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Topic: Spinning and De-Mothing  (Read 1669 times)
Tags for this thread: moth , fiber , fiber_preparation , knitting , yarn  Add new tag
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« on: May 28, 2017 09:42:10 AM »

I have done a lot of spinning on a drop spindle, but have been looking for a wheel for years. Mostly I didn't buy one due to budget. Last year, however, my mum's friend mentioned that she was looking to downsize and give away her wheel! When we arrived to get it, it turned out that not only was she a spinner, but she had taught for several years and had more tools and accessories than I knew existed, including specific items for carding flax and spinning cotton.


She also gave me a considerable amount of various fibres. Unfortunately, she had had all of this stored in her basement for several years, and there was strong evidence of moths. eek!

My de-mothing process was as follows, and was based on this post:

1) I kept everything that had not been de-mothed in the shed. There are still several boxes of items that I have not decontaminated, they are still out there.

2) I wiped down all wooden and non-fibre elements with white vinegar, as it kills the eggs.

3) I cooked my fibre.

I based my process on this post:


However, I made some changes. In the "dry roasting" method, you bake your yarn at a low temperature (120F) for at least 30 minutes, however you must watch it at all times as it is flammable and may scorch. I read that and immediately thought - why not cook it in water? 120F is below boiling point so your yarn should not become agitated and felt itself.

I started by buying a cheap disposable roasting pan from the grocery store, and filling it with yarn:


Then I added hot water, and a good cup or so of white vinegar for good measure:


Then I put it in the oven at 120F for approximately 45 minutes. I did not watch it too carefully, as I wasn't too worried about it scorching.

Once out of the oven, I let it cool on its own (adding cold water to hot yarn might cause felting) and then washed it as usual with detergent and hung it to dry.

I ended up with clean yarn, and have had no signs of moths since. It also got rid of the musty smell from being in a basement for so long. I tried this a second time with uncarded wool, and had the same success (however I dried it flat, as it was in small pieces).

I was very happy with this method as it allowed me to de-moth fairly large batches reliably without having to sit next to the oven the whole time. I hope it is useful!

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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2017 11:28:37 AM »

I thought you could just put wool into a freezer for a few days to kill off any moths, is that not true? I have put dry sweaters into a hot dryer for a cycle in the past, I sure hope that's hot enough to get rid of them. All our merino needed repairs after last winter, this year seemed ok though.

« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017 11:52:54 AM »

I did read about that, I just don't have a very big freezer. I think if you froze it and then had no problems, it was likely cold enough to kill them. It got down to about -20 here this winter, so the stuff i still have in the shed is likely ok now, but I will probably cook it just to make sure as it is now warm and new bugs could have gotten in.

I have dealt with 2 infestations of kitchen moths, so I am paranoid about moths. I couldn't deal with it if they attacked my yarn too!
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2017 02:54:01 PM »

When some costly and favourite sweaters got holes last winter we were really disappointed. We read up and they don't like light so now we store all the wool on a top shelf where they get light instead of the dark closet which was previously the moth's banquet hall :/.

I learned my lesson about grain moths as a broke student living in a drafty old apartment and then again living on a farm with young children. Costly and expensive experiences Sad. Now I try to keep every little bit of food stuff in well sealed glass jars. Only the things we're using up quickly stay in bags or boxes, I am pretty paranoid about critters sharing the pantry with us.


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