Stitchy McYarnpants

Confessions of a husband-neglecting, cat-shooing, yarn-hoarding knitaholic. But in a good way.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Post Du Jour

Looky! It’s practically a sweater! A Scoop du Jour, to be exact. Once it’s dry, I need to add the button bands and a neck band. I’m really looking forward to picking out buttons. It’s a fun, simple knit and if I like it as much as I think I will I’m going too make one in black. The color in this picture isn’t very accurate. It’s a much lighter, prettier green. Now that I look at it, this Khaki-ish color isn’t bad. Maybe I need another one. After the black one.

See that empty tomato pin cushion? That little guy was fully studded when I started. Word to the wise, get more that 100 pins. I thought I was overdoing it with the 100-pack, but I ran out after the second sleeve. More. Pins.

I also finally got around to felting my purple bag and flower. Here’s a look into the briny deep of the Maytag Ocean. It looks like ethereal sea creatures playing in the Great Agitator Reef, doesn’t it?

They didn’t felt as much as I had hoped, but I still really like them. The rose wasn’t made for the bag, but I think it’s kind of cute on there. I was planning on making a whole bunch of flowers and now that I see it felted, I have a few ideas about what to do with them.

We at Chez Stitchy are also in the midst of a full-blown electrical drama. Those of you who own an old house can commiserate with me on this one. Crumbly is a word that should be used to describe the topping on a coffee cake or ancient ruins in Greece. It should not be an appropriate descriptor of electrical wiring. And yet, at our house, it is a sad and scary fact that our “vintage” knob and tube wiring is crumbling quicker that me at a good sale on mohair. No good can come of it.

On Friday, our house decided that it didn’t want to have electricity in the front rooms any more. It mumbled something about air conditioners, then just gave up on Thomas Edison’s wacky idea. Luckily, we have an electrician named Carlos that we love. He works with my brother, who is a carpenter, on a lot of different projects. Carlos is very reasonably priced. The reason is that when he's working on your house, you are automatically deputized as his assistant. If he needs something, you get it. Whether it’s from the kitchen, the basement, or Home Depot, you’re getting it. He was installing a new circuit breaker panel thingy (I’ve learned a lot of technical terms since Saturday) and needed something to hold some wires up so they wouldn’t fall back into the wall. “Do you have any string or anything?” he asked. Jon paused thoughtfully, trying to think of something string-like in our house. He was stumped. Dude, string is what we have the MOST of! I immediately ran and fetched the Red Heart. Jon doubted that it would be what he needed, but he underestimated the power of acrylic. It was just what the electrician ordered.

Here is a close-up of the Red Heart hard at work. I hope my yarn doesn’t try to unionize, I can’t afford healthcare for alpaca.

At one point, Carlos got into the crawlspace between our ceiling and the roof. It was a million degrees and I can’t believe he got in. I also can’t believe he got out. Watching him extricate himself backwards and searching with his feet for the rickety wooden ladder was too much to bear. It was like our ceiling was having a breech birth. Luckily, we moved on to Plan B right away.

Here’s a peek at the space. You can see the old knob and tube wiring in the back. Not a whole lot of room. I couldn’t stop imagining Carlos passing out from the heat and us trying to drag him out.

I’m glad we switched to Plan B because it went pretty well. It involved snaking a line through the ceiling from the front of the house to the back – about 50 feet, I think. Here’s Jon pulling the line back with the electrical wire attached. It was quite a feat. He was making all kinds of “working hard” faces, but kept turning away when I tried to take a picture.

Here are Jon’s thoughts about the day of hard work done in a meduim of plaster and laminate tabletop.

At the end of the day, the yarn’s work was done.

But our was not. Not nearly. We are nowhere near even remotely finished. We're basically rewiring the entire apartment (10 rooms if you include the porch, which I totally forgot to include yesterday). This is a huge effort. A major home renovation that we embarked on with a day’s notice and not much of a choice. It’s either this or no power in half the house and a blazing fire in the other from all the extension cords. It would be overwhelming if I would allow myself to fathom it, but so far, I just look at it as a little quality time with Carlos. But really, it entails about 8 holes in the walls and ceiling of each room (sometimes more if the snake can’t get through). I refuse to multiply the number of rooms by the average number of holes. I’m just not doing it. Carlos is coming back on Monday, Jon will be at work, so we can’t tag-team our assistant responsibilities. It’s all me. And I know it won’t be done on Monday. What have we gotten ourselves into? But I guess that’s the life you choose when you own an old home full of charm and original detail, like disintegrating cloth-covered wires. (I like to pretend that we own the house, even though I know it’s the other way around.)

Here is a sample of our new holes. Pretty, huh? Now image a house made mostly of these things. And the plaster pouring out of each one.

Oh my freakin’ head.


Anonymous Cara said...

I'm so sorry! It sounds awful - but you tell it so well! Poor Carlos. I, too, was waiting for him to get stuck.

This may be the only time, though, that you can say - RED HEART TO THE RESCUE!

7/17/2005 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Naomi said...

Oh, my. That's horrible. But, yeah, string shouldn't be hard to find at my house, either. (Fortunately for me, though, I'm renting.)

The scoop du jour looks good, though!

7/17/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Red Heart saves the day! There really is charm and beauty in older houses, even though repair can be less than fun. Hopefully you will have full power soon.

7/17/2005 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

Just think of the fun that you'll have picking out new wallpaper.

Hope that the lights are back on soon.

Must say that I love the sweater.

7/17/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh Lordy, that sucks! Glad you found a good use for the Red Heart though. You should pop open a bottle of wine for this one.

Scoop looks very nice!

7/17/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

Ahh. I can empathize on the "old house" thing. No matter which projects we THINK we will tackle next, something unexpected (and very expensive) demands our attention first. Sorry about all the holes, I know that the repair projects will take a long time. :(

7/17/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

Guard Carlos with your life.

7/17/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

soap might help the felting. i've never felted without soap, so it surprised me to be able to see in your washingmachine. as for the electricity, it should be spelled el-ick-tricity, for situations such as yours. aren't older homes wonderful? (i bought mine redone, lol, and i'm finding problems still, like my piping to the outside spigot is going to have to be replaced before next winter)

7/17/2005 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger spaazlicious said...

Oh my goodness, I think we'll just rent for the rest of our lives.

We want an old house with charm, not WORK (Veruca Salt whine).

At least you're almost at the finish line with the Scoop, that's always very satisfying.

7/17/2005 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Becky in Iowa :O) said...

Oh my goodness. I am glad that you had Carlos close at hand. I would have been terrified. I had a cousin that lived in an old house and it burnt to the ground on her. Thank God no one was hurt.

The sweater is looking lovely. I can't wait to see it finished. :)

7/17/2005 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger maryse said...

what you've got going on at your house is what joe would call a cluster-fuck. just let me know if you need more red heart -- i've got plenty.

your knitting projects look great -- i love that little flower.

7/18/2005 06:10:00 AM  
Anonymous elisa said...

Having someone reasonably priced and reliable is totally worth being a helper monkey for a few days.

This I say from the land of "I Don't Own Squat So My Landlord Fixes Everything and I Never Help Him Because I Would Just Break Things More", of course. ;)

7/18/2005 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Kellee said...

Oh geez, Stitchy - you know I feel your pain, sister. Speaking as someone who is the helper-bee to the husband-contractor in our gigantic re-wiring project (also brought on by the advent of air conditioning needs), I completely sympathize. You just let me know if you need any help\relief\escape. I'm a very good helper, I swear.

7/18/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I send my sympathy from the middle of our own full-blown house remodel job. Where stupid unexpected things keep happening, like a leaking roof...

7/18/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger caramelknits said...

Yay for gorgeous sweater and purse! Boo for craptastic wiring! Sorry to hear about the holes. It could be worse, though...much worse.

7/18/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Micky said...

Well it won't be long and then it will be done. And you will feel better about the whole thing. And just realize that if it wasn't for your yarn stash, it wouldn't have been as easy.

7/18/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Martita said...

--The red flower needs to be on the purple bag. In my opinion, that is.

--Carlos sounds like a treasure! Is he single? I have a single sister-in-law-to-be...

--It's just as well you are getting rid of the knob-and-tube, anyway. I mean, I know you'd rather have done it on your own timeframe, but look at it this way: a potential fire hazard eliminated. It's a good thing you have wallpaper on your walls or your horsehair plaster could be crumbling, too!

Better put some newspaper over your stash, to keep the plaster out!

7/18/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Amie said...

ROFL "Do you have any string???"

And yet, I know the question would stump my husband as well, because I try to train him that yarn is a thing to be cherished, not for meaningless cruddy work, but for loving...

7/18/2005 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger stephanie said...

Two things,

1. It's a shame this couldn't have happened in the dead of winter. At least then, the blazing fire would be tolerable.

2. At least your husband understands the difference between yarn and string. Really, what if he'd just grabbed the alpaca?

7/18/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous melanie said...

aw man. That sucks ass. All I can say is MARGARITAS for ME AND YOU tomorrow.

7/18/2005 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous janine said...

I sympathise when we did a loft conversion we dicovered that our electrics were just about post WW2 my brother in law and DH rewired the entire house on weekends and evenings it took months and the place looked like a bomb site - oops still does:-)

7/18/2005 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Roz said...

UGH. I have a 1909 crafstman with knob and tube electrical. I don't envy you. But guess what, now that you have all that great Romex (see, I learned some new words too!) you can actually get new electrical outlets where you need them, like in the kitchen and bathroom!! And then I will envy you.

7/18/2005 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Ah, the joys of an older house. NOT! At least your hubby knows when to call someone. Our porch is still studs and Romex after 4 years of being unfinished.

Scoop looks great too. I really like the olive-y color that the photo shows.

7/18/2005 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

you could always felt it again... HOT HOT WATER Ivory dish soap...

7/19/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Brewgal said...

Knob and tube! I am getting nostalgic for my old Gettysburg house. Plaster may be a pain when you disturb it but I'll take it any day over sheetrock and not-so-true corners.

7/19/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Kat with a K said...

Eek! Good luck. I swear I'm going to write a book on home repair with knitting supplies one of these days...

Kat (with a K)

7/20/2005 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Holes in the wall suck. But they sure beat no electricity and no A/C when it's 94 degrees several days in a row!

Good luck with your electrical project. The sweater looks great.

From a house near you (roslindale) with former knobs n tubes!


7/21/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Jennie said...

This winter, my husband asked me to pick up some string because we didn't have any.

I just looked at him, gobsmacked and said that I bet if we looked real hard, we'd be able to find something suitable.

7/26/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Maus said...

Great job on the rose baggie and sweater and wires! I love myself a good old house, repairs or not. New houses are like, I dunno, plastic cardboard mash with no character. We've done knob and tube replacing on an old 4 story vicotrian and it was cheaper than I had anticipated. Just be happy that you can rest with a good feeling that you did it all :)
We've found old (and I mean real old) underpants inside the walls while redoing a bathroom, and empty space was stuffed full with an assortment of "fillers" very amusing :)

7/27/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous ck said...

I love the felted bag...especially with the additon of the flower.

Sorry to hear about the electrical problems. At least you had the red heart on hand to save the day :)

7/28/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

I wish you the best from the depths of the crawlspace of my 1918 Craftsman. We are also having "THOSE" kinds of problems. Just think, no matter how bad it is, you haven't ended up re-piering the front half of your house, rebuilding your fireplace, tearing out and reinsulating every exterior wall in your home, refinishing all the floors, rewiring, installing a new airconditioner, new appliances, new flooring in the kitchen and bath, new drains to the street, and bringing in a backhoe to level the whole yard - just because you wanted to paint the freakin living room green.

The sweater looks great though. Roughly the same color as my stupid living room.

7/28/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I miss your blogging.
My old house was remodeled out to the bare wood while I lived in it over a ten year period. I am not envious...the end result is worth it, but it's such a pain to never have a clean house. So frustrating. Hope you are well.

8/01/2005 11:53:00 AM  
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