Doll from Lifelong Friend Makes for a Meaningful Repair Job

***UPDATE***            JANUARY 2016:

I’m taking a break right now from repair work. I will let you know when I’m back to work. This site hasn’t been updated because work is steady. I published “Blue Ridge Scenic Railway” (see with Arcadia Press in Spring 2015. Right now, I’m still working on repairs BUT very selective, as I’m trying to catch up on some of my own projects as well. Please check back later. Thank you very much, Melissa

I don’t work on dolls anymore. I don’t have time, given my restoration work on embroidery, crochet, and other hand-sewing needs. And yet, I still manage to give in, on rare occasion, and work on a doll. It’s a nice break, I guess. I’m a softie for doll lovers, because I used to collect them myself. There’s something sweet and whimsical about each doll’s expression, each piece of loved-on clothing. Even seeing the grime on the doll warms my heart, because it means someone played with her a lot.

Sarah S. of Atlanta had such a doll, given to her by her beloved housekeeper when she was a child. I told Sarah it would be a while, because I had a lot of needlework projects, but she had no time limitation.

“Sassy” the doll needed cleaning, to have her clothing repaired and cleaned, and to have her hands replaced. I looked her up on Google, and discovered that she was also missing her hat, so I thought I’d make her one of those, too. Below is a “Before” shot, where you can see one of her hands has exploded its stuffing, her cheeks are dirty, and her outfit is soiled. The cotton pompoms on her nightie are supposed to be white, but have darkened with play. And her hair is dark, when it was originally quite blonde.

Mattel Baby Beans Before

I began by looking her over and deciding if she needed a new outfit, or if I could salvage her original pajama body. I like to keep things as original/authentic as possible when I can. The outfit appeared to be fine, and I decided to try cleaning it to see how nicely it would wash up. Careful removal is crucial, and I used my Gingher seam ripper to pick open the seam at her neck.


To wash her pajama body, I used “Restoration,” which is a great product in powder form and somewhat like OxiClean, but I don’t find that it bleaches the way OxiClean does. I won’t use OxiClean for that reason, having once ruined a little estate sale find of mine—a lovely crocheted baby cap—by leaving it in the product overnight. Bleach City!

Anyway, here are photos of the doll’s age-packed stuffing, her bag o’ pellets for weight so the doll sits up (including the neck piece that holds her head on) and her outfit, once removed:



This photo above shows how the head was attached by a string. Often, the bodies are tied around the necks with these nylon braided strings. American Girl dolls have string ties attaching their bodies to their heads. I had to cut the original tie to get the head off. I replaced that tie with a new, sturdy one.

Also, in the above photo of what was inside the doll, you can see that the weight bag has ink on it. There is also ink in the spot on the pjs where some ink bled through to that bag. Most of that pj ink came out with the washing.

I then made a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to find some new pompoms for her front, eyelet lace trim for her cuffs, ribbon ties for her night cap, and matching pink flannel for it. I already had the flesh tone fabric for her hands.

And here is the outfit, once washed:


Now this was set aside, so I could wash Sassy’s head. I do this with shampoo, Q-tips, and sometimes plain old hand lotion. I have Gold Bond. It works just fine, both on me and on dolls. Then, to hold her hair down to dry, and to keep her bangs in place the way they were originally, I simply used masking tape! Works great. Doesn’t she look all scrubbed and clean?

Getting back to the outfit/body, I want to show you the pompoms I found, vs the old ones. I made the decision to just replace rather than try to scrub the old ones, which were pretty dirty. I think they look so nice and white! They’re slightly bigger, but I don’t think that matters.

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Next step: lace cuffs

Starting to look like a fresh, new doll body:


Alas, the hands, the hands! They were a mess and I needed to sort that out next. So I used what was left of the old ones to fashion new ones. Had to use old ones for a pattern:

All righty, we’re getting close. We have new hands and stuffing. More of the stuffing, and now to attach her head again. Then I made her cap. I looked at her image online so I could do the right type of cap. I don’t have photos of cutting it out, but I just came up with my own pattern.


Old Sassy, New Sassy. What do you think?

Baby Beans before and after


Upholstery Repair—Needlepoint Stool Cover

My friend Gay’s mom owns an upholstery shop in Tennessee. They had received a lovely Victorian needlepoint-topped stool that was in disrepair, and needed help restoring it to its original condition. Gay’s mom removed the needlepoint and sent to me.


There were holes in the canvas, plus tears in it that affected both canvas and yarn stitches, which you can view if you click on the photos above. Critters had nipped at the wool yarn and removed either all or part of the stitches. Plus, the piece was dirty and needed a cleaning. This is an all-wool work, and thus had to go into the freezer for a de-bugging before anything else was done. Next came washing and blocking (done face-down, which keeps the stitching uniform):


washed and blocked another angle    washed and blocked upside down

I also stitched a fine netting material around the piece, which makes it easier to pull it for blocking, and also keeps the edges from raveling. Thanks, Bid! She’s my friend and fellow needlework repairer who also designs canvases. We share lots of great tips. See my blocking table? That was also a tip from her. It’s a hollow core door from Home Depot, with a checkered oilcloth stapled onto it. That makes it easy to line up fabric.

Step 3 in this repair job was to begin stitching up the canvas tears. I had some good black tapesty wool for the job, and used some sturdy upholstery thread to reweave the canvas. Here are some photos of that work:

Once the canvas was stabilized again, I could start the actual stitch repair:

For large size canvases, you may wish to purchase a pair of canvas pliers.  The large grooved teeth are great for gripping canvas and stretching.  These are available at art supply stores.

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Plus there were other little repairs to single stitches here and there.

And here are the photos of the finished piece:

And here is the finished stool. Didn’t the upholstery shop do a great job?

finished stool--Nelms Upholstery

Daughter’s Favorite Afghan Needed Help

Katy L from New Jersey texted to ask if I did repairs on afghans. Her daughter’s much-loved granny square afghan, done in pale yellow, baby pink, mint green, and periwinkle blue, needed some TLC.

IMG_0610  square with issues

square out

My first challenge was to find matching worsted weight acrylics for the job. For some squares, I could harvest the yarn and re-crochet with it, which is the way to keep the color as consistent as possible. I do this when the yarn is in good enough shape, but not when it is old, brittle, fuzzy, etc.

Actually, I had *this* much that I removed as I pulled out areas that had been destroyed/come loose/needed redoing:


I did have to shop for more yarn, though, and had trouble finding the same shades as were originally used. Ventured out to several stores (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and a few yarn shops) before I found what I deemed satisfactory.

So the crocheting began. And yes, I’m left-handed, so it’s backwards to what you’re probably used to seeing:

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Had to make up several squares–I forget how many–but I know I crocheted at least eight. At one point, I sat at my 94-year-old Aunt Dot’s house, with Mom and my husband, and worked away while discussing the family history. My aunt used to produce the most lovely hand stitching—beautiful crewel work pillows,  cloth dolls whose seams and clothes were lovingly stitches by hand. Oh, she could work a sewing machine, but like me, she preferred the more tactile approach, cloth against the palm of one hand, needle gripped between forefinger and thumb.  I must’ve inherited the gene from that side of the family. Recently, I saw on an census that a great great aunt was listed as “Seamstress” for her occupation.  Oh, and while we sat that day in my aunt’s all-Victorian-furnished sitting room, I asked her for the one thing I really, really wanted to inherit from her: the set of chair covers that she had embroidered. She got right up and went to get them, saying she was happy that I wanted them. I knew where she kept them. I watched her go slowly over to that chest in the corner, where she’d shown them to me a few years ago. Her back is hunched now, her Collins blue eyes blurry now from macular degeneration.

Would you like to see what I wanted to remember her by, one day?

Let me run take some photos!

And here are my treasures:

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Aren’t they great? They’re Erica Wilson’s designs on linen. I don’t have them on chairs yet. I don’t even own chairs to put them on. One day, I’ll buy some, though, just for these. Or I’ll frame them, I haven’t decided yet. I just know when I look at them, I’ll picture Aunt Dot sitting there, looking down at her needle going in and out of that linen, over and over. And I’ll remember her handing them to me, and telling me, as I thanked her, that she was happy I wanted them.

I really digressed! But to bring it back to my customer’s repair, let’s just say that the crewel I inserted in here illustrates just why I have customers in the first place: needlework means something to people. It means someone cared enough to create something and pass it on.

And so, I work to complete the repair on Katy’s afghan. Once I’ve completed new squares, I sew them in:

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This picture below shows *a few* squares out at that time. There were others.

afghan with damaged square out

Not a bad match! My stitching is newer, so it appears not as, soft? as the rest, but it’ll all even out over time.

And once we’re all seamed up again, as I often do, I tuck in some loose ends. This takes a while, but it’s well worth the time and the expenditure. When yarn or thread has been cut too short when it’s tied off, as is often the case, that knot can pull loose SO much more easily then when the original crocheter leaves long ends. So I pull the knots out, take it back out of stitches, add yarn or thread, and then re-knot and re-stitch or replace within a seam. I hope that makes sense! Here is what I’m talking about. I did a LOT of these. Like, 40, maybe? Many were pulled out, pulled back, added to, and recrocheted. You get your money’s worth with me. Seriously.


And finally, finished!

completed repair

Apologies for the dark photo. This was off my iPhone.

Repair of Grandfather’s Crewel Embroidery

Jed C. had inherited a large, beautiful crewel embroidery that his grandfather stitched in the early part of the century—a pre-stamped pattern of a house surrounded by flora and fauna. It had typical issues for its age and wool factor, including moth damage to the crewel yarn, and lovely, heavy linen fabric that had yellowed. Still, it was so large and wonderful and well worth saving. Here is a photo:


I own a lot of vintage yarns and threads that I’ve collected from various places—mostly from thrift stores and antique malls. They work great for blending in with others of their generation. The biggest problem I face with vintage wools is that very few of my repairs involve the vivid pinks, blues, greens and yellows of the 1970’s, and yet I seem to find a lot of those tones. However, I did have most of the colors I needed for repairs on Jed’s grandfather’s piece. I sourced the borders’ olive green and peach colors, locating them 8 hours away in Cincinnati, while visiting my sister. I used Appleton’s, whose strands are thinner, so I used double ply (double the strands) where the original was single.

Here are some photos of my border work. You can see a slight difference in the color, but it was close enough:

I faced a major issue with this repair, and the weird thing was, I didn’t notice it at first. Having never had bug issues before, and because this piece was “busy,” with lots of colors and areas, I couldn’t tell what was happening until active moth larvae started munching on my border wools I *knew* I’d already added. Soon as I realized what was creating more work for me, I researched and researched (hence the earlier blog on pest damage) and discovered Grandfather’s crewel needed to go into the deep freeze. So off we went, to wait a while until I could freeze and thaw it repeatedly. That is THE solution for all stages of bugs in needlework. I had bug bombed my craft room and put down powdered borax around its perimeter, but though some adult moths died afterwards and showed up under this piece—didn’t need that added evidence by then because I *knew* the buggers were in it—my battle would not end until crewel picture plus all wool or silk in my office went through a deep freeze. If they weren’t in Ziplocs (I store many in sealed baggies) then they went into the new, used box freezer in my garage in polyethylene, aka Space Bags. Space Bags tolerate the cold without cracking like regular plastic bags.

When all was out, we started over with the repairs. A lot of bites had been going on for a few months and I kept thinking, “Is it me, did I miss something, or is this worse off than when I took it in?” My work on the piece ended up being far more hours, but in the end, all involved knew we had conquered the beasts living within and that the embroidery was saved.

More Before and After photos of my work:

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And finally, here are some views (thank you, Jed, for the photos) of Grandfather’s crewel embroidery all framed and in the C’s home:

Coxon's embroidery in their home        more Coxon in home

Pleased to Repair Another Crocheted Bedspread

Fran B had a dilemma on her hands with her cotton crocheted bedspread. I think I first heard from her by phone when she told me that her bedspread had gotten stained and her “fix” had not worked. Well, the trouble was, she’d tried painting over the stain with white acrylic paint. Oddly enough, I’d heard of a needlework piece that’d had a similar fate to Fran’s just a few weeks earlier when another customer had phoned from NY to say her mother had crocheted a large Lord’s prayer and given it to a church. It’d gotten dirty, and someone had painted it white to try to get the clean look back. Hm. Paint is hard, hard, hard to get off once it’s on fabric. Doesn’t make for a good reversal, and it’s always a plus if whatever you do to a piece of needlework can be taken back out.

This repair took quite a while to complete. First it went to the textile cleaner, but we still had issues. Though she got most of the spread snowy white, she had to hand clean the rather large paint stain, and as she tried to get the paint out, she spread it and it turned from a white paint stain to a set-in yellowish color. Yikes! Fran had her send the spread back to me to see if I could remove the affected area, as it was extra long and we could still get it to fit her bed.

I began this repair while at the beach on a trip to Florida to help a friend work on her rental condo. My work goes on most getaways with me, as I always seem to be working! I am blessed to be able to do any sort of needlework in the car while my husband drives, and there is *nothing* better for a stitcher than a long trip on which to sew in wonderful daylight!

I don’t have photos of the paint still on the squares, but I do have photos of areas that still had spots on them after the textile cleaner sent it back to me. I suspect that she stopped working on smaller spots once she couldn’t get the paint out. These stains were the “rusty” types that are often found on vintage textiles:

Fran bedspread rusty stain

First job was to remove any square that had any sort of stain. This photo shows the removal of just the painted area taken out:

Fran bedspread center removed

Next, I took other pieces out around the open area, then filled in the missing squares with clean ones, thus shortening the bedspread:

Fran bedspread pieces to be stitched inFran bedspread pinned pieces

These replaced squares were whip-stitched into place:

Fran bedspread new sewing    IMG_0268

Once the bedspread was whole again, it looked very good. Sorry, this is a dark photo:


But…the tassels were all twisted up on each other, so I needed to untwist them:

This is a task that seems easy and fast, but it’s actually extremely time-consuming. Plus, I ended up untwisting these tassels—there must’ve been 200 on this luxuriously-endowed spread—more than once because I kept tackling a few tiny stains, trying to get it perfect, which meant wetting down different areas in order to get the stain remover out of the thread. That would lead to moving the piece around, and tassels bunched up again. Anyway, the photos below show my straightening job finished. However, the bottom right photo shows the fringe *before* I sprayed it with water and smoothed it. Water smoothing really makes it look great:

And here I am, untwisting and untwisting! I also snipped off very tiny tips of the fringe, to even it out:


Once I had it all clean and bright, with no paint remaining, all stitched up and the fringe straight, I was ready to ship it back to Fran. But first, a few more close-up shots of where I’m tucking in some thread ends that were out in various areas of the spread:

And now it’s really ready to return home:


My customer said:

Hi Melissa:

Attached are 2 pictures.  It looks stupendous! I am so very pleased. It was well worth the wait as all your efforts paid off. I can’t believe how tedious it must have been to straighten all those tassels. And, I couldn’t find any stains. It’s unbelievable! I know my mom is pleased too.

As you can see the spread fits the bed very well; shortening it worked fine since it has a baseboard. Your talents are very much appreciated. I will recommend you to anyone in need of such help.

And here are her pictures (with such a wonderful bed for it):

Fran's bedspread on her bed 1       Fran's bedspread on her bed 2

Crocheted Bedspread Repair

Jon M phoned to ask if I could clean and repair a white cotton spread he had purchased at an estate sale. He said it looked just like one he’d seen here on my site—and amazingly it was the same crochet pattern as my customer, Kay’s. When he brought it over, I couldn’t see it very well in the den lighting, but once I got it into my sunny, well-lit crafting room, I saw that it had a lot of yellowing. This was probably due to having been stored in plastic for many years. Plastic is not a good thing to store fabrics in. It prevents air circulation and can actually trap dampness in there with the fabric. Here is some advice directly from the Smithsonian (online) about textile storage:

“Textiles should have no direct contact with wood, blue tissue, regular tissue, or other wrapping paper. Most paper tends to be acidic; acid is especially damaging to textiles. Instead, textiles can be wrapped in clean, white cotton cloth, such as an old sheet or pillowcase, or in muslin. Because textile fibers need to be in an environment where there is some air movement, fabrics should not be sealed in air-tight plastic bags or containers to prevent damage from moisture condensation. Also, because some plastics give off fumes as they decompose with age, they should not come in direct contact with antique textiles. After wrapping the textiles in cotton muslin or sheeting, they can be loosely encased in an unsealed plastic wrapping. The best place to store antique fabrics is on top in a drawer. Storing them at the bottom of a drawer under heavy items can cause sharp folds, which may be difficult to remove and which may cause splits in the cloth.”

Jon’s repair job involved tucking in all the loose ends of thread that for some reason the bedspread maker hadn’t sewn in, or maybe they’d come out in washing? Not sure, but there were a LOT of them left out. Also, the store-bought tassel trim was loose where it had been whip-stitched around the finished crocheted spread for its border. And finally, there were a few (very few) places where I caught some stitching that had come loose.

Here are some photos showing where the border has loosened from the bedspread:


And here is the bedspread: I tucked in about 125 knotted thread ends, which took over 4 hours:


My only thing that didn’t make me totally happy involved the washing of Jon’s spread. I took it to the textile cleaner I use, and she washed it white as snow. Only problem was, once she got it white, she saw that it wasn’t *all* white. In other words, someone had made some squares white and others with an ecru or off-white thread. It was nearly half and half, and randomly stitched in. You could not see the difference really well, and especially if it were in a not-super-sunny bedroom. However, I hate it that we (the cleaner and I) had no way of knowing before it was cleaned that it wasn’t all made from the same color of thread. Yellowing can make such differences imperceptible. But as they say, “everything comes out in the wash” and the thread difference was revealed.

I know why the person who crocheted the spread may have used different threads. I’ve been making my own crocheted bedspread off and on for 10 years. It’s painstakingly slow, this labor of love. And the thing is, when you go and buy individual spools of cotton at Michael’s or Hancock’s or wherever she may have purchased it back then, you get a bunch of spools that all look the same and say “no dye lot.” Well, that “no dye lot” means there can be variations in the color! I’ve had the same problem with my 155 spools of Aunt Lydia’s Fast Five, which isn’t even made anymore. I picked up spools every time I could, and as I’ve been making my 40+ squares for my knitted spread, I’ve done some that had a yellow tinge to the ecru and some that had a gray tinge.

It’s hard to get around this issue if you’re buying a textile you don’t know the history on, as in Jon’s case. Because my textile cleaner won’t clean a piece until after I’ve done the repairs. She doesn’t want the liability of splits turning into more splits, stitches coming apart more, etc,…which makes total sense.

Names/Dates Embroidered on Christening Gown

I’ve known Jan H a long time. We met through our boys from elementary school to post-college! They had a family friend who made Jan a beautiful cotton batiste christening gown. Cotton batiste is often used for christening gowns because it is soft and doesn’t irritate baby’s skin and it drapes well. Ribbons, lace and embroidery add memorable detail for special occasions.

Jan’s beautiful example is actually a gown and matching coat, the latter of which is embroidered with the names of each child who has been christened or baptized in it, along with their birth dates. It was made for Jan by a treasured family friend who has since passed away. She used to add the names and dates for the babies, and kept a tidy Ziploc Brand bag with vanishing ink pen and embroidery thread for that purpose.)

Jan’s request was a rush job, since twin grandbabies were being baptized on Easter Sunday and I had about a week to get the embroidery done. That wouldn’t have been bad, but I was, as always, backed up with work. Still, it was a pleasure to work on this beautiful coat while I thought of the babies named on it, and pictured the little twins who would share it (granddaughter in the gown and the grandson in the coat) that coming Sunday.

Below are photos of the coat. I’m sorry these shots are so dark:

IMG_5145       IMG_5148

And here are some close-ups of Jan’s friend’s delicate sewing and hand-stitching:

So I begin adding my own work to hers:

I wish I had a photo of the babies, but I heard it went well, and I’m so glad I was able to help. 

Canopy Repair—Handing down an Heirloom

Bruce G. of Atlanta wanted to eventually pass some of his furniture down to his children. He had had pieces repaired, but one of the bed’s canopies needed fixing and he called me about it. As this was a quick turnaround type of repair, I told him I could work it into my lineup and get it back to him pretty fast. These canopies have been made for many decades. You can find them at Heirloom Canopies of North Carolina, in a price range of $170-225, so it’s thrifty to be able to have them repaired if there are a few knots that have slipped apart.


Somehow, I missed a photo of the area in need of repair, but it was just that a corner had come loose where the netting fits over a post. It had to be re-knotted. And here are all four corners. Can you tell which one I repaired?

These are the corners, with the tassles:


1930’s Needlepoint Pillow Repair

 Sheldon W. of Rhode Island sent in a folk art style needlepoint pillow done by his mother that had some missing thread (moth damage most likely) and needed to be remade, as the satin backing had long been damaged and become threadbare.

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FolkArt Needlepoint Pillow
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Sheldon W Backing

In the first photo above, I was checking out different fabrics to use as pillow cording and backing. Sheldon replied that he preferred a neutral backing like the cream moire silk that had been originally used. I opted for the diamond pattern pictured above. It has the satin sheen to it, but it also matched the needlepoint design’s tan/taupe-tone wool.

The next photos show places where yarn was missing, but I also had to pull out the split yarn and clear a “path,” for lack of a better name, for putting yarn back in. Unraveling enough so you can tuck the old yarn ends under stitches in the back is an important part of the process.

There was also a spot on the background taupe wool that had not come out when the client had the piece dry-cleaned. That bothered me. So I harvested yarns from the edges of the piece where they would not show after seaming. And luckily, Sheldon’s mother had left some generously long ending tails of wool on the back of the piece, and I was able to harvest and use them as well. In other places, I found a wool/silk blend of needlepoint thread that was a close match. However, it also contained a tiny thread of olive green. In small amounts, you can’t tell this difference. In larger areas one must use the same yarn if at all possible when filling in blank stitch areas. Here are some photos showing where the dark spots that didn’t come out with dry cleaning were replaced with harvested yarn pieces:

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Replacing Stained Area with Harvested Yarn

Can you see the darker spots above the stitcher’s initials and date? They were replaced and you can sort of see that they are lighter in the second photo. They match better. Also, you can see the new cording being attached in the second photo.

And here is the final product, a lovely pillow,

round, full and preserving Sheldon’s mother’s work from 1931:

Needlework’s Enemies:Wool Moths and Carpet Beetles

Lately I’ve been about ready to scream over certain pests in my craft room, and I’m not talking about my dogs, who enjoy roaming in and rifling through my trash can to pilfer whatever, or get into my poly fiberfill, plucking it from its bag like so much cotton candy. I’m talking about those tiniest of pests, wool-eating moths and carpet beetles:

(Below, l to r: Carpet Beetles & larvae, Wool Moths and larvae and eggs)

carpet beetle and larvae                            moth egg pupa adult

It doesn’t matter *how* many times I fix a hole, re-stitch, or tuck in a seam, if I have a moth or beetle problem, and I don’t get that fixed, it’s a problem. For one, it means more hours of work. But I don’t want to send anything out of my craft area that may be infested with something, either.

And how did these bugs get there in the first place? It’s hard to say, since I stockpile natural fibers to use in my repair work.

wool threads

I’m always adding both new and vintage yarns and threads. And the repairs themselves may come in with pests in them that we don’t know about. After all, they’re coming to me due to holes or tears, rips or loose threads, etc,… That could spell “moth trouble” and such.

But why would anything stick around here, when we’re on a routine pest control by a reputable bug service? Well, because they’re resistant to a lot of the commercial sprays that get bigger bugs. And they hide. And sprays are not the be-all, end-all answer.

The thing about wool moths and carpet beetles is, first of all you may not even know if you really have them because they’re so small. AND they only like to be out at night (little vampires, sucking on my wool in the dark!) So how do you know if you’re a victim? Check your sweaters or your wool needlework, or (in the case of the beetles) your oriental rugs or wool carpeting. See any holes or missing threads? Then you’ve probably got an issue. Some recommend putting out moth traps, which look like regular fly traps. Hang them in a “suspect” room and see what you catch. You may be amazed.

Do you own pets? Then you’re more likely to have wool moths or carpet beetles. They like to munch on organic substances like pet hair, too.


Do you vacuum regularly? That helps keep the population down.

Another reason they’re hard to get rid of is, there are 3 stages of the pests: 1) egg, 2) pupae or larvae, 3) adult. You may not see them at various stages. I recently saw a carpet beetle. Couldn’t tell with the naked eye if it was actually a beetle, but it was tiny and it was moving, and I looked up “beetle that eats wool” since it was near a repair project, and yep, I *hadn’t been* crazy, something HAD been taking out more of the wools on the project even as I worked on repairing it. GRR!!

So much for learning about them. I *have* them. So now that I know that, how do I get rid of them. I began Googling furiously, hoping for a quick fix for a big problem. I’d already been worried about getting any type of pest in my craft room, since I regularly take in other people’s projects + own a lot of vintage yarns + am always bringing in more fibers, and especially tasty wools. Recently, I’d even purchased a big Ziploc bag full of wonderful, fragrant dried lavender blooms, which I’d made into little sachets and placed on and around anything with wool or silk in it. But the professional response to this homeopathic moth/beetle repeller was shot down by just about everyone. Same with cedar. Sigh. At best, most experts said, these easy-to-find, natural fixes won’t work on really hungry pests, they’ll only deter a few of their friends.

Best advice was to wash the items in hot water, then seal them in something with really good seals like a Rubbermaid tub. Next, vacuum the room regularly (to get rid of any eggs or pupae around) and then use the moth paper or a fly paper with wool or hair stuck to it for attracting beetles and see if you’d gotten everything. They said to repeat this process every so often, since eggs can hatch and the cycle start all over again.


This is not great news. I cannot wash most vintage and antique pieces because the dyes will run. I can’t risk that.

Finally, after much research, including reading many customer reviews on the usefulness of any of the specific control products out there, I sent the hubby to Home Depot for a simple Raid fogger product that kills household pests, leaves no residue, and specifically states on its label it kills black carpet beetles and moths.

Raid Concentrated Deep Reach Fogger, 4 ct

We followed label directions and fogged, then waited 4 hours. Then we aired out the room. We’ll repeat this two more times, or whatever I go back and review online, I forget the specs, but we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure nothing else comes back.



Addendum: got a small freezer and am doing the freezing process. Do it for 72 hours in polyethylene bags, remove, thaw, repeat a few times. This is supposed to really knock out the pests for good. And from now on, EVERY repair project that comes into my shop will be freezer-processed before I begin work on it.