I’m in my new room and it is mold free. I can feel my health improving in this new environment. I thought I’d post an update incase some poor soul found themselves in my situation. (You can find the previous post about the mold hell here if you’re searching posts individually or scroll down if you’re in the archives.)
I got a lot of advice about how to deal with the possibility of there being mold in my yarn. Overwhelmingly, the suggestion was to lay the yarn in the sun for a few days and let the UVA UVB rays do their work. Unfortunately, since I live in a residence hall, I can’t do that without having to baby-sit the yarn – and since I’ll be working 12 hour days for the next week and a half, that’s not really going to work. And my boyfriend (bless his soul for letting me vent on multiple occasions) would understandably be upset if the first weekend day we can spend together in a month was spent babysitting yarn (summer jobs= long distance relationship).
So this is what I did: First, I quarrantined the yarn. The yarns that weren’t already in rubbermaid totes (and had been exposed to the mold-filled air most of the summer) got put in some giant ziplock bags (these things are AMAZING! They hold up to 10 gallons of stuff!). As I did this, I did the ol’ sniff test and things look bad.
You see, since I’ve been working on my Mason-Dixon Log Cabin blanket all summer, the project and the yarn I have set aside for it had been stored in open air in a cardboard decorative box that sat near the chair I usually sat in when I was knitting. That just happened to be very near to where the AC blew. After I put the yarn in a bag to move it, I noticed mold on the outside of the box and on the inside along the cracks (I burned this decorative box ceremoniously – it was liberating).
Anyway, the yarn for the blanket does not smell good. It smells remarkably different than the yarn that had been in the closet in the totes. Tomorrow I’m going to (sitting in the lounge) finish the strip I’m on (only like 2 more rows), bind off completely and then give the blanket as it is a good soaking. I’m going to skein the balls I have left and then do the same with those.
Today, I soaked and washed my sweaters, scarves and winter hats. In the corner of my room, I have the tower of sweater racks. Later next week, I’m going to do the sock yarns. After that, things should be under control. To be safe, all new yarns are going to be separated and in new containers so that I know which yarns were or may have been “exposed to the mold” and which were aquired before the summer of mold hell (or that which I will try best to forget).
I just want to stop and interject with an enthusiastic endorsement. I’m using Kookaburrah Wool Wash (You can get it at Knitpicks) and I’ve always loved it, but my love for it only grows. I’m not crazy about the scent, but I don’t hate it either. Anyway, you don’t have to rinse it and it has tea-tree oil in it. I emailed the contact folks at Kookaburrah when I discovered the mold and they responded very quickly.
“There’s enough Tea Tree Oil in Kookaburra to kill mould spores in your yarn and washing it with our woolwash will certainly remove any spores and the will be enough residual TTO locked into the fiber to prevent mould from reoccurring, especially when your AC’s putting out dry air!…If you do decide to wash your skeins, I would think a good soak in 2 oz to 5 gallons water and no rinse. We had a series of trials run at WRONZ(Wool Research Org. of New Zealand) and found that one of the conditioners in the woolwash locks the TTO into the wool fiber, we don;t know exactly how yet! So that should give you protection in storage… in a dry place!” – Sincerely, Tony Maggi
And so now, tea-tree oil is my new favorite thing in the whole world. It’s going to save my yarn, I know it! Thanks Tony!
There was also the issue of my books. They were exposed to the air (ie, not in a cabinet like they usually are) all summer and I’d really hate for them to start to mold. I can’t wash them and so my only real option is to keep them in as dry an environment as possible. My mom recommended these things you can get in the laundry aisle that suck moisture out of the air. I put one in the cabinet with my books. Hopefully that will control any growth.
Hopefully, this is the last I ever have to think about one of the most awful things that could ever happen to a knitter. A serious attack on a stash.
Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and advice – it was really helpful.