Those lurking little jerks

Now that we’ve been enjoying a few weeks of spring here in southern Ontario, I’ve been pulling out a few accessory knits that haven’t seen use in a few months. My fingerless mitts and shawls tend to see more action in fall and spring as transitional garments – you probably also have a bundle of similar handknits!


Lo and behold I pulled out one of my Pi shawls and discovered it had Been Gotten – two little holes had been chomped into it by some tiny little lurking winged jerk. Shortly after this I dug through all my knits (or as many as I could find that were not closed into ziploc bags) and discovered the only victims were this shawl and one fingerless mitt.

Neither one are knits for which I still have any of the original yarn – also both of them were Malabrigo superwash merino, so damn, they really knew to go for the good stuff. (They always know to go for the good stuff).


Friends, I’m not even going to pretend that I went for an elegant repair solution here. I found a similar weight yarn in my remnants bag with the closest colour match I could see, and did my best to sew that hole together and stabilize it. It admittedly still looks a bit messy, but it’s contained, which is the important thing for me.

(There are, however, some good repair tutorials here and here, for plain stockinette fabric repairs).


I then gave the poor victim a fresh wash and a block, because if there were other lurking holes I wanted to know about them right away and not be surprised. Now that it’s dry it’s having a sit in the freezer to kill anything else that might still be attached. I also – and perhaps most importantly – took the liberty of tossing the aged wicker basket that was holding the knits, since I’m pretty sure that was the shady home that these little creatures were attracted to.


And you know, if all else fails? I’m working on some backups. Thank goodness we can always knit more things, right? Right. This next Pi Shawl is about 80% done and I’m looking forward to seeing it to the finish line by summer.

Happy knitting this Wednesday, friends! Check your knits, and wash them before you store them for the summer. Better safe than sorry!

Until next time!


Pattern: Pi shawl , pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman in the Knitter’s Almanac
Yarn: Miss Babs Kathadin

(Repaired version: Pi Shawl in Malabrigo sock, ‘ivy’ colourway)


  1. twistedsticks · ·

    Could you also zap it in a microwave for a few seconds to kill anything lurking?

  2. While I can’t relate to the pain of munched Malabrigo exactly, I did find one of my wool mitts was minus most of a thumb, just last week! The thing is, I’ve never seen a moth in my house, let alone on the porch bench where I’d left the mitts! Will mice chew wool?

  3. Linda A · ·

    I have a shawl I’ve been throwing over the back of the living room sofa or on the chair in my bedroom all winter (easy to grab on a cold morning). But, you never know what those critters might be doing in the dead of night. Would sure hate to see it gobbled.
    Good reminder to wash it before putting it in storage – even if it’s a bit of a pain to re-block.
    I like to store garments with a lavender sachet which is supposed to help.

  4. bugger. your title caught my eye and I had to see what was up.

  5. I use lavender Euclan to wash with as well, and so far, so good!

  6. I’m sorry you had that happen, but glad you had a way to mend it. as visible mending is all the rage, your hole makes you even more fashionable. 🙂

  7. Nasty creatures for sure. I’ll bet your repair won’t even be visible when you wear the shawl. I store my woolens in a trunk with both cedar blocks and lavender sachets…so far, so good.

  8. well done on containing the situation! Moths are terrible, they so love wicker, and the most expensive and soft fibers they can find. I hope the situation was just a one-off, and that moth didn’t leave any friend behind.

  9. Barbara R · ·

    While I hate plastic as a rule, it does have it’s uses when one needs it the most. I keep all of my wools in plastic bags and look at them often. One just never knows what’s up! It has been a warm winter in the USA and a lot of things did not suffer much at the hands of cold weather so, they are alive and well….unfortunately! What a hit to take. One of you “good stuff” shawls.

  10. Coooeee. Loved your story. Here in southern Australia, silverfish are the cteepy crawlies that sneakily snipple thru wool. So my wool is stashed away in larger plastic (unfortunate but thankfully) ziplocks. Bay leaves
    line my yarn basket as I work. is my yarn site. TTFN. Sue

  11. Missy's Crafty Mess · ·

    Oh my goodness I probably would have cried but you’re right we can always knit more

  12. This is why I try to remember to wash all my wools at the end of the cold weather season (socks get worn year round, so they get washed after each wearing). My projects and stash are confined to plastic bins or sealed plastic bags if they have any animal hair content, ever since i lost a few projects to chewing insects about 20 years ago.

    The only losses since then were to store-bought items (less valuable to me, admittedly).

  13. Oh! So sorry to hear about this. But of course they went after the good stuff. I don’t think you bother to knit with bad stuff! Your Pi Shawl is still beautiful. A good-enough fix.

  14. Ryan Subocz · ·

    Carolynmcb- mice will chew too. 😦 if its a bigger hole or you said most of a thumb, that’s likely what it is. They’ll use it to make themselves a nest- they like cuddly hand knits too! I like to use the mouse friendly traps and bait them with potato chips. If its getting warmer where you are though, they’ll be on their way out for the summer.

  15. well done on containing the situation! Moths are terrible, they so love wicker, and the most expensive and soft fibers they can find. I hope the situation was just a one-off, and that moth didn’t leave any friend behind.

  16. dragmorg · ·

    I used to keep all my wool in plastic too but I have recently learned that the plastic can be just as harmful to your fine wools and luxury fibers. It is best to store your wool shawls in unbleached muslin bags. I started storing my alpaca fleeces this way and it has worked wonders.

  17. anastasia · ·

    As suggested by Emily, I have bars of Irish Spring soap scattered throughout my stash & in my baskets & I haven’t seen one critter yet. The scent is stronger than the scent of the wool & so it masks it from those critters. I’m hoping when I give the stash a good toss this year it will turn up no pests. Although, it is not the best smelling stuff, I must admit…

    I need to start the daunting task of washing & blocking all my shawls, hopefully next week. I put my hat & mitts (my favourite Strigidae mitts) away a couple weeks ago & promptly pulled them back out. I will miss wearing the mitts, that is for sure.

  18. Yeah. It’s one of the few times I’m glad I have plastic bins for my stash. Ugh.

    I definitely second the who ‘can you zap it?’ question just to make sure that nothing’s lurking. Either that or freeze it.

    And now I have learned that moths love wicker. This puts a major dampener on my idea of buying a wicker storage chest, so thank you for that knowledge!

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