There is nothing (NOTHING) worse in a knitter’s life than pulling out a sweater, or a scarf, or even a ball of yarn and finding that THE BUGS have gotten to it. Not yarn barf, not having to rip out an entire sweater, not even carpel tunnel. Nothing.
It doesn’t happen often, but it happens once in a while. A year ago, I pulled my winter hand-knits out of storage and found a big hole in my wool coat, and a chewed-through spot in my husband’s favorite hand-spun alpaca scarf. It still gives me the heebie-jeebies to think about. Ugh.
And, last week, I was digging through my yarn stash, and found a skein of yarn with little cobwebs and eggs on it! (Needless to say, that skein went immediately in to the trashcan. You gotta get rid of that business stat.)
There are a couple things you can do to avoid this terrible, terrible situation. (Although, be warned, I am no Orkin Man, or even someone who’s particularly good at cleaning.) Here’s what I do to protect my yarn, fiber and finished knitting:
First, if I am going to put something in storage, I’ll put them in plastic to keep out the bugs. Big plastic storage bins are perfect for coats and sweaters, and ziplock bags work well for accessories and skeins of yarn. (I did not do this with my coat last year or that skein of burgundy wool… which was probably part of my problem.)
Second, I make sure to keep my woolens out of dank, musty, moldy, or damp places in my house. If you have a newer house, or don’t live in somewhere as damp as Seattle, you probably don’t have to worry about this so much. Bugs and mold need a source of water, so if you keep your woolens dry, you prevent pests from setting up shop in their folds.
And, third, I now have cedar hangers in all of my closets. I’m 80% sure that it’s a placebo effect, but cedar has been used as a pest deterrant for hundreds of years (think about cedar chests). I don’t have a cedar chest, because all of my furniture comes from Ikea, but you can buy blocks of cedar, cedar hangers, cedar sachets and about a million other cedar-y things to hide in your closet and deter pests. (And, cedar smells good… bonus!)What do you do to protect your handknits?