Friday, February 25, 2011

Why to freeze your yarn

My knitting habit started humbly.  I commuted to Seattle by bus for four years, where I became friends with the other riders.  Several of them were knitters.  I'd wanted to learn how for a long time and one day a woman brought some spare yarn and needles to teach me how to knit.

About a week later I taught myself how to purl.  Then purl and knit.  Then k1 p1.  I started conversations with strangers who were knitting.  People chatted me up when they saw me knit.  Even a seemingly scary gangbanger type once started talking to me about knitting on a cross-city bus.  A whole community had just opened up to me.

I was addicted.

Soon thereafter I was buying books, making scarves, logging onto (find me there: I'm frenchiejenn), and cranking out some major yarn yardage.  As any knitter or crocheter knows, the next step is to start building a stash.

Maybe your yarn stash is relatively modest, as is mine.  My stash consists of at most 30 skeins of assorted yarns tucked into baskets and cloth boxes like this one.  Everything was confined to a single bookcase in our office.  Well, mostly.

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 Last weekend a girlfriend and fellow knitter came over and I was showing her some of my fav yarns.  She picked up one of the skeins and held out a tiny white cylinder that was perhaps a quarter inch long.

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"Jenn," she whispered, "you have moths".

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 As it turns out, I have casemaking clothes moths, as pictured above.  Ugh.  Left to their own devices, they can destroy a yarn stash.

A freezing-heating-freezing cycle will kill all stages of moth development.  Luckily for me, the discovery of moths in my stash has coincided with a deep freeze in Western Washington.

I carefully examined my stash yarns to remove any additional casings I could find.  My entire stash got moved outside last weekend and it has stayed there for several days.  This evening I'll bring all the yarn into the house for a few hours to warm them up, then return them to the carport overnight to re-freeze.

When I bring the yarn back into the house I'm going to put it in airtight zipper bags in my cedar chest.  There's some debate about whether cedar actually repels moths or their larvae but it certainly won't hurt and puts my beautiful Lane cedar chest - a high school graduation gift - to good use.

I've learned a valuable lesson about how to care for my stash.  Yarn costs money and regardless of how much you've spent, anything eaten by insects is just really expensive bug food. 

On that note, here's my next project yarn.  "It's Native" is grown, spun, and hand-dyed entirely in the USA, which I didn't realize until after I bought it.  I debated between a delicious apple green and this teal, which ultimately came home with me.  At $38 for the skein it's the most expensive yarn I've ever bought.  Good thing it's 1000 yards, which will be enough for a lace shawl.
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I'm having a hard time selecting the exact shawl this yarn will become.  I'll post pics when I decide.

I'm nearly done with these mittens.  I have to proctor an exam today and may be able to finish them during that timeframe.

I knit my name into the lining should I ever lose one, God forbid.  My last name is unusual, making me a quick google search away.

How many of you yarn hoarders are shoving your yarn into the freezer after reading this post?

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