Sodden

I had a post all good to go today. A post about how when I told you I was knitting a sweater, I should have clarified a little. I wasn’t clear enough. I made it sound like I had just abandoned my very reasonable Christmas knitting plan and hauled off and added a sweater to the plot – which would be in clear violation of the rule about not putting anything onto the Christmas knitting list… and for the record, this sweater was on the schedule, and Lene, the almighty keeper of the schedule didn’t even flinch when I put it there. I figure that means that she thinks it’s reasonable. (Or, I’ve finally gotten to her. One of the two for sure.) I estimate this sweater will take about 20 knitting hours (not including putting in the zipper, which I am going to get Ken to do. I haven’t told him that yet exactly.) I had this whole thing ready about how I was going to tell you that it’s not a big deal, that this sweater is possible and easy and no big whoop, and then the planet saw the cocky on me, and the planet decided that obviously I wasn’t having things be complicated enough… and the planet looked for a place to give me a come-uppance, and dudes, it hit me where it hurts.

See, I’m not just behind on the knitting. I’m behind on the everything. The shopping, the housekeeping – I’m perpetually behind on the laundry, and this morning, just after I started writing about how it was all going to be all right, that it was really just a matter of applying myself – keeping to the schedule (and maybe finding a few more hours in the day or night to get caught up) I realized that we’re at that place where soon people are going to have to stay home because they don’t have clean underwear, and so I tossed a load into Sir Washie, my faithful 30 year old washing machine. Now, Sir Washie is my dearest friend in the world. He’s done more to help me with this family than anybody else ever has, and we’ve shared many a fond moment together- doing what it takes to keep everybody clad. We’ve been together through my kids childhood puke-fests, where it was just me and him, cleaning up at 3am and hoping that we could get a load of clean sheets and towels together before the next tsunami of misery headed our way. He’s pulled his weight, and he’s a fine appliance I’m deeply committed to. (I admit, I’m mostly committed to him because there’s no way to replace him. We remodelled the kitchen many years ago and foolishly installed built-in’s in a way that means that we can’t get him up and out through the doorway to the basement anymore.) Still, even if I didn’t have to love him I would. (I also admit I’ve had some pretty warm feelings about a few sexy front loaders I’ve seen – but that’s like still loving your husband even though you think Pierce Brosnan is hot. Totally normal.) In any case, I tossed a load in and came upstairs and got on with my day, and just now I went down to switch things over to the dryer (for which I hold no affection at all) reached into his innards and discovered, with the sinking heart and feeling of impending doom that any laundry slacking mother can identify with… that the clothes are all sopping wet. Soaked. It would appear that the aged Sir Washie has suffered some sort of episode which has left him able to agitate and drain, but stripped him of his critical ability to spin. (I think that means it’s a belt. Can you knit a drive belt?)

I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you that this is a full blown crisis, and one for which I accept all responsibility. I had noticed that Sir Washie was making an odd noise, but truthfully I didn’t look into it because I thought it was just age – I mean, Joe makes all sorts of noises he didn’t used to when he was a younger guy and there’s nothing wrong with him. I should have known, after all of these years of appliance ownership, that washing machines don’t make odd noises. Washing machines make expensive noises, and I should have gotten him help right away. Instead, I looked the other way and now, because I am not just the sort of woman who ignores an appliance in need, but am also the sort of woman who doesn’t wash anything until people have no pants or towels, I am screwed. I personally am screwed while wearing yesterday’s tee shirt and pants with coffee spilled on one leg. (Admittedly, I work from home, where it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing strange clothes, but this is going to be harder to break to Joe and the kids -who have to leave the house each day wearing something other than last years elf jammies.) I looked at the budget and what with Christmas and the fact that things are slow on all fronts, I realized that unless this sucker is fixable for about $1.46, somebody’s Christmas present is going to have to be the gift of this family not smelling funny. That bummed me out for about six seconds, and then I thought about it, and considering how I feel about Sir Washie and his contribution to the family….

I’ll take it. Wrap it up a fixed washer and stick a bow on it. I’ll be thrilled. Anybody in Toronto know a reliable repair company?

(PS. Do you think wanting a repair guy who would like to be paid in sock yarn is too much to hope for?)

236 thoughts on “Sodden

  1. Sir Washie deserves a little Christmas present for himself. I remember the saga not too long ago that involved fixing him. I’ll say that I’d take clean undies over something in shiny paper any day.

  2. This happened to me twice and it was fixable but pricey. Are you sure Mr. Washie is worth saving? (Don’t tell him I said that.)

  3. Boy do I feel your pain, having forked over almost $75 for a $5 part. Not cool.
    Perhaps, with all of your amazing talent, you could knit up a new machine and the hubster could install the plumbing for it?
    Sorry about the wrench in your plans.
    Oh, and I’m guessing you might be out hunting for the nearest laundromat?? Do they have those in Canada?

  4. If you DO find a workman who can be paid in socks, send him over my way. We just had to pay Β£2420 for a new boiler and the amount of time we had to wait until they even turned up, I could have knitted 7 pairs of socks. If I charged what that place Couverture charges, that probably would have paid for the first hour and a half’s labour !
    And if anyone’s not heard of Couverture : http://www.couverture.co.uk/ But be prepared to be horrified at the prices.
    Good luck with Mr Washy !

  5. Sounds like a trip to the Laundromat is in your immediate future. You can sit and knit while those clothes spin and dry. Or how about your neighbor–it’s an emergency! Get to dialing that neighbor’s number! πŸ™‚

  6. Oh Stephanie I can feel your pain!!!! I had four huge boys for our Eleanor to wash clothing for, plus the hubb and me. Eleanor was vital to our survival!! I do hope you can find someone reliable in Toronto. We’re in Fonthill, and I doubt our fixer guys go up that far. I hope Sir Washie has only an indigestion problem and a few antacids will make things right with him. Do you have a laundromat close by?? It might come down to that! Horrors! Eleanor sends Sir Washie a hug….

  7. It’s probably possible to knit a drive belt. But for it to work for any length of time, you would need to felt it. Which would include using Sir Washie, and since he’s not spinning, we’re back at square one.
    Sorry this has happened (Sir Washie apparently knew not of your schedule from Lene, otherwise he wouldn’t have done this at this time). I’d offer to help knit, but I’m so far behind this year that I’m almost caught up from last year. Such is life though . . .
    My only advice is something EZ said – knit on with confidence and hope through all crises.

  8. My mom wouldn’t get rid of her dryer of 37 years because my sister was born at the same time as the dryer, and she thought if she trashed the dryer my sister would die, like that story by Hawthorne I can’t remember. I positively treasure my sexy front-loader of only 6 years – it’s way more than eye candy.

  9. My Sir Washie is 20 years old, just a young whippersnapper compared to yours, and I hope he lasts as long. He was my first major appliance. I hope the Universe will send you a wizard of a repair person. Good luck!

  10. I’ve never had a washer go on me, but I did have a part need replacing in the oven. It only took about 2 days of not having use of the oven for it to be amazingly clear how much I relied on that one appliance.

  11. Farm the laundry out while you’re waiting for Sir Washie to get fixed. Splurge.
    http://www.royalforestlaundry.com/ (that’s the best I could find using Google)
    I couldn’t live without my laundry service. Yeah it’s a bit more than the coin-operated machines at the laundromat, but the time it saves is priceless.
    Plus, you don’t have to iron the finished products.

  12. My own Washie (born in 1991) suddenly stopped spinning in September. I still refuse to accept defeat, even though Hubby has managed to tear her apart and we still can’t figure out what’s wrong. We haven’t been very focused on that though, and it doesn’t help that the Hubs expertise is in Music Performance, and not General Electronic Home Repair.
    Maybe Santa and his elves will magically fix both of our faithful family friends this season.

  13. The very same thing happened to me a few weeks ago. My father produced some chart from Consumer Reports that tells you when it is more economical to repair, and when it is better to just go out and get a new machine. Sorry, but I think that Sir Washie falls into the second category. Or, perhaps you could bribe a repairman with a beautiful sweater of his choice! (Use cheap yarn — he’ll never know the difference).
    Good luck. Mine is still broken. I never got rid of the old machine in the basement, so for now, I’m trekking down the basement stairs.

  14. Although unlikely, it isn’t impossible to think that there might be a repairperson willing to barter Washie repair services for handknit socks (craigslist, maybe?) However, casting on additional, barterable handknit socks would likely throw whatever remnants of the Schedule are left waaaay out of whack. So, maybe just make it a REALLY nice bow.

  15. I’m sorry to hear about Sir Washie. He has been a true and valiant friend to you and your family. I don’t know about the repair person being paid in sock yarn, but perhaps he or she would accept hand knit items made from your stash so no money would have to be expended.
    I have three children coming home for Christmas bringing with them many loads of dirty laundry and I live in fear that my washing machine will bite the dust while doing the interminable loads of laundry they bring with them. One of my sons brings his laundry all the way from New York City. At Thanksgiving he brought no clean clothes with him, only a duffle bag full of dirty laundry.
    Good luck with Mr. Washie and finding a repair person! Having to redo your kitchen to get a new washer in would really stink.

  16. I’m always trying to find people willing to accept yarn or wool as payment for goods or services. I haven’t had much luck.
    I think Lene needs to build more time into the schedule for unexpected things to happen. They will happen, you know. You just don’t know exactly what or when.

  17. Terri beat me to it!
    I’m with Caroline on the front-loader issue. I have 2 (don’t ask) and I love em both.

  18. Maybe you can find a Sir Washie repair woman who is willing to be paid in sock yarn or socks. Lynn in DC, I never imagined that people who aren’t multimillionaires have laundry service. That is, like, an erotic fantasy. Whew.

  19. Sorry, I can’t help you. I was smart and married the guy who can buy the $5 part and do the repair himself. I know lots of places where you can buy the parts cheap, but have no knowledge of where to get your own Mr Fixit that will work for yarn.

  20. Bah, I was doing great until 4 days without power this week. Argh, that stomped my schedule all to h*##. Folks will get stuff late and they will like it! :p

  21. Try not to despair. It does sound like a belt, which is not a huge repair. Even in expensive NYC it was under $100 when I had the “reach in and feel clothes that are still totally wet” experience. And it is a whole lot less than a new one (and a re-built doorway). Mr. Washie will be his wonderful self again. I hope!

  22. Been there and almost was there again in June. We noted the motor coupling was about to crack again when we took the washer apart to move it through the very narrow door of the room it lived in to go to the new utility room we built. Luckily DH had a spare from the last time and was able to fix it. Hope it is something simple not a major item that basically necessitates a brand new washer.
    BTW still rooting for you to finish your knitting on schedule.

  23. Oh no! I’m sure Sir Washie can be fixed, venerable washing machine that he is. But in the meantime, yikes! Until a repairman comes, either you’ll have to haul your laundry to the laundromat. Or just not do the laundry, which gives you additional knitting time, no?

  24. I have a great friend who lives in Toronto near the intersection of Dundas St. West and Keele. There is a very kind used appliance man whose shop backs onto her back alley. I’m looking on Google maps for it and it’s got to be between business numbers 2790 and 2822. I know this is random, but I’d be happy to track down more info if you need it πŸ™‚

  25. Little things (although you’re past the baby socks stage) like to spin out and over the inner part of the drum and clog up the hose. I can say this sounding all knowledgeable, but it would have to be my husband actually doing it in this house, I have no clue, but anyway–can you take the hose out and clear it of debris? It worked for us once when the thing wouldn’t drain.
    More recently, I gave up and chucked the machine when that happened and bought No-Blog-Rachel’s one-year-old one she didn’t need anymore after the house she bought came with a washer and dryer. But that’s not real helpful here. Good luck!

  26. Maybe Ken would like to be paid in sock yarn. Does Ken fix washing machines?
    Seriously, sorry to hear you are having an appliance problem so close to Christmas. Yuk

  27. Oh no, poor Mr. Washie! Best of luck. On the bright side, since you literally can’t do laundry, does this free up more knitting time?

  28. He will make it through. Mr Washie sounds fixable. I think you are just under the stress of your own knitting schedule and the holidays. (Keep in mind that I only realized that Christmas is less than 10 days ago… and I haven’t gotten my shopping started. Knitting is was started with some false sense of ‘sure I can do that by Christmas’ only a few weeks ago.)
    I would flip if my washing machine went out for just the same reasons – BUT I would hand Dave rolls of quarters and show him the laundry cage, then point him in the direction of the laundry mat. Then back to frantic knitting. (’cause I don’t want to go out in public in my unshowered self with my penguin pjs.)

  29. Oh no! Sir Washie is the best! Could you find a repairman that works for hand knit socks? We’re all sending good vibes to Sir Washie for a quick and cheap recovery. I’ll do an extra load this week in his honor (and so I can have clean underwear).

  30. Oh-I completely understand your pain all too well. Our Washie decided to do the exact same thing about two months ago.And,similar to your situation,we have to take the entire door and frame off of the bathroom/laundry room to replace him.Needless to say,Washie sits quietly in the corner of the room,waiting for a repair or *gasp* maybe to even be replaced.(No spare funds here either)My only consolation is that I work at a costume shop and they have been gracious enough to let me use the washer for free.Ah,yes,nothing like schlepping wet laundry home every night,but I shudder to think of the alternative…just have to wait till the end of January for tax return time…

  31. I don’t supposed Sir Washie is a Kenmore, or came from Sears? Best repair department ever.
    I agree with Lynn in DC: while you sort out the repair/replacement (although of course, Sir Washie could never be truly replaced), splurge on a laundry service.
    Good luck!

  32. We face a similar lack-o-clean unmentionables currently. Heaven forbid we have a car accident and our family’s dirty secret is revealed for all to scoff. Laundry has got to be the worst job in the world to do too because unless you’re naked, it’s never done.

  33. Your washer has a timing chain in it. They get rusty as they age and sometimes they stick. I am sorry to say this, but pick up the front of Mr. Washy and drop him as hard as you can to loosen up that timing chain. I did this with my dear washer and it work like a charm.
    If it doesn’t work, perhaps you can find a repairman who has a woman in his life whi knits. She would be thrilled, and he would be thought of as the worlds most sensitive caring man.

  34. Reminds me of many years ago and in Tucson a neighbor who’s husband was an elected official came over and after I appolized for her having to step over the laundry basket she told me “I just tell my husband to turn his underwear inside out and spray it was disinfectant. So there you have it – sprayed underwear.

  35. Oh, I forgot to ask if Lene might be willing to assist in the clothes drying arena in order to keep the schedule rolling along… just a thought.

  36. How about taking the essential stuff to the laundromat and having them do it for you (it’s usually by the pound). Then you get back a package of folded, sweet-smelling clothes/sheets/towels and can get through another week.
    Good luck. My chore list is also ever-growing as I spend every spare minute knitting…

  37. Awww, and right at Christmas too πŸ™ I had a washer do this, and it wasn’t a belt. It was a little gear/sprocket type thing that was an easy and not too expenisve fix. I think it ran about $50 (USD) including the repair guys time.
    Keeping fingers crossed for you that this is all it is!

  38. Sears will fix it even if not from Sears – but I don’t know if they’re in Toronto (clueless from south of the border). I feel your pain. When it was mine, I carried laundry across the street to my incredibly generous neighbor’s house… After telling the folks at my house to choose exactly what they wanted clean for the next few days cuz I wasn’t taking anything non-essential.

  39. I feel your pain, the first time my beloved Maytag made the funny noise, handy guy at our house reached under and said: (without actually looking at anything) ‘you need new belts’. $50 later belts installed and away we went, 3 months later..handy guy says ‘new motor’, I said ‘new machine?’ $200 for motor …even more for new machine but its worth every penny. I can wash all my towels in one load, better for the environment and my sanity.
    Last year for Christmas I had $1600 worth of repairs done to my car?
    Merry Christmas.

  40. I’ve never left a comment before, although I read your blog daily, but this entry compelled me to ask: have you tried to find a repairman on Craig’s list? You might be able to find an independent contractor who is more than willing to do some work for you for a competetive price. Many will even offer references when requested.
    (I cannot speak for the Toronto area, but I live in Denver, CO, and we frequently find excellent repairmen on Craig’s list).
    I did the search on household services in the Toronto area and entered the keyword: “washer” This brought up a sizable list of results
    Best of luck. I hope you find someone.

  41. Don’t get a front loader! Definitely get Sir Washie fixed πŸ™‚ I say this because I used to live in NZ where everyone has top-loaders (and I had one of those wonderful old Sir Washie-types) and a laundry cycle takes about 20 minutes. Then I moved to London where there’s only room for a front-loader in my little kitchen, and as it turns out a front loader cycle takes ONE HOUR or more (depending on whether you put it on the delicates or cotton cycle). I know people with kids who spend all day doing laundry!

  42. I, for one, am all for ignoring appliance noises. My handy dryer has been squealing for over 5 years! We are all startled when it’s quiet and are sure that’s it, it bit the dust. But it goes on and on. So, no good appliance should be repaired before it’s time!
    (I wish I could send my appliance repairman – he’s good and he’s hot!)

  43. I had a similar problem with my machine and it wasn’t close to 30! Some little part needed to be replaced then it happened again 3 or 4 years later and I said bye bye to my machine…it was oh, 13 or 14 years old…I now have a sexy front loader.
    However since you have a machine that has provided faithful service for 30 years I think a repair job is certainly in the cards. Good luck with it.
    If you run out of clothes maybe you could just knit some more. (and tell everyone Christmas will have to wait?)

  44. Oh. No.
    In my personal calculus, a broken washing machine is a Force 5 Family Crisis. The only thing that comes in even a distant second is a broken vacuum cleaner, and that’s only because I have a Newfoundland, three sons, and a husband who works at home. And even the worst vacuum cleaner disaster can be fixed with a new vacuum cleaner for about 200 bucks, while, in my vast experience (ever since I replaced my perfectly functional 10 year old washer with first one, then another, extremely expensive piece of &*!@), the most basic of washer repairs is going to cost me upwards of $300 and force at least one trip to the laundromat to bond with the migrant workers while paying an outrageous 8 bucks a load for the privilege of carting a thousand pounds of laundry two miles down and two miles back.
    I have long agonized about what you will do when poor Mr. Washie finally and irrevocably gives up the ghost, and you have to tear out a wall to get a new one down into the basement. Here’s hoping this isn’t that time.

  45. This summer my 28 year old Maytag ran into a bit of a problem, and when the repair guy came, he came out of retirement (he knew the model number of my machine from just looking at it). He knew exactly what was wrong from my description (no messing with trial and error, etc.), and had the part on the truck! Done in half an hour and said, “I’ll bill you” which was the next month! We talked about the sexy front loaders and the new-fangled bells and whistles and were so happy that parts were still available from Maytag 28 years later. It will be a cold (and soaking wet) day in HE** that I replace my beloved Maytag! Too bad, sexy front loaders!
    I should have thought about some sock yarn for the repair, but I was so pleased that it was less than $100 for his visit and part that my creativity was left in the other room. BTW, my husband could have put that part in but it would have been weeks. I need the washer far sooner than that!!! (as you know).
    Just for the record, and I know this to be true, clothes will dry through the process of evaporation (no appliance necessary, but space is helpful), but there is no way to wash them without either a laundromat or some kind of rock. I’d pick the laundromat – very efficient! So either way you win. If you load up everything and wash and dry everything in about 2 (two) hours (instead of days), maybe you can get a week’s worth of laundry done in 2 (two) hours. That’s some kind of miracle, but not a lot of knitting time.
    Bottom line: 30 year old washing machines are mechanical devices designed to replace river rocks. They do not need electronic or computerized unnecessary parts, most likely it’s a belt and repairable and will not end up in a landfill with all those newer machines. Maybe you need an antique repair dude. Just saying…

  46. Good luck. Remember if you get a new front loader, it won’t felt. Although I really began to knit in college, I became an avid knitter when I first married and moved to Florida. Yes, I believed the thing about not knitting for your man until after the wedding. The yarn was a first post nuptial purchase. No car, no job, no friends. But I had in walking distance a strip mall with a laundromat, grocery store, and a knit shop. I got a wire cart and I was set. Brought the laundry, spent the day in the knit shop, then got something for dinner. Learned a lot as the two generous ladies who owned to shop helped everyone, and I made some great friends. Your blog today really brought back wonderful 42 year old memories.

  47. Yuck … and you don’t even have any clean towels to wring things out with (I’m very fond of the “roll it in a towel and stand on it” method of wringing out my knitting).
    Best of luck with the repair guy πŸ™‚

  48. When our washer did this, my only-somewhat-handy husband was able to fix it himself – it was a simple washer on the spindle that holds the tub in place that had broken, impeding the ability of the tub to spin. So, maybe, possibly, there’s hope that this one won’t be too bad. Good luck!

  49. here is a time when one of those spin dryer thingies would come in handy.
    I asked for one for Christmas. I guess I must really be a grown up now if I’m asking for a laundry tool for Xmas.

  50. Oh if you only lived in Texas. My husband would so fix Sir Washie for some sock yarn. He doesn’t knit but he is a great enabler along with having the wonderful ability to fix anything.

  51. Five years ago my worked-pretty-well washer died (should’ve paid attention to the oil stain growing under it), and was replaced by a sexy front loader. The mice thought it was nice, too: it’s defunct, maybe $300 or $400 or something will fix it after the mice ate the wiring. Haven’t decided what to do yet, still paying off vet bills for elderly cats and going to the laundromat. My laundromat has a wireless connection and I do just fine knitting/reading/writing in the hubbub.

  52. Those noises apply to dishwashers too. I became so in tune with my dishwasher as its noises grew louder and stranger that I could tell when a bad noise was a new bad noise. It became routine to turn the machine on as we left the house because conversation was impossible anywhere in the house when the dishwasher washed. We like a bit of danger so the possibility of floods and falling basement ceilings never caused us a moment of worry.
    Then it groaned, fizzled and grew silent. Right before Christmas. When guests are common and dishes are many.
    I’m looking at jumbo bottles of dishwashing soap and dishcloth cotton yarn.
    Oh well. Another excuse to knit. Like I need one.

  53. Must be an international thing. I threw a load in this morning, went on to the coffee grinder/oatmeal pan/orange juice and came back to an inch of water in the laundry. Hot soapy bleachy water. 21 years of good service and several recent repairs. Merry Christmas to me. It was expected. Breath. Kathleen

  54. Interim plan? One word: LAUNDROMAT. In a need-to-get-a-lot-of-laundry-done situation, it’s GREAT to go put ALL of the loads in at once, knit for 20 minutes, then put them all in the dryer at the same time, knit for another hour, and then be DONE. If you can keep yourself productively occupied for those two little waiting periods (and we know you can!), there’s something fantastic about having 10+ washers at your disposal simultaneously…
    Users’ note for when you dry multiple loads at once: if you’ve split by colour to wash, divide by fabic weight to dry–that means that your lightweights will be done first (and cost less to dry) and can be folded while the jeans and towels continue to suck up quarters…

  55. Tell the family that if they’re very good Santa will bring new underpants for Christmas. Until then they’ll have to go commando. Mention to them that their constant demands for clean clothing have led Sir Washie to decide that it’s time to take a few days off until they can better learn to appreciate his efforts on their behalf. A repairman who works for yarn indeed! He’s SIR WASHIE! He requires a certified technician, with years of experience! One who recognizes that Sir Washie is of noble blood and requires far better, more EXPENSIVE parts than that 2-bit, classless hussy front-loader you’ve been flirting with. The family should be warned that only after being provided with the luxurious parts to which Mr. Washie has become accustomed, along with much sucking up from the Harlot family, that Mr. Washie will deign to return to his former post.
    Good luck. πŸ˜‰

  56. Well hopefully Washie isn’t terminal. I had a nice Kenmore from 1979. The matching dryer lasted as long as your washer…think is the hard country water. I have a front loader now and it’s great.

  57. Fie on thee, Karen! Front loaders felt great. Of course, you can’t open it and check on the process, but I have had no issues with my many felting projects.
    (I do have a set of those oh-so-sexy front loaders that we bought when we got our first house. You can set the washer to do a load at 4:00 A.M. Sigh.)

  58. Yes, do fix Sir Washie. My very own It-Cleanz-Alot had problems earlier this fall that were remedied by a quick visit from the fixit man and the simple writing of a check.
    All better now; moreover, the fixit man says he spends a whole lot more time fixing NEW washers and dryers, what with all their fancy gee gaws and such, than on these cherished well seasoned models.
    And if you do have to make an interim trip to the laundromat…you can knit while you wait on the machines.

  59. Oh no, poor Sir Washie. We had that experience as soon as we moved into the house. I put a load in the washer, that the pervious owners claimed was working up until the day I tried to laundry and after it finished I went downstairs and found wet soggy laundry. So I tried the spin again, and again and again. In the end we decided to buy a new machine. Good luck finding a repair guy and one that can do it for sock yarn πŸ™‚

  60. Poor Sir Washie! I hope you’re able to get him fixed by a nice repair person who not only takes payment in sock yarn/knitted goods but has gentle hands for the old dear. Just because Sir Washie has undergone endless abuse of the laundry variety doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to be treated with love and care in his advanced age!
    And Sarah at 5:21, we have a new sexy front-loader that can do a complete load in about 20-25 minutes — and a shiny new dryer to go with it that dries everything perfectly in the same amount of time as the washer. Our old dryer took twice as long, if we were lucky. Alas, although we can now do twice the laundry in half the time, it still piles up until there are no more clean underpants.
    In the meantime, I agree that a laundromat is the best solution. It will save you so many trips up and down the stairs, of course, you’ll have to drink considerably less eggnog to make up for the calories. But for Sir Washie, any sacrifice is worth it, right?

  61. Hmm, if getting it fixed will take a good bit of time, you might try finding the local “freecycle” group. We’ve gotten rid of lots of furniture, and I’ve seen many people put out requests for appliances while another piece is being fixed. http://www.freecycle.org/search that’s the page with the different neighborhood/region groups for Toronto. Good luck.

  62. I just got my washer repaired yesterday and barely got the last of my christmas orders into the mail. THe repair man listened to the “noise” for all of 15 seconds and said “needs a new water pump”. It was fortunately on the truck and was replaced in 15 min. I’m up to the 5th load of wash since it was fixed and i’m still waiting for something else catastrophic to happen.
    Please fix Sir Washie, it will make you feel better and keep him in the family. I too, forgave any holiday gifts in order to get my washer fixed. Mine was a 5 yr old machine and the part cost $320.

  63. I am exactly the same sort of woman in regard to laundry. I have been known to tell my darling daughter to just re-wear yesterday’s school pants if I haven’t gotten around to washing them, or if the dryer stopped before they were completely dry.
    So I’d rather knit than do housework. My name is not Martha Stewart.

  64. How sad! This is not fair. I agree there should totally be repair-people out there who take sock yarn as payment. I would. You have great sock yarn. The best even. Should count as extra good credit somehow. Keep knitting at least that makes sense in this world!

  65. You know, I’d bet that if you promised to knit up that sock yarn into very nice socks, you might just find yourself a plumber/electrician with a hankering for the handknits. Be careful, though: he might also be an unscrupulous type who would then tell you things are “about to break” and that you should take proactive measures with them just so he can get more pairs of those Harlot-knit socks.

  66. I hear you. The plumber was here Monday for the toilet, which apparently is only partly fixed, or rather, it had multiple problems, only one of which is fixed (the other problem is Unclear at This Time). Yesterday we had to replace the windshield on the car. (Yike$.) This is all interspersed with medical stuff with the baby (who appears to be completely fine, which puts all other stuff in perspective, of course). Still, it’s a lot to deal with right before Christmas, isn’t it? And we really do count on our appliances to do their jobs. (Silly us.)

  67. Sir Washie has been sick previously and always come through his time in the infirmary splendidly, providing you and your family with continued fresh clothes. Yay Sir Washie! I suppose now comes the dilemma whether you attempt to fix him or just retire him for his many years of hard service.
    Be not fooled by the glamour of the front loader. I love my frontie, but it is the second in a series. The first frontie lasted less than 5 years which, in my opinion is neither a bargain nor noble service rendered. I long for my mother’s old washer, must have been a cousin to Sir Washie as he lasted 23 years, or even my prior washer, who lasted about 15 (including diapers which definitely will age a washer prematurely much like the children cause their parents to go gray)
    Best of luck.

  68. Well, I don’t knit much, but I feel sisterhood on the behind-with-laundry front. My washing machine finally died last week. Dead. New one comes tomorrow, if we can get it in past the large buckets of dirty clothing and towels. It’s not the washing, it’s the spinning, isn’t it?
    Solidarity!

  69. I feel your pain!!! My machine is only half Sir Washie’s age…I call her Sybil…but the same thing happened to her a couple of week’s ago. I called my faithful (not to mention reasonably price) repairer and after $170AUD she was good to go…fingers crossed that Sir Washie is feeling better soon >^..^<

  70. If it’s a belt, you may be able to replace it on your own (I saw the pics of the recent remodel). Check out some sights like this: http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-repair-a-washing-machine3.htm
    It is possible, if it isn’t just the washer, that it could be a pulley. And I can tell you from first-hand (and I’m very unhandy) experience that you can buy a tube of JB Weld and use it to “glue” the pulley back on the shaft.
    First, though, get the wet clothes out, so you can move the dryer and try to see underneath it.
    Good luck!

  71. Years ago, when I was a single mother, my dryer broke a belt. The (at-the-time) boyfriend, told me to go to the appliance store with the name/model of the dryer, get a belt, ask for installation instructions, and write them down. He’d come over later and install the new belt. The instructions didn’t look difficult, so I gave them a try and installed the belt without his help. And that was before the Internet. You might be able to fix it yourself. You can probably find help and pictures on line.

  72. Even if you could knit a drive belt, that would mean you would have to add to the Christmas knitting list — I don’t think Lene would allow it!

  73. Maybe not sock yarn. Try handknit socks. Hey, it could be a way to use up some sock yarn that’s not in your “sacred” part of the stash. He/she has to understand that you are on Lene’s schedule and you’ll get to the socks in a couple of weeks.

  74. Now I don’t bear Sir Washie any ill will, but it sounds like he might want to retire –
    Bear in mind a front loader (the norm here in UK) is a little beast when it comes to felting, you have no way of checking up and it insists on a spin cycle before the door will open.
    For ordinary laundry purposes,I’ve used both and a front loader is the best. (Separate dryer better than combined though)

  75. Pierce Brosnan??? No way. Harrison Ford. ‘nough said on that one.
    We lived in Hawaii and bought a house full of Kenmore appliances that broke at regular intervals. We had the Sears repair guy at our house so often I swore he lived in the guest room.
    After we sold our house, during the escrow period, the ice maker in the fridge died. In Hawaii, the fridge went with the house, so we had to repair it. When he saw the moving boxes, the repair guy almost cried. He said he was going to miss us.
    I don’t miss him, not one bit!
    Hope Sir Washie feels better soon.

  76. Hi. Just wanted to say I know of what you speak. On the weekend I was doing laundry,dishwasher,cleaning bathrooms, all things involving water and I went downstairs to 3 inches of water in 2 rooms and a hall. Seems the main water escape from the house was blocked and all water from anywhere coming out of the downstairs toilet. RotoRooter at 10:00PM on Sunday night(Sunday rates) and 120 feet of drilling solved the problem. Knit on that’s what we need to do.

  77. Poor Mr. Washie! I have a theory about home appliances – they become jealous to the point of suicide if another appliance receives undue attention. Have you brought home a new one recently or maybe bought new liners for under the stove burners – these appliances can be so fickle. Our Mr. Washie heard of plans to remodel the kitchen and threw his belt the next day!!

  78. I know a guy here in Rochester… I wanted to knight him myself after a garbage disposal disaster, and have his number handy for our rapidly fading dishwasher. Wish I could send him up your way! He’d get a kick out of the re-model, and probably find a work-around for next to nothing.

  79. Of course. Because that’s just the way the world rolls these days. Disaster freakin’ Central.
    I was joking the other day, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that I will have to schedule everything/everyone next year. Sigh…

  80. Take it from someone who (a) is older than you, (b) has been there, and just buy yourself a new washing machine. They cost a small fortune to repair (unless you have the maintenance contract) and they just continue to break down until you could have bought two washing machines, but are still, for some reason taking your clothes to the laundromat, while your husband promises it will be fixed and working soon… just buy a new washer. don’t think about it, just do it. Pick up the phone now, call the home depot or Lowes or whoever is near you and have them deliver a new one and they will haul mr. washie away for you. do not under any circumstances let Joe convince you he can fix it himself. Do you want clean laundry again anytime soon? hmmm?

  81. Poor Sir Washie! Sir Washie was one of the first posts I read several years ago. I knew any woman who could write an ode to a lovable Sir Washie was a great woman. I hope he gets fixed soon. Husbands and teens can be a little smelly if left to their own devices.

  82. But don’t you remember? TUESDAYS are for spinning. It sounds like Sir Washie is just trying to stick with your schedule too!

  83. It makes emergency scarf knitting for Christmas seem like a breeze.
    And after 11 and 3/4s socks, I’ve only got 1/4 to go.
    I do know a good repair man, but I’m on the wrong side of the Atlantic for him to be much of a help, sorry.

  84. My washer does the same thing, it spins slightly (it’s a front loader) but doesn’t drain well. I do several spin cycles to compensate. Summertime it was fine, since I hung everything out to dry. Now, the dryer keeps the house warm?

  85. I feel your pain, I just got my washer fixed today after it being out of commission for a week and a half. During that time, my DH’s car was in the shop twice, I had my son’s first birthday party with 17 people, two ice storms, and a mother-in-law with low blood levels. I probably shouldn’t mention that my FIL is an appliance salesman in CT and is getting us a new oven for Christmas. Hang in there, I can’t tell you how many times reading your blog is the highlight of my day! Now I just have to get going on Christmas shopping!

  86. Those front load washers might look sexy, but they don’t felt worth a darn. That means, if you ever want to felt, you’d better have a friend whith a less sexy washer.

  87. Would it be too simplistic to suggest squeezing out the clothes by hand? They are clean, after all, they would just take a lot longer to dry. And underwear washes well in the shower or sink. Two pairs would be enough, in rotation.
    The worst are the jeans and towels, of course, because they are too hard to squeeze and slow to dry. I do sympathize, just hoping that you are not truly panicked by the situation…

  88. May I just say that doing ten or so loads of wash at the laundromat can be great for knitting time. There are ways to make that process last a really long time, and no one can criticize you for not getting the laundry done, and you are knitting. Just get the girls/husband to join in on the folding, etc., and you’re good to go.

  89. Not to spread false hope, but…
    My front loading washer was doing just the same thing. The repair guy came, and said, “Ma’am, I am sorry to say I’m still gonna have to charge you for this,” and then proceeded to show me how to unclog this little filter area that collects stuff like coins, pencil pieces, and lots of pocket lint before it can get into the motor. When this little filter thingy is full, the drum won’t spin and clothes stay sopping wet. Now, I don’t know if older top loaders are the same way…but considering the fact that you may have a whole lotta linty stuff in there from felting, it’s worth a look!

  90. I deeply empathize. Our machine must be secretly tippling, because it can’t manage to get through a spin cycle without getting off balance and I know there is a repair bill in our future – even if my extremely competent husband does the work itself. I was doing fine and exhibiting appropriately sympathetic notions and then you had to go and throw Pierce Brosnan in there and I sort of went off track… (sigh.) Good luck!

  91. Is handwashing the essentials terrible to do in the meantime? I mean, you’ve even got a bathtub! I handwashed my way through a month in Europe with only a shower and a sink.
    Don’t fret too much. I’m wearing pants right now that I haven’t washed in a month. It’s okay. At least that’s what I’m telling myself right now.

  92. I can recommend Tony at After Five Appliance repair, (905) 427-9449 – I’m in Ajax, but that’s still the GTA so you could call him and see if he does downtown TO which I think is where you are. Tony is the fairest guy, he doesn’t charge much and he’ll tell you if it’s not cost effective to save the appliance… although of course Sir Washie’s value goes way beyond mere monetary…

  93. Did we not all see this coming a few weeks ago? I think Lene should come up with a mini Christmas knitting schedule for June/July. That way the Christmas knitting Gods won’t be aware of what’s happening and you might just get a leg up on them. Of course it could backfire when they realize what you have done.
    Good luck Stephanie. I know you will come out this smelling like roses (or at the very least, wet laundry).

  94. Get the repair guy to knit for you on your schedule during his breaks, and you’re golden.

  95. For what it’s worth, just another knitter from Nova Scotia weighing in to say that I repaired my washer and it was COSTLY and it died four months later. Yep. I had to get a new one. Food for thought. Your blog always inspires me, to no end. I had my last birthday presents as doctors without borders donations. You really go great things. Carry on, wise yarn harlot.

  96. in Toronto, there’s Arthur’s Refrigeration & Appliance, 416 535 1550, at 68 Miller St which is sort of downtown (the Junction).
    take a look at craigslist though, or have some inconvenienced family member troll the lists so you can stay on your holiday knitting schedule.
    my own top loader makes the occasional blood chilling, heart stopping, breath holding kind of groan every once in a while, at the start of its spin cycles… I have indeed chosen denial, but now consider myself warned!
    good luck!

  97. I was thinking about you and Mr Washie last week, when my dearly beloved 1984 Sears microwave reached its end. The fan speed had been a bit erratic, but when I reached in for my morning oatmeal and scorched 2 fingers and left a chunk of skin from a third on the bowl, I realized it was fatally ill. I’ll never find another microwave of this quality. We can’t live without one. Maybe they’re on sale right now??
    I hope Mr Washie can be fixed. I understand the need for clean knickers.

  98. Once at my house we ignored a washer noise. We ignored it because Vancouver was in the process of winning some kind of soccer championship and we have our priorities. Upon investigation, we discovered the basement 4″ deep in water. Plumbers don’t come out in the middle of soccer games. They make you wait. Just sayin’
    I got a front loader last year and I’m in love. My clothes are soooo much cleaner, the washer is sooo much quieter, and the clothes are sooo much drier when they come out that I not only save a lot on the electricity for the wash, I save an awful lot on the electricity for the dryer, because what used to be a 90-minute drying time is now a half hour or so.

  99. At least he had the grace to keep his water to himself. When our last machine died it had a little accident all over the floor. Not as big a mess as I’m now cleaning up after with the three burst pipes in my work kitchen, but fun nevertheless. Why have I never considered offering sock yarn as pay?

  100. Knitting a belt is a possibility but you would want to choose a fibre without too much drape – definitely not alpaca. In NZ you would want a worsted, but worsted here (NZ) and worsted there (Canada) mean different things. You could probably spin a short fibre length with a great deal of strength.
    You have been given some good suggestions – I am sure you will be on the case.
    Do you know that felting was around BEFORE washing machines – people used to use a rolling pin and put some muscle into it.

  101. When our washer crapped out it was just a quarter stuck in the wrong spot. It was the most valuable quarter I ever owned! But it helped a friend when the same thing happened to her – she just fished it out herself.

  102. Oh dear. I’ll be thinking happy thoughts for Sir Washie’s quick repair, and your sanity. In the meantime, I agree with the suggestion you hit the laundromat. Somehow it just seems like the most immediately effective solution. Best wishes…

  103. Good luck with Sir Washie…you’ve probably already gotten an estimate, but if it helps, my washer (who is only 3 years old) had a noise & a similar break — it was somewhere around $150 (USD).
    Good luck on the laundry — and remember you can get great knitting done at the laundromat.

  104. Oh, Steph, I totally know what you’re going thru. My 10 year old washing machine suddenly stopped spinning last week. I hoped “A belt? a belt I can fix.”
    Nope. The belt was fine. I called the appliance repair guy (and have to admit that I tried to talk him into taking a pair of hand knit wool socks plus parts for payment. After all, it worked for the plow guy and I got a big jar of honey for teaching someone how to knit. Barter is good, right?) But he wanted cash (something about having a family to feed).
    In any case, he came. Left 15 minutes later and didn’t charge me anything. The machine is dead. The transmission is shot. Who knew a washing machine had a transmission?
    My husband is negotiating a contract that’ll allow us to buy a new washing machine. In Jan. In the meantime, we’re washing only what’s necessary at the laundry mat.
    And the towels are NOT dirty unless you puke on them!

  105. If you pick the right laundromat you could actually end up ahead of the game. You could do ALL the laundry at the same time…and knit while you are at it! Load every scrap of laundry into multiple machines, knit while the washers do their thing, stop briefly to transfer to the super fast, hot dryers, knit on until they are finished, load it back into your car and dump the laundry folding chore onto the first person that admits they need clean clothing.
    You’re welcome. Glad to help. >wink<

  106. I forgot.
    My accountant friend (for whom these things are important) says they save about $25 / month on their new super-high-efficient-front-loader. They do 6 loads a week now instead of 12, plus the new machine uses 14 gallons of water instead of 30? 60? I don’t remember, but she broke it down in a spreadsheet for me about when we’d pay off a new high efficient machine vs. the old, top loader type.
    I love that there are people in the world who are willing to do stuff like this πŸ™‚ (And that one of them is my friend πŸ™‚

  107. Have you tried running the washer again? Our washer, which is a LOT less than 30 years old, once in a while (not often at all) for no obvious reason, fails to spin the water out of the clothes. I close the door, push the “drain and spin” button, and let it have a second chance. It almost always spins out the water then. Just once I had to give it a third chance.

  108. I second recommendations to treat yourself to a drop-off laundry service (it frees up time to knit). Have you considered visiting the mall Santa, sitting on Santa’s lap and sobbing that you have been better than ever this year and desperately need a new washer . . . after you have anonymously notified a local television news station that you heard there was going to be a naked woman sitting on Santa’s lap this afternoon? Not that you would be naked, but it might get the news reporters to capture your heartbreaking plea to Santa. Someone is bound to notice your plight and come through with free laundry service through the holidays / the gift of a new washer / or free clean clothes. It’s the holiday spirit of giving that counts in this emergency, isn’t it? If that doesn’t work, email me and we’ll move to Plan B.
    Sincere best wishes for speedy stress relief and clean laundry in the New Year.

  109. washer belts are cheap and EASY to replace. Joe can do it. Just tell him a young, stupid american woman managed to figure it out so he can. Don’t worry. Male ego will win. Tell him to go online and look it up, no big! =^)

  110. Steph,
    I’m so sorry to here about Sir Washies troubles, but I would advise not getting a front loader. We have one at the house we are renting, and much to my schagrin, it’s much harder on knitted items than our old top loader. Sure they look nice, but the spin cycles is way to tough. Look at the bright side though. You will have some barely interrupted knitting time while you do the laundry somewhere else. Good luck. After all you are my inspiration. I’m planning to cast on a hat for my Dad as we begin a 11 hour drive to go see my folks. I’ll have 3 days from cast-on to finish it.
    Melissa

  111. Merry Christmas! My Christmas present is heat ($600 to fix the electronic relay thingy last week when the furnace would click click click but never WHOOSH) and draining sinks ($1200 to replace the stopped up then broken then leaking waste pipes from the kitchen sink and bathroom sink to the outlet). Christmas morning I will arise, kiss my furnace and drain pipe and enjoy.
    Nothing like expensive repairs when hubby is out of work. Gotta love the fickle fingers of fate.

  112. I beg of you, avoid my plight! Fix poor Sir Washie!! Our faithful top loader went away when his cousin the dryer died (as in the repairman was out twice in a month and said “replace it”). We were seduced by the opinion of the Dad who felt the washer and dryer were a pair. I am hating on my new front loader that walks, doesn’t drain properly and otherwise makes washing a hell. Now, don’t get me wrong, it washes the CLOTHES fine. It does it more slowly, yet more efficiently. And under protest. This is where the washer and I have issues. I feel the washer has no right to protest having to spin. It disagrees.

  113. I’m so sorry – I hate appliance problems. I guess this wouldn’t work with two old washers, but mine also won’t spin the water out the first spin, so I have to turn it back around to spin again and for some reason it works the second time. I know I’m on borrowed time though and this won’t last long. Good luck!

  114. I hate to say this, but I recently had a similar problem with Ms. Dryer, and discovered that it’s cheaper to buy a new one than fix the old one.

  115. Oh, good luck with that. Are there any laundromats in your neck of the woods? May be a way to keep on track while Mr. Washie sorts himself out.
    By the way, I can attest first-hand to the hotness of Pierce Brosnan (and yes, I do dearly love my husband too). I happened to be visiting a Coco Chanel exhibition at the Met in NYC a couple of years ago and James Bond himself was there with his gorgeous, voluptuous wife. The way the exhibition was set up, I ended up “following” them the entire time (it was designed with narrow corridors and a set path). Now I’m not usually the type to get starstruck, but I have to admit that I was sort of blinded by their glamour. He really looked like what I imagine a movie star to look like. Very old-school Cary Grant-ish, incredibly handsome and stylish. Plus he seemed to be really sweet and attentive to his wife. Swoon…

  116. I feel your pain in so many ways. Here my family and I were just about to embark on buying a new house, when I go and have to have surgery… deductible due immediately = cash out of the down payment. Then, our “sexy front loader” spinned its last load… new washer = cash out of down payment. Does the universe even care that it’s Christmas? I’m watching my down payment dwindle by the day as our closing date for the new place draws closer and closer. Sometimes, its just easier to laugh than cry. Good luck!

  117. the kenmore heavy duty… they don’t make them like that anymore!
    mine has had a $5 coupling part replaced so that it would agitate again, and is due to have a belt or something replaced as it now only agitates 3/4 of the time. http://www.searspartsdirect.com/partsdirect/index.action has schematics. though i recommend having someone else do the major surgery, having my washing machine guts all over the floor was a bit more than i could handle.
    i fear having to replace it. none of the newer ones spin hard at all.

  118. I greatly miss the 30+ year old Maytag that was still working perfectly when the dryer died, however the water and electricity we save with the new front loader makes it worth while.

  119. I totally understand you loving your washer. Our first washer came with the house and we’d only been in about two months when it crapped out. Repair guy came, took it apart and found the drain plugged with all sorts of stuff, most notabley $10 and $20 bills along with coins. The folks we bought the house from aparently had never emptied any pockets prior to washing. How great is that – a washer that breaks down and then gives you enough money to pay the repair guy!The dryer, on the other hand, set a whole load of my 10 year son’s clothes on fire and I had to call the school and say he wouldn’t be going that day while he threaten to hit me if I said it was because he had no underwear. No love for dryers and now we don’t own one.

  120. I’d send my Brother-in-Law over to fix it for you since he’d work for a couple of beer and a warm sweater, but he’d need you to buy the ticket from Newfoundland so you would probably be better off with someone a little more local.
    Pity you can’t just weld on a handle and hand crank the washer tub to wring.

  121. I can totally feel your pain. I am currently with out a dryer. With the cold weather there are no dry clothes even though we can get them clean.

  122. You haven’t been doing any felting, have you? A blocked drain can cause wet clothes….(and I think it can be cleaned out by an ordinary handy person, not necessarily a repair man.) Just a wild idea.

  123. I feel your pain. As it happens my washing machine has just this morning decided to quit draining (again)

  124. As a veteran of the Washer Wars, may I suggest a “new old” washer (if Sir Washie is irreparable)? I am on my fourth washer in forty-two years and only one of them cost more than $150USD. The washer that cost the most was purchased new and only lasted 5 years! With six children, DH, and myself, a h*!! of a lot of towels, sheets, undies, and blue jeans went through the spin cycle.
    The laundromat suggestion is very practical given your current Christmas knitting situation, but do you drive? If not, Joe will have to take you and the laundry; but maybe he’ll hang around to help out…or bring the girls to tackle folding.
    Before you give up on the whole thing, though, give Sir Washie one more chance. Set the dial at the beginning of the spin cycle. Listen for the pump to start running. Then give the tub a little (or strong) push in the right direction. It’s worked for me in the past.
    Best of luck to you. Will send positive thoughts in your direction.
    Jane S. in Ohio

  125. I guess after reading your post you dont have household insurance? otherwise you could get your washine machine fixed for nothing & if it wasnt repairable your insurance would pay you the price value of the machine, even a 30 year old machine πŸ™‚

  126. I didn’t think other people felt this way about appliances, I thought it was only my Mom. One year, my mom’s washer went kaput…understandable with doing laundry for 7 children for 20 years. When they were taking the washer out of the house I say my Mom got a little misty eyed and I asked what’s wrong-she said I feel so bad…I said about what…she said that washer was a faithful friend, helped me keep my kids clean, provided so many years of faithful service…at first I thought she had watched the Brave Toaster one too many times…but having my own home with my own appliances helping me keep my family neat and tidy I completely understand. Perhaps instead of paying in yarn you could offer a lifetime supply of knitted socks…too good to pass up!

  127. I am so sorry about Sir Washie…. I have no suggestions for this one other than wringing things out in the bathtub and hanging them up. Normally, I’d say that you could hang them outside, but it’s wintertime in Canada, which is no good for hanging out wet clothing.

  128. We had a washer that died mid-cycle, water undrained. My husband took it apart and figured out what the problem was, but I can’t remember now what it was (sorry about that). At any rate, it was something expensive. It was also the last straw–I never liked that washer anyway and I wanted a front loader. That particular washer had been bought by the previous homeowners and had unnecessary buttons and electronics that I would not have chosen–because they break, and are expensive to boot! We’d already had something repaired on it recently, so by the time it did that…
    Good luck fixing Sir Washie! I’m very sorry to hear he’s ailing, and I feel your pain!

  129. Short term: wring and squeeze by hand and spend the extra electricity on drying the critical stuff, even though the drying will take longer. (Underwear often dries quickly.) On the non-critical stuff, wring and squeeze by hand and drape the wet stuff to dry. Not fun, but doable. And don’t wash anything else that isn’t critical. And buy more underwear.
    And take knitting to the laundromat. A friend’s recent experience (she moved cross-country faster than her appliances did), is that laundromats are less crowded after 3 pm.

  130. My washing machine broke, with 4 loads backed up in a queque, and my sister coming to babysit my 3 children, for a week, for my only holiday with my husband without the children since they were born. I know your pain…

  131. I understand the need to be faithful to umm (not old), reliable (ah, better) appliances. When my parent’s gave up house living for the apartment life, I eagerly grabbed the fridge and washer acquired when we first moved into a house the year my brother was born. I think I even helped pick them out. Alas, the dryer bought a number of years ago, but the other appliances just keep on trucking along.
    Now my MIL believes in the value of recycled appliances. $50-100 can get you a decent replacement appliance of almost any kind. Better yet, if you know someone who has been seduced by one of those new shiny, top-loading models, try to inherit those rejects while they still have use in them.
    I don’t know exactly how’d you get them in and out… We’ll hope for the best.

  132. Thirty years ago they built things to be mended when they broke down rather than disposed of. Provided that they can get the part he’ll be fine. If you’re really lucky it’s the belt, get two because it’s something you can replace yourself.
    We went to the Science Museum once and were amused to find my mother’s dryer in the line up of old appliances. It was stove enamelled and she bought it to dry my nappies. I’m 45 now and it’s still going, although when the heating element went after some 30 years my dad had to get one made (hit with a hammer more like). The parts place couldn’t believe what they were seeing and all gathered around for a look.

  133. Ouch. The last time we had a washing machine that wouldn’t spin it was actually dog hair clogging it up somehow. I don’t know how this happened seeing as the dogs don’t generally come inside, but there you go. Maybe your problem is yarn lint?

  134. Gotta agree with the fixing of the old washers. The new ones only last 7-10 years. No matter how sexy or expensive, they have a short life span.

  135. My “Mr Washie” died this year after 20 years, despite being fixed several times by my husband. It was very sad as he (the washing machine)had been with me through 2 children & all the clothes & nappies.
    But after a malfunction caused an overflow & a flood in the downstairs appartment, it was time to get a new one to avoid this happening again. And it is really good.
    Husband has dismantled the old one for the motor. Think he’s going to make a wind turbine or something.

  136. Having just paid Β£191.51 for my washer dryer to be fixed (after 4 looooong months of no working machine in the house) I feel your pain.

  137. We used to have an old Eaton Viking in our old house in Scarborough – it would be 30 years old now.
    The one time we had to have it repaired (the belt went) the guy who came told us to NEVER replace that washer – that it would work until the end of time if we took care of it.
    I still miss it. Yeah, I’m weird.

  138. This will probably seem like an *extremely* rude question, but I can’t hep wondering why you’re doing the washing? Your family knows that you’re stressed out, that housework needs to be done, yet you’re the one doing it. Can’t you bribe the kids into discovering Sir Washie is sick?

  139. I hope that whoever said drivebelts are (relatively) cheap was right…
    But if your Christmas present will be a repaired Sir Washie, the ‘damage’ should be shared with the rest of the family – perhaps they could do some extra chores so your present is ‘a repaired Sir Washie plus extra knitting time’? πŸ™‚

  140. LOL!! I think that paying with sock yarn might be a stretch, but paying with hand knitted socks might work, especially since you live in the Great White North and all. Just how many pairs of socks do you have in your knitted stash anyway? If the Canadian repair guys charge like the US repair guys, you might need a lot of socks! Sorry the Universe slapped you. It got me too yesterday. I guess there’s a lot of that going around! I really like what Andrea and Mizzle said. I think you should milk this bad boy for all it’s worth. It’s only fair. Good luck on your mission. I hope Sir Washie feels better soon.

  141. Bummer. I think the Laundromat might help. No distractions, just wash and knit.
    Make sure when the repair guy tries to sell you the part he isn’t overcharging you. A friend googled her part and paid less than 1/2 what the guy wanted, when she confronted him with the info.
    And be prepared to hear, “we might not have that any more.” We heard that with our 20 yr old dryer, but they fixed it. For 30 bucks.
    Hoping it works out easily and quickly.
    janet

  142. I feel your pain. I lost my stove of twenty years the week before Thanksgiving. I have since gotten a sexy, flat top with a fifth warming element on the stove top, but it’s just not the same.
    Maybe the repair guy will take actually completed socks instead of just the yarn.

  143. My motto is…If it ain’t leaking, fix it!…I have to admit, tho. I love my front loader. And another suggestion…he may not work for yarn, but he might just work for socks…..it works for bakers…..I know!

  144. I have read your Blog wthout commenting for almost 3 years now. I am continually amused(and in the case of Canadian politics, educated)by your writing and impressed with your knitting. Now I must tell you that anyone who can knit “Manon” can replace a washing machine drive belt on Sir Washie. Think of it like a cable and you’ll do fine. Here’s a nice “pattern” for you to take a look at: http://www.acmehowto.com/howto/appliance/washer/check/belt.php Yes, it is true that you have convinced me that you can do just about anything.

  145. It may just be that the filter needs cleaning — I had a similar problem my washer last week when I tried to wash my son’s very dirty vest, but after removing the sand from the filter the washer worked again.

  146. The rule of thumb I’ve heard is that, if a washer is more than 10 years old, don’t bother repairing it, buy a new one. But, that said, they manufactured better washers 30 years ag o – they lasted much better. So I’d say if you can get Mr. Washie repaired for a reasonable amount,

  147. I can totally relate! Our washer broke down around Thanksgiving. Dh is a handy guy so tried to fix it to no avail. So my Christmas present this year is brandy new front loader. Yeah there won’t be many presents for me under the tree this year but I now have a washer that can wash delicates and handwashables, perfect for all those knitted items.

  148. I usually felt little things, like drum stick cozies, so this may not be practical for larger items, but I felt using a large bucket. I fill it with warm water and a tiny bit of soap. My kids time me and watch me squish the project. It’s kind of neat because you can feel it felting. It feels like you are sculpting the yarn. Very cool. Good luck with the washer. Too bad your kids are too old to fool with the “hand washing and hanging clothes on the line is fun” scam, a la Tom Sawyer. They could pretend to be pioneers. πŸ˜‰

  149. I’m with the ‘see if it’s a belt and if so, try to fix it without a repair guy’ club. You’ve already got a lot of useful-looking links for sites with repair instructions, so I’ll just add one thing. If you confirm the belt theory and have any trouble finding a replacement, take the broken one to your local auto-parts store and see if they can match it- I did this recently for a belt for my old table saw, and they came up with something exactly the same size in about three minutes flat.

  150. Can’t take time to read EVERYTHING now – but hey, you know what? I’m guessing the offer of a copy of your book (signed) AND a pair of Harlot-Handknit Socks…would be a very fair barter for Mr. Washie’s medic. (Heck – *I* would do it for that….if I were in Toronto, had any mechanical ability, had any experience, had a bunch o’ tools, had……well, you know.

  151. My first car was a 1968 Chevy Impala that I bought used in 1979. When the fan belt broke on the way home one day, I stopped at a parts place, bought a new one and fixed it myself. I can’t even find the fan belt on my current vehicle. Complicated/sexy is not always better.
    And to those who don’t read before commenting: Usually when the repair cost nears or exceeds the replacement cost it is prudent to replace. This is what happened to my washer when I ignored the oil stain on the floor from the transmission. But when the replacement cost includes a kitchen remodel to get the new appliance into its proper place the prudent course is repair, repair, repair.
    Get well soon, Sir Washie.

  152. Can you tell the kids that last years jammies are fashionable and that they look great under a parka and then go knit some more…? Just sayin’ it’s worth a shot.

  153. Be sure to let us know when Sir Washie is better. We’ll be worrying until then.
    I once had a refrigerator bite the dust on a day I was serving dinner for 50 guests, so I feel your pain.
    On a brighter note, I showed around one of my Noro striped scarves at an LYS where none of the ladies use computers. The virus has now jumped the Internet and is being spread by folk process.

  154. My mother prefers to send me money at Christmas rather than shopping. For the last several years, I plan what I will be buying with the funds. I have not yet purchased what I planned. Each year instead one of our appliances simply dies sometime between December 20 and January 2. Last year our hot water heated failed right on Christmas day. Luckily the hot water heater was a rental and the company came in the afternoon with a brand new one. It required redoing the exhaust vending to the outside which we had to pay for. There went the Christmas money! Thanks Mom.

  155. Hopefully it is just a belt and Sir Washie will be up and running in no time. The cost of a belt repair is usually minimal and, if you’re clever (and you’ve shown that you are), can usually be done by yourself. Dude. You refinished a floor by yourself. (Well… mostly.) You can totally handle replacing a fan belt.
    I also second the delegate the laundry to Joe and the girls at the local laundromat. It’ll get done all at once and you can focus on other things – repairing the washer and/or knitting.
    ‘Tis the season, right?

  156. Ah–the old washing machine repair, I know it well. Fortunately for me I am married to a direct descendent of Rube Goldberg. Our old machine belt and belt mechanism was repaired by my husband using old bike inner tubes and some sort of bike gear. Nothing sexier than a man who can fix things….

  157. So so sorry … a day arrives when appliances cost more to repair than they are worth … good money after bad and all those cliche’s … visiting a laundromat is a difficult chore in winter ! Good vibes and OMS are being sent.

  158. If it is only a belt you can do it yourself. You can even get the instructions on youtube or google. Good luck! I agree that the gift of not smelling funny is perhaps the best gift of them all.

  159. Sir Washie just wants some holiday love. He’s part of the family too, right? Dress him up in some mistletoe when you present his gift.

  160. I sure hope it was just a belt and that Sir Washie is back in business already. Sending positive (and inexpensive) thoughts…..

  161. i second
    http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday/stevebrannan.html If I remember rightly he fixed an appliance for a friend and took payment with several of her very fine art photos. Not only was she thrilled to make the exchange ( money commonly being a short item in artistic households ), she was even more thrilled that he enjoyed her work
    elyse

  162. Get well soon, Mr Washie!
    I have my new front loader, but I’ll admit that I long for an appliance as faithful as Mr. Washie. So far, I have not had luck with any of them showing such fortitude.

  163. I’m thirding (at least) Steve Brannan. Lovely man, and he fixed my fridge just by leveling it when I thought it was terminal.

  164. Oh, and when your washer does give up the ghost, we’ll talk about a guy named Garfield who can squeeze a washer through the eye of a needle…

  165. Watch the repairman like a hawk and have Joe or another male around if you can,even if he doesn’t know which end of the screwdriver is the handle. My repairman tried to convince me that I needed a new timer as well as the water pump and when I told him I saw him disconnect the timer when he put the cover back on, it took a visit from the police to get him to leave.

  166. Once again you have made the mundane things of life laughable!! how I can identify~my own Sir Washie once overflowed all over the laundry room, kitchen and a small bath we have since it would not quit filling. So a big deal in a family with 8 kids home at the time. Anyway, I totally understand and will hope that Sir Washie is back up and cleaning for you again soon!

  167. You can use old pantyhose for a drive belt. You can do it for cars, so I’m assuming it’d work on a washer as well. But the best thing in the world is my new LG: http://www.lgwasherdryer.com/combos/wm3988hwa.htm I’ve had it over a year, and I continue to giggle with glee at the fact that I no longer have to transfer wet clothes from a washer to a dryer. Sure, it takes longer, but it’s totally, completely worth it.

  168. how do you get a washer to last 30 years??? the front loaders look sexy, but i wasn’t happy with mine. if you must…get one with a big hole.

  169. Oh no! Not Sir Washie! He has been a valiant companion all these years! I hope it is something simple. It would not be good otherwise.

  170. Are you sure it wasn’t just unbalanced? I have thought the washer was broken but after rearranging the items, it started right back up and spun itself out beautifully. I am trying to give you hope.
    On the laundry front, though, I am concerned that you are not teaching your girls enough self reliance. Shouldn’t they be doing their own laundry by now? I did teach my son at age 12 and he did his own ever since. It has come in very handy for him with 3 kids. You would have a whole bunch more time to knit if they learned to add the soap and turn the dials correctly. Tell them it is a life lesson it is time to learn.
    OH yes, that person that is on the list out of sufferance, but might have not appreciated the gift enough should pay for the repair.

  171. The good news is that probably Sir Washie is from the era of REPAIRING rather than REPLACING. Like the guys on “Car Talk” say, you want to look for a repairman who graduated from high school before 1975 or thereabouts, so he’ll understand the concept of repair.
    My own Lady Washie has survived since about 1985; her partner Sir Dryer gave up the ghost about five years ago, rather suddenly. He was replaced with a rascally Squire Dryer whippersnapper who BROKE one of his plastic parts last spring. I was able to go through the summer by hanging things outside but finally realized that wouldn’t be a good idea in the winter (I remember snapping my mom’s frozen sheets) and called for repair. The fact that Squire Dryer was a pretty decent quality machine made repairing him a better idea than replacing. And the repairman was at least ten years older than I am!

  172. I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was 10.
    Crisis suck. I’ve got 2.5 hours to get the rest of the Christmas shopping done today and it’s a frigging blizzard out.
    Else next week I’ll have to get a sitter so I can go out alone.
    And I need to shovel. And it just dawned on me that I should knit something for my neighbour.

  173. A hurricane pushed a 5 foot wall of sea water through my house and made it possible for me to replace my washing machine with a front loading machine. Top of the line too. I HATE it. You start the dumb thing and then find a sock or some underwear on the stairs, which fell out of the pile in your arms, and you want to put it into the load, right? If you can push the right combination of buttons to spring the lock and open the washing machine door, water pours out on the floor because the door is in front. The door is part of the structure which holds the water. I should have thought that one through.
    And don’t even get me started on the woes of an unbalanced load!

  174. I want to know what Ken does to produce such fabulous, muscular triceps while keeping the biceps at bay! And no, I’m not kidding. Guest post, please!

  175. oh dear! i lived for almost a year with a washing machine that wouldn’t spin. i’d take out every load, wring what i could, roll in towels what i couldn’t, and hang stuff on racks, dry the critical stuff right away in the dryer which would ooze moisture… after a day of hanging the rest of it was usually ready for the dryer. of course, this meant my small apartment was converted into a drying arena every few days, but what odds.

  176. I can’t help but think …. if you can’t get Sir Washie out of the basement, and you can’t get him repaired, can you get another washer in?

  177. When my washer did that, it was the clutch. Repair man #1 didn’t believe me.($75 US for the call and nothing) Repair man #2 knew right off. Waited one day for parts; installed $90. We’ll use that guy again. My hubby had looked up common problems for our model on-line and clutch was the biggie. Of course, our washie is only 4 years old. Sorry.

  178. I’m feeling your pain – mine was beyond repair and since THanksgiving I have had to purchase both washer/dryer and now dishwasher too! Happy Christmas to me – no jewelry, gift certificates to LYS or other goodies – just appliances!
    Hope Mr. Washie is fixable!

  179. It’s too bad I live in South Carolina… my husband fixes washing machines and I would surely make him fix it for sock yarn. Good luck!

  180. knit a drive belt. expensive male noises. elf jammies. payment in sock yarn.
    thank you for your words. i really needed those today.
    (rum is helping, too)

  181. I’m right there with you! My microwave AND my dishwasher died yesterday. I have 8 house guests this week, along with the four people who regularly live here, and 11 house guests staying with me next week, not to mention major holiday cooking and baking and clean up to do. I scoured the yellow pages looking for an appliance repair outfit that could come at once. So someone is due here this afternoon, and I’m hoping he has the parts he needs on his truck and he will leave me with two working appliances (and not empty the bank account to do it).

  182. I vote for the laundromat until January. Give Sir Washie a little vacation time and get all of your clothes done at once. Plus you can knit there too.
    Go Steph! Go Steph!!

  183. I would fly up from Fl to fix it and will be happy to be paid in sock yarn. But that pesky Christmas shopping still needs to be done.

  184. I had a washer break once – didn’t even drain the water. Thankfully I worked for an electrical contracting company and one of “the guys” came over and we bailed out the water and he pulled out the motor, replaced a belt and was done super quick. If I’d known how easy it was I really could have done it myself. Perhaps you or Joe could just pull Sir Washie away from the wall and have a looksee at his motor. It might be something super easy and obvious to fix.

  185. *Completely off topic, but timely none the less*
    I wanted to thank you for posting the mailing address for Santa Claus. When I read it on your blog I wrote it down and stuck it to my ‘fridge until the end of November, when I told my six year old son I had it and he needed to work on his list for Santa. The child diligently wrote down everything he ever dreamed of, then revised the list fifty-six-million times and then we mailed the letter off to Santa the first week in December. We got a handwritten fabulous response from Mrs. Claus this week. We all enjoyed it and we have it for the scrapbook.
    Thank you very much! Your blog is all around wonderful!
    Deb in PA

  186. Up north west, on Caledonia, up north of Lawrence, is a wonderful store called “Reliable Parts”. It is staffed by those slightly condescending older men who see it as their job to help us poor women with broken appliances.
    I would run the washer another cycle and watch what doesn’t happen – does it not spin? does the agitator not go round? does the dial not click neatly into spin? does it not drain?
    Then – get thyself to google with your make, model # and problem.
    Odds are good, you can fix it yourself – or at least find someone a little handy and cheaper than a washer repairman.
    Plus – underwear… available at Walmart. πŸ˜‰

  187. Here’s directions for hooking up your washer to a bicycle. Super easy to create the drive band needed. So you hook it up to a bicycle, you pedal away, your clothes get spun, you don’t use electricity, and if you use a recumbent bike (instead of the road bike pictured) you could pedal and knit at the same time. I’m pretty sure it’s the solution to all your problems.
    http://earthfirst.com/go-manual-and-go-green/

  188. Only you, Stephanie, can inspire over 200 knitters to worry about and comment on your clothes washer. We have a great support group going here!

  189. The valiant Sir Washie has suffered a setback, but is not defeated. I know you will find someone who can help you rearrange his karma and get him back on the team (if I could think of a few more metaphors I would mix them!). I had one of my washers rebuilt when i was told it was of the old “tough, old, worth repairing” family and not the “new, flimsy parts, impossible to fix” sort. We got a lot more good years out of it before something irreparable happened.
    And I long ago discovered that one can do any amount of laundry in an hour and a half if there are enough washers. Allows for some knitting time too. However, you didn’t mention if there was a laundromat close enough that you could haul everything there in a wagon (you are not generally car-enabled, if I recall).
    Knit on – we will be cheering for both you and the schedule and Sir Washie!

  190. If Sir Washie is of a certain age, like you say he is, he is most likely a relatively simple machine. We had exactly the same issue a short while ago, and it was a snapped belt. It cost about $20 USD for two (because they’re sold in pairs for my particular Maytag) and Hubby crawled in there to put it on, and now it’s good as new.
    Don’t lose heart, Steph and Sir Washie!

  191. OH btw, I got a sexy hott LG frontloader when we moved, and ultimately, it’s proving to be a choice that lacks the staying power a woman like me wants her washer to have, know what I mean? All style, no substance. Talks a good game in the bar, but when you get home… well, you see where I’m going.
    I’ve been keeping Sir Washie in my thoughts all day. But I did mean to tell you if he needs replacing, I’m not as enthralled with my LG as I’d like to be. Maytag or Bosch next time for sure.
    Also, when you have a frontloader, you can no longer use it to spin out water from anything fibery that needs drying. Just sayin’.

  192. Ok, I understand this is a craptacular truck and all…but couldn’t he have Bo Duked it out the window?
    I’m pretty sure the light post wouldn’t have been as wide as the window opening, and you can bet your hindquarters I would have tried to squeeze my pink booty past it.

  193. I feel your frustration. My Christmas present is a new hot water heater and new plumbing behind my kitchen sink. And I so wanted some cashmere!! Oh well, at least I can wash the dishes and clothes now. Hope Sir Washie is on the mend soon!

  194. My old Maytags name was Albert. He was a reincarnation of my uncle and when he died I missed him (the washer).

  195. “Have you got a lettuce spinner? That sucker’ll do anything up to t-shirts.”
    Dianna, that was my best laugh of the week.

  196. I haven’t named my dryer yet…..but I should! It was purchased when my son was a baby and my son is now 24. I tell folks that the dryer is more a part of the family than some other actual members of the family. Ha! I’m going to go give my dryer a hug now. πŸ™‚

  197. Lord, that was funny – and yet claustrophic! Joe is amazing; I want a Joe. So glad things turned out well, aside from the extra dings on J’s truck. My washing machine died a few weeks ago. It was helped along in its demise by my felting of a wool sweater that escaped from its protective pillowcase and shed terribly. It had been on its last legs for a few years now, and all that loose woolly fluff did not help. Square Deal Neil, appliance retailer in Southampton, to the rescue! I now have a new-to-me top loading washer that behaves very well (some people upgrade on a whim these days, putting very serviceable used goods on the market); fingers crossed for both of us!

  198. My dad is a washing machine repairman, but unfortunately we live in Chicago. But if we did not – I would make him take payment in yarn!!
    On the whole though, it does sound like a belt. If you think you want to fix it yourself, drop me an email and I’ll ask Pops if it is feasible.
    (sometimes it is, he has talked me through replacing a dryer belt, and Joe sounds like the mechanical sort)

  199. Oh, poor Sir Washie! And poor Joe, and poor you! Your Joe is a definite keeper, though. That trapped-in-the-car-which-is-trapped thing would have almost anyone either panicking or raging, or both. Wash belts aren’t too expensive, though, I don’t think. Good luck with everything!

  200. Oh! This has been a lifesave for me in the past: repairclinic.com
    Great customer service, fast shipping, and wonderfully informative. I’ve saved two dryers, a refrigerator and a dishwasher this way. Best of luck!

  201. http://fixitnow.com/
    Samuri Appliance Repairman to the rescue (no, really, I’m NOT kidding)
    Our washing machine had the same catastrophe befall us (on the same weekend the fence broke, the VCR broke, the toaster broke and the car broke and then the other car broke).
    My husband fixed it for twenty bucks (US). The project is rated at two beers (apparently the Samurai repairman drinks slower than my husband does). But he did it and it wasn’t too hard.

  202. Do you have freecycle (think “only free craigslist”, if you have no idea what I’m refering to) up there? We finally moved from our parents a few months back and it’s helped set us up with some silly things, but I see washers posted free for the taking all the time! (I’m in the Berkshires, but from lower NY and we’re finally seeing a REAL winter. Yikes!)
    Good luck with the fixing, I hope your knight is soon up and running! Happy Christmas!

  203. The same thing happened to my 27 year old ms. washie, and it’s a $45 (american) part called a wigwag. I’m not making this up, obviously a man named it, but I digress. Seriously, my hubbie fixed it in about an hour with no swearing, which in itself makes it a festivus miracle. Merry HoHo

  204. I have to say, there’s a lot to be said for a laundromat. Especially one that’s not so busy. You can put in all your laundry at once (I perfected the art of buying underwear in college before I would do laundry) and think of the knitting you can do while you’re waiting for the laundry to be done. You certainly can’t wash dishes or sweep the floor while you’re waiting at a laundromat! Nope, nothing to do but knit.

  205. If It was making “odd” noises before the breakdown, it might be the pulley and not just the belt. Expensive but fixable, and cheaper than remodeling.

  206. I had the same problem and it was a $12 plastic coupler. We found the details on how to fix it online. My husband fixed it. It was a big job since you had to take the whole darn thing apart, but he did it. Good luck.

  207. May Mr. Washie be fixable…..I remember the Octopus Furnace episode fondly… It is best to keep the old things if they can be helped along.

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