Tips, tricks and rain, rain, rain

Have been pretty silent on the knit front recently, mainly because I'm so involved with deadlines for one thing or another.  I can't say anything about these projects as publication is way in the future, so it's easier for me to avoid the subject altogether, rather than be forever banging on about things I can't show you.  But I know that many of you drop by because of your passion for knitting, so read on - later I'm including a couple of tips from my sadly deceased Ask Jean column.

This week will see the last batch of my babies winging their way off to far distant places, at least for a couple of months, so I'm beginning to draw breath and take stock. Would love to show you some of the projects I've been working on, but unfortunately that's not the way publishing works. It will be another twelve months before the book I'm working on is published, but the design and making will be finished by the end of next month. Such a different time scale if you're an indie publisher, but I can see the pros and cons of both.

I'm looking forward to sending off the current batch so I can get down to putting some sort of order back into my office. The office and the studio, by the way are one and the same thing, it just depends what I'm doing there. All the stuff that involves hours of sitting at a computer is done in the office, whilst drawing, choosing colours, playing with yarn, knitting swatches and photography is done in the studio. When things have been busy, the space can get crammed, so I'm looking forward to reclaiming the floor space so I can have a clear head for the next batch.
Come on, let me know your views
- grass green or deep burgundy -
I hate flesh coloured shoes and bras!
The other day I'd ordered a pair of wedges from the Office sale and they arrived at the same time as a box of yummy yarn - needless to say I didn't know which to open first. You've guessed it, I opened the yarn and was delighted, but the shoes were a different matter - they looked a totally different colour online. Hmmm,  dyeing them is another job to add to the list.  I'm thinking grass green or burgundy, any suggestions?
One good thing about the rain is that my beans
are romping away... despite the slugs!
Luckily the rain hasn't been that much of an imposition for me workwise, holed up in my garret studio with the deluge bouncing off the Velox windows. As I've got to be indoors anyway this makes me feel sorta snug and secure, much better than when it's 30 degrees outside and I'm being boiled up at the top of the house.

One of the few days recently when it's been
 possible to have coffee in the garden
Gotta go now so I can clock off early and catch some Wimbledon.  Hope you saw the lovely woman proudly knitting in the crowd during the Andy Murray v Marcos Baghdatis match. A great ambassador for the craft, and she was actually wearing one of her own creations too. 
© Telegraph Newspaper
Now as promised, here's a couple of handy tips for your portfolio.

Which method would you recommend for creating a turning ridge on a hem?
Kate Lumley, by email
A turning ridge is a row worked when the hem is the required length, at the lower or the upper edge.  It demarcates the edge making a clean line.  My favourite turning ridge is a purl row, but I do sometimes use a picot ridge or a slipstitch ridge, depending on the design. The body pattern always begins on the next RS or WS row, depending on pattern.
Knit the sts through the back of loops on wrong side, so forming a purl ridge on right side.

Worked over an even number of sts on right side row:
K1, *k2tog, yarn over; repeat from * end k1

Worked over an odd number of stitches on right side row:
*k1, with yarn at front, slip 1, k1; repeat from * to end

I have rescued a crocheted blanket which has been in the garage for a year or two.  I have washed it and it looks great, but it is has an unpleasant smell, probably due to being damp for some time.  It is not mildewed.  Is there something else I can wash it with?  Would borax do the trick?  I hesitate to try anything without someone else's experience to go on.  Various reference books like Mrs Beeton are not helpful.
Lindy Wiltshire, Alton, Hants
My grandmother always swore by vinegar, Lindy.  To remove smells from clothes and blankets add 1 cup of vinegar to very hot water in bathtub, and steam article above. If the odour is really bad you may need to do this two or three times, but it should do the trick eventually. Another tip is to add 2 cups of vinegar to the rinse cycle in your machine and this will leave your blanket soft and fluffy.


  1. So far our spring/summer have been identical here in the Pacific Northwest of US - but very acceptable compared to the crazy wildfires and heat in other parts! Definitely grass green shoes - will look fabulous on you :) and thanks for the tips - also if Lindy is able to lay the blanket outside (over a lavender bush!) for as long as needed, the smell should dissipate (when it's not raining!)

    1. Hadn't thought of lavender, what a great idea! Thanks for your thoughts on the shoes too, I'm definitely leaning towards the green.

  2. Hot, hot, hot in Ontario. Tepid baths and lots of water, maybe someday it will rain again.

  3. Burgundy...I was lucky to have a pair of burgundy shoes years ago and was constantly excited at how they went with just about everything and every colour in the wardrobe. Sue.

  4. I love the handy tips you're providing. Thank you ! My life is seeming ever-so-similar to yours (up in the garret/loft, enmeshed in balls of yarn) but mine on a much brand-new scale ;) I'ts me, by the way, from Yarnings, I changed my url from silly 'yarnings1' to something with a little bite and aftertaste :)

  5. Oh, and I say the shoes ought to match the same color as your favorite knit... to make it just jump out and ambush all who see (the knit, not the shoes)... grass green kidsilk haze? ;)

    Live a little ! Ask yourself "how many grass green shoes do I own?

    1. Well actually I do own two pairs - one pair of sandals and one pair of Converse All Stars and I love them both and wear them all the time weather permitting in summer. Went to see what dye colours were available yesterday, but alas no green or burgundy, only pillar box red! Now I do also have All Stars in red and a couple of pairs of strappy red sandals, so as it was the only one on offer I bought the red. Think I'll hang back with the dyeing though until I've done a bit more research. Sorry, starting to sound like a shoe fetishist...


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