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do wool yarns go bad?
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Mar 31, 2011 11:04:25   #
I have some yarn that was given to me that is very old...and just wondering if yarn goes bad and how would you know? If it breaks easy is it bad? or is it just the yarn? Thanks...
Mar 31, 2011 14:38:03   #
Good question! I have some old wool also, I thought as long as moths havent got to it, it would be ok. I never tested mine for breaking.
Mar 31, 2011 14:45:32   #
Sorlenna (a regular here)
I found a response on another site that says if it breaks easily it may not be good to use, but that person also suggested working it up and then felting the finished item. I might try splicing it if it breaks easily to see how that goes.
Mar 31, 2011 15:22:07   #
jberg (a regular here)
Very good question. I have some very, very old white wool yarn from when my Mother worked in a wool factory in the 1920's! I'll probably just keep hanging onto it for sentimental reasons but it would be good to know how usable it still. Hope to read some more input about this. Thanks. jb
Mar 31, 2011 18:30:33   #
tpmcgoo2 wrote:
I have some yarn that was given to me that is very old...and just wondering if yarn goes bad and how would you know? If it breaks easy is it bad? or is it just the yarn? Thanks...

I've had some wool yarn get a little musty smelling, but it didn't seem to affect the strength of the yarn. Moth damage will make it appear to break a lot (I have some yarn 60 yrs old +/- that has some moth damage).
Mar 31, 2011 19:00:12   #
I had some old wool yarn that I tried to use but it kept breaking every few feet. I could break it easily with just my fingers. I didn't think of felting it. I used some 20 year old hand painted yarn that worked up beautifully. So it probably depends on the fiber content.
Mar 31, 2011 19:15:28   #
Linda6885 (a regular here)
If your wool yarn has been kept from moths, and dry. It does not 'go bad'. Like any fiber, sun, moisture or bugs, are what ruins any fiber. Lavendar, bay leaves, rosemary, are some natural herbs that help keep moths away. Cedar chips work very well too and is easy to buy at any pet store very inexpensively. I keep my yarn in moisture proof clear plastic bins, in my knitting/stash room. I put herbs and or cedar in cheescloth like little sachets, in with my yarn. It smells great, and if you should carry a tiny moth in with you it will quickly die from the cedar. Some people don't like keeping wool in plastic, they say it should breath. But I have wool yarns I've collected over the years that are still as good as new.

tpmcgoo2 wrote:
I have some yarn that was given to me that is very old...and just wondering if yarn goes bad and how would you know? If it breaks easy is it bad? or is it just the yarn? Thanks...
Mar 31, 2011 22:01:21   #
Let's not forget that the process of making yarns has been vastly improved over time. Still, if moths, sun and other elements that can cause yarn to "wear" haven't been involved, it should be good.
Mar 31, 2011 23:17:56   #
Thanks for the great answers. I think I will crochet it up and felt it up for safety. thanks again!
Apr 1, 2011 08:32:11   #
tatesgirl (a regular here)
I have wool yarn I bought on sale more than 25 years ago and there's nothing wrong with it. I keep my wool skeins and knitted items wrapped first in white tissue paper and then in newspaper during warm months. The tissue paper is to keep printer's ink from staining and insects don't like newspaper. I've never had a problem and my sweaters and accessories don't smell.
Apr 1, 2011 09:35:46   #
carole terese
hi, same thing happened to my wool yarn. I guess you can only keep it so long. I did have mine in a zip lock bag too.
Carole Terese
Apr 1, 2011 09:57:08   #
If you stop and think about it, look at all the wool clothing that is on display in museums, etc. that is very old. . . . military uniforms, period dresses. If it's cared for properly, many good ideas posted, I can't see why it wouldn't be "good" for years and years. . . . jj
Apr 1, 2011 10:09:40   #
tatesgirl (a regular here)
I know you should never frame an embroidery behind glass because summer humidity will ruin it so if your wool breaks, I think its been exposed to moisture. I also think keeping it in SEALED plastic bags may weaken wool.

Its time right now to wrap wool in tissue and newspaper.
Apr 1, 2011 11:55:36   #
I just finishing using some wool yard that my aunt had given me in the early 90's. She had it for quite some time as she knit mittrens for my dad and uncle. I made 4 stocking caps from it and had no trouble. It was mothproofed yarn and was strong after all of these years. I love to knit with wool yarn but it is spendy. Marian in ND
Apr 1, 2011 11:58:33   #
Some insects DO like newspaper, earwigs and silverfish and dust mites, worms will eat wet newspaper. Also some type of beetles like wood, which newspaper is made of, for instance...I'd check my wool often. You can also buy acid free tissue and boxes for storage of precious materials and yardage and throw in a few cedar chips to keep moths away from the wool. (Just 2 cents from me)
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