure if it was a fiber moth! I haven't seen one since, nor any sign (please no bad kharma). I still use moth balls, because I live in Florida and we have voracious moths, but I put the sachets in the boxes and the moth balls in the corners of the house so my wool doesn't smell. I do the moth balls on a day when I know I am not going to be home until late, and turn the AC up on full blast. Usually it isn't too bad by the time I get home.
    I still worry myself crazy, because, like you, all of my business is stored in those boxes.

    It is totally and completely terrifying and I think it is normal to have a healthy fear.
    I sat at a friends house and watched her pull out a ball of handspun and it decintegrated before my very eyes. She laughed and said, darn moths. OMG! I would have to be hospitalized. So now everything that goes to her house comes home straight to the freezer and stays there for a week, few days out then back in the freezer for another week. Friends go for ice and get ziplocs of fiber!
    Good luck to you.
    Holly

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