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We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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Throwing away the peg

It’s Wednesday. Time to share my knitting progress and current read. You’d be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t look dissimilar to last week’s offering. Despite appearances, there has been progress.


I’ve turned the heel on the first sock. Always makes me feel like I’m on the homeward stretch. The yarn feels thinner than my recent sock yarn. I’m knitting it on dpns (double pointed needles) and was finding that moving from one needle to the next was leaving more of a holey ladder effect than usual.

I know most of the tricks to solve this, but they weren’t working, so I’ve slowed down, to ensure the stitches are sitting closer together between needles, which seems to have sorted it out. May take longer to knit this pair, but at least my husband won’t be wearing a socks with a lacey inset!


I finished Hidden Figures  over the weekend. So glad I read it. I found the second half of the book with more touches of hope. They didn’t seem so bogged down by people’s attitudes preventing them from achieving the ultimate aim of their work. It was still there, but they seem to push on through. People helped each other to succeed and progress in their careers. There was a momentum. There was passion in their work.

I still found frustrating moments, such as the mathematicians not moving to Houston to follow the project, due to family commitments, but it has to be seen in the context of the time. If it was me, I would have packed the family up and gone before you could solve a simultaneous equation. A new adventure, but that is me. I’ve not walked a mile in these pioneering women’s shoes.

Only problem with devouring such a fantastically, good book is deciding what to read next.  It’s a toughy. Nothing in my pile of books to read, jumped out. So instead I chose a sci-fi short story.

I’ve been running an experiment. Let me set the scene. We live in an old house. It is over 260 years old. No foundations. Walls that you could use to build a cathedral. It’s the way they used to build humble cottages. The down side is that air circulation is not so great. Bookcases against walls tend to lead to musty books if left undisturbed for too long, which has happened to a bunch of my older sci-fi books.

So I did a bit of research. Not wishing to read musty books with a peg on my nose, I looked at a way to freshen them up. I ruled out fresh air and sunshine, as I started this experiment at the end of our UK winter. If they had mentioned heavy rain, that would have been another matter, but they didn’t.

That left three possible alternatives. Kitty litter, talcum powder or sodium bicarbonate seemed to be the most popular. No cats in the household, but fortunately, I had large amounts of the last two options in my science kit, so I tried leaving a few books in each, sealed in old biscuit containers.

Result. Given time, they both worked to freshen up the books. The thinner books were fresh after a week. The thicker book took longer. Certainly after a month (hmm..I kind of forgot to check inbetween), I could read it without being bombarded by the terrible smell. So now I’m reading a good old Asimov, with a touch of talcum powder aroma!

Also reading a new-to-me magazine – Dressmaker. I’m trying to make something for me to wear every month. January, I made gloves. February, I made socks. March, I would like to add to my work wardrobe, and I quite liked the patterns they were including. Always interested to see dressmaking tips too.

So, joining in with Yarn Along again this week. What have you been reading and knitting?

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18 Responses to Throwing away the peg

  • Eileen says:

    I love that you live in a 260 year old house! Living in the US, it’s hard to come by buildings that old, let alone I live in Colorado, no buildings even close to that age here. Good luck and I hope those books start smelling better!

    • Craft Mother says:

      We are by no means the oldest cottage in the block either! Next door is another century older. Yes, the books are smelling better. I’ll need to do a few more books from the same shelf and work out how to keep them fresh.

  • Alina says:

    I am knitting my first pair of socks and I think I am getting addicted 🙂 And such a great idea to freshen up the books, I definitely need for some of mine that are still damaged after the hurricane two years ago.

    • Craft Mother says:

      Sock knitting is addictive. Doesn’t help that they are so good to wear. I can’t imagine how badly a book could be damaged by hurricane. Hope you save them.

  • Donna says:

    It’s such a feeling of accomplishment when you turn that heel!

  • Debbie says:

    i like the sock yarn – i am always fascinated by the way it knits up so beautifully!!

    the book experiment is kinda cool, how nice that it worked!!

  • Jayne says:

    That book sounds fascinating! Glad you could save some of your other books from a smelly life. Love the colour of your sock yarn too.

  • Val says:

    Many Thanks!!!! Your method looks most promising and may save a few books here . We have put a woodstove in the den this Winter which will really/is help/ing but for those poor volumes that have already suffered ..it may save them . After a bad Winter a while ago we had to ruthlessly go through damaged books and throw them out …. there is nothing like warm air hitting cold walls is there…darn it.
    Love the socks!

    • Craft Mother says:

      I was about to throw these books away, with a heavy heart. Glad I found a solution. Still think fresh air is probably the best but have to wait until the summer. Ha! Bound to have a wet summer now, I’ve written that!

  • Lisa G. says:

    No foundations! I guess I know nothing about house history. 😕

    • Craft Mother says:

      Built straight on the earth. When we first moved in, every now and again, seedlings would find a place to grow up through the floor!

  • Jumble Tree says:

    That’s a great tip! We live in an old house too and struggle with mouldy walls and windows. Definitely have a few books that could do with a freshen up! Your socks look fab, lovely colours 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    That’s good you finished Hidden Figures and enjoyed the second half of the book. The socks look great! good that it worked and freshened up your older books. I am knitting socks and reading the Nest! happy knitting!

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