Monday, June 27, 2011

Frayed Knot

The yarn is frayed :(

A piece of yarn walks into a bar and orders a beer, but the bartender snarls, "We don't serve your kind here!". The yarn is forced to leave.

While sitting on the curb feeling sorry for himself, the yarn is suddenly hit with a brilliant idea. Working quickly, he ties himself into a knot and unravels his ends. Taking a deep breath, the yarn marches back into the bar and orders a beer.

"Hey!" says the bartender. "Ain't you that piece of yarn I just threw outta here?"

"Nope," replies the yarn, "I'm a frayed knot."

I've heard this one before, but I found this version on the Socknitters Forum. (It was post by someone named "silfert.")

This past week I got a lot of work done on the Epic Adult Surprise Jacket, but I had a problem. The yarn started breaking.

The ball of yarn fell apart

It started with my second ball of Queensland Collection Rustic Wool. I started pulling the ball from the middle. When I started to run out of yarn the ball started falling apart. (See the picture above.) I assumed the first couple of breaks were a fluke, but after the first couple of frays I realized something was wrong. I wondered if the yarn had been in contact with something with something sharp in my yarn bag.

Why is the yarn breaking?

After much spit splicing* I finished off the Rustic Wool and continued with the last little bit of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted leftover from Katie's Le Slouch. This time I started using the yarn from the outside of the ball, and the same thing started happening right away. (You can see some examples above.) The breaks stopped when I got farther into the ball.

Both balls had breaks and frays on the outside part of the ball and not the inside.  And most of the breaks weren't clean breaks. Individual plies had been broken. This leads me to one conclusion...


Here are the facts:

1. Both of these yarns have been in storage since November.

2. They were in plastic tubs, but not in plastic bags within the tubs.

3. They were stored in two different tubs.

4. They're both wool yarns.

5. I've seen silverfish in the unit before.

6. We've been having lots of triple digit days recently, and the unit is not climate controlled.

7. Dad put moth balls all over the unit when we moved my stuff in. This was recommended by the management at the storage unit.

8. Both yarns have been in my stash for at least a couple of years.

I'm seeking input on this issue. We haven't been back to the unit since this discovery. I guess I've been putting it off. I'm also wondering if it could be a different pest, like the silverfish I saw before, or if the yarn is so old that it's disintegrating.

In "The Secret Life of a Knitter", the Yarn Harlot's talks about her battle with moths in her stash. It was an ordeal. She had a complicated system of freezing, thawing, freezing again and inspecting. (I seem to remember a microwave being involved at some point. I could be wrong.)

Like the Yarn Harlot, I have a large amount of yarn. Unlike the Yarn Harlot, I live in a hot and dry climate that rarely has snow (especially in June.) I don't have the option of putting my yarn outside to freeze, as she did. Our freezer is packed, so I can only fit in a skein or two at a time.

I'm planning to start by taking the two tubs that the frayed yarns were stored in out of the storage unit. They will probably get some sort of Yarn Harlot-esque treatment.

Then I'm going to ask Dad to put in more moth balls, even though I hate them. (He puts them outside the tubs, so hopefully they don't stink too much.)

Mom got fresh lavendar for her birthday. I'm considering drying sprigs and putting them in the the tubs themselves.

I know moth balls and lavender won't do much if there's already moths in the yarn. I'm wondering what else I should do. Should take out every tub and "treat" all the yarn? (We're talking about approximately 10 tubs.) And exactly what type of freezing/microwaving type of treatment should I do? Should I bag all the yarns within the tubs?

Can I use your freezer?

WIP: Epic Adult Surprise Jacket

Meanwhile, the Epic Adult Surprise Jacket is coming along nicely. I'm at the phases where you only knit the stitches in the middle of the rectangle for a while.

WIP: Epic Adult Surprise Jacket

I've done even more since these pictures were taken, including using that Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted with all the breaks.

This is how you try on an Adult Surprise Jacket in progress.

The problem with the Adult Surprise Jacket is that you can't really put on your work in progress to see how it's going to fit. Mom helped me "try on" the jacket while I was lying on the floor. It was great photo op, of course.

I was trying on the jacket because I'm not sure what my desired length is. I'm supposed to go to the next phase when I'm about one inch from my desired length.

The pattern recommends using the length of your favorite sweater, but I don't have a favorite sweater. I may go by the length of my favorite t-shirt. That's why I haven't worked on it for a few days. I need to decide both the length and what color to use next. I'll keep you updated.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this:

A guy walks into a dentist’s office and flops right down on the couch.

“Doc”, he says, “Here’s the problem. I think I’m a moth”

“Well”, says the doctor, “That certainly is a problem, but why did you come into a dentist’s office?”

“The light was on.”


* - I know spit splicing isn't supposed to work with superwash wool yarns like Rustic Wool, but it worked well enough for me.


SpinalCat said...

I think I had carpet beetles in Austin, and I had a ton of them at my last place in California. :( Get airtight bins from the Container Store and mothball everything according to the directions. Make sure you use enough product and keep it sealed for long enough. This will kill anything still in there. The modern mothballs (paradichlorobenzene) aren't all that bad. You can't smell it much after you let the item air out a little.
Now new stuff goes directly into an airtight bin and the old stuff is still in the same airtight bins they were mothballed in. I have a bunch of these for my personal stuff
and a few of these for my dyeing

Knitspingirl said...

(I've followed your link from Rav)
I found carpet beetles in my "behind the couch" stash a few years ago. (Read - umpteen WIP's, not main stash)
I live in Australia & my freezer isn't very big, so I napalmed the the little buggers (napthalene flakes) & froze/thawed/froze/thawed/froze my most precious skeins. It took me three days to sort it all (thankfully there was no buggie evidence in the main stash, but I wasn't taking any chances.) I then vacuumed EVERYTHING to within an inch of it's life, washed linen & had a verrrry long shower (those horrid munchers made me feel quite dirty).
Good luck!
I agree with the YH - there is no way to over-react to a moth.

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