Moths ruined my Valentine's Day.
Of all the bugs in the world, the one I dread most is the cloth-eating moth. With the amount of wool I have in my life it makes perfect sense, and for a while I had been vigilant about freezing or washing every new/old piece of fabric, yarn or fiber that came into my life. There were lavender sachets everywhere, I'd vacuum regularly, and fiber was stored in lidded bins to help protect their lovely state of fluff.
And then I got lazy and learned a sad lesson the hard way.
Feeling a bit pitiful and very single I decided I would celebrate this stupid love holiday by sewing myself a new dress. Who needs a companion to have a good time when there's a Bernina to keep you company? Feeling inspired at 10:00pm last night I pulled out my pretty length of fabric destined to be a new shirtwaist dress --5 yards of chequered wool in various shades of purple and blue-- and as I unfolded it to lay on the ironing board I spied bit of light shining through where light should not be. If you've ever had moths in your fabric stash you will understanding the immediate sinking feeling in my gut. Upon closer examination there were too many holes in the fabric to warrant counting and were mottled throughout the entire piece. A total loss in terms of garment production, though might be useful for other small projects.
I couldn't be positive the fabric, a thrift store find, hadn't come to me this way but I suspected it hadn't been damaged to this extent. I almost always examine fabric for spots, damage, or peculiarities prior to purchase, AND I had already reached for this fabric before but decided to launder it prior to use. That was about a month ago and I'm quite confident I would have noticed this during the first, second, or third time I handled it. And of course... if one piece of wool has been eaten what's the likelihood of the others having similar damage?
The night's agony only grew as I pulled various pieces of fabric from the bins. A beautiful black and white striped wool that I'd hoped to turn into a skirt? Holes on all the fold lines. A tan wool herringbone with a soft hand that might have been a jacket or coat? Pin-holes all over two pieces, but the other two pieces survived, as did its dark brown sister wool in the same pattern. A piece of striped cotton that was stored next to the wool? Also eaten. There are numerous damaged or destroyed lengths of fabric, however, most of my newer yardage survived unscathed which leads me to believe the moths were living the closet where I had stored my fabric for the past few months. Any longer and there would have been more damage so I count myself lucky to have found it when I did, or at least lucky for now. I've yet to inspect the wool yarn (loads, truly. LOADS), raw fiber (alpaca, angora, and romney fleeces), and processed fiber for spinning.
One of my knitting comrades came to my rescue, offering an entire upright freezer for my use. I took advantage of her offer and filled the entire space with wool-- the silk had been stored separately and within sealed plastic bags. The cottons and linens were mostly untouched, and all of my washable fabric was sent through the cycle today.
I like to think of lessons learned when something horrible happens, and in this case it served as a good reminder to wash/freeze new purchases before storing with the rest of the stash, but also to reduce the stash overall. There's no reason to have this much fabric, yarn and fiber stored in my life when I'm always complaining about the amount of stuff I have to store and haul when I'm moving. Production needs to happen, STAT.
Signing off to create...