Things that don’t work

Dear Universe,

As I’ve worked on this renovation for the last few days (almost done, no thanks to you) I’ve compiled a small list of things that Do Not Work. Thought I might pass them on.

1. Cutting floorboards for the upstairs bedroom using a saw in the backyard, although my arse has never looked better – thanks to 87654 trips up and down. Also, my sincerest thanks for the 10cm snowfall that compounded that. Nice touch.

2. Tentative hammering does not work. Turns out you gotta swing it like you mean it or you’ll be smashing away at one little nail for a good long time.

3. Carpenters glue. I don’t know exactly what it’s for, but I do know that for the things I’ve tried to use it for, it does not work. Very misleading name. Maybe it’s because I’m not a carpenter.

4. Keeping the carpenters glue in the painting section of the Home Depot. No wonder I couldn’t find it.

5. Nail sets. They need to be much bigger, both for the purposes of locating them, and for striking them with a hammer.

6. Also, maybe nail sets could have some sort of hand guard. Swinging a hammer at my hand and a little tiny thing you have to clutch with your best knitting fingers is lame. (As now is the pointer finger on my left hand.)

7. Assembling a bed by yourself also does not work. At all. In any sort of a way. Period. *&^%$#.

Thank you.

PS. This floor, scuzzy old plywood:


Is now this.


Hear me roar. (Knitting is way better than laying floor.)

232 thoughts on “Things that don’t work

  1. As someone who’s been doing home renovations of our old house for, oh, 15 years now (see blog), an enthusiastic high five coming your way! I believe you’ll be due some mighty fine knitting time once the renovation pains subside! Job well done.

  2. It’s looking great! Can really sympathise with you. I hate DIY – can guarantee that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong! I much prefer to pay someone else to do it, and keep them supplied with mugs of tea and biscuits! Sit back and enjoy knitting your scarf. Oh yes, by the way, I managed to get some Noro Silk Garden last night, and I’m holding you fully responsible!!

  3. Looks good for all that misery! For the future, a good hammering trick I’ve learned is to hold the nail with needle-nose pliers that have been rubberbanded to help keep them shut. Gets your fingers out of the way.

  4. Ooooh very nice. So will Sam get to redesign her room to? Or am I opening a can of worms here? πŸ™‚

  5. I can completely understand the trips up and down the stairs to the backyard to cut things. This also doesn’t work when it’s trips up and down the ladder to the roof while cutting steel roofing.
    As for the nail thing – find a nail gun, seriously! As long as you’re the one using it they’re really neat, and you don’t have to hold the nail, or swing a hammer.

  6. You’ll have to come over and do some renovations in my home, next. We’ve got an unfinished basement calling your name!
    It looks great. Way to go!

  7. Watch the knitting fingers, woman! No beautiful floor is worth damaged knitting fingers. Looks like a fine floor. πŸ™‚

  8. My complete sympathy. I’ve run in to most of those and know too well just how unjust The Universe can be when it wants. The assembling furniture part did take me quite a few tries to learn, but I got the nail set one very young.
    The floor looks great. That’s not a simple project, though it seems it should be.

  9. Dear Yarn-Harlot,
    Putting down hardwoods floors in the middle of November in Canada?
    Now, what were you thinking?

  10. I hate to ask, but where was your husband? I mean, did you do all that yourself? Not that I doubt it because I know any of us are capable of it BUT why bother even having them around if they don’t pull their weight? (And in my case, that would be a lot to pull!) Seriously, it looks fabulous!

  11. Congrats on a fine redo! By the way, they do sell spring-loaded nail sets…just put the end on the nail, pull back, let go, all done. Also, the carpenter (actually furniture maker) in my life prefers to come unglued, sort of, once in awhile, OK, I’ll be quiet now.

  12. You don’t even have to buy the nail gun, Home Depot rents them (and the compressors that give them air-power) by the day! All that work looks like it was worth the end result though. What a lovely floor!

  13. You are the queen of home renovations! That floor is stunning (I have wall to wall carpeting that I don’t quite hate enough to remove, but I miss my hardwood floors).

  14. Very nice! Well done! I hope that my bedroom floor shall look as nice this summer when we gut our entire top floor by ourselves.

  15. Nice floor!
    I saw a scarf that looked a lot like your Noro in the window of Loop, here in Philadelphia. Alas, it was 10:30 and Loop doesn’t open until 11:00. My bus came before then. It’s just as well …

  16. oh, I could tell stories (but won’t) about home renovation in houses of divers ages, with a husband who didn’t know how to hold a hammer but KNEW men were superior to women, period. (I learned how to hold and use a hammer when I was 4).
    that’s because I want to whine: I succumbed to the Noro Silk Garden scarf. It’s lovely. Your selvedges are loveley, mine are wonky. That’s a very small step from sucky. I may start over, if I knew what to do differently. Yes, I’m slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise, yarn in back.

  17. It looks great. You should be proud of yourself. Now get back to knitting scarves. You need to be thinking about your Christmas presents. You’ve only got about 5 weeks left!

  18. Hey–you did GOOD!!
    (finding anything at Home Depot is ridiculous!!
    You’d think I’d lose weight just strolling the aisles. And finding an “associate” to help is also a useless exercise–that doesn’t firm up muscles but may firm up resolve. I guess that’s why they call it Do It Yourself!!)
    Marlyce in Windsor

  19. i wanted to surprise my wifey by putting together our ikea bed myself. got it all done, too. she got home, sat on it and it creaked. i said, “i did have some parts left over” and handed her the little baggy. she said, “i don’t think those HUGE BOLTS are supposed to be left over”. sure enough, i skipped a page. 2 hours later the bed was good to go. πŸ™‚ i feel you redecorating pain.

  20. Great floor! Did Joe help this time or do you do all your renovations while he is gone? (‘cuz I always paint while my husband is away.)

  21. Knitting is definitely way more fun, but you seem to have a talent for remodeling! The floor looks beautiful and it must be so satisfying to look at it and know that you did it all yourself.

  22. how beautiful ! congrats on a job well done ! Wish I could get my husband to re-do our floors !!

  23. Steph, that’s a bee-you-tiful room. Excellent job with the floor. I’m the oldest of three daughters born to a third-generation woodworker. Alas, it wasn’t until the third daughter hit high school that he realized he might want to pass some of it on. So I have the knowledge but not the skills. And my darling husband thinks that if a floor measures 5’6″ across, you cut the flooring to 5’5″ so you’ve got plenty of room on the edges in case the house shifts. Unfortunately, the gaps always end up in the MIDDLE of the floor. You are a warrior woman.

  24. Smashing job in more ways that one. Looks like Meg is going to have a beautiful room . Good job .

  25. Nice job! Although I disagree with not being able to put a bed together by yourself πŸ™‚ I’ve done it, and while it’s not fun, it’s definitely possible. Stayed together too, until the apartment maintenance people broke it – whoever said men are better with stuff like that must have been smoking something πŸ™‚ Looking forward to more news on the room, and best of luck with that hammering thing πŸ˜‰

  26. beautiful, you never cease to amaze me. you inspire not only with your knitting but your home improvement projects kick ass!

  27. Gorgeous floor! Your hard work is paying off. Try putting the nail in your hand with your open palm facing you (backwards). You’ll have a better chance at hitting the nail head on. πŸ™‚

  28. If you get that quarter round back on in a timely manner you will have my undying respect. Mine’s been off for almost 7 years.
    I have a problem with finishing…

  29. Lots of things were harder than they might have been. But remember: A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week. You have violently executed a beautiful new floor! Congrats!

  30. You ROCK! Home improvements should totally be the domain of the person(s) who live in it most of the time.
    We are getting ready to rip our N-A-S-T-Y carpet out to put down Pergo (I’d prefer hardwood but at this point any-any-anything is better). Of course it’s not as thick as the flooring it will be next to, so we have to raise it with plywood (nailed every six inches thank you very much) and we must paint the walls because they are gross and absolutely the trim needs paint too… D’ya ever notice how these projects can’t just be one little thing?

  31. Great floor! I am sorry about your finger…OW!…but, at least you never had to explain to your doctor how you missed the nail, and broke your arm. Happened in high school, and I’ve have refused to touch a hammer since. Fortunately, I can now barter with my son…I get nails pounded into the wall, he gets my yarn. πŸ™‚ Seeing as that floor looks go fabulous, I’m thinking you were trying to prove, rightly so, that women can do men’s work. Can we get a bigger picture of that floor?

  32. Beautiful. I agree, if you get it the baseboard completely finished … we won’t go there.
    I agree with Daniele’s (20081121 @ 3:25p) suggestion about hitting nail w/palm out. It feels counter-intuitive, but I’ve had success with it. I also have been known to use a smaller hammer and I “choke up” (?) higher on the handle. Good luck!

  33. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    The old floor had a darling flower drawn on it, but the new floor, wow! You’re very inspirational. πŸ™‚
    Great job, Stephanie!

  34. I actually really like assembling furniture (is that weird?) but I learned the hard way that double beds are a two-person job. I feel your pain.

  35. WOW that looks amazing. (I realize that I often want to start responses to your latest blog entry with “WOW”.) It’s hard work but (you may not want to hear this, it may have been said too many times before this so maybe I shouldn’t say it at all) it’s worth it in the end! (Don’t shoot me!) (or poke me with sharp knitting needles!) Nothing ever makes sense in the construction world to us mere mortals, but I guess it usually comes out mostly right in the end. Maybe all the confusion (like glue in the paint section) is to force us to give up and call a contractor? A devious plan! Our consolation is, let a contractor wander around a knitting shop for five minutes and then ask them to find a stitch holder. Hm.

  36. Wow. You are an awesome knitter and a fabulous writer — I guess you can add wood floor specialist to that list!

  37. Yes – a nail gun IS your friend. And we discovered my daughter’s friend (age 15) is a technical genius, and can assemble anything by IKEA (a four drawer dresser) with her eyes shut! Amazing!!
    I do think an injured hand might get you out of the dishes though………

  38. sorry to hear about your finger
    carpenter glue is to be used in conjunction with nails.
    and the floor looks smashing … oops i mean … awesome!

  39. Dude – a woman after my own heart! I am always remodeling something. I have changed the light fixtures, doorknobs, flooring, paint – almost every surface in my house. When we moved in there was carpet in the kitchen. Carpet! Apparently the previous homeowner did not like her feet getting cold. Of course, some people would think “hey, slippers”, but whatever. Carpet and 2 kids under 3 was not a good combination. I ripped that crap up, baby. Good Work!

  40. whoa baby! that is one handsome floor! although, i also rather fancy the painted-on flower motif of the plywood. you should post a virtual tour of your work, just like on the real estate website. πŸ™‚

  41. that floor is absolutely gorgeous!
    my solution to home projects that I can’t manage on my own: “Dad? Could you come over and help me with…..”
    and i agree, knitting IS far better πŸ™‚

  42. Wow–you really meant it when you said remodel. The floor looks great! Maybe the snow would be good for your finger?
    And may I suggest the possibility that it was a guy that organized Home Depot…

  43. Your moccasins are awesome. And after trying to replace a glass pane in a window in my old apt, I’ve concluded that me + home renovations = disaster

  44. Beauteous floor. I am so with the nail gun recommendation. And doing it by yourself is huge. Have a drink–better yet, have two!

  45. Let’s be serious woman! ANYTHING is better than laying floor, although yours does look quite lovely.
    I’d say it is a fair bet that you did not keep that rapier wit about you when in the process. πŸ™‚

  46. It would appear that in spite of the Universe’s evil plot, you got the floor done anyway, and it’s looks lovely. Will we get to see a picture of the room, all done up and ready for it’s new occupant?

  47. Steph
    I truly hear you. Please add to your list:
    – paint does not dry quickly when you live in a nice, wet rainforest area like Vancouver, BC;
    – you have no idea what colour you are really painting on your walls when daylight barely breaks out on any cold, wet, grey November day;
    – masking tape, polythene and stepladders are all in cahoots with each other and in league with the bloke who tends to lounge around in that deep, dark, roasty toasty place.
    I am covered in bruises and am wearing more paint than either the ceilings or walls.
    I have also discovered that I have an allergy to paint thinner – who knew that something like that could generate a killer rash?
    I was standing there wondering what to say about it at spinning class while the Fella wanted to take me to hospital. Oddly enough, the call of the wheel was stronger than the call of the Accident & Emergency waiting room.
    Yours sincerely in sisterly reno/DIY misery,

  48. ROTFL!! I seem to be having flashbacks from 18 months ago when you did your own room. (There’s nothing on fire in your yard like there was then, is there?) Meg — I LIKE!

  49. My parents like to tell how they were sitting on the floor at opposite ends of the room screaming at each other while putting in flooring. I think the word divorce may have come up… but they’re still together and the floor looks great.

  50. Hail the hero, you have conquered floor πŸ™‚ Excellent work, it looks fantastic!!
    Now get thee back to thine knitting before more fingers are enlamed!

  51. Fortunately my chop saw has an attachment that allows it to attach to a Shop Vac. So when we were doing the kitchen floor, we set the saw up in the dining room. MUCH Easier.
    Think about this… that floor will be there, glowing beautiful, long after your girls have moved out, and probably long after you’ve gone. The floors in my living room and bedrooms are as old as the house (123 yo) and still able to be lovely.

  52. Knitting is WAY better than laying floor…….But it sure makes you feel good to say “I did it myself!”. #1 son and I did most of our new kitchen floor by ourselves (hubby did the outer edges and the tricky cutting). We Rocked!

  53. You missed the wall with that beading, there. Just saying. You get to gloat back – I’m currently re-knitting Hey, Teach! from the second rib up because I’m an idiot & can’t read instructions. I already re-knit the right side because I made the neckline too low.
    I Like to think putting beading in the middle of the floor is worse. Just let me dream…

  54. Amazing job, woman! Oh. About pounding in nails. I hold the nail with a needle nosed plier. Much, much safer for my fingers.

  55. Maybe, dear Harlot, they didn’t want you to find the glue at Home Depot. I don’t think you’re supposed to use glue on floorboards. But you didn’t, right? It’s a gorgeous floor, though I must say I liked the flowers on the scuzzy old plywood. Old houses have so many stories to tell, if they could talk. Meg is going to love her new room.

  56. Excellent job on the floor. I’m all for DIY until I realize what the “Y” stands for. Good thing the spousal unit is handy & loves to play with his tools. I supervise & we’re both happier that way.

  57. our very own this old house web site
    wear work shoes i came close to breaking
    my foot again because a heavy picture
    i was trying to hang slipped out of
    my hands and i am not to wear shoe
    or go to the store -it was the full of
    the moon so i guess -watch out for vampires
    never can tell whats under the floor boards

  58. Beautiful-and AMEN to all your “things that don’t work”.
    When we were young,poor and just married my sister-in-laws(5 of them) and I used to do all the painting and wallpapering in each other’s homes. About 15 years ago we declared a moritorium on any “do it ourselves”–now we “save” and hire it all done. I don’t think it costs that much more since if the pro stinks it up the pro has to replace it.
    And I have to add that every emergency trip and broken thing in our home begins with the line said by my husband–I Can Fix That!! No he can’t!

  59. Would you like a house remodeling job in California sometime? The pay will be reasonable, e.g. rides to all local yarn stores and knitting nights, all the angora fiber you want from my rabbits. Deal?

  60. Well, I too am sorry about the smashed fingers. That is hard on the knitting. The room looks smashing!
    I would like to tell you something that does work. Yesterday I came home tired and cranky from my second day at a different job (in the same office, at the same pay) with supper to cook, (rather than reheat) and a standing appointment for the evening. I did cook supper, but I cancelled the appointment, put on my pajamas (felt better immediately ‘She doesn’t makes me go out if our jammies are on.’), curled up in my knitting chair, and read the last three stories in “Free Range Knitter” to myself. You cheered me right up. Thank you.

  61. Very very nice. I am totally impressed. I am wondering, though, why you did this by yourself- risking your priceless knitting fingers? Isn’t that one of the side benefits of a husband??? I would totally have made my DH do it all by himself—-but then, he actually is a carpenter…….

  62. P.S. Universe, if you could fix some of these things, then Amy Lane might actually make her husband finish the two year project their bathroom has become. Just sayin’.
    (Congrats on a job successfully completed, Steph:-)

  63. you think keeping the glue in the paint section is weird?
    Guess where my supermarket keeps the canned pumpkin?
    With the Flour!
    Clearly, everyone else only needs it for pie.

  64. Yeah, I always take these dinky whacks with the hammer, give up, take a big whack and totally miss, leaving a big gouge in the wood.

  65. The last seriously cheap bookcase I bought, from Argos in the UK, came with a lovely little plastic doohickey which sets the nails for you and keeps your fingers away from them. I was completely shocked not to have bashed finger-ends…

  66. The floor looks smashing! Oops, sorry for the pun, and your bunged fingers. Forget the nail set. Tap the nail firmly but with just a few inches of distance the first couple strokes, THEN swing the hammer like you mean it. Very little finger damage that way. Years of helping with Habitat and you learn a thing or two. Now, when will you be over to show me how to lay that flooring? I can promise a quality brewed beverage at the finish line.

  67. It looks lovely. I’ve put in a floor like that and its a pain but so very worth it. The friend I was helping has kids with horrible allergies so we were on a mission to destroy the carpet.

  68. MAZEL TOV! That’s a beautiful floor, and even with your “Don’t Work” list, I’m encouraged. I want to replace the Ugliest Linoleum in the World (in my kitchen) with that wood-floor look….now I think I dare try it! Again, The Yarn Harlot inspires! (And that’s for a **KID**??)

  69. I am so impressed… best I can do is put furniture from Ikea together without having pieces left over! P.S. love the scarf.

  70. Wow! It looks fantastic. I love that when you take on a home reno project, you get right to it. No hesitation, no stop-start, drag-it-out-two-or-more-years for you. Nope! And if you’d like to come on down to North Carolina and share your carpentry skills, don’t hesitate a minute. You do like to paint, right? How are your caulking skills? Oh, and maybe we could learn to remove crappy kitchen countertops and replace them with something as dynamic as granite. Just a thought. I know where to find very nice yarn shops in 3 states. Anyway, the transformation of Amanda’s room (it’s her former room, right?) is dramatic and very, very pretty. Great job. Can we see the rest of the room now?

  71. I don’t do construction myself- too many scary vairables (and I rent). However, I love your renovation! The wall color is that of my favorite coffee right now. Mmmm!

  72. Okay, Miss Stephanie, I thought I was in awe of you because you write so “gosh I can’t even think of a word for how good I think you write”, but I know I love to read it. Now, I am in total awe of you because you also know how to make floors. And what a beautiful floor you made!!!! But I have to admit I really liked the other one, too, what with the pretty little flower on it.

  73. My god! and you did that hardwood floor yourself!!!!!! That is awesome!
    Somewhere I have heard of some kind of magnetic holder that holds the nail until you can hammer it in. Maybe the hammer was magnetic??? Maybe Home Depot has it?????????

  74. As much faith as you know I have in your home renovation abilities, I’m not quite sure I agree with the commenters who believe that a nail gun would be a good thing for you to have…

  75. Love your floor. A trick to hitting nails is hold them with a pair of pliers and you don’t get your fingers in the way. Nail guns are nice but as my husband found out if you hold the trigger down by accident it shoots nails in the same place and then you are pulling the extra ones out!

  76. OoooOoOooOoOooooo….That is gorgeous! Although didn’t you feel just a little bit bad getting rid of the plywood daisy? Totally worth it, don’t get me wrong, but that’s a pretty sweet little daisy too. Hooray for beautiful new floors!

  77. Your new floor does look marvelous! Same as mine a looked a few months ago.
    Like Rositta, I married a carpenter, and he re-floored all of the house – except the kitchen and bedrooms – with laminate. (He didn’t put laminated flooring in the bathroom – he put in a new tile floor there.)
    Happy knitting,

  78. Wawwwww! Great job!!! Congratulations. That must have been hard. Now you have the girls to help on the weekend…..

  79. The floor is done and beautiful. FYI, “carpenters’ wood glue” is not the same thing as “Liquid Nails(R).” Do not ever substitute one for the other.
    Take care of those fingers!

  80. I have lurked on your blog for quite some time without ever commenting, but I have to comment on this one because I’ve laid a floor like that before and I know it’s an insane amount of work. It is beautiful. Congrats, and thanks for your blog posts and your books, which I so, so enjoy.

  81. Our names for HD are Home Desperate or Home Despot. Yep, hubby and son did a bamboo bedroom floor this year. Why is it no one ever gets a house with wonderful flooring already in it??? After all the houses and gardens we’ve fixed, someone should be.

  82. Looks great…wondering what the paint colour is on the walls???? Looks pretty sharp!!!!

  83. My husband and I both enjoyed your post today. We think you’re pretty funny πŸ™‚ Let me know if the universe gets back to you. I have several similar points about various tasks I have tried doing. (including trying to knit a sweater out of handspun… not a single drop of help, and it shows. I’ve ripped it out twice.)

  84. Looking good!
    Do you say deppo rather than dee-po?
    We call it Bunnings Warehouse after two now merged chains in Oz. It is the same deal, though with some different stuff. And we still wander it for hours sometimes looking for the things we need.

  85. Would you look at that! What a great job you did! I consider myself to be adept at home improvement-ish types of things, but never once has it crossed my mind to install a floor. Bravo!

  86. Welcome to the joys of hardwoord floor installation!!! It really is an awesome feeling of accomplishment, isn’t it. You’ve done this before, haven’t you? (I haven’t been able to read all of your previous years’ posts yet)
    Oh… I see I must go look at 18 months ago.
    I worked with the flooring hammers (not certan of the official name) used with tongue-and-grooved flooring from a standing (well; “leaning-forward”) position – it feeds the nails for you as you simply ka-WHANG it with a full swing of your hammer and it goes pretty quickily as you can move sideways across the board. (ka-WHANG – step – ka-WHANG – step)
    Gorilla Glue is the best stuff ever invented to put the tiny pieces in place that fit into corners and edges that otherwise can’t be nailed easily or prettily.
    And, Stephanie? I have seen nail sets that look like tall mushrooms – BIG mushroom-cap heads that would protect the fingers, but I have no clue where to actually find them…
    And Judith? When I add the two spare stitches to make the nice edges I slip the first purlwise – with yarn in front- THEN move it to back to knit. Slipping with it in back leaves a “ladder rung” — and then I also knit the last stitch of every row… does that sound right, everyone?

  87. Wow, that does it, time for me to rip up this carpeting and get in wood floors, you have impressed and motivated me.!

  88. I don’t have time to read all the comments, so I apologize if this has been suggested already–but the next time you are hammering nails, a bobby pin works great to hold the nail in place and avoid smashing your knitting fingers!
    That floor rocks! πŸ˜€

  89. Gorgeous floor!
    I relate to the carpenter’s glue stuff. I don’t get it – it really does NOT work….

  90. What a transformation. Good job! Hopefully the finger heals for knitting soon, and in the meantime, you can do other renovational things with it.
    I once had a pair of moccasins like that. It was in the third grade . . . and they were pink, with beaded thunderbirds on them. ;o) Thanks for stirring up that memory. It was fun!

  91. *gasp* awesome job on that floor!! And also, I gather that this is *not* a good time to say that I put my queen size bed together all by myself?

  92. What a great floor! You can come over and help me install a new floor anytime! I’ll give you beer, chocolate, and more Silk Garden for the Noro Yarn Crack Scarf. My first one is 2/3’s of the way done. You did catch it that I said the 1st one didn’t you! Noro should cut you a commission check for the best 4th quarter they have ever had!!! Oh, back to the floor, it’s very, very, cool and I agree with you on the carpenter’s glue.

  93. Having just installed a new kitchen faucet (which, due to the cold water pipe being 1/2″ too short, has the cold/hot water reversed for the forseeable future), I feel your pain. Perhaps I should put off the whole ripping-up-the-carpets-and-replacing-with-hardwood-scheme for a while…
    Also, as everyone has pointed out, it looks like you did a fabulous job. Is it hardwood, laminate, or…?

  94. How’s the relationship with Joe holding up? When my husband and I have to put furniture together we tend to deteriorate into petty fights that sound like, “Well, you can just do it yourself then!” “Fine! Then it will get done right!”
    Well, maybe with more swearing put in.
    So just checking.

  95. I was interested to read the comment about the teenager with a flare for putting together IKEA furniture – I have one of those too, which is mighty useful. I turned my back for a few moments once and she’d erected a whole bookcase. And like another commenter, I always decorate when my husband is away. Then I have fun waiting to see if he notices. It took a year and a half once for him to realise I had (radically) changed the colour of the walls in our main room!

  96. Lovely – so now do you have to put in a new floor in the other daughter’s bedroom? πŸ˜‰

  97. Have you considered renting a nail gun the next time you have to do a lot of nailing?
    Carpenters glue is just for extra hold and it takes for freaking ever to dry. Also, you have to use pressure on whatever you are gluing the whole time you are waiting for the stupid glue to dry.
    Note: Do not substitute Krazy Glue Gel for carpenters glue. It works so well, you’ll have to destroy your walls if you ever decide to remove your baseboards.
    Not that I would know from first hand experience or anything like that.

  98. Wow!! I am verrrry impressed! That floor is simply gorgeous! And, foolish me, I always thought all your talent was knitting related. You never cease to amaze………

  99. Wow! That looks so good. When we were remodeling a house, I knew I was a changed woman for good when I heard myself cry out across the house, “Has anyone seen my favorite crow bar?” I needed the one with the thin tip for popping off trim and paneling. No other would do. Changed forever. Congratulations.

  100. The next time you’re traveling in Pennsylvania, could ya make time to stop for a, um, consult – yeah, that’s it, a consult on the floors and rooms in my house? πŸ˜‰

  101. Oh yes, remodel….Hubby bought this place in 1986, like yours, built around the mid 1900s. Forget all about the Victorian Charm stuff. This place didn’t have one shred of charm…not even a tooth pick…Except the Claw foot bathtub. The only thing that stayed.
    Your place is really taking shape and I loved the floor. We put hardwood and laminate down in three rooms here. What a warmth and brightness it adds. Don’t you agree?
    Head to the yoga class and try to stave off those killer muscle cramps that come with the stairs. Oh man!
    Two words…nail gun

  102. before i started working at m1 i had a business doing hardwood service and install… i totally know how you feel right now. ouch, huh?

  103. Here was your first big mistake. HAVE A BOY. He’ll grow up in a home that enjoys producing things with your hands and that could include building! It’s worked well for me.

  104. It may have been a total pain to install, but you have a REALLY beautiful floor that will last the life of the house!
    Now you’re making me feel guilty. I just had a new (and very large and heavy) printer delivered and then hurt my back. I still need to move furniture to give it a place to live, move it to that place, and hook it up to my computer.
    My back was back to being reasonably OK yesterday, and I didn’t do it.
    Maybe I was just waiting to make sure that my back was really OK?
    I’ll be so glad when it’s done, though.
    Go sit in a hot bath and pamper those abused muscles.

  105. Great new floor! I think for carpenter’s glue to actually work you have to clamp the glued bits together while the glue dries.

  106. I agree 100%! Laying floor isn’t remotely as entertaining as knitting! Though I must say the floor is lovely and impressive! To get Carpenters Glue to work well putting pressure on it while it dries definitely does do the trick…

  107. In case nobody else has pointed it out yet: doesn’t point 4 explain point 3? At least for the uninitiated: my grandad was a carpenter, and he even made his own glue. And I know how to make carpenter’s glue work :-p

  108. Gorgeous work, Steph!!! I’m so jealous of the “scuzzy” plywood, though… (Thank the flower.) *clears throat and proceeds to play with yarn*

  109. Apologies if this has already been mentioned but regarding the nail sets, one of my parents in Cub Scouts recommended using a plastic comb with slightly large teeth to steady the nail while hammering. It works surprisingly well and if it slips, your knitting fingers are generally well away from the point of impact. The tip was a godsend when working with 7 year-olds with more determination than skill. My fingers can attest to that. (of course I got them the longest handled combs I could find.) πŸ™‚

  110. BEAUTIFUL! Congrats! Isn’t it too bad that you can’t _knit_ a floor covering and make it a forever kind of thing! πŸ˜‰
    And the comb trick works pretty well, too.
    From the Sock-Shaped State, ==Marjorie

  111. Hey the floors look beautiful, I know this is after the fact, but for future home projects I can help with a couple of those points.
    1. When next at the hardware store get a pair of needle nose pliers. Use this instead of your fingers to hold the nail in place. (Also acceptable is a nail gun, but keep in mind that with great power tools comes great ability to maim oneself.
    2. Carpenter’s glue only works if you do the following a) apply glue to area b)you then clamp said object together c) hammer in nails preferably when glue is dry, but that is really up to you.
    3. Buy nails in bulk or more than one pack and place in every junk drawer/storage area in the house.
    Good luck and hope your fingers heal

  112. Now that you’re done … want to help me assemble some of these spinning wheels? I have wine and chocolate.
    Acknowledgements to your aching back, knees and arse. I am still recovering from painting my yarn/spinning shop and building all the shelves by myself.
    That makes my back hurt just looking at it. But its beauty diminishes the pain.
    Wear leather gloves when using a nail set — gotta protect your knitting fingers.

  113. Push your nail into the eraser on a pencil (perpendicular to the pencil) and use that to hold the nail in place while you hammer. Actually, now that I write that, I think the tip I read was to cut a slit down into the eraser to hold the nail.

  114. I bet she loved that yellow floor with daisies, what a nice bright color for a chilly winter climate New floor is stunning – great job

  115. I just read a helpful hint about holding a nail in place with a small ball of plastic putty or clay. After the nail is in place, you can pull away the clay.
    Nice floor, btw.

  116. I am totally hearing you on the thumbs. I couldn’t knit for a fortnight after re fly-wiring a wooden screen door. No more hammering for me until the memories have faded. Your willingness to throw yourself into the home renovation breach is incredibly brave, verging on the homing instincts of lemmings to cliffs.

  117. Should have told you sooner, and I have never commented before but have read every blog (good stuff), but I have a solution for protecting your knitting fingers from the hammer (I realize this may be a tinge late, but may come in handy in the future…no pun intended).
    Take needlenose pliers and wrap a rubberband around them to keep them together semi-tight and use the pliers to hold the nail in place while hammering. This will not only protect the valuable knitting fingers, but put other tools to good use, making you look more productive.
    Hope this helps!
    Rachel May

  118. sorry this is late. hold nail setter with pliers if you are afraid of hitting your hand … also wood glue should really be used with a fastener such as nails or screws, it is too thin at the beginning to hold on its own … you are also supposed to apply to both sides and allow it to set up a bit so it will adhere to each other better.
    Floor looks really nice though — I would love one … if only they made an insulator layer for going unter it though – we have a concrete house and the cold from the basement wicks thru something fierce so carpeting seems to be the only thing to do.

  119. There is a saying that in fencing, if you use a pistol grip on your weapon, it’s like taking a screw and hammering it in.
    It would be a really amazing thing if they could add insulation under the floor. It’s a little nippy there.

  120. I believe they do make insulation for putting under floors. It’s a sort of foam board, which is put between thin strips of wood that are the same thickness, and a layer of wood goes over the top. You have to have room to make the floor that thick, but carpet would make it thicker too. (They also make heating wires to put under the appropriate kinds of flooring.) There is also a kind of insulation that is foamed into place, either during construction or after the fact. Note, I have not done any of these personally.

  121. alfalfacats at 10:48 PM Nov 21 wrote: “When I add the two spare stitches to make the nice edges I slip the first purlwise – with yarn in front- THEN move it to back to knit. Slipping with it in back leaves a “ladder rung” — and then I also knit the last stitch of every row… does that sound right, everyone?”
    What I’ve read is to purl the last stitch of every row. But thanks for the tip about moving the yarn /after/ slipping the first stitch.
    More generally: I heard exactly the opposite
    about carpenter’s glue: The nails/screws/etc
    are to hold the wood in place while the glue
    dries. Maybe it’s a cabinetmaker thing. Liquid Nails will never come off, the wood will shred next to it first.

  122. You rock, girl!!! You’ve inspired me, now, in more ways than knitting. We need new floors. Maybe I WILL try it myself.
    You’re my hero!!

  123. I actually assembled a bed the other day by myself. someone was supposed to come and help, and she didn’t show up. Not even a call.
    So, I did it. I have one more to do – but I refuse to do it alone. Was a pain the first time. So, maybe my 9 yr old can help πŸ™‚
    knitting is always easier than life — you can ripp it out and start over and make it better.

  124. We are so un-handy that going online and finding and ordering the correct sink stoppers to replace the ones that broke, then installing them when they arrive in the mail, feels like major do-it-yourselfism. (Let the record show that it was my husband who actually performed this feat.)
    Not that I actually needed another sphere of life in which to stand in awe of you, but well done.
    (You wouldn’t happen to know the canonical increase rate for a circular shawl, would you?)

  125. Wonderful job of the flooring. Looks very similar to our new bedrooms’ floors.
    but seriously Stephanie, in our home, this is called a “BOY JOB” and for good reason.
    we need to protect our precious hands & fingers & eyes! for the more important jobs of knitting, scrapbooking, cross stitch
    all the best

  126. Beautiful floor! Re: the daughter having moved on–my Mother kept my room for a year, and reminded me that it was still empty, waiting for me, every time we talked. This left my two younger brothers in bunk beds, one a slob, the other Mr. Neat. But they never did occupy my room, the oldest brother did after trying to sleep in the “parlor” where you heard every sound my night owl parents made, including laughing hysterically at Johnny Carson till one AM! Mom mopped the floors after Dad went to bed. No wonder my darling eldest brother was such a crab!! Any how, it will always be Amanda’s room, and I think there will be some comfort in that thought when you get to missing her. Life does move along.

  127. Stephanie,
    Roar–backatcha. From one “doityourselfer” to another, fabulous looking floor! Also, do you find these transition times with our young adult offspring to be well spent in activity, rather than moping about the inevitable. Two daughters have flown, (Ouch! Ouch!) but it was my pain to bear, not theirs. Now our son (the last) is spreading his wings, it doesn’t get easier, but I know I can let go and bear this also. It is very heart warming watching them flourish and find their own way, again not easy when mistakes are made and you want to rush in and fix, but you stand back and let them grow as human beings, as they find they can stand on their own. Ah well, before I get more introspective, I wish you a very HAPPY HOME REMODEL!
    P.S. Any negotiations with SJ Parker yet? I’ve been on pins and needles!

  128. EVERYTHING is in the painting section at Home Depot. I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have wandered around for ten minutes looking for something, only to find it in painting.

  129. Congratulations, you have now gained competency in something (flooring) that you will probably never do again. I have yet to be called on to lay ceramic tile or assemble outdoor decking, since I mastered them during past home improvement projects.

  130. Christine,
    As a true Canadian Stephanie has shown many a Canuck gal proud with that floor. That being said, I am not to blame for the snow. I just asked Mother Nature to send our Yarn Harlot a 10cm so that she remembers her true calling as a Canadian knitter, ie snow makes a really good reason to knit .

  131. What gorgeous results (although the remnants of the old floor with the daisies look like they had a happy life!)!
    Hope your poor finger recoups soon. πŸ˜‰

  132. Couldn’t agree more…knitting is way better than laying a floor.
    I have just renovated my Mum’s old doll’s house for my 5yr old daughter’s birthday. Even though my wooden floor was rolled up paper to glue down it was still a pigging nightmare!!!!
    The floor looks great by the way.

  133. This is a delayed offering for your banana-weary family: bake the banana bread in muffin pans instead of as a loaf. Frost with cream cheese icing, like the kind on carrot cake. If you use a “health” recipe the muffins are tough enough to split, frost in the middle, wrap and carry for a portable snack. I enjoyed all the great suggestions from your readers–my husband won’t touch a ripe banana, he likes them green. So I make & freeze a lot of banana breads & muffins. Nigella Lawson’s recipe for banana bread is quite lovely–a buttery decadent cake, really.
    Your floor looks wonderful. How can we take so many things for granted?

  134. try poking your nail through one end of a piece of stout card, 1″ by 3″, then you can hold the other end and swing away at the nail to your heart’s content, knowing that you are unlikely to hit your knitting fingers (ouch!!) πŸ˜‰
    great job, by the way.

  135. Things I’ve learned from reading the Yarn-Harlot lately:
    How to lay a hard wood floor. It’s bee-yoo-ti-ful!
    How to make apple dumplings (Made some last night. They were delish!)
    About The Scarf. I don’t have any silk garden yet, but knit group is Wednesday…

  136. OK–for future reference–if you use a power saw to cut floorboards in the room you’re installing them in, it *will* fry your smoke detector. So the stairs weren’t that bad a choice.

  137. I’ve been reading your blog on knitting for a while now (even though I’m by trade a crocheter) and when I saw you were trying to finangle floorboards, I just have to say, I feel you. I did that one summer for my mom’s whole house (for free, of course). Looks like your work was worth it though! : )

  138. The floor looks *fabulous*. Lucky Meg!
    I feel your stair pain. We did a second-story addition and then built a roomful of floor-to-ceiling bookcases on the second floor- with the bench tools in the basement. Who needs a stairstepper, with that kind of project?
    And while prior commenters had useful information about carpenter’s glue, if you really, really need something to stay stuck, what you want is construction adhesive. It’s a real pain to work with, and you need acetone to get it *off* anything you accidently smear it on (and then only if you get it while it’s still wet), but it definitely stays stuck. Construction adhesive is forever.

  139. Enough already … it is time to go back to knitting and blogging ! My husband says “the house is finished when the owner is dead” … meaning that there is always something to do in a well lived home ! Our experience in our [former] 200+ year old home was that when one project is done it is so nice that it forces the next project then the next then the next … [you get the picture]

  140. I once spent 10 hours assembling an all-wood bedframe from IKEA by myself. After the first 5 hours, I was determined to see it through! I won — but after a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Good for you for not letting the bedframe (or the floor) defeat you!!!

  141. Congrats! It looks wonderful.
    I do feel your DIY pain. DH and I are DIYing a whole house. From digging the hole last fall to the unforseeable end, we’re building a house. Indeed — we’ve had help from family and friends, but DIY never goes anything like you think it will. We’ve contended with one of the wettest summers on record, and now have a nice early *FREEZING* winter before the roof, wrap, and windows are in. Yay! Sometimes I come in at the end of the day from working on it, and I’m too tired to knit.
    So, what room is next? And I agree — it you think you may ever change or build anything again, get thee a nail gun!

  142. Lovely room — but, ah, now won’t the other daughter want ‘her’ room to be done too? Or will she be content with waiting to move into this one?

  143. I swear we’re doing all these things in sync. I too don’t quite get why nail sets are things that make you hurt your fingers.
    The room looks awesome!

  144. I read somewhere that the dust created by those saws can really screw up the smoke detectors (they should be vacuumed to remove said fine sawdust)

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