Who’s eating my stash?

There are always several nightmare situations lurking in the shadows for we fiber lovers. Recently, I’ve had a brush with one of the worst.

Somebody, or in this case something, has been eating my stash. Not a lot of it, admittedly, but enough to seriously put the wind up me and make me look closely at my stash storage methods.

Look at this.

shredded laceweight

I think it’s fairly safe to say that no one in this house took to a ball of laceweight wool with scissors and so I think we all know who or what the culprit might be. I actually discovered this one a while ago – a much loved ball I procured from Donyale over a year ago. I even started knitting with it once before giving up the project half way through (my fault; not the yarn!). The problem was that it wasn’t stored in a zip lock bag; a lot of my stash is. Sometimes I’m slow to buy a new box of bags so some yarns linger for a while, floating free. Sometimes I take them out of a bag to start a project and a bag gets repurposed. I think that’s what happened with this one. It was in a plastic tub with few other free floating balls in amongst the plastic bagged stash. In a panic I checked and there were no more shredded balls or skeins and so I relaxed a little.

Until yesterday.

Nearing the end of a skein for my Featherweight cardigan, I found the third and last skein and started winding it on the swift. About a quarter of the way through, the yarn broke. I thought nothing of it and started winding a fresh ball. That too broke. After the third break, I started to get really worried. I checked the skein and sure enough there were the tell-tale razored edges. Something had eaten it. I ended up with this small selection of balls.

Knitpicks Shadow

I remained calm through all of this. Had a bit of a discussion online with DrK and decided to bag them up and stick them in the sun to roast the little buggers who thought my stash was tasty. At the end of the day, I brought the steaming bag inside and froze it. I did both methods because I don’t know what’s in there or what the best method is. One of the options had to work.

And now I’ll get on with the rest of my cardigan.

But I did spend some time excavating my stash today – 90% of which lives in big plastic tubs, tightly sealed and inside plastic zip lock bags. I checked the stuff that was loose and found no other skeins that were eaten. Not one. So it’s a bit of a mystery.

In happier news, I can follow up on the Golden Vintage Cardigan in the last post. I did put her through the tumble dryer; I dampened her down a little and gave her 20 minutes in the dryer. Good as gold! Soft and comforting, just like cotton should be. And because I wasn’t able to get to Addicted to Fabric for buttons until Saturday, but wanted to wear her to work the next day, I dug around and found a brooch I was given some time ago by Princess Pea. An idea struck and I think it worked. This little piece was the perfect fastener, I think.

button for Golden Vintage

I still went and bought some small simple buttons, but I think the brooch has found the perfect home. Anyone know what the craft is that makes such brooches? A friend saw it yesterday and said her ex mother-in-law made one for her once and she never knew what to do with it. Whatever the craft is, it’s pretty.



32 thoughts on “Who’s eating my stash?

  1. It looks like you’ve performed a great community service here Bells. I get a bit paranoid about my stash too, even though it’s pretty much all in zip lock bags and plastic tubs there is the odd skein here or there that are floating around. I think I’m going to have to do some careful examination too, there’s nothing scarier than the thought of all that beautiful yarn going to waste.

    I’m so glad your cardigan worked out too, and the brooch is perfect. Very good thinking on your part!

  2. I think the brooch looks like it was made for that sweater. It’s wonderful.

    I think I might take a look at the yarn in the tubs this weekend. I hate the idea of all tha work but I hate the idea of losing the yarn even more.

  3. This is scary. I don’t have the problem with my stash (touch wood) but had the same problem with my handknitted socks. Eversince, I have been paranoid & my wardrobe is stuffed with bags of rosemary, cloves, lavender which is supposed to be a natural repellant. Love the brooch.

  4. Oh, no! I’ve been worried about this for a while now, but never quite got up the energy to do anything about it. You’ve motivated me, though – I’m off to check everything and bag it up!

  5. Yuck. I am so sorry for your loss! I don’t really know how well my stuff is protected. I don’t like to buy plastic bags of any kind but I repurpose various plastic packaging. Not all are ziplock but I hope being wrapped in plastic will foil the bastards. I’ve gone off mothballs (too poisonous) but do have some cedar balls – I think they’re more of a deterrent though, as is lavender.

  6. Eek! None of my stash is in Zip Lock bags – I would need gazillions of them – now I’m going to worry!!

    Glad you didn’t find any tell tale signs in the rest of your stash.

    The brooch is pretty. They are called Dorset buttons. Here is a tutorial:

    and here are a few – beaded and embroidered

  7. Bells if it were our house I would suggest my dog Riley was the culprit. Most of my stash is in plastic storage bins and on occassion he has managed to get in to it (I can’t even begin to fathom how). He also has the uncanny knack of ruining the expensive Alpaca yarns etc over the cheap stuff – Cheeky Puppy.

  8. Oh no! I keep all my yarn in ziplocks, and wash stuff as soon as it’s knitted up – I had moth a few years ago and it scared me everso. I’m more worried about my fabric now, which is sitting clean and folded and piled up in the open.

    Lovely brooch too, what a clever way to close your cardigan.

  9. I believe in mothballs.Yeah, they’re stinky, but they do kill the little buggers! And since I’m so addicted to estate sale finds, I’m always in danger of re-infestation. good luck with your moth wars.

    The broach is llovely! You must look charming today!

  10. Oh no! That’s such a shame. I hope the steaming-and-freezing has seen off the critters… (in my house, it would most likely be mice that would eat something, I think)

    I feel as if I could have a good go at replicating that brooch (which is GORGEOUS!), but I don’t know what the craft is called. Beautiful, though.

  11. that’s adorable! It’s almost like a wrapped and twisted and knotted embroidery string. Glad the whole spa treatment worked on the yarn too….

  12. Ergh, critters that eat yarn! *flinch* Now I need to go check my stash again.

    I’m glad the dryer trick worked on your Golden Vintage. The brooch looks perfect on her!

  13. Most of mine is in plastic bags in bins (although be warned that they CAN eat through ziploc bags, so you might want to look for holes in bags in the bin that the sock yarn was in), but I do get lazy sometimes. All the smelly things don’t actually kill the bugs, they just confuse them by hiding the scent of the wool. I use bars of Irish Spring soap. When I pull yarn out of stash to knit with, it always smells so fresh! 🙂

    Heating and freezing seems to be as good a solution as I’ve found. Freeze for 3 days, heat for 3 days, freeze for 3 days again. Neither kills the eggs. The theory, so I’ve read, is that the freezing might kill the live bugs, then the heating tricks the eggs into hatching, then the freezing again kills the eggs that just hatched. On the other hand, I’ve also read that typical household freezers aren’t cold enough. But I figure it’s better than nothing.

    Good luck!!

  14. I have heard from a number of sources now that lavender is quite a good bug deterrent and like the cloves smells a whole heap nicer than some of the other options like moth balls. Also you might want to thaw and refreeze for good measure just in case. Another strong deterrent for bug life is to actually rearrange stash on a regular basis letting the light in and some fresh air, opening the cupboard doors, that sort of thing. Apparently they prefer to do their dirty work in the dark, so a well lit storage space is a good option, just protect from sun damage by not sitting in direct path of light. Julie (Samurai knitter) had a run in with carpet beetles last year and lost some stash to them she might have more ideas for you.

    P.S. The brooch looks lovely in it’s new home.

  15. oh no! nightmare indeed! thank goodness you didn’t have a full-on infestation. i’m so casual about my stash storage, it’s in tubs, but with no deterrant. i should try the cloves. on a happier note, i think the brooch is a lovely fastening for your new cardi, much more creative than buttons.

  16. Excellent extermination work!! You’ll get them with the heat or the cold.
    Yes I made those little brooches at school with my class, you use a little curtain ring or some such and then buttonhole stitch or just wind embroidery thread (perle is best) to cover the ring, then you make some long stitches from top to bottom to be the stems and then a few stitches around to ‘tie’ the bunch and French knots for the flowers. Last of all you sew a safety pin (at school) or a brooch backing to the back. Ta daIII It looks perfect with your now soft VG Cardigan!!

  17. Ooh nasty little critters eating your yarn. I always keep mine in plastic containers and in ziploc bags too with one of those moth things in the wardrobe (as that is where most of it lives) but I do have a few stray ones sitting there being knit on at the moment so I hope I dont have any of those nasties lurking! I do love the brooch, very beautiful and it looks perfect for your cardigan.

  18. The brooch is a Dorset Button. I have one I made which is basicly a curtain ring and alot of sewing they take a fair bit if time and I will never bother making another if I dont need to.

  19. Oh no that is a nightmare. I have had this happen once in a ball of sock yarn that I brought back from Australia, it was just nibbled exactly like that. I never found the culprit. I am a serious ziplock bag user now!
    The vintage cardi fastener is lovely.

  20. Eeep! Thank heavens it’s only two… if not two too many balls of yarn.

    That brooch does look quite stunning there! Beautiful!

  21. Oh noooooooo! What a bugger. Running off to check mine right now.
    (By the way, storing wool with cloves is meant to keep moths away, and it smells nicer than mothballs – less toxic too)

  22. Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! One ball of lovely yarn is bad enough, but two!! Thank goodness that’s it though. Bet you otherwise had fun rediscovering your stash though?! I think if I excavated mine, I’d be casting on about 20 new projects immediately!

  23. Eep. I think I’m going to check my stash too, none of mine is in ziplock bags. It’s all in it’s own bookcase.

    But I wiped the insides down with mortein surfact spray before use, and I have one of those smelly stick room deodorisers in there (I know that won’t kill anything.). I think I’m going to have to get it all out and re-spray the surfaces again.

    I’m very glad it was only a few things. Do they have anything in common fibre-wise? Do you have a discerning insect?

  24. A nightmare indeed, and I hope that’s the end of it. I have a sudden urge to go buy more ziplock bags. Scary. You handled it very well and I’m sure you’ll finish featherweight now in no time.

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