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How To Remove Sticky Glue Residue From Knitting Book Dust Jacket Covers

principles of knitting book by june hemmons hiatt

I’m in shock.

In the past 6 years I’ve been to over 1,500 garage sales, rummage sales, estate sales, community sales, and you-name-it sales.

I’m one of those people you don’t want to drive behind Saturday morning as I suddenly slow to 10 mph to read small type on street corner signs.

During these sanity escapes, I have found most of Barbara Walker’s Knitting Treasuries and Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting and Fair Isle Knitting.

I have never found Principles of Knitting.

This past week my local library held its Semi-Annual Friends of the Library sale. I always head to the craft section first, never knowing what I’ll find. And there it was waiting for me on the bottom shelf.

Like an idiot, I initially stood there and stared, not believing what was finally in front of me. Thankfully fear kicked in. I grabbed it off the shelf and shoved it into my box as the other shoppers and book dealers flooded down the stairs and into the sale.

Principles of knitting 2 dollar price tagI didn’t even look at the price until I got to the counter.

The rest of the time I walked around in a daze, eventually filling my small box as the dealers carted off crates full of great finds. One overly eager Library Volunteer kept trying to help me by offering to hold my box in the back where she would tally up the contents to speed up check out.

I wasn’t letting go of my box for anything. It took several "No Thank You’s" before she moved on to help someone else.

Principles of Knitting library discard torn out title page

Once home, I was curious what edition I had gotten. I became confused when I couldn’t find the copyright page. Then I realized that the previous owner, or the discarding Library, had ripped out the title page. This is Principles of Knitting – who in their right mind tears out the title page?!!

All I can say is the book has come to live in a home that will cherish it. Not a page of its being will ever be ripped by me.


I have accumulated a large stash of used books, patterns, and magazines. Invariably, there are stickers and the gooey mess they leave behind. This is how I remove it without damaging the cover.

First you’ll need a hair dryer with an adjustable heat setting. You are going to aim the warm air at the tag to soften its glue, while gently using your finger nail to lift up a corner of the tag. As the sticker starts to loosen, continue with the warm air, getting underneath as best you can. At this stage, don’t rush pulling it off. Give the hair dryer a chance to work its magic.

use goo gone and hair dryer to remove sticky glue residue from books

When you’ve gotten as much of the sticker off as you can, the tricky part begins. You must first make a judgement call as to the "plasticness" of your book’s cover. The more plastic the coating, the better your chance of removing the sticker residue without the solvent damaging the underlying fiber content of the paper. Make the wrong decision, and you could be left with an "oil" spot or even worse, removal of some of the underlying dye. I know, it has happened to me. Do a test spot if possible before you commit further.

In my experience, do not attempt this process on vintage books or patterns that date before the 1960’s. On these, it is best to leave the stickers alone. Remember the famous line in the 1967 movie The Graduate – "Plastics." It spoke for an era in more ways than one. I was lucky. The security sticker on my Principles of Knitting was on the outside plastic dust jacket.

sticky glue residue on knitting book cover

My favorite solvent is Goo Gone. It is readily available, non-toxic, and cheap. Just add a Q-tip or cotton ball and you’re ready to go. I’ve even seen staffers at the local Half Price Books squeeze Goo Gone onto a cotton ball and wipe it gently all over a book’s cover. It removes any residual grime before putting the books out for sale.

no sticky glue residue on knitting book cover

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October 16, 2006


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