Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Protecting Your Stash

Jane Hutchings came to our Guild meeting last Tuesday to talk about 'Protecting Your Stash' from insect infestations.

Great information .... so I've taken some notes for those of you who were unable to attend the Guild meeting.

Notes from Jane Hutchings presentation to DCWS Guild May 30, 2017

Protecting your Stash

Jane’s talk was about protecting your stash from insect infestations.
Three types of pests common to our coastal climate.

1.    Carpet Beatles
Small dark beatles with hard shells.  Stages; eggs, larvae, pupae, adults.
        Adults will search for light … check your windowsills in February or March
Live under carpets, attracted to wool/jute underlays.  Attracted to wool.
Check for grit in odd spaces, poppy seed like eggs or excretment.
        Larvae are carrot shaped with clumps of fibre like debris on tails.
Check under carpets, wall hangings, anywhere there is wool.

2.     Moths
Once you spot moths in your house you already have a problem.  
One moth can eat up to 65 sweaters in 1 season.
Attracted to wool (especially soiled with food or brand new wool), leather, feathers
fur and silk.
Check you stash and woollen clothes / sweaters in closets for eggs 
(check in seams of wool suits)

3.     Silverfish
Attracted to paper & cellulose fibres (cotton, bamboo) & starches.

Prevention is the best route to follow as once you get an infestation it is difficult to completely get rid of.

  1. Check your stash systematically once a year.  Routinely rotate fibres (bring yarns at the back area to front)  Examine all stash for signs of insects.
  2. Vacuum shelves and storage containers.  Empty the vacuum canister immediately after.
  3. Practice ‘safe stash’ acquisition.   i.e.  avoid bargains at thrift stores; carefully check gifts from garage or estate sales.
  4. Before adding new yarn to stash, check carefully, if in doubt use the freezer method to kill any critters.
  5. Bag your stash.  Use a pillowcase; then double bag thus preventing the plastic to be next to the yarn and avoid moisture build up.  (This applies to fleece as well).
  6. Vacuum new skeins, ‘snap’ over a white sheet of paper.  Isolate and bag new purchases.

To rid yarn of insects …. bag yarn…  remove air to prevent moisture build up, bring to room temperature then place in freezer for 3 - 4 days depending on size of stash.  Small packages will freeze more rapidly.  Remove from freezer, warm up 3- 4 days and return to the freezer for an additional 3-4 days.  The second freezer treatment will kill any eggs that may have survived the initial ‘shock’ treatment.  Initial freezing treatment will kill up to 90% of eggs (thus a 2nd treatment is recommended).

To get rid of adult moths you can purchase yellow sticky traps from Lee Valley or Home Hardware.  Add a dusting of bone meal and place near windows or entry points of your home.  The moths are already in your home and trying to get out … going towards a light source.  You still have to find where their eggs are and use the freezer method for fibre.  Dry cleaning wool clothes & sweaters will also kill the eggs. Check out Woolite dry cleaning dyer sheets for a ‘do-it-yourself’ treatment.

Cedar chests or chips really don't work.  The chests just contain the stash, they don't protect it from insects already in the yarn.  Similarly scented lavender or other herbs aren’t really reliable deterrents.
Don’t use Moth Balls!!


Isolate new acquisitions
Monitor your stash
Rotate your stash regularly and thoroughly  vacuum storage areas

Bag all yarns

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Alpaca Love

DCWS members had an outing today to visit Balliwick Farms and meet  Tracy Brennan's Alpacas. Tracy rescues Alpaca and the herd had grown to 15.  She sells fleece and yarn through her business Inca Dinca Do.

After a briefing on behaviours of the animals and some shared experiences we were off to have a close up look at the Alpaca. 


Tracy introduced us to Jelly Bean, the new Ilama she has acquired to protect the herd.  Jelly Bean is 8 months old and slightly larger than the Alpaca; he will grow to be much larger and weight around 400lbs.

Jelly Bean and Kokopeli were led out to walk about the farm with our group.
Sandra bonding with Kokopeli

JellyBean stuck close to Tracy
While we wandered through the Kiwi and Walnut trees Tracy shared her experiences with raising  Alpacas.  One could tell she has an understanding and deep connection with these amazing animals.

Tullulah the Irish Wolfhound
After our walkabout the rest of the herd was set free to join us.  Johanne found sitting quietly away from our group the Alpacas became curious and ventured closer.  We can all appreciate the fleece and yarn a bit more after our up close and personal visit with the Alpacas.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Welcome Spring

May is here and we are enjoying somewhat sporadic days of sunshine and beautiful Spring gardens on the Saanich Peninsula.  Everyone is patiently waiting for the warmer weather.  In the meantime some of the Fibre addicts have been busy creating as noted at the Guild's show & tell today.  Note: Our next meeting at the Shoal Centre is May 23rd.  View the 'Events Page' for update on our next two weeks.

Enjoy the Spring Show & Tell
Heidi's Towels and Spring Green knit top

Elaine's rep weave runner... Lovely Spring Colours
Johanne's mats made with fresh willow branches
Sandra's Cotton Huck Lace Scarf
Helen's cocky little roster

JoAnne is addicted to knitting shawls   ......  3 new lovelies to add to the collection