Sunday, July 31, 2011

It Doesn't Even Look Like a Fish

Microwaving  Yarn

This past week I finally quit procrastinating and started dealing with my moth problem. That means there's been a lot of a yarn everywhere. It's on the living room floor in organized piles, double bagged and stuffed in the freezer, and, of course, in the microwave. It's nice to have it out of storage, but I think Mom and Dad are getting tired of it, but I think they understand.

While inspecting the yarn, I saw at least one ball with frays like I found before. I see specks on some of the yarn, but given the state of my apartment at one point, it's very likely that they're just pieces of lint.

I've come up with my own method for dealing with the infestation based on the information I found online. I've been focusing on animal based fibers, since they attract moths.

I choose yarns to freeze based on how much I care about them (all my handspun is being frozen), how expensive they are and how likely they are to have pests.

With the freezing, I'm going with three days in, three days out and three days back in. Everything I've read said it's waste of time to freeze if you only do it once. The second freeze gets the larvae.

The rest of the protein-based fibers are microwaved for 10 to 30 seconds. I'm taking out staples, and I'm being careful not to out in the acrylic blends for too long.

I'm cleaning the tubs themselves with vinegar and water. Then I'm making sure everything is in plastic bags before it goes back in the tub, along with some cedar chips.


I found what I assume are cobwebs on the outside of one of the tubs. I don't know if this helps identify the problem, but I thought I'd share.


I'm not sure what this is. I've been taking the tubs outside to clean them with the water hose. This was still stuck to the inside of one of the tubs after the first rinse. I saw something like it stuck to the outside of the wrapper of my Magic Ball from the late Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe.

It could be a piece of a moth, but I think it might be a baby silverfish. Mainly because I saw a grown-up silverfish crawling around the same tub while I was sorting through it. I didn't have my camera on hand, but it looked like this. I'm very confident of my identification.

Everything I've read says it's unlikely that silverfish would eat yarn. However, I've seen silverfish in other boxes that had been in storage at the same storage place.* But now that I've actually seen them in the yarn, I'm considering the possibility that they are causing the problem. The good news is that what kills and repels moths also kills and repels silverfish.

The problem is that silverfish tend to be attracted to cotton and linen. Like the cotton and linen I didn't bother to microwave. Crap.

However, moths are still a possibility. All the frays I found were in wool yarn,and the owner of the storage place advised us to put moth balls in the storage unit. I can thank Dad for actually taking the initiative to do this. Perhaps we waited too long to change them out.

I still refuse to put moth balls inside the tubs with my yarn.

Microwaving Yarn

Who wants some piping hot yarn?

* - We've moved units a couple of time depending on how much space we need.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aw, Crap

Katie "tries on" my Epic Adult Surprise Jacket

Last week I bound off the Epic Adult Surprise Jacket, and Katie decided to "try it on" like I did a couple of weeks ago. However, I've been stuck since then. Because...

Do I want to redo my bind off?

I messed up.

It doesn't look "messed up" here, but I managed to miss an important detail when I was reading the pattern.

WIP: Epic Adult Surprise Jacket

To do the edging and button band on the Adult Surprise Jacket (and the Baby Surprise Jacket), you have to pick up stitches around most of the rectangle, including several nooks and crannies. This requires negotiating several corners and trying to fit a lot of stitches on one needle.

I thought the pattern said to purl the wrong side rows. While I was working on this blog entry, I checked the Adult Surprise Jacket pattern in The Opinionated Knitter again, and I realized it said to only purl the stitches at the corners on the wrong side. If I'd followed the directions correctly, I would have had a garter stitch button band that would lie flat. I ended up with a stockinette button band that wants to curl.

Do I want to redo my bind off?

At first I liked the idea of a stockinette button band. I assumed if Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen recommended it, it must work. But now that I've finished it, seen how it curls and learned that this is not what Elizabeth Zimmerman and Meg Swansen had in mind, I don't like it. And seeing all the neat, flat button bands on other people's sweaters on Ravelry makes me like it less.

So I decided to unravel the button band and do it again in garter stitch. Or maybe seed stitch.* I think it will be worth it.

Experimenting with Bind Offs

I know I read the instructions for the bind off correctly. The pattern says to bind off in purl. I liked the look of the knit bind off on my Baby Surprise Jacket, so I tried that first.

Before I realized my mistake, I thought that the knit bind off may have been causing the curling. I undid part of the bind off and redid it in a purl bind off. They both curled anyway. You can see both bind offs in the picture above. It's hard to tell the difference.

I was glad I didn't break the yarn the first time I bound off. That left me with more options. Of course, I haven't let breaking yarn get in my way so far.


Before I finished the button band, I had to decide which buttonhole to use and how to place them. I went with the one row buttonhole.

It took some algebra to place the buttonholes. I had to account for the number of stitches I wanted at the top and bottom of the button band, the number of stitches between the buttons and the stitches used for the buttonhole itself.

WIP: Epic Adult Surprise Jacket

I managed to avoid picking up stitches on the wrong side when I did the button band by breaking the yarn and starting to pick up stitches on the end of the row, rather than starting in the middle. It's hard to explain without pictures.

I found the trick here. It took some thinking to translate it to the Adult Surprise Jacket, since I don't have the same number of stitches

I'm going to try not to stall on the button band. It's a pain to redo the entire thing, but I've put a lot of work into this project. I don't want to see a curly button band every time I look at it. I also don't want to see it stuffed in a bag, still untouched, when it's finally cold enough to wear it.

That being said, I'm in pain. More pain. Different pain. With the bonus of more injections coming up and COBRA running out pretty soon.

And I still haven't dealt with the moths.

I need something to lift my spirits. So I'm giving myself permission to start a new project. I'll probably look for something to knit in that sweet spot of not too easy or too hard, not too long or too short and using some really nice yarn.

Parting Shot

Spiny meets Bunny

A couple of weeks ago I had another weekend with Shiloh and her friends. I have pictures of everyone here, but I like this one of the family's new cat, Bunny, meeting Spiny. (Don't worry, the standoff ended peacefully.)

* - If you are new to this knitting thing, and want to know the difference between stockinette, garter and seed stitch, There's a good explanation here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

No Lesson Today

It's Saturday night (technically Sunday morning), and it's time for me to blog. I was going to blog about knitting, but right now my shoulder and back hurt too much to do that much typing. So in the tradition of my middle school with its Channel One televisions, I'll be showing you a video instead. Enjoy.