A while ago I hinted coyly about the one wearable sewing project I had completed, but not blogged about. It is the Phoebe skirt from Cal Patch’s wonderful book, Design-It-Yourself Clothes. I might write more about it another time, but for now suffice it to say that this was a good skirt, made in a soft, drapey woollen fabric, in a neutral colour that goes with everything; pockets deep and properly useful, lined in a red Liberty floral; a red silk lining so that it glides easily over tights: a very good skirt.
Good enough to….
Fucking. Moths. Much of what is written about them is couched in very aggressive terms – ‘we are fighting A WAR on moths!’; ‘there is a BIBLICAL PLAGUE of moths!’; ‘MOTHS ATE MY KIDNEYS!!’, etc., and it’s easy to empathise with the rage. I felt very angry indeed with these insidious insects: a special, fearful, panicky kind of anger that comes from having a collection of several tens of thousands of yards of wool, and several drawers full to over-flowing with handknits. My skirt was not the only victim: they also destroyed Elphaba. She may have defied gravity, but she was no match for Tineola bisselliella.
The thing is, it’s my fault, not theirs, and that makes it all the more frustrating. It seems I was unwittingly creating a mothy Valhalla. With my central heating, I gave them a warm and inviting year-round breeding ground – a mothy Shagaluf. With all the stuff lying untouched and unworn at the back of my cupboard I provided a nice, quiet nursery for the pernicious progeny of all this uninhibited moth sex. And with the little bits of sweat or grime that I was too lazy to wash off, or too cheap to dry clean, I nourished those chomping larvae: I fed them with my own body, like, well, I hesitate to say ‘a gross mothy Jesus’, but effectively a gross mothy Jesus.
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was nine, and I try to stick up for all God’s creatures – even the unpopular ones. Pigeons? I love the graphic quality of their wing-bars, and the iridescence of their neck feathers. Seagulls? I like to watch the dazzling display of them eviscerating a bin-bag in mid-air. Mice? I think they are cute, and I admire how plucky they are, enterprisingly making a living on things like cardboard and washing powder (I once opened a box of cling-film, to find that a mouse had made a nest in it, and died. Perhaps one day I shall make it into an animated short, entitled ‘Clinging to Life’). Foxes? I enjoy how bushy their tales are, the soft russet of their fur, and their ability to imitate vocally a person being brutally bludgeoned to death (I like to think they are all engaged in a protracted game of Wink Murder). All these are models of resourcefulness, skilled adaptors to an urban environment for which they were not designed, and I find beauty in them all.
Moths, though? I know it wasn’t out of malice that they feasted on their favourite woolly delicacy. I know they were merely fulfilling their mothy natures. I also know that I hate those moth-erfuckers with my whole being from the tips of my knitting fingers to my woolly-socked toes, and that I will continue to wage a wearisome war against them with the only (ineffective) weapon available: tedious housework.
Have you ever been moth-ed? Do your clothes bear the battle scars? How do you combat the evil little destroyers?