Tuesday, April 01, 2014

As the winter comes to a close...

It's been a long winter. In winter in which I've been very grateful to be a knitter. Being a knitter means that I have an excellent supply of warming gear: hats, mittens, scarves, cowls, legwarmers... And being a knitter means that as the winter gets longer, I can cheer myself up by changing out the accessories. I may be tired of my coat, but I can liven things up by changing from the black alpaca hat to the orange mohair one; I can change from the dark scarves to the bright ones. It's a small thing, but a nice thing.

But as the winter comes to a close, before I can put everything away, there's a vitally important step: a bath!

Moths - the dreaded wool-eaters - are a danger in the summer. Moths are attracted to dark spaces - the backs of closets where we have stuffed our winter gear. Moths are attracted to the nicest fibers - if wool is good, cashmere is positively delicious. And moths are attracted to items that are dirty - that have the oils from your hair and skin on them. This means that before you can put your woolies away, they need to be washed.

If they're items like hats and mitts and scarves, non-lacy stuff that doesn't need stretching or pinning, it's easy.

I fill up my bathtub with lukewarm water and Eucalan eucalyptus scent. (Eucalyptus is a natural moth-repellent.) I throw the items in, and wander away from a good half an hour. Drain the tub, while marvelling at how dirty the water is. (Snow is kinda filthy, it turns out.)

I have a front-loading washing machine, so I run the items through the spin cycle. The higher speed the spin, the more gentle it is... items are flung against the side of the tub and stay motionless throughout the spin. No fear of felting!

Then I lie them on a laundry rack to let them dry.

And then I put them away and dance the dance of joy and spring!

If you want more info on the horror that is Tineola bisselliella, a couple of great resources for you here: Wikipedia and University of Kentucky Entomology department.


Sandra said...

I do the same - plus it always makes me happy in the fall when they are clean and ready to go! If the day is nice - I lay them out on my deck to dry in the sunshine.
Thanks for coming to our Guild this week - a completely interesting talk, and it has made me look at sock yarn in a whole new way (Now I have to go through my extensive stash to gauge how each one will knit up)

donnarossa said...

I usually have to wash less, because I always lose something after the winter. Unfortunately.

I didn't know that eucalyptus keeps moths away. Thanks for the tip.