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Thread: Moths! Ack!

  1. #1
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Moths! Ack!

    Several months ago I bought some wool batting, when Hancock Fabrics were closing their stores. I put it away in an empty dresser to wait til I got ready to hand quilt a top. Tonight I got it out and there are two tiny moth holes where those little pests have gotten in and eaten some wool. This is my first time to use wool batting. What I need to know is this: If I use the batting, will it be safe enclosed in two layers of cotton, or will the moths eat through the cotton to get to the wool batting? We have a lot of moths around always (here in the middle of the big, big woods in Mississippi) and I would be heartbroken to hand quilt this special quilt, only to have it eaten up by moths.

    Hoping someone who has experience with wool batting can answer me.
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    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I only use wool batting and have never had a problem with moths or bugs of any kind. I live in the woods of Oregon and there are lots of moths around. Hope this helps. I've been making quilts since 1992.
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  3. #3
    Super Member mermaid's Avatar
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    I can tell you what I have read (and don't remember where) to put in plastic bag and put in the freezer--for at least 48 hrs. It is supposed to kill the moths and larvae. Before I learned this, a friend asked me to alter a mouton jacket that she had bought at a yard sale. I had it in a bag, lying on my washer for several days. When I opened it to proceed, little worms fell out. The moth eggs had hatched. She told me to toss the coat. Then I learned about the freezer. EHOW.com might have some info re what to do. Gee, I never thought about moths and wool batting--think I will stay with cotton and poly--can't stand creepy crawlies!

  4. #4
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    You need to get rid of the moths/larvae/eggs before using the batting. Wool batting doesn't wash well, but wash anything it's been in contact with. I've read the freezer trick that mermaid mentioned works, though I haven't had to try it myself. I had moths in a coat closet once, and I washed all the coats that were washable and picked off the nits from all the ones that weren't. What a pain!

  5. #5
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    I've only had moth problems with stuff that is stored, not in use. I store my wool quilts (wool fabric, not batting) in the cedar chest. My grandmother made quilts using wool scraps all the time, and only those folded in the closet ever got holes from moths.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  6. #6
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    The only time we had a moth problem, they ate holes in my two cashmere sweaters. Snobby moths, I guess, because they left the wool alone, LOL. I bought those cedar pieces they sell in various catalogues, and haven't had a problem since.

    Since this is a special quilt, I might go with Quilter's Dream Request cotton batting, which is specially made for hand quilting and which people rave about, just so as to not be worrying about the wool.
    Lisa

  7. #7
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input/advice!
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  8. #8
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    Suddenly I am glad that I am allergic to wool. Hope everything works out for you.
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    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  9. #9
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston1954 View Post
    Suddenly I am glad that I am allergic to wool. Hope everything works out for you.
    That was helpful.
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  10. #10
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    We recently had a problem with moths...didn't actually see the moths but saw the damage to my DH expensive wool suit. My bad..I didn't know it was wool, so I hung it up with the rest of his suits. We went to a conference and he took that suit that he had worn only once and after we got home I noticed a few holes on a sleeve and some on the pants.
    Well, that's that for that suit.

  11. #11
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    Do moths go after cotton fabric too? I wouldn't even know how to check for moths and damage.

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    I buy wool blankets from thrift stores, usually hold them up to the light to asess moth damage. A long time ago, I corresponded with someone who told me about the insect repelling attributes of madrona leaves, and sold me an envelope of the leaves, which I pinned to the front screen door to discourage flies. Since then, I have kept bay leaves in the blanket chest and anywhere else I have wool. I even sent a bag of bay leaves to an aunt in Mississippi to put in the box with her fur stole. Bay leaves in the spices also repel moths and their larva during hot, muggy summers. I wash my wool blankets before storing them. My favorite soap for wool is "Dr. Bronners Eucalyptus Oil liquid soap", using about a tsp of the soap per washer load.

  13. #13
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamagrande View Post
    We recently had a problem with moths...didn't actually see the moths but saw the damage to my DH expensive wool suit. My bad..I didn't know it was wool, so I hung it up with the rest of his suits. We went to a conference and he took that suit that he had worn only once and after we got home I noticed a few holes on a sleeve and some on the pants.
    Well, that's that for that suit.
    That's pretty frustrating, isn't it! You never even see the moths, but somehow they get in and eat and run.

    I've got my wool batting in the freezer right now... just in case any eggs or anything I can't see is in there waiting to hatch.

    My favorite yarns to knit and crochet with have always been wool ones, and I've battled this problem with those for years. Never thought I'd have to deal with it in my batting, but I guess wool is wool....
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  14. #14
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I have a roll of wool batting, too--will be sure to check for moth holes and freeze if there are any! Can't put the whole bat roll in the freezer!

  15. #15
    Super Member applique's Avatar
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    I store wool with open bars of Irish Spring soap to repel the critters instead of mothballs.
    Debbie
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  16. #16
    Super Member d.rickman's Avatar
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    I have raw sheeps wool, which I had cleaned and carded professionally, and have not had any issues with any creepy critters.

    You may want to contact these folks, they have been in the business for a number of years, and you need to ask them questions. I felt all my quilts- by utilizing my steam machine, after I have longarmed the quilt and used my sheeps wool.

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  17. #17
    Super Member ccthomas's Avatar
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    All those quilts that are wool based do they have the same moth problems? I have wanted to try a wool quilt project but hesitant.
    Carol

  18. #18
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccthomas View Post
    All those quilts that are wool based do they have the same moth problems? I have wanted to try a wool quilt project but hesitant.
    Probably not. We just have a really bad problem with moths because of our warm climate.
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  19. #19
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patsan View Post
    Do moths go after cotton fabric too? I wouldn't even know how to check for moths and damage.
    No, they like animal fiber.
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  20. #20
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elnan View Post
    I buy wool blankets from thrift stores, usually hold them up to the light to asess moth damage. A long time ago, I corresponded with someone who told me about the insect repelling attributes of madrona leaves, and sold me an envelope of the leaves, which I pinned to the front screen door to discourage flies. Since then, I have kept bay leaves in the blanket chest and anywhere else I have wool. I even sent a bag of bay leaves to an aunt in Mississippi to put in the box with her fur stole. Bay leaves in the spices also repel moths and their larva during hot, muggy summers. I wash my wool blankets before storing them. My favorite soap for wool is "Dr. Bronners Eucalyptus Oil liquid soap", using about a tsp of the soap per washer load.
    This is some great info... thanks!
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  21. #21
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    Mamagrande, you might have the little holes mended is it was an expensive suit.

  22. #22
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by applique View Post
    I store wool with open bars of Irish Spring soap to repel the critters instead of mothballs.
    oh! Thanks! I do keep a couple of Irish Spring bars on hand as had a smoker bring me a quilt that I needed to "de-smoke" . I'll take those open bars out of the baggie and place in the closet where I keep the wool bat! Thanks again!

  23. #23
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    I never thought of moths with wool batting. Do they like silk batting too?
    Penny

  24. #24
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pennyhal View Post
    I never thought of moths with wool batting. Do they like silk batting too?
    I don't know! I've never had a silk batting.
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