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Textile Industry

Q. How do you define textiles?
    A. Textiles involve spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, crocheting, and tufting natural or synthetic fibers. There are various extraordinary processes for specific finished textile products.
Q. What is a textile mill?
    A. A textile mill is a factory or plant that manufactures textiles. The mill turns raw materials into thread that can be woven, knitted, crocheted, tufted, and so forth to make textiles.
Bed Sheet Fabric Guide

    Here are further guidelines.
Clothing Fibers

    What are the various types of textile fibers?
    Here are further guidelines.


    What is Cotton?
    Here are further guidelines.

    Are your carpets hand-made or machine made?
    Here are further guidelines.

    What is denim?
    How is Denim Made?

    Here are further guidelines.

    Here are further guidelines.

    Here are further guidelines.
Pillow Covers

    Here are further guidelines.
Textile Machinery

    What are the various types of textile machines?
    Here are further guidelines.
Towels (Organic Cotton Towels)
Quilting Fabric

    What is a Quilt?
    Here are further guidelines.

Bed Sheet Fabric Guide
Textile Mills and Machinery
Types of cotton
What are the various types of textile machines?
What are the various processes in textile manufacturing?
What various items are required in the textile industry?
Q) How do you define textiles?

Textiles involve weaving, felting, knitting, or crocheting natural or synthetic fibers. Textile can be a combination of two substances, such as cotton and polyester. Cotton is very comfortable, but a bit hard to iron; adding a bit of polyester to it can solve this problem.

Regarding the production of manufactured fibers, a distinction should be made between cellulosic and non-cellulosic fibers. Four manufactured fibers, rayon, acetate, triacetate and lyocell, are cellulosic fibers. This means that one of the components used in their production is natural cellulose. Cellulose is wood pulp, generally obtained from trees. All of the remaining manufactured fibers are non-cellulosic, which means they are entirely chemically-based.

Natural Fibers

* Angora
* Natural Animal Fibers: Alpaca, Camel, Llama and Vicuna
* Cashmere
* Cotton
* Hemp
* Linen
* Mohair
* Other Plant Fibers (Abaca, Banana, Pineapple)
* Ramie
* Silk
* Wool

Man-made Fibers

* Acetate
* Acrylic
* Elastoester
* Lyocell
* Microfibers
* Nylon
* PLA Fiber (corn polymer)
* Polyester
* Polyolefin (Olefin)
* Rayon
* Spandex
* Triacetate

Fiber Characteristics - Lyocell


* Excellent strength
* Washable
* Shrink- and wrinkle-resistant
* Soft hand
* Excellent drape
* Absorbent
* Dyes and prints well

Major end-uses:

* Apparel - dresses, suits, pants, jackets, skirts.
* Decora, carpets, curtains, draperies, upholstery, bedspreads, table linens, sheets, dish towels, bath towels.

This fiber is cellulosic, and it is very similar to rayon in appearance. The major difference between lyocell and rayon is that lyocell is much more durable and has a much stronger wet strength. It can also be machine washable and dryable.

Lyocell is made by chipping wood, breaking down the wood fibers with the non-toxic chemical amine oxide, and then placing the material in a spinneret. The spinneret produces long fibers, which are then dried and woven into cloth.


Q) What is polyester?
Q) What is the process for adding polyester to cotton?
Q) What is the process for adding polyester to wool?
Q) What other combinations are there?

The content of an industrial optimization problem includes the technical issues of optimization and the practical issue of forming the operational problem into an optimization problem. Naturally, a successful resolution requires competency with regard to the technical issues; however, the major requirement is an understanding of the underlying operations. The application of linear programming to the loom planning process in the textile industry provides an illustration.


Looms are the machines used to weave cloth, which is sold for a profit. However, looms can be set up to weave various kinds of cloth, each with its own profit structure and customer demand. The heart of the problem lay in deciding what mix of products to make with a general goal of improving profits. The caveats were what made the problem interesting. For instance, profits might be sacrificed to retain long term market share and while forecast and actual future (booked orders) demand (and prices) varied from month to month, overly radical shifts in the mix would not be permitted. Further, the software and hardware of the time were definitely not designed for interaction with managers: the glass cage and lab-coated computer servants were a reality; external terminals were available, but not ubiquitous; and the linear programming software was designed. Despite these impediments, the task of manually creating a loom plan each month was formidable and the potential for improvement looked large enough to investigate computer-based optimization.


The key to appreciating the solution is the same as the key to creating the solution - understanding the operations to be modeled. Four elements of the problem are described: the manufacturing operations, the business operations, the planning process, and the technical constraints.

Manufacturing Operations

Looms use yarn in two ways, as warp yarn and as fill yarn. Warp yarn runs the length of the fabric being produced and each yarn (or "end") should ideally be as about long as the piece of cloth to be produced. (Knots produce flaws and are to be avoided). Fill yarn ends run across the width of the fabric. Different styles of cloth are produced by using different types of yarn and by changing the weaving pattern (the sequence of under and over crossings of the warp and the fill). Fabric may be woven using pre-dyed yarn or undyed yarn. There are several different types of looms, each with its own characteristics, such as speed of weaving and styles of fabric that it can produce. Most looms use one or more warp beams (large metal spools about two to three yards along the length of the barrel and about a yard in diameter upon which the warp ends have been wound). Each loom choice has advantages and disadvantages; however, for planning purposes, the number of the types and the numbers of each type are fixed: looms are expensive. Large textile firms generally have multiple mills with weaving capacity, usually in different towns.

In addition to the weaving process itself, there are preparation processes that are impacted by choices of loom plans. The proper types and amounts of yarn must be available at the correct times. For example, at the time of this project, warp yarn was needed three weeks prior to its turn at the loom, while fill yarn was only required one week prior to weaving. The basic reason was the extra yarn preparation needed for warp yarn. Warp yarn to be run on beam looms had to be beamed, requiring processing time. Further, warp yarn has to be stronger than fill yarn because of the mechanical stresses it undergoes in weaving and some yarns need a coating (called slashing or an alternative process called single end sizing) in various solutions designed to keep it from snagging the fill. This process also requires time. These preparation processes are generally designed to have higher capacity than the weaving capacity to prevent bottlenecks caused by these lower value added processes. However, a particular preparation process might not be available at the mill in which a particular style was to be woven, requiring transportation between preparation and weaving. Additionally, some mills had idle capacity that could be added by calling in extra workers, if the demand continued for a sufficient length of time.

Practical operational constraint was balancing production among the mills. Because many mills had similar capabilities and similar variable costs, an optimal solution might result in one mill running full in one month at the expense of other mills, with a reversed situation in the following month. Such a situation would incur excessive change costs and would also be hard on workers, who prefer consistent pay checks. Some loss in potential variable margin would be acceptable to produce a balanced schedule.

Business Operations

Textile firms, like firms in other businesses, vary in their integration of operations. Frequently this means that some products are sold directly to the end user, others are sold to distributors or other marketers, and others are sold to firms who process the goods further before selling into the marketing chain. Some of the fabrics are sold directly after weaving and others undergo various additional (finishing) processes, such as dyeing. Generally, the fabrics that are sold furthest along the chain, with the most additional processing, often command the largest profit on a per yard basis. A simple maximization on profit may overlook the additional investment in resources and processing time and the additional risks involved in producing these goods, resulting in decisions that would be tantamount to getting out of the simpler businesses.

The firm in question was internally divided into businesses, such as women's wear, men's wear, and the dress business. Each business had its own business manager who was responsible for running the business at a profit. Naturally, each business manager would be concerned with running his fabrics at the mill with the lowest costs and obtaining a maximum amount of fabric to sell.

The Planning Process and the Goals of the Planner

Different textile businesses may choose to organize the management of weaving differently. This particular firm used a central planning function and a distributed scheduling function. The purpose of the planning function was to decide how much of each style ought to be made at each mill, based on firm orders, semi-firm "programs," forecast orders, forecast prices and margins, known capacities, and any other relevant business information. The loom plan (and preparation plans) were the tools for communicating these decisions. The loom plan consisted of a list of fabric styles and the numbers of each type loom assigned to those styles for each mill and each month through the planning horizon (roughly a year). The purpose of the scheduling function was to implement the plans as nearly as possible, considering available looms (looms don't "run out" precisely on schedule), available parts (e.g., multiple types of beams that only fit certain loom types), shipping anomalies, numbers of workers, and other real life problems. Thus, excessive precision in the loom plan was meaningless, as it could not be made to happen. Nevertheless, in broad terms some loom plans were clearly better than others, both in terms of feasibility and in terms of profitability.

The loom planner's goal was to satisfy three sets of people: top management who wanted to maximize variable margin; internal business managers who wanted to maximize their access to production; and mill managers who wanted balanced plans and uncomplicated, feasible schedules. In slack times, there would be insufficient demand to fully load the mills and balancing production might be the operative activity; however, in good times, not all of the proposed yardage could be manufactured and deciding how much of the forecast yardage would not be made would be the operative activity.

Weaving looms

Looms come in all sizes from handheld looms to huge freestanding ones. Some looms are fairly small, and easily mastered, and can even be used by children. Larger ones tend to be more complicated, but also have more detailed options. The width of the loom is what determines the width of whatever is weaved, whereas the length is more controlled on table looms and can be longer on a floor loom.

When thinking of buying a weaving loom, there are several things to consider. First of all, what do you plan to weave? Rugs, tapestry; how large a piece do you intend to weave;

You need to expand on each section providing details of your specific business and products

Vision and mission: To produce a high quality woven product that is internationally competitive in both price and quality.

Location analysis:

Premises required: Industrial Estate required. An area of about 40 sq meters required (per loom).
(Describe the premises to be used for the business).
Facilities required: Facilities for the delivery of yarns and the dispatch of the finished product.

Industry analysis:


Take a look at MBA program

Suppliers: Supply of raw material (i.e. yarn) raises no problems. Transport of the yarn to the weaving business can however raise the cost of the yarn by up to 10% on orders of less than 600 kg.

Market size and growth: The textile market for specialized products internationally is vast. Most weavers however are inexperienced in tapping into this market.

Barriers can be overcome and sustainable markets created. To weave fabric that is similar to those mass produced locally and in the East will create price and volume barriers, however if specialized niche market fabrics are woven ( especially in the medium to heavy end of the fabric market ) then the market can be tapped provided a sustained effort is maintained.

Production capacity: The loom will weave on average 5 meters per hour/loom. However most weaving sheds will only run at an overall 75 % efficiency (allowing for down time, maintenance, run changes and labor productivity). The production capacity for one loom weaving a medium weight fabric should be about 750 meters per month/loom. This will require 3 to 4 beam changes per month. (Do you have better answer)

Quality control: Although, with careful weaving and adequate diligence, the fabric that leaves the loom should be virtually fault free, it is always necessary to thoroughly inspect every meter of fabric before finishing, repairing any faults. Time should be set aside during production for quality checks to minimize the time consuming procedure involved in fabric repair.

Marketing Plan:

Price: A computer program which will generate a cash flow statement, a fabric costing and a fabric design for any product is supplied with the loom.

For Example:

Promotion: A name for your brand of products and possibly a logo and byline is needed.
Promotion tools such as business cards, sales brochures with product pictures, labels etc. The type of product being produced determines how and where it will be promoted. Trade publications, local newspapers and the internet are classic tools for promotion.

Place: Craft markets, World wide web, Exhibitions, shops are an ideal place to distribute and sell products. Use should be made of the Government incentives and assistance given to business to exhibit their wares on international shows and trade fairs.

Product: A wide range of products can be produced from fabric manufactured on the loom (Describe your particular product in more detail). Products should be given a brand name and packaged in a quality manner.

Resource management:

Capital requirements. The investment in a loom/s, when seen in the light that it is an income generator and a creator of sustainable employment is not prohibitive.

Operating funding: An example of cash flow requirements are given.


Weaving Loom Facts
parts of weaving loom
Tips for buying a weaving loom

Types of Weaving Looms
Hand weaving looms
Head weaving loom

Weaving Loom Questions
How to make a weaving loom

Types of Weaving

International weaving
Bead weaving
Hand weaving
Tapestry weaving
Fibre forming
General manufacturing
Measurement and control
Plasma coating
Surface treatment

How thick should I make my yarn?
What can be used as yarn?

Almost anything; if it is flexible and able to withstand the act of being wrapped about needles or hooks then someone has worked with it. The Whole Earth Catalog mentions a woman who crochets tents and canopies from nine-track computer tape.

What makes a good yarn?

This differs from knitter to knitter, from crocheter to crocheter, and from vendor to vendor. For most people, a good yarn is affordable. Yarn that is too expensive is always bad yarn; it is also damp yarn because people who can't afford it drool on it.

In truth, the type of project determines the type of yarn. Ragg yarn, a thick yarn made from one ply of shoddy and two plies of wool, makes a great warm sock but a terrible lace tablecloth. Cobweb Shetland makes a flimsy Aran sweater but is perfect for an heirloom shawl. Wool will drive an allergic person to distraction but some people hate the feel of acrylics. Some natural fibers will felt and become weatherproof; others are poor insulation.

Fiber: the strings and filaments of which yarn is made.
Yarn: fibers processed into a strand long enough to work.
Whatever the yarn is worked into is fabric, whether it is woven, knit, crocheted or processed by another method.
Ply: Most yarn is made of plied material. A ply is a twisted strand. If the twist is a firm one, the yarn will be fine; if is too firm, the yarn "kinks." If the twist is loose, the yarn is soft, thick and a bit less hardy.

The number of plies in yarn has nothing to do with thickness. A yarn made of four firm plies may be thinner than one made of two loose ones. That having been said, yarn strength and evenness depends on the number of plies. Yarn is usually plied (the act of twisting the twisted strand together) in the opposite direction of the individual strands. This corrects the tendency of the yarn to slant as it is worked. A sweater made from a firm, multi-ply yarn knit with a small gauge might survive generations of wearers.

Unplied yarn is a hunk of wool that has been stretched out a little. Roving, a fluffy bulky yarn with no twist, is an example of this. Sweaters made of roving are fragile and tend to pill. Weight: Yarn comes in fine, medium and heavy. Fine is often referred to as 'fingering' or baby yarn. 'Sport' or 'jumper-weight' yarn is thicker than fingering.

Extra-fine yarns are used in lace-knitting. Some of these are spun as thin as a human hair. A shawl made of this wool might weigh only two ounces but contain 6,000 yards of yarn.

"Worsted" is the term used for what most people think of as sweater yarn but worsted is actually the term for a yarn whose fibers were combed before spinning. This sweater name is more properly called 'double-knitting' in England and 'Germantown' in America.

Heavy yarns are thick ones meant for large needles. Bulky and chunky are synonyms.
Virgin and other terms: Virgin fiber is fiber that has not been knit, woven or worked beforehand.

Shoddy is yarn or fabric made from scraps; obviously, it has been worked beforehand. Since it does not wear well, its name is used to describe anything poorly made.

Felt is what happens when wool shrinks and mats together; the action is usually irreversible.

Pills are little matted balls that form on sweaters. They happen as the soft yarn rubs against itself and the fibers tangle.

Knit-alongs are yarns knit with the main yarn in a fabric. They do not affect the gauge of the pattern but add strength, color or pizzazz.

Gauge is not a fiber term. It is the number of stitches per inch the yarn gives when knitted. Although the size of the yarn is a factor, needle or hook size and the tightness with which the yarn is worked also determine gauge. [Editor's note: "gauge" is known as tension in the UK.]

Hand is how a yarn feels.

How is yarn made? Some synthetic yarns (nylon, polyester, etc.) are made by forcing hot material through tiny holes--picture meat through a sausage grinder, but on a smaller scale. Metallic yarns come from sheets of aluminum or other metal combined with a polyester film and cut into filaments. Wool and cotton, the traditional materials for yarn, are spun into yarn.

Before spinning, the fiber is cleaned, untangled and carded (brushed smooth and straight.) Some fiber are also combed, which further straightens them and sorts them by length. Bundles of these fibers are drawn slightly into 'slivers;' if they have a slight twist to them, they are called roving. Fibers are pulled from the roving and twisted into plies. Twisting these plies together produces different weights and types of yarn.

Now can I ask what kinds of yarn are available? Yes.

Okay--what kinds of yarn are there? Animal fibers:

* Wool as far as I'm concerned (and I'm the one writing this FAQ,) wool is fiber from a domesticated sheep. Wool accepts dye well, is flame-retardant by nature, remains warm even when wet, sheds water better than other yarns. Natural wool should be hand-washed. 'Superwash' wool has been treated to allow machine washing. Wool will usually resume its proper shape when washed correctly; if it is mistreated and washed in too-hot water, it will shrink or felt.

* Mohair is fiber from an Angora goat. Mohair is durable, sheds dirt, dyes well and does not felt easily. Despite its hardiness, it is usually spun into yarn used for fluffy garments and scarves. This yarn is abraded, roughing its fibers to create that 'fuzzy' look.

* Angorais fiber from rabbits. Fabric made from this yarn is inelastic (no stretch), very fluffy, soft and warm. Contrary to a belief popular in the 1950s, a Angora sweater does not increase the size of one's bust.

* Silk is the fiber produced by silk moths. Silk knitting yarn is made from damaged silk cocoons and broken fibers. 'Raw' silk still has the original moth secretions in it. 'Tussah,' silk obtained from wild moths is brown. The food fed to domesticated moths determines their silk's natural color; this can white, green or yellow.

Silk retains heat, absorbs moisture, pills less than wool, is very strong and very stable when knit, neither shrinking or stretching.

* Cashmere is fiber from the undercoat of a Cashmere goat. It is so expensive because only a few ounces are obtained from each goat per year. It is such a delicate yarn, more fragile than wool and more susceptible to abrasion, that it is usually blended with wool to make it more durable.

* Camel is fiber from the two-humped or Bactrian camel. Camel hair cannot be bleached, so it is either used undyed or dyed a darker color. It is lightweight and fragile.

* Vicuna comes from the vicuna, a South American relative of the camel. They are rounded up once a year and shorn like llamas or sheep; their hair is finer than any other animal fiber.

* Alpaca is a smaller relative of the llama but its hair is more commercially valuable. Yarn from this fiber does not felt or pill easily. It comes in fifteen natural colors (as do the alpacas) and is denser than wool, so fabric knit from it may droop. The undercoat of a llama is very similar to alpaca hair.

Two places on the Web to find out more about alpaca are AlpacaNet and Chase Tavern Farm Alpacas.

* Qiviut(kiv-ee-uht) is included here because it is a wonderful Scrabble word; the fiber itself is very hard to find. It comes from a musk ox and resembles pale gray cashmere but does not shrink.

Vegetable fibers:

* Cottonis the fiber surrounding the seeds in a cotton pod. Usually white but there are green and brown varieties. Cotton is heavy, dense and inelastic; although it will regain its shape after washing, its ability to do so decreases over time. It is comfortable to wear in a cool climate but not a hot one (the opposite of wool) and is slow to dry once wetted. It makes a weaker yarn than silk or linen but is stronger than wool.

* Linen comes from the flax plant. It is durable and stronger than any other fiber. Fabric made from it becomes softer and more beautiful with age. It absorbs moisture better than cotton and dries more quickly, making it more comfortable to wear than cotton in hot temperatures. It is easier to wash than wool and does not stretch or shrink.

* Ramie is made from nettles (as in the Fairy Tale "The Swan Princes," where their sister had to gather nettles and spin them into yarn.) It is often used as a substitute for linen since it is less expensive but shares linen's good qualities.

* Rayon is a fiber produced from natural ingredients by artificial means. Cellulose from wood pulp or cotton is treated chemically until it may be drawn into filaments. Rayon is a weak fiber but it is absorbent, dries quickly, and stretches (although it does recover some when dried in a automatic dryer.)

Synthetic fibers:

* Nylon is lightweight, strong, elastic, resists abrasion, does not stretch or shrink (except at high temperatures,) and is easy to wash. It is usually combined with wool to impart its strength and elasticity to the wool. Pure nylon is available as a 'knit-along' to strengthen sections of a garment that will encounter wear, such as elbows and sock heels.

* Polyester is the most common type of synthetic fiber. Fabric made from it retains its shape. It adds strength and resilience to natural fibers. Polyester is very easy to wash and is more comfortable to wear than many other synthetics.

* Acrylics are the most common synthetics in knitting yarns. They are resilient, moderately strong, somewhat inelastic, feel good to the hand and are light in weight. Acrylics are easily made to imitate natural fibers so they are sold as alternatives to wool. However, acrylics cannot wick away moisture from the body so their warmth diminishes when wet. The fiber burns readily unless treated and will shrink in moist heat. Acrylics are often used to achieve novel textures and characteristics that are not available with natural fibers.

* Metallics (described above) are best used as a 'knit-along' with another, stronger yarn.

This explains the different kinds of fibers but it does not tell me why some yarn is smooth and some is bumpy. Please rephrase your response in the form of a question.

How would you like me to release some moths in your yarn stash? Okay--I can take a hint.

The length and quality of the fiber in a yarn determines its texture, luster, strength and hand. Yarn made from long fibers will pill less, be smoother, stronger, more lustrous and more elastic. Yarns containing a mixture of fiber lengths are softer, fuzzier and less strong. Tightly twisted yarns display the texture of a knitted pattern to its best advantage. Fuzzy yarns obscure a stitch pattern but are warmer and cozier, although they wear less well and often shed like a St. Bernard in a Georgia summer.

'Novelty' yarns are ones with an unusual texture, color or appearance that comes through differences in its ply sizes, the combinations of its fibers or some variation in its spinning.

Slub yarn has a textured, lumpy surface. It has a smooth ply and one that was spun unevenly, which creates 'slubs' or lumps in the ply. Crepe yarn has tiny bumps. Boucl&ea; yarn has its smooth ply so tightly twisted that it curls around the slub ply.

Roving, mentioned above, is loosely spun wool. It is a weak yarn and can pull apart while being knit. Once made up, the fabric itself holds the fibers together; although warm, the fabric will pill, abrade and does not wear well.

'Eyelash' or 'fur' yarn has long filaments grouped along its length. When the yarn is knitted, these filaments stick out from the fabric and give it a furry look.

The following are not yarn but can be knit like yarn.

* Chenille is cut from a specially woven fabric. It twists while being knit because it has no oppositely-twisted plies to counteract the twist imparted by the knitting. It sheds from its cut edges.

* Ribbon yarn is just that: thin ribbon used for knitting. Although most knitters let the yarn twist as it may, fine ribbon-knitting keeps each stitch as flat and smooth as possible.

* Strips of fur -- see chenille

* Leather thongs -- see ribbon yarn

* Crochet cotton, string and rope

* Anything else that can be wrapped around a needle or hook.

How Should I Store My Wool?

Many knitters love using natural fibers, especially wool, in their projects. Such fibers are a joy to work with and make long-lasting pieces. But a concern of all knitters who work with wool is how best to prevent damage from those wool-loving wee beasties: moths.

Answer: Moths are insects related to the butterfly, and they cause a lot of damage to agricultural products around the world, particularly fruit trees, as well as to fabrics like wool and silk. The moths use protein in the fibers as a food source and are particularly attracted to dirty wool clothing or fibers that smell sweaty.

Neither of these issues are a concern when storing unknitted wool, but that doesn't mean moths won't go after your stash. It pays to invest in a little protection if you're planning to store a lot of valuable wool. Here are some tips to help. Don't Use Mothballs

Mothballs used to be the most common way to guard against moths. Made of napthaline in the old days and now made from paradichlorobenzine, both of which can be dangerous, especially to children and pets, who might eat the mothballs because of their sweet taste.

It's thought that paradicholorbenzine is a likely carcinogen, and exposure to very high doses can cause dizziness, headaches and liver problems. Mothballs are most effective when used in an airtight container, but the container can't be plastic because the chemicals in the mothballs can cause plastic to melt into the wool.

Besides, mothballs don't smell very good, making for an unpleasant knitting experience.

Keep the Air Out

Probably the best thing you can do to prevent moths from getting to your wool is storing it in airtight containers. Plastic storage boxes or even plastic freezer storage bags are a wonderful way to store unused yarn, and they make it easy for you to keep like yarns together and see what you have at a glance.

Cedar chests are a popular storage receptacle for wool and woolen items, and there is an oil in the wood that is able to kill small larvae, but it has no affect on the larger larvae, according to the Pest Management program at the University of California. What is more important is that the chest be built tightly so that larvae can't get into the chest in the first place.

Try Natural Remedies

There are many different natural remedies that are thought to help repel moths. One of the most popular ingredients in use today is lavender, which can often be found in moth-repelling sachets and in wool washes used to care for woolen items after they have been knitted.

Other popular herbs that are thought to repel moths include rosemary, mint, thyme, ginseng, cloves and lemon. Adding a sachet of a quarter cup or so of a mix of these herbs may be useful in keeping moths at bay.

An Ounce of Prevention

The most important thing you can do to prevent moths is to keep your storage area clean. Using air-tight storage will be a big help, but also vacuum regularly in the room where you wool is stored, making sure to clean any woodwork and wooden furniture in the room as well. Moths love to get into the nooks and crannies of wooden furniture and into the carpets, so regular cleaning may help keep them from getting to your stash.

Remember, too, to clean behind and under your heavy pieces of furniture, and clean heating vents and heaters as well. Moths love dark, warm places, so that's where they will congregate.

Another thing you can do to prevent moth problems is to buy only wool blends, which tend to be less attractive to moths, or . Not all manufacturers make it clear if their yarn is mothproofed, but if you search the Internet for mothproof yarn you'll find some manufacturers who say they do.

How Do I Get Rid of Moths?

Once you have moths in your yarn stash, there are several steps you can take to eradicate the little monsters and keep them from getting to the rest of your precious wool.

Answer: 1. Assess the situation. Determine how much yarn is affected and the extent of the damage. If balls have been eaten to pieces, the best course is to throw them out. If some yarns that were in the same storage container don't appear to be damaged, put them through decontamination anyway. If yarn in other storage containers appears untouched, its up to you if you want to "clean" it all. Certainly keep an eye on any yarn that seemed unaffected to make sure the pests didn't spread.

2. Freeze or heat your yarn. According to the pest management guidelines provided by the University of California, infested yarns (or completed garments, for that matter) can be heated to a temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes or can be frozen at temperatures under 18 degrees Fahrenheit for several days to kill the pests. I have heard that some people keep all their wool in the freezer, but that seems a little excessive unless you have a very valuable collection of yarn.

3. Spray if needed. If for some reason you don't want to or can't heat or cool your yarn, you can use an insecticidal spray to get rid of the moths. Pyrethrin is a good choice because it is organic, fast acting and quickly degrades. It is made from chrysanthemums and is a good choice for hard-to-kill pests. Check that the product you are considering says it kills clothes moths, and follow the instructions on the package to use it.

4. Prevent future problems. Losing some of your stash to moths is a frustrating and heartbreaking experience, but it's one that doesn't have to be repeated. Take care to properly store wool in the future by using air-tight containers and keeping the room your wool is stored in clean.

5. Check up on your stash. Having a moth problem is a sign that you need to pay more attention to your stash. Especially if you have containers of yarn you didn't treat after the infestation, check in on those yarns regularly to make sure the damage hasn't spread. And at least once a year take all your yarn out of storage and make sure there's no damage. If nothing else, it's a good excuse to revisit your stash and maybe become inspired to use some of it!

What is Mothproof Wool?

Answer: Many yarn manufacturers make mothproof wool, which is chemically treated to repel or kill moths that come in contact with it. This sounds like a great idea to some knitters, while others are a little nervous at the prospect of having chemicals they don't know much about so close to their skin.

Chemical used to mothproof wool, Mitin FF, is added to the yarn in the dye bath at the same time as any coloring that is being added to the yarn. The mothproofing agent adheres to the yarn in a similar way as the dye does.

This means that like dye, the chemical will not rub off or wash off in normal cleaning or dry cleaning.

Mitin FF is a pesticide that works by killing the moth larvae when the ingest and digest the wool protein, which means if you do ever get moths in your stash, they won't be able to do a lot of damage.

But if the chemical kills moths, what can it do to humans? Wells said Mitin FF is relatively harmless if not ingested, and the federal government agrees. Mitin FF has been used as a pesticide in the United States since 1948 and is used exclusively by the textile industry for mothproofing wool. Laboratory tests have found the chemical to be "low to moderately toxic" and to have "low mammalian toxicity."

While there's no danger from using mothproofed wool, some people prefer not to use yarn with extra chemicals. For those people, a whole new world of organic wools and cottons are coming to the marketplace, allowing you to create without the chemicals.

What is Organic Cotton Yarn?

Organic cotton yarn is a big trend in knitting right now. As people are looking for more natural products to pit in and use on their bodies, organic cotton yarn fills a big niche in the knitting world.

Answer: Growing cotton accounts for as much as 16 percent of global pesticide use. Of course all of that does not go to make yarn--it's used for T-shirts, sheets, bedding and countless other products.

Pesticide use is harmful to both the people who have to live and work around pesticides and the planet when pesticide runs off from where it was intended and contaminates nearby water.

Organic cotton is grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers (there are natural ingredients that can be used for these purposes, such as pyrethrin, which comes from chrysanthemums). Emphasis is placed on the quality of the soil and things like crop rotation and supporting beneficial insects for pest control.

Organically grown cotton fibers have the same characteristics as conventionally grown cotton. The yarn is just as strong and durable as any other cotton yarn you could buy.

Many companies are selling organic cotton yarn, from Blue Sky Alpacas to Lion Brand. If your favorite brand of cotton doesn't come in organic yet, odds are it will soon.

Organic cotton yarns can be dyed, but another nice thing about many of the organic products on the market today is that they are left natural. Light brown, gray and green colors are most widely available, allowing you to make beautiful cotton garments that you can feel good about. Are there really Size 50 knitting needles? Can I change the needle size (or hook size) and make a pattern larger or smaller?? Can I combine two strands of one weight to equal a larger weight? Can I convert a hand knit pattern to a machine knit pattern? Can I crochet with Fun Fur? Can I get another copy of a free pattern or leaflet here? Can I order from you? Can I sell something I made using one of your patterns? Can I take My Knitting Needles on an Airplane? Can I use one yarn when another is specified? Can you help me find an old pattern? Dye Lots Fabulous Felt Homespun bunches up when I work with it. Why is that and what can I do to stop it? Hook and Needle Equivalents How can I get help with one of your patterns? How can I search for a specific pattern? How do I check my order status? How do I convert a crochet pattern to knit? How do I convert a knitting pattern to crochet? How do I determine which size sweater to make? How do I find the end of the skein or ball? How do I pull from the center? How do I find the free patterns you have? How do I keep yarn from unraveling when I use it for fringe? How do I know how to wash a yarn? How do I know which yarn to use for a project I want to make? How do I order one of your free catalogs? How do I print patterns from your site? How do I start a skein? How do I submit something I designed for possible publication? How do I subscribe to your email list? Will you sell my name if I do? How do I substitute one Lion Brand yarn for another? How is yarn usually packaged? How much do you charge for shipping? How much yarn do I need to make a ...? How much yarn do I need to purchase if I substitute? How to Make a Fringe How to read the label How to substitute Lion yarn for a non-Lion yarns I have a problem with something I purchased. Who do I contact? I have an old pattern for an old yarn. Can I still buy that yarn? I made a project with a chenille yarn and now I have loose loops all over. What happened? I need more yarn of the same dye lot. Can I order that from you? I need to change my email address! I paid for a downloadable pattern and I couldn't download it. Who do I contact? I'd like to order one pattern but don't want to pay for shipping charges. How can I avoid this? I'm making up my own pattern. How do I know how much yarn I need? Is the finished chest size of a sweater the same as my bust size? Measurements: How do I convert centimeters to inches? And Vice Versa? Measurements: How do I convert grams to ounces? Measurements: How do I convert meters to yards? And Vice Versa? What are Frosts? What are Heathers? What are Ombre yarns? What are Printed yarns? What are Sprinkles? What are Tweeds? What do the terms worsted weight and sportweight mean? What do those symbols on the label mean? What If I Want To Use A Different Lion Brand Yarn? What is the difference between a ball and a skein? What is the difference between a skein and a ball when I am calculating the amount of yarn needed? What is the difference between knitting and crochet? What is the easiest knitting stitch? Where can I purchase your yarns? Where can I see all the colors that there are in your yarns? Which of your yarns will felt? Which Yarns are Which Weights? Which yarns come on cones? Why does yarn cost more in the catalog and on the Web site than in my local store? Why have you discontinued my favorite yarn (or my favorite color)? Yardage per skein Yarn Ply -- what is it? Yarns: Acrylic yarns Yarns: Natural Fiber Yarns Yarns: Novelty and specialty acrylic yarns You don't provide a knit gauge for Chenille Sensations or Lion Chenille. Can I knit with these yarns? You have a pattern in knitting (crochet) that I like; do you have it in crochet (knit) as well? You have a pattern that I would like in a different size; why can’t you provide it?

1. What information should I look for on the yarn label?

The information on the yarn label is helpful in selecting the type of yarn and number of skeins needed for a project. This information includes: yarn brand name, yarn fiber content (acrylic, cotton, wool, etc.), color name and number, dye lot number or statement that the yarn is “no dye lot”, plies (number of strands), yarn weight classification, ounces and/or grams, yards and/or meters, knitting or crochet gauge, home laundering and dry cleaning symbols, and home laundering instructions. You can find the meaning of the symbols by going to www.yarnstandards.com.

2. What is meant by “Yarn Weight Classifications?”

The “yarn weight classification” does not refer to how much a yarn “weighs” but is a standard designation for the size (diameter) of the yarn. The “yarn weight” required for a project and the amount of yarn needed to complete a project is specified in the project instructions. “Yarn weight classification” is a number and/or name assigned to yarn in the following designations:

3. Can I substitute one yarn weight for another yarn weight?

No, each project is designed to be made with a specific weight of yarn. Changing the yarn weight will change the size and appearance of the finished project as well as change the amount of yarn required.

4. Can I substitute different yarn brands of the same yarn weight?

Yes, but be sure to test the “gauge” to make sure that an adjustment is not necessary as you substitute one yarn for another. See question # 8 to learn more about “gauge.”

5. Why do some yarns have a dye lot number and others are no dye lot? Some yarns are dyed in large batches with each batch assigned a “dye lot number”. Using a color from the same dye batch assures a color match from skein to skein. Other yarns are spun from fiber that is already colored and are labeled as “no dye lot” yarns.

6. What are the differences in steel, aluminum, and plastic crochet hooks?
When do I use one kind versus another?

Crochet hooks are made in a variety of materials such a wood, plastic, aluminum, bamboo, and steel. They come in many sizes designed to be used with different yarn weights. The choice of material is one of personal preference. Crochet hook sizes are indicated by letters, numbers, or millimeters (mm). The project instructions will specify the size crochet hook size required for the pattern.

7. What are double point and circular knitting needles used for? How are they similar and how are they different?

Double point and circular needles are different from straight knitting needles and are used for seamless knitting or “knitting- in-the-round.” Double point knitting needles come in sets of four or five and are used to make smaller round pieces such as cuffs, socks and mittens. Circular knitting needles come in various lengths and sizes, and are the tools of choice for larger round sections such as sleeves, collars, and the body of a sweater. Circular knitting needles may also be used for knitting back and forth and are ideal for working in close quarters, such as in the car. Like with crochet hooks, knitting needles come in a variety of materials and the choice of which one to use is a matter of personal preference. The size on knitting needle required for a project is specified in the project instructions.

8. What is “gauge” and how is it determined?

Gauge is the number of stitches and rows in every inch of knitting and the number of stitches and rows (or rounds) in every inch of crochet. The required gauge is specified in knitting and crochet patterns, and determines the finished size of the project. Since everyone knits and crochets differently, it is very important that you make a gauge swatch and match it with the gauge specified in the project pattern. You may find that if you knit or crochet loosely, you may have to use a needle or hook smaller than the pattern specifies. Likewise, if you knit or crochet tightly, you may need to use a needle or hook larger than the pattern specifies. It doesn’t matter what size needle or hook you use as long as your gauge swatch has the same number of stitches and rows per inch as specified in the pattern.

9. What is the best way to launder projects made from yarn?

The first step is to check the laundering instructions on the yarn label. This will tell you whether to machine wash and dry or hand launder and dry flat. Even if the yarn label indicates that you may machine wash and dry, remember that you are caring for a hand made item. It is recommended that delicate items be washed in a mesh laundry bag or pillow case and that you wash your hand made items separately from your other laundry.

10. Where can I get help when I have yarn questions?

In the yarn department you will find numerous yarn books that will be helpful. You can also find information at: