In which my optimism was appropriate

Never let it be said, my friends, that I am not a coper. I cope fine. I have a multitude of skills with which to cope at my disposal. I am basically a good natured person. I am an optimist. I knit, which takes the edge off of a multitude of bad situations, and I am not opposed to a good stiff belt of whatever it takes to get through just about anything. (That said, I do believe that I am to be commended for my relative sobriety throughout this entire vexing couple of weeks.) Fear not for my sanity.

This morning the plumber arrived, and brought with him the very nice gentleman who cuts up houses. I’d emptied my cupboards last night in preparation for whatever the hell was going to go down, and they draped the kitchen in plastic and began cutting up the house and shining lights into walls and making their diagnosis.


They spent quite a bit of time pondering what could be done, what should be done and what must be done, and at the end of this period of examination – during which I obnoxiously lurked around annoying them and asking questions (“Is it all right? Is that my pipe? How many holes do you have to make? How do the joists look? Why are you making that face? When you say “son of a *&^%$#$%^&^%$#&…. is that negative?”) the verdict was in and it was all good. Great even. They said a lot of things. Amongst the gems like “What the *&^% is that pipe doing there?” and “Whoa. What the hell is that?” and “Why do you think that’s not attached?” I gleaned the following relevant points.

1. Because the maniac who installed our plumbing a century ago did it funny – they only need to cut up one cupboard, not two.

2. As that same maniac put an exceedingly strange join in the pipe, they don’t have to cut up the ceiling, just the bulkhead over the cupboard.

3. There is NO structural damage of any sort at all. None. Zip. Nada. Apparently the gallons of water that have been falling down beside the pipe when we drain the tub have been cascading straight down the outside of the cast iron pipe and falling on the sandy soil in the crawlspace behind the washer and dryer and have (mostly) been absorbed by the ground. This explains the small mudslide we found behind our dear departed Sir Washie (which was a mystery that troubled us for days) and gives us an odd sense of celebration for the fact that we don’t have a proper cement floor (or walls) in that space. Who knew that an improperly finished antique cellar would pay off?

4. As the connections to the waste pipe are as bizarrely placed as a muskrat in a mirror store, Larry the plumber (a god walking the earth as man) can, in a strange and miraculous pipe dance of alchemy, totally replace the top part today and the bottom part tomorrow – which means that except for between 9 and 5 both days (and maybe a part of the third day) we can use our house. The kitchen will be out of commission the whole time, just because of the mess, but that’s why we’ve been blessed with the great and modern gift of pizza delivery.

5. That doesn’t mean that it will cost less, but does assure that it won’t be a penny more, which is so freaking great that it made me want to kiss him full on the mouth – which I didn’t do, although I may have confessed the urge.

I’ve retreated to my mother-in-laws house to work, where I can use the toilet at will, and although I’m still a little upset, I’ve pulled out the best coping skill I could find.


Cashmere. One small and precious skein that was a gift from a very nice friend this Christmas. I’ve started to knit it up into a cowl of my own devising, and I think it looks wonderful.


I intend to knit as much cashmere as it takes for the pipe to be replaced, my kitchen (both sides) to be repaired and for the extremely uncomfortable stress related spasm in the left side of my upper back to stop trying to shove my shoulder blade into my ear.

See? I’m a coper. Thanks for the good vibes for the kitchen. I think it worked.

273 thoughts on “In which my optimism was appropriate

  1. That’s excellent news! Yay for the wonders of bizarreness in old houses! And it’s brilliant to use cashmere to take the edge off. I never would have thought of that. Congrats!

  2. MMM cashmere, you’re cowl will be lovely (and so will your home and well being, when all is said and done)

  3. All the good plumbers in the US are named Mike. Must be Larry up there. Enjoy your cashmere (and wine) and relax. It’ll all be a memory by the weekend! *I hope.*

  4. I’ve admired your coping skills for several months now, and have been highly entertained ever since I found your website (and your books). Over the holiday break I got caught up on all your past blog posts, and have one burning question – what will you name your new washer?
    Ok, make that two burning questions – when will your 2009 tour information be up? I work in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and want to be sure I can see you the next time you are in town.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Oh! Congratulations! That is as good of news as you could have gotten (other than the impossible — coming in under estimate).
    Happy New Year to you! Yay!

  6. “As much cashmere as it takes”–honey, I don’t know if there are that many goats in the world. But stay optimistic, that’s what we love about you. And congrats on the great plumbing news.

  7. Woohoo! Glad to know that wasn’t going to cost you $$$$ more than expected. I grew up in a house built in 1888 and helped my parents restore it. Imagine, if you will, part of your childhood chores to be wallpaper stripping and scraping the old paint off the side of the house! We had our share of adventures, and thankfully my dad is a seriously skilled fixer-upper, because with ceilings falling in, ‘creative’ plumbing and ‘state of the art’ wiring from well before the turn of the last century, we had our hands full! Though it was balanced by the cool stuff that we found, like money in the walls and newspapers and bottles of medicine (and, uh, ‘medicine’). Growing up in that place was like a living history lesson. πŸ˜€

  8. Whew, that’s a relief! And such pretty stress medicine, too. As we live in a place that has new plumbing that was put in by a neanderthal – actually that’s a slur on the neanderthals, sorry – anything plumbing related makes me quake in terror. And I totally understand you wanting to kiss your GOOD plumber. They are god-like, aren’t they??

  9. oooh, cashmere! Wait — “of your own devising”? does that mean that there will be a new pattern in the sidebar when you’re done? You know, after your kitchen is put back together?

  10. A “muskrat in a mirror store”?!! Having known a muskrat when I was in college – NOT an old boyfriend but a curious and quick-moving creature in a pond next to my dorm – I can only imagine how twisted one would become in a mirror store. I laughed till I cried – and boy, did I need it! Thanks, Steph, as always!

  11. Happy New Year in earnest this time. Congrats on ducking the plumbing bullet. (And that metaphor.) Your cowl looks gorgeous (pattern maybe, pretty please?) though I can’t imagine that one skein is going to last you three days of kitchen-loss.
    Oh, and your description of that shoulder spasm was so vivid that I had to fight not to start doing it myself immediately. Writing that good is dangerous!

  12. Grand News.
    Now- I have this idea…— the “coping cowl” is loverly so far..couldn’t you just this once let us buy a pattern from you and let the knitters of the world help a bit to cover the cost of this pipe of doom situation????

  13. Lovely beginning to the new cashmere cowl. I like the lace you have chosen.
    I hope the rest of the repair process is smooth and swift.

  14. Isn’t it amazing how so many people thinking such good thoughts can have a wonderous effect on something? Sort of like how a few $$ at at iem the knitters have created such a huge donation total to MSF.

  15. The cashmere thing is very pretty therapy indeed! I hope it all goes swimmingly and fast. Enjoy your pizza!

  16. Fantastic news! And what a lovely way to cope, cashmere. Does your cashmere gifting friend need more friends? I’d be happy to volunteer!

  17. Maybe your good luck will rub off…when the painter came before Thanksgiving to estimate the cost of painting the ceiling in the kitchen/dinette (due to a water leak making an ugly brown splotch the size of a dinner plate), he mentioned that it was still damp, which means the repairs the husband did might not have completely addressed the issue. However, since I didn’t want to have the ceiling partially torn out over the holidays (and potentially dripping noxious liquid on a guest’s head), the spot is still there. However, now that deer hunting season is over, as is his 50th birthday, the spot needs to be his top priority.
    I am certain that my Fiber Retirement Account is holding its value far better than my IRA, even though I haven’t had the courage to actually LOOK at the statements to see how much value the wretched thing has lost. I don’t have any cashmere in the FRA, but plenty of variety to keep me happy nonetheless.

  18. Ooo, a grey cashmere cowl… That sounds like a perfect way to balance out the unpleasantness of the last few weeks. Enjoy!

  19. Excellent news.. I have been keeping my fingers crossed for you. Cowls are good, especially when made from Cashmere!

  20. We had a dripping noise behind the sink. It was funny sounding. But there was no water to be seen. I don’t even remember how we found out that the dripping was the bathroom sink pipe that had a hole in it. There was black mold, the icky kind, on the drywall of the kitchen. So, I feel your pain. Cashmere does help. Knit through all pain.

  21. Cashmere against the neck does sound like a wonderful way to give yourself a lot of love. Maybe that shoulder blade will sink back into its proper place when you wear it?
    Here’s to a 2009 free of disaster!

  22. As long as they don’t have to cut up your handmade tile backsplash, I’m fine with less-drastic-than-expected. Really. That thing is gorgeous.

  23. “Cashmere therapy” and comparing anything twisted to a “muskrat in a mirror store” should really go into the lexicon with “kinnearing”!!
    So glad all went well. Keep Larry’s number handy, but here’s hoping you DON’T have to memorize it.

  24. *So* glad the plumbing saga isn’t turning into a true horror story! Do tell us more about that cashmere — it looks a lot like some cashmere that is produced in Bellingham, Washington, near me, that I have a single precious skein of. The cowl is fabulous! I hope you share the pattern.

  25. I know that between the broken washer and then the purchase of the new washer and dryer that a plumbing problem cannot be good news and is certainly very stressful. I’m certain that my husband and I would be totally freaking out in the same situation. Having once done many home improvement projects in an old house we can kind of relate. You have my deepest and sincerest sympathy.
    However, your talent for imparting the information heavily laced with the sort of humor that causes the reader to laugh at not just the situation but the author herself is remarkable. Your recent entries have been the most entertaining I have read in ages. I’m sorry that I’m laughing at you, but I can’t help it!

  26. Exceleent news, Dude. And, would Larry the plumber come to Aurora? We have a toilet that wants to flush into our front hall. Thankfully, we have two others that flush where they are supposed to, but one of these days, I’m going to want that other bathroom…

  27. Autographed paper copies of your “plumber’s friend” cowl pattern could become a hotly sought-after collectible in the knitting world… you could pay off the new appliances, the plumber, and maybe even the truck repairs by selling a limited edition pattern (even if it really isn’t your style to charge). just sayin’….

  28. That cashmere looks fabulous. I also find that wine helps smooth things over and make time go faster, large glass of red wine.

  29. Congratulations! Cashmere is good. Larry the Plumber is good. (Knit that man some socks!) And a quick, easy, and less expensive plumbing fix is always good, good, good! I can accept the off-setting bad karma of my own current dryer problems and the fact that NO ONE gave me your newest book for Christmas. What do they think “#1 on the list” means??? (Besides, I did receive a gift cert for my LYS, & she carries your books.)
    Looks like your New Year is finally off to a positive start, in spite of the loss of Sir Washie.

  30. I agree with TraceyinMichigan! I think the “Coping Cowl” pattern could be a way to pay for plumbing bills. Please let us buy the pattern!

  31. I grant this is a job for cashmere. If that’s not enough, though, there’s always the hard stuff. Got qiviut?

  32. Are those plumbing pipes I see in that cowl pattern? Optomistic is an understatement, and thank god that old century ago plumber had his weirdities in the right place…up your chakras…lol

  33. Beautiful start to your cowl! Beware viewing plumbers butt…it’ll shoot your eye out!

  34. Glad to hear the good news about the plumbing and its antidote, cashmere.
    Re: the stress-related kink in your upper back, here is what a physical therapist taught me for the same problem: First concentrate on relaxing your mouth and jaw–sort of let your jaw drop, and relax all the muscles in your mouth and throat that you can identify. (No doubt you’ve been gritting your teeth a lot lately, and your jaw and neck muscles are directly connected to your back muscles.)
    Then put your hand on the back of your head and GENTLY pull your head down, first to the front, then slightly to one side and then the other. Pull until you can feel a stretch, but not real pain. Hold briefly and release. Repeat this occasionally throughout the day, especially when you’re taking a nice warm shower or soaking in the bathtub (at your Lovely MIL’s house, until the plumbing is fixed?).
    Continue to be of good cheer, you’re holding up amazingly!

  35. I think that’s the best worst-case-scenario outcome I’ve ever heard. I’ve assisted my parents with too many home improvement projects to count, and they always result in a lot of swearing, fiddling over tiny mysterious leaks while installing toilets or dishwashers, and sometimes with a foot through the floorboards. I hope this rounds out your run of bad luck, and that your cashmere gets you through it all.

  36. Congrats! May all of your troubles for 2009 be at an end. πŸ™‚
    And, huzzah for pizza delivery! (I hear in the city you can even order it over the web — without speaking to someone on a phone!)

  37. A good plumber is a gift to be cherished. Ours is named Bob and he comes with a smile and lefty politics, both of which he always shares. I’m glad you’ve found your knight in shining armor.
    The Coping Cowl. I like that idea. I have several cowls in my Ravelry favorites list, but haven’t started any of them yet. I also have cashmere in my stash, and a New Year’s resolution to use some rather than save it for some greater future purpose. If you are game, how about a hint – yarn weight, meters, gauge?

  38. That’s great news. As you and I both know, it could have been a great deal worse.
    And knitting is such a wonderful coping mechanism.
    If you ever decide to do some finishing in the basement, I just heard about a new flooring product at Home Building/Hardware which is for
    soil or cement floors. It’s similar to laminate
    flooring but it solves the problem of dampness
    etc. Something to think about when your bank account recovers from this huge draining.
    (I just happened to see this product in a home
    hardware catalogue, and thought of a post you
    wrote several years ago about flooding in your
    basement and mud etc.)
    And now you can feel safe and secure about the
    plumbing in your home. Great.
    Marlyce in Windsor, Ontario

  39. “Muskrat in a mirror store”? Laughed ’til I cried. Cashmere is excellent therapy. Would happily pay for the pattern and doesn’t matter whether proceeds go to you, TSF or Mike the plumber. Take care!

  40. The cowl is gor-gee-us! What a wonderful coping skill.
    And may all the repairs go as well as predicted and be the end to the string of costly repairs so that you can get back to enhancing the stash.

  41. I’m so glad to hear that you do not have any structural damage (which is not to say that your kitchen is not structural, but you know what I mean). As someone who is having to have sheetrock repairs on a NEW house, I feel your pain. I hope the rebuild/recovery goes well. Love the cashmere. It looks like an excellent way to cope.

  42. I’m so glad that the estimate didn’t turn out to be a low-ball joke and I think the cashmere and the cowl look lovely!

  43. Yay for the kitchen/pipes. But that cowl is extremely beautiful. I can feel the softness from here.

  44. I’m so glad to hear that your plumbing emergency is fixable fairly easily. That makes it much better. I do think that cashmere is going to be the best therapy. Mmmm. Cashmere.
    And how strange that I also have a pain in my upper left back but I think it’s a pinched nerve. So frustrating. You can’t do ANYTHING without it annoying you. It is the time when you realize that all of your body is connected because you can’t move any part of it without feeling the pain. πŸ™‚

  45. As a woman who does her own plumbing and a lot of old house work, you are very fortunate with no serious water damage/rot to deal with. And knitting cashmere will help you get through this…the new washer will in time have a name, the house will be back in order and we’ll keep reading your blog, buying and reading your books and trying to see you when you are out and about…
    I actually have a boss that knits now, how cool is that???Doesn’t mean I knit at work but it does mean she understands me better than many others I have worked under…keep knitting, Maggie

  46. Fantastic! And it from the picture it looks relatively tidy! I attribute this entirely to my depressing remarks of yesterday which clearly jinxed the whole thing and prevented the situation from getting any worse. Ooops, I’d better be quiet…

  47. Hey, Stephanie — I was going to suggest that reassembling your kitchen could count as this year’s major renovation. . . but then I remembered that poor neglected middle child’s bedroom needs attention. Unless she already did it herself? After this last week, doing Meg’s room is going to feel like a vacation!

  48. You deserved some good (or maybe less horrible) news. Glad it went as well as it could.

  49. Your description of the plumber’s and house cutter-upper’s initial reaction to what they discovered reminded me of a comment I heard over and over when I lived in an old house and something needed repair: “I’ve never seen one like THAT before.” I’m glad things are no worse than they are. Hang in there!

  50. I’m so glad to hear that it’s going to be better than first thought. I would have so had to down a bottle of Xanax.

  51. Seems the maniac plumber turned out to have been a genius.
    Smart of you too, to go right to the cashmere because just a touch makes everything better.

  52. I am very relieved for you and cashmere is a great stress reliever!!!! I have been lurking here FOREVER and so enjoy your posts. I admire your knitting and how fast you can knit something up. The cowl looks like it has a beautiful beginning. Your kitchen woos remind me of how I spent the summer – remodeling my house and putting in wooden flooring. To have my dishwasher flood and need to take out the flooring in the kitchen and do it again. Oh my stomach tightens into a knot thinking about it. So glad it is behind me.

  53. So glad this is how it turned out and that you have cashmere.
    I am familiar with the repair person (plumber, electrician, carpenter whatever) doing that WTF look in my 108 year old house. I am only the third owner and the second owner inherited the house from her parents. Her husband was a mediocre Mr. Fix it. He could jury rig almost anything or figure out a cheap, not quite right way to fix something. For over 30 years now I have been finding and correcting “Mr. Murray repairs”. It’s amazing how universal the look is on the repair person’s face when they see one.

  54. Yay πŸ™‚ Glad fixing things doesn’t involve taking apart your (rather pretty) kitchen, and won’t land you in the poorhouse! I guess at some point the madness always has to end πŸ˜‰
    Also: mmmmm, cashmere…

  55. Before I read your post I looked at the picture of the guy in your kitchen scratching his head. I feared the worst – head scratching usually means $$*expensive*$$ and very messy work is ahead. May the luck of the knitters remain with you and yours!

  56. I was looking for an excuse to buy some cashmere to knit myself a pair of socks, and woman, you have given it to me. It may just be better than zinfandel for coping with stressful situations…

  57. Ooooooh maaaaan, that is some fine looking cashmere. I am sitting on my hands and reminding myself that A)I can’t touch it through my computer screen and B)I can’t go to the LYS. That cowl looks quite fetching. Glad you had insane great luck with your pipes! Yay!

  58. Wet soil under a house would very likely mean termites have moved in down here in Texas, so I am glad that apparently it is good news for you rather than bad! (I’m sure I’d be curled in the corner with my little hank of Buffalo Gold laceweight if gallons of water had been wetting soil under my high-termite-risk house for an extended period of time.) Of course, we rarely have anything resembling a basement, so the whole logistics of your situation is foreign (and interesting) to me.
    Can’t wait to see the cowl.

  59. I wonder if I should investigate that weird occasional noise in the front hall, which I’ve interpreted as the heater mumbling to itself, which it never did before.
    We can haz kowll patrn?

  60. It sounds like you are very deserving of the cashmere stash right now. That’s perfect!
    Dude, I have the same kind of plumbing, the big pipe that is right behing the kitchen sink and backs up against the bathroom on the other side. Only we have no basement in this 1950’s California wannabe Cape Cod house, just a slab foundation. So if I get a leak underneath, I think I will just have a giant sinkhole under the house, must get checked…

  61. I made my 18 yr old DD (who is supposed to be packing to move into the dorm on Friday) read your blog, starting on the 1st…I told her it was funny. She said “you always say it’s funny” (but agreed that it is). So she started reading (she’s a good girl). She eventually started reading it all aloud…but is having trouble reading, in between loosing her breath laughing and wiping her eyes. She is having a LOT of trouble reading this aloud. I’m having as much fun watching her laugh as I did reading it to begin with…she is REALLY enjoying this (my 10 yr old is now coaching her, saying, “breathe…in…out…..”!).

  62. Oh, Hallelujah! I am so very glad that it won’t be a long, drawn-out ordeal. I think a bottle of merlot is in order, to go with that pizza!

  63. Old houses are such a hoot. Well, old by upstate NY standards. About 2 weeks after we moved into our 1890 home, we noticed steam rising from our 1st floor powder room toilet. Hmmm. Many explanations reared their ugly heads. Hidden hot spring? Gate to hell? Too much fiber in our diets? Turns out the whole room had been plumbed (Is that a verb?) backwards. Hot water where cold should have been and cold where hot should have been. Thankfully an easy fix. Apparently the previous owners never noticed???!!!!

  64. As a fellow antique house owner, I celebrate the miracle that no further damage was found. We’re to the point where we pop a cork if ONLY $500 worth of extra work is uncovered when our walls are opened.
    I wonder if you can find the original maniac’s descendents and send them flowers? Whoever he was saved your bacon.

  65. You mean for all these years I could have coped better if I had some cashmere to knit?
    Who knew? Such a simple thing…excuse my while I go remedy that problem with my stash…

  66. I’m glad your plumber found the least possible badness in your wall! As for that migrating shoulder blade, can you get a massage therapist to trade a session for mittens or something? You don’t want to try to extract blade from ear if it should happen to get stuck! The story would make excellent reading, though, so now I’m torn. LOL

  67. I really like your coping mechanism. Is that Ecco Cashmere? I think I got a skein in the same color for christmas and I’m still deciding what to do with it. I kinda want to string it with pearls for whatever project I choose though, how much do you suppose small freshwater pearls cost?

  68. I think the cashmere cowl looks wonderful too – knowing your own ways to cope are usually the best. It could have always been worse – ‘you have to accent the positive, eliminate the negative, don’t mess with the alternative, don’t mess with Mr Inbetween.'(A bit of dysgraphia there I think – but you get my drift.

  69. I’m glad that it wasn’t structural. I was going to come back and ask what the appropriate knitting was for this sort of occasion. I couldn’t decide between something fiendishly complex that would occupy every brain cell and not leave any thinking space for worrying or garter stitch on big needles to recognise that all you would do was worry.

  70. If I rip up my kitchen can I knit with cashmere too? That cowl looks scrumptious. I’m happy to hear the plumbing problem isn’t too bad!

  71. In my experience, all tradesmen who come to the house look at the situation with a look that says “Why the #*$?&#& did they do it that way?” I’m glad it turned out to be a good thing they did it that way.
    Cashmere seems like a good antidote.

  72. GOOD! May there be peaceful monotony in your physical house for a long time. I think it has had enough for awhile.

  73. I’m so glad to hear it’s relatively good news. I grew up in an old house and I love them, but dang, things can go seriously wrong. I’m happy it didn’t.
    I can tell you first-hand that port, as well as wine and yarn, can take the edge off stress. Enjoy that beautiful cashmere!

  74. Ahh, cashmere! The panacea for all knitters’ stress. On the other hand, Joe might want to make sure the sledge hammers & sawz-alls are well hidden since you “intend to knit as much cashmere as it takes etc” and we wouldn’t want the plumber to show up tormorrow and wonder how/where/why that big section of pipe suddenly went missing.

  75. It’s often the case that, when one professional looks at the work of another, they see the results of a different intention and call it folly, madness, or plum stupidity. At least things weren’t as bad as they might have been.
    The cashmere is lovely, and the cowl even more so. Will you be posting the pattern?

  76. So glad your kitchen issues are going better!
    perhaps it is Sir Washie’s last gift to you?
    the cowl is BEAUTIFUL!!!! perfect stress reliever

  77. Wow. Thank goodness it wasn’t the worst (or even that close to the worst). Hopefully the new pipes and what not will make your house run even better than ever!

  78. As I’ve recently been tempted by several cowl/neck warmer patterns, I would love to buy the pattern for the one you are making. I’ve got my first foray into knitting lace on my schedule for the very near future, and that just looked so pretty!
    And think of this – selling the pattern to help pay for the plumbing expenses would mean that you wouldn’t have to stick to the yarn diet (at least for not as long!).

  79. Whew! Sounds like you dodged a bullet. Or maybe not entirely, but it could have been SO much worse. I’m delighted for you. BTW: the cowl you’re starting is just beautiful.

  80. Wonderful! Yay for a plumber who can fix the problem in less time and for no more money than estimated. And yay for whoever installed the pipes in the first place and arranged for leaks a hundred years hence to go safely into the ground. Very thoughtful of them!
    Cashmere is definitely one of the best coping mechanisms going. Isn’t it fortunate to be a knitter and have such excellent ways of dealing with the unexpected?
    I vote that you allow us to purchase the cowl pattern from you, too. It looks simply scrumptuous, and paying you a few $$ for it cannot even begin to offset the pleasure you provide with your brilliant writing through so many of the ups and downs of your life!

  81. Yay! I’m so glad to hear that it’s nothing more. You really deserve to just be done with the hassle. And look at it this way, you got this all out of the way at the beginning of the year, and now should be good for the rest of the year.
    Also, by the by, my housemate is a professional photographer and is absolutely fascinated with the first photo in this post. Something about the lines and the light and the composition. I believe he said it was “artsy.” So there you go, your kitchen isn’t a mess, it’s artsy.

  82. So glad that’s “all” it is. And I am with you on the cshmerre. Hadn’t realized that that was what I was doing, but a cashmere blend is what I started a pair of socks with on Friday when our main drain backed up. Ah the joy of cashmere.

  83. Yep, I’m sure cashmere can cover over a multitude of stressful happenings. Can’t wait until I can speak from experience on that one… ;-P

  84. So glad that’s “all” it is. And I am with you on the cashmere. Hadn’t realized that that was what I was doing, but a cashmere blend is what I started a pair of socks with on Friday when our main drain backed up. Ah the joy of cashmere.

  85. And when it’s all over, you’re ahead one gorgeous cashmere item! Thanks SO much for letting us glimpse your life!

  86. Oh what a relief that the damage is (relatively) easy to repair and the biggest pain will be to the wallet.

  87. “the very nice gentleman who cuts up houses” — I think that’s my favorite blog phrase this month πŸ™‚ I’m picturing someone with an English gentleman’s manners and a teenage boy’s enthusiasm with a sledgehammer. Rather an interesting combination.
    So glad to hear that the news was as good as could be. I was so sad for you yesterday… that’s just an awful lot to deal with, especially thrown in on top of a not-easy holiday season.

  88. cashmere good: repairs bad– I’m so glad that it’s (relatively) painless. (And isn’t it funny that @#$%# isn’t always a bad thing?

  89. YAY for the unconventional house builders (100 years ago), the unusual plumbers (that don’t take you up on your offer, but I’m sure Joe would understand!), and the truly unparalleled coping skilz of one Harlot. It truly is a cosmic alignment of the most exceptional sort.

  90. Creating a beautiful cashmere cowl is exactly to right way to thank the universe for kissing you lightly in the “old house, old plumbing” repair department.

  91. Could you maybe send a few spare vibes my way, with a “my god I need a new job so bad all the cashmere in the world ain’t gonna help” spin please?

  92. O frabjous day! Calloo callay! I know you must be one happy lady. I didn’t want to comment yesterday because I couldn’t think of one thing good to say about it, other than,”Well, at least no one died.” And me being the stupidstitious type, I didn’t DARE say that, in case it happened, and then I would have felt really really bad for causing it, you know. Anyway, congrats, sorry for rambling, too much caffiende today!

  93. Ooo, what an awesome break! Glad you don’t have to suffer more than necessary to get your house back in order. What a terrible thing to go through right after the holidays. Eesh…
    BTW, that Cashmere isn’t Roving Winds Farm cashmere is it? I bought some at the KW Knitters fair this year and if you have some of the same stuff that I bought…ooo Nelly is that stuff nice. Of course, Cashmere of any kind is pretty damn nice if you ask me. Enjoy!

  94. I umpteenth the “put up the cowl pattern for sale” idea since I have a couple of skeins of cashmere in my stash languishing for a proper use. I’ve been saving patterns for cowls and small scarves on Ravelry, but I still haven’t found just the one for my cashmere. I would consider buying your pattern good ju-ju to counteract any plumbing calamity lurking in my future. Besides, I’ve been using lots of Draino lately(don’t shriek, I know I shouldn’t use the stuff) and I suspect there’s a Roto-Rooter call in my near future.

  95. Glad to hear that your joists are all dry and functioning properly! Don’t you love handy guys who can fix stuff? (Why yes, yes I did marry one, thanks for asking.)

  96. “spasm in the left side of my upper back to stop trying to shove my shoulder blade into my ear”
    LOL, I can relate to that – that says it all!
    Glad it wasn’t worse news πŸ™‚

  97. Warm thoughts headed your way. I have only worked with one skein of posh yarn with cashmere in it. Isn’t it yummy?

  98. Good news outweighs the bad!
    Love the cowl. I just bought a ton of yarn on vacation (Village Wools in Albuquerque, New Mexico is awesome if you are ever out that way). It’s amazing how well yarn packs (goes in shoes and all the little cracks kinda like ice cream fills in the cracks in your stomach after dinner, right?). However, my stash doesn’t include any cashmere. I think I need to remedy that situation.

  99. It just occurred to me that you haven’t bestowed us with a pattern in awhile. When you’re still waiting for you kitchen to be finished, you can take the edge off by posting the lovely pattern for your beautiful cowl.
    Congrats on your kitchen’s being is relatively good shape. And who says mud floors aren’t a good thing.

  100. Re: the cost of the work– Do you suppose they’d barter knitting for plumbing? Swapping one good bit of skilled work for another is a fine tradition; ranks right up there with delivery pizza.

  101. The Cowl is looking lovely, I am thinking of starting one this week. Congratulations on the plumbing job not being a gigantic expensive mess. And thank you for all the work that went into this years calendar, I am really enjoying it.

  102. Thank goodness, Stephanie – I’m so glad there was no real water damage. Just sorry about your kitchen, walls, cabinets – ugh, what a mess! We lived in an ancient house (built like a freaking rabbit warren), and the plumbing/electric work was…interesting, shall we say? No repair work ever went quite the way it was supposed to in that little old house, but we lived in it for 11 years – and we loved it.
    P.S. If I don’t have fiber in my hands, I do not cope well at all with life’s “little” emergencies; “not cope well” being synonymous with needing to be committed (in my dh’s very male opinion). Cashmere-in-the-hand … now, *that* can cure almost anything :-). Gorgeous stuff and so is your cowl design – yummy!

  103. You know, you could perhaps put the pattern for the cowl up for sale on Ravelry and we could buy it to help defray the costs of getting Chez Harlot back to normal. I, for one, would donate to that worthy cause. I think it’s because I grew up in a 100+ year old house and I know how those unexpected home repairs just suck the joy right out of life (witness the year our furnace died on Christmas Eve, right as we had been on our way out the door to go to my aunt’s house four hours away). I feel your pain and would like to help in any way I can. πŸ™‚

  104. You know that door jam in the kitchen you had to replace to bring up Sir Washie? Well, try using that as a massage post for the spasm in your back shoulder area (e.g. rub your back up against it). That way maybe you could write it off the repairs as a medical expense. Well, maybe not.

  105. A little bit of the right wool can get you through anything. A littel bit of wine doesn’t hurt either.

  106. I was so relieved for you that I let out a huge sigh of relief when I read your entry. Congrats on the “good”news and have a slice of pizza for me!
    PS. That cowl is beautiful and I would love to have the pattern. As several others have mentioned, I’d be willing to pay for the pattern. Think about it!

  107. Your cashmere cowl looks considerably more wonderful than wonderful. If this is what it took for you to give birth to such a masterpiece, so be it. And I am glad to hear that things are less worse than they might have been.

  108. All’s well! I was thinking, if worse came to worst (sic), there’s probably _something_ in that prodigious stash that could be used to soak up extra water for a while. How much cotton do you have?

  109. Totally agree with the judicious use of cashmere. Still much cheaper than psychotherapy. Aside:
    My DH got the hint after I left the computer “open” to your gifts for knitters post suggesting the Signature yarn page, and bought me a skein of Qivuit with the fancy needles for Christmas (thank you). So now I can say from experience that qivuit works pretty well too, and if any more pieces of house need to be torn up you might need to have an escalation in fiber therapy.

  110. Horray for you!!! and now for me: when are you going to post the pattern for the cowl?

  111. I would love to have details on just how that
    wonderful, creative plumber of days gone by
    had installed plumbing in such a way that
    it was better and easier to fix than modern
    installations. I live in a 1934 house and
    I’m cringing at the thought that one of these
    days I’ll probably have to have some major
    pipe-work done. Also, I want to import your
    plumber… not had much luck with them here.
    Use as much cashmere as necessary!

  112. Hooray! Who would have thought that you’d end up thankful your house’s original plumber was as mad as a hatter! πŸ˜‰

  113. You are doing awesome. I had a similar situation, except besides pipes I had to cut an 18 inch wide strip 36 feet long on my basement floor. This was not fun, but now that it’s done, I can tell you I show off that bit of concrete like nothing else. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way about your wonderful fixed pipes. πŸ™‚

  114. I like traceyinmichigan’s idea. Title your pattern The Coping Cowl or Coping with Crises Cowl and make it available for us to purchase.
    I bet that, even if you charged only $1-2, you’d profit enough to cover your recent plumbing and home repair bills because I’m sure a multitude of us would like to help you out.
    We’d all benefit from the lovely pattern and having our own special coping cowl for knitting (and wearing) “stress therapy” – I’ve got some creamy alpaca that’s calling out for a pattern like this (hoping your pattern uses lace wt. yarn)

  115. Becky in Vt at 2:32 – small freshwater pearls cost less than you might think, if you can get into the wholesale section of a gem show.

  116. Whew! I’ve been thinking of you…glad it worked out to not a penny more.
    Sometimes, that IS enough to make you want to kiss your contractor.

  117. I’m with traceyinmichigan. I’d love the pattern for the cowl, and I’d love to contribute to the plumbing resolution fund to get it – sort of the Hybiscus for hope socks thing. Love the socks by the way!

  118. Hope you’ve got a nice little stash of cashmere hanging around – you know, just in case. Wouldn’t want to run out, now would we?

  119. your cowl is beautiful. it makes me feel sad for my cowl, which is a tube.
    and i am so glad that your kitchen worked out. unexpected expensive things that pile up on top of each other are just rude.

  120. sigh… i dream of the day when i can knit something so ethereal in its beauty and cavalierly say… ” it’s of my own devising”.

  121. Hoorah ! Good news indeed … stash depleting won’t be forever ! Blog and Share, if you please, the method you use to follow such a beautiful lace pattern without mistakes !

  122. Hearing “Whoa. What the hell is that?” while someone is ripping up your house is only slightly less disconcerting than hearing it while someone looks at an x-ray of you πŸ™‚
    See, it could be worse.
    The cashmere is luscious!!!

  123. Can I just say that “knittin’ from stash” has become a new catch-phrase here in my neighborhood to denote dealing with financial debacles of all sizes. Just wish my stash included such lovely cashmere…

  124. I knew you’d “been very good in a past life” and in this one, too. Hurrah for old houses!

  125. That’s great news!!
    You really should sell us all your gorgeous cowl pattern to pay off your god-like plumber.

  126. CASHMERE! Why didn’t I think of that????? I’d be 25 pounds, okay, 35 pounds lighter!

  127. Ah, the delights of Victorian Plumbing. As a builder type myself (I don’t talk about knitting at work) I have come across many, many examples in my 22 years working in England. The most bizarre was the inspection chamber that looked like a casserole dish complete with lid. Tidy but confusing.
    We removed our cast iron pipe work at our old Victorian house. I had to leave it was so stressful. Cast iron and salt glazed pipe work is not for the faint hearted.
    Good job it was just bathwater!!
    Mmm, love the cashmere

  128. It’s good to have a working toilet.
    There’s nothing better at making one *need* to use it than not having it in working order!

  129. Sounds as though the best possible diagnosis given the situation. I have a friend who lives in an original Chautauqua home with same original plumbing, and he refers to his plumber alternately as an ‘artisan’ and ‘magnificent genius’. Some folks should not be under appreciated, no?

  130. Very good news! I think I can relate a bit–I did have a doctor say “whoa” while looking at my insides during a c-section. Not something that you really want to hear. (However, everything turned out fine and resulted in a fabulous baby, and that was a few years ago and now we can laugh about it.) Hope your situation turns out great too! Go cashmere!

  131. Oh my, I can practically *feel* that cashmere from here! That looks so miraculously soft and appealing! To think that the goddess of knitting should cause such a fiber to grow on goats!!

  132. It feels strangely perverted to read all the trouble that you are having with the house, and sit with intact walls and plumbing. I loved the idea of stashes being an insurance policy. I have always thought of them like that.

  133. Bad things usually happen in threes, so I think you’re ok now. You’re simply just going to have to write a book about all these adventures. Maybe that will help pay the bills!

  134. Oh man… when I read your post about the plumber I thought “I’d be breaking out the cashmere.”
    And look, there you have it πŸ™‚

  135. The cashmere looks lovely. I hope you continue to pet it and knit until all the stress is gone. You’ve done wonderfully so far!

  136. Love you so much, Steph! Please sell us your cashmere cowl pattern. Pretty please! It looks beautiful! Cashmere is like chocolate — both are very delicious!

  137. Love you so much, Steph! Please sell us your cashmere cowl pattern. Pretty please! Cashmere is like chocolate — both are very delicious!

  138. I’m so glad things went well with the plumbing. Usually it’s one thing after another. The cowl is absolutely gorgeous – I hope you’ll show us the finished product.

  139. You are a coper all right. Well done you – and stay on the cashmere. Maybe you should ask at the doctors, you may be able to get it on prescription. WOW – imagine that; cashmere on prescription… I can think of all sorts of things I may have wrong with me all of a sudden. If you have luck, PLEASE do let me know. πŸ™‚

  140. Congratulations! I’m happy to hear it went alright.
    And that cashmere is beautiful. Looking forward to seeing the cowl once it’s finished!

  141. Wow, I’m glad you’re having some good news, and your cowl is beautiful. And I don’t say it enough, but thank you for being an entertaining writer, beautiful knitter, and impressive human being. Yours is one of my very favorite blogs.

  142. I shall express ship you cashmere in any qty necessary until life is back to normal. Work on what you have and if you need more, you know where to find me. . . . . .

  143. Ooo, cashmere. Have you considered writing a small technical monograph for medical science on the antidepressant and antianxiety effects of knitting cashmere? It could totally put the drug companies out of business.
    Oh, yeah, there was something else you wrote about, too. Plumbing maybe? I totally forgot everything after seeing the cashmere.

  144. I’m with the all the others that suggested on buying that pattern. and YeeHaw for the rest! I knew it would work! Laughing, knitting and good karma from friends always make things better..(oh and cashmere, too!)

  145. Ew! you wanted to kiss a PLUMBER??
    I should say after my previous comment, that perhaps the universe is not that great, as I may be on the other side of the world, in the boiling heat of a New Zealand summer. However, I have run out of yarn precisely 35 rows before the end of the hooded scarf I am knitting for a friend. Agony!!

  146. cashmere aaahhhh. the perfect antidote to a bad day, or several bad days, as the case may be

  147. Hazzah!!! I am rejoicing with you!
    I think you have that thing that runs in my family too- the confessing of actions you won’t act upon. Giggled good and plenty on that one.
    And that delicious cashmere…I’, with Lynda, cowl pattern+us paying= monies for MSF.
    Count me in!
    (And after all these weeks, you know you will be rewarded with the premier of BSG, right? So keep the faith- it’s on to knitting second socks…heh.)

  148. Very glad they didn’t have to cut into your cubbords or your beautiful mosaic backsplash!Wonderful thing-that cashmere.I know that chocolate helps a great deal too…I hear wine helps too but I don’t drink so I’ll take everyone else’s word on that one…

  149. all day I was waiting for the good news!! And here it is. Yay! And hooray for awesome mother-in-laws, pizza delivery, amazing plumbers, and cashmere.

  150. Hurrah for cashmere! I think if I had cashmere on my neck it would be too close to my mouth to avoid the urge to eat. I advise also finding some copies of the fantabulous Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry in Jeeves and Wooster for funny face pulling and leisure class high jinx- it’s a favourite coping method of mine.

  151. I lost my job a few months ago. But reading your blog–my wife said I needed to read your recent entries–makes me feel much better.

  152. I went through hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and I found that knitting was a great coping device. I knitted socks. I knitted every moment I could. I had to knit before bed to be able to turn my brain off of what was happening around me. I’ve shared with everyone that would listen that knitting is as good if not better than any drug people take to cope. But I haven’t tried cashmere.Even if you use cashmere it’s still cheaper than therapy and drugs and you have something to show for your money. But…. my husband does say that he’s seen me do other crafts and that knitting is the crack cocaine of all crafts!!.

  153. Cashmere as a coping mechanism? I wish I’d known that (and had some in my stash) when a huge chunk of our garage ceiling caved in a few months ago. As our home gets older, I guess I should be prepared for further problems …by stocking up on some luxury yarn!
    So very glad to hear you came through this so well!

  154. Coping with Cashmere…sounds like there could be a book in there!
    Like many of your readers, I too have an “antique” house with who knows what kind of plumbing. I do know that I have two huge troughs in the attic (that we think one time supplied “running water” in the house!).
    You don’t have any kitchen improvements in mind that could take advantage of all the cutting and such do you? Blog fodder for the rest of January, maybe?

  155. So glad to hear of the good fortune in your repairs. I must confess that Alpaca is my fiber of choice in stressful situations. Though I do like the look of that cashmere you have. Remember what EZ said, “Knit on, with confidence and hope through all crisis.”

  156. As another owner of an old house, I can’t believe your good fortune. And I can’t believe the timing on all of this. Since you’ve made it through the last 10 days, I’d say you can handle anything…provided that you have enough cashmere!

  157. The plumbing gods be praised, as well as the cashmere ones too. Dang shoulder blade anyway, it should know it’s proper place and stay there.

  158. Okay, does OHIP cover stash enhancement? After all, it does improve one’s mental health. It would cost way more to check into the “laughing academy” or take a lot of drugs. (Does the stash cause any side effects? I think not.)

  159. I’m also a knitter, and an old house owner, going through some plumbing issues eerily similar to your own. I too have been abandoning the house during the day and knitting whenever possible.
    Good luck and thanks for the great blog!

  160. I’m a fellow old house owner (1915)…I feel for ya’! You lucked out ya’ little harlot:))
    P.S. I totally love the green in the kitchen!

  161. Is there a self-correcting cashmere available for times when wine and chocolate are also needed for stress relief?
    The shoulder is easy to fix. Find a remote location with a bathtub full of hot water. Dump in two cups of epsom salts that have been mixed with 1/8 cup of olive oil and a teaspoon or so’s worth of wintergreen essential oil. Jump in and soak. This remedy should be taken with margaritas or heavily spiked coffee drinks.

  162. Has anyone already suggested that the “small mudslide” may have been a contributing factor to the demise of Sir Washie? Just a thought.

  163. Cashmere…the ultimate coping mechanism for a situation such as your’s.
    You seem to be taking it much better than I would.

  164. What a woman! Coping with cashmere.
    You’re probably very strangely glad Mike Holmes didn’t see it and decide he had to trash and rebuild your whole house just so it followed code….
    Maybe a little downward dog for the shoulder blade too. [Sympathies – my stress lives in me equivalently.]

  165. As an old house veteran, I can remember the hot summer weekend that, remodelling the kitchen, we tore out the wall between the kitchen and the narrow pantry to which it had to be joined, and found that the floor of the kitchen wasn’t anywhere near level with the pantry floor; gutted the pantry floor joists, set new ones; cut up and discarded the old layers of kitchen flooring, laid new subfloors, and then, wonder of wonders, laid a beautiful new oak floor. What a moment!
    In my current house, I have the remains of an old well beneath the remains of an old plumbing pipe hanging in the basement ceiling, a reminder of the age of a place that presumably had a hand pump at the kitchen sink, and still sports the old chimney for a wood stove. I had all the old windows renovated in a snowy late November the year I moved here: three openings out each day for a week, the fireplace going the whole time, hot lunches daily for the crew (savings of 35% on my natural gas consumption).
    All old house people are a little daft, I think. Sometimes I look at more modern houses and think how easy they’d be. But older houses have a charm that nothing new has. Built in bookcases, windowseats, all the good stuff, and very convenient and central locations.

  166. I laughed out loud at this post. Where do you come up things like, “muskrats in a mirror store” or “pipe dance of alchemy”? Truly gems.
    The cowl looks delicious.

  167. Good to know you’re coping. And just so you know, after finishing the last xmas gift today (only, hmmm…12 days late…*and* I still need to ship it across the country…), I ran to the knitting store and picked up the skeins of Noro needed for that scarf. I have to admit my previous lack of understanding of why you were so taken with this scarf. (“She’s knitting a 1×1 rib scarf and she’s that ecstatic? Seriously?”) But now, about 7 inches in, I get it, I totally do. Please forgive me for doubting you – I vow to never doubt you again.

  168. You must celebrate, this is my way of thinkin’.
    First things first. 1. Toast the plumber w/a good beer. 2.Get another beer and toast mother in law. (good mothers in law are sometimes hard to find, trust me). 3. Run out and replace the cashmere you are knitting up. Hate to be without a good cashmere in the stash.

  169. Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! Now you won’t ever have to worry about that big pipe again. You got all the things done: the washer, dryer and pipe repaired and it is only the 6th of January. The rest of the year should be smooth and worry free. Best wishes!!!

  170. Nothing like a little cashmere to make the world seem right again. Oh yeah, and a good plumber.

  171. Stephanie – I don’t read through all your comments – forgive me if this is a repeat. I have found a new knitting show on the DIY network (here in the states) Renovation Realities. My husband is a contractor. He watches and laughs. I knit and feel grateful that I have a contractor for a mate when my washer/dryer/plumbing/roof does what eventually always happens…they crap out. Cashmere my drug of choice as well.
    Glad it seems to have worked out…check your roof though – it might be next. Just sayin’.

  172. I live in a house built in 1910 and I can sympathize with the old house woes. Today the power went out only in certain areas, only specific outlets and only on the first and second floors. Our trusty electrician came at 10pm to inform us that not only do we have circuit breakers, which we knew and had fiddled with, but also have fuses which we thought had been replaced with said circuit breakers. Luckily the fuse was replaced and voila! power resumed to all previously mentioned areas. Like magic I tell ya. I did give the man a giant hug ( he is very cute) but held back from the kissing. Old houses are such fun…lovely window seats, beautiful molding and wood work, uneven plaster walls, random width hardwood floors and…well you know the rest.

  173. Any good yarn heals the soul. Good luck with your plumping issues! With that diagnosis I’m sure everything will be up and running in no time. ^_^

  174. You might think me strange, or out of my freaking mind, but I have never knit with cashmere. It’s lovely and all, but I just haven’t come up with something to knit in cashmere.
    Stranger, though, is that every time I hear the word “Cashmere” I think of the Led Zeppelin song, “Cashmere”. Dunna, dunna, dunna dun da dun doobie wah.
    Do I date myself?

  175. What a relief! You have good and well-deserved Karma!
    You have a great plumber! What a relief!
    Cashmere is great! I touched it once and know its charms and now I know to include it in my bathroom renovation budget! That should help be get through!
    The cowl is beautiful! How enticing! We need more.

  176. How wonderful that your old plumber and your new plumber have both joined together over the ages to give you the best possible outcome.
    I so agree with the multitudes that the Cashmere Coping Cowl pattern should be offered on Ravelry to all of us who would so like to thank you for all the enjoyment and inspiration you give to us.
    And just think how much you would be doing for the cashmere yarn sales worldwide, you might make a dent in this current economic mess!

  177. You so deserve this good news. I am so happy for you and yours.
    Good things happen to good people.

  178. Hurray for Stephanie and family!!!!!!!!! Oooh cashmere! It’s so soft and yummy. Thank God for the stash. The cowl that your making looks stunning so far. I agree with some of the other comments, I think you should sell this pattern and we’ll help pay for the pipe. It could be the Pipe Cowl LOL! I can’t wait to see more of it. I hope the good news continues!

  179. You need an improperly finished antique cellar to cope with your improperly finished antique plumbing. Old houses make weird sense sometimes.

  180. A muskrat in a mirror store? Good heavens – and I thought the Ohio natives had some odd sayings.

  181. “as bizarrely placed as a muskrat in a mirror store”
    Honestly, Steph, this is why I love you. I can’t wait to pass this on to my mom, whose grandmother’s colorful sayings generally aren’t, um, repeatable in mixed company.

  182. Yea, Stephanie! So glad the kitchen (and you and Joe and the kids) will survive this current crisis. I totally agree on the pattern selling. If you make enough to cover the bill, send the rest to KWB! I just happen to have a couple balls of lazy cashmere lying around needing some exercise.

  183. Cowl pattern to buy – oh, yeah. And MSF would be a great charity to donate the proceeds to, if you’re really sure you don’t want them.

  184. Wow, that is fantastic. Maybe the maniac plumber wasn’t so “maniacal” after all. Well…either dumb luck or crazy genius, I’m SO glad the estimate will stand firm. Happy New Year…and I can’t think of a better way to start a new year than Cashmere.

  185. Yes, let us buy the pattern! Use the proceeds to pay for home/truck repairs and if there’s anything left, MSF gets it.
    I bought your calendar last week, though I’m not sure that helps your bottom line a whole lot. The calendar is great so far! Hope you’ve got lots of chocolate and/or Scotch in your knitting bag!

  186. Ye gods! Thank goodness for crazy 20th century plumbers and unfinished basements.
    I’ll try to send positive home repair vibes your way : )

  187. I have to wonder if that strange plumber a hundred years ago actually knew what he was doing. “Yeah, I’m puttin’ the pipes in weird places, but that’s so all the leaks will just run outta the house and harm nothin’ . . .”

  188. Oooh, that’s lovely cashmere. And great news about your plumbing! (That sounds odd.) It’s somewhat reassuring that I’m not the only one with left upper back issues–is it unique to right handed knitters? More importantly is there yoga to help?

  189. OK, now see? If that was a NEW house (built since, say, 1960) you can bet that they’d have had to tear out the whole back of the house and dig up most of the yard — to *diagnose* what was wrong. (Don’t ask how I know….well, I don’t know, exactly, but I’m psychic and I’m sure I’m right!) You’ll have a fabulous new beginning, what with new pipes, new laundry stuff &c — and a cashmere cowl, for petessakes! The reward is worthy of the grief. Oh, and Steph? Your shoulder blade won’t get into your ear. Don’t even try. (A nice massage from a handsome musician might go a long way, but you can’t knit while having it; it’s a worthwhile trade-off.)

  190. Sorry about your new year woes…. You seem to be handling it really well. I just wanted to tell you I picked up your day calendar as a Christmas present to myself. You have another winner! It is a great way to start the morning.
    The cashmere is gorgous, and the cowl beautiful.
    You can feel the softness just by looking.
    By the way, what’s the new washers name?

  191. Old Homes; mine is circa 1910, an addition around 1920 or 1925, remodel 1947, (Kilroy is here by the way, he lives in the basement that they poured after jacking up 1910 and 1920s. We bought in 1986, totally new plumbing and electrical and in 1997 a new second story. Lots of grand things, like the original claw foot tub, leaded windows in the front door and interesting wall paper.
    The joys and ummmm surprises of old home reno-rats.
    Cashmere sounds like a grand way to cope. Will a pattern be forthcoming? Please? I still have huge holes in my living room while we cope with ice dams for the first time EVER and record breaking amounts of snow with record breaking amounts of rain forcasted to follow.
    I am off to my LYS for some cashmere. I already have tried wine and chocolate, time to break out the big gun. Pattern?

  192. Yay for weird construction that makes a modern fix less expensive!
    You were DUE this little blessing! Maybe Mr. Washie sent it πŸ™‚

  193. Hey Steph! Been following the saga from Sir Washie (my condolences) to the giant pipe. Glad it’s all working out well. But back to knitting!
    Beautiful cahsmere but how do you get your cowls to lie flat around the bottom instead of curling up in a most unattractive way? I’ve made a few and have no success. Could there be a preferred cast on that will help? Any advice appreciated.

  194. I can not help but ask… Who turned on the heat first this year? In Kingwood, Tx. one day its in the 40s and the next day back in the 70s. But that is living in Texas!

  195. Good Gravy!!!! I can’t believe how much that plumber looks like my husband. The one in the chair. He used to sit just like that with his hand on his head like that, with gray hair just like that. Is the plumber Greek by any chance? It’d be pretty funny if he was.

  196. Sounds like Larry is a winner! Just stay away from his crazy “cousin” Joe, which shouldn’t be a problem since he isn’t a liscensed plumber anyway…
    Hope the repairs go well. Dang, you are going to have a whole new house when all is said and done. Cashmere makes everything better. I had a $400+ car repair and came home and blocked lace. To each their own.

  197. Well they say the new year is the perfect time for home improvement projects … I guess you’ve got that covered for awhile! There’s nothing like cashmere and a new project to make the world right itself.

  198. Oh thank goodness. I have been reading the past few weeks and been absolutely dumbfounded at your luck. I am so glad it is beginning to turn. I am sure the cashmere will have something to do with it.
    ps Where can I get your day calendar?

  199. Hooray! The cowl looks beautiful, by the way, and thanks to you, I am beginning the heel flap on my second sock! Cashmere would be nice. With my budget, though, merino sock yarn will have to do. Congratulations!

  200. Awsome news!!! What a relief, why is it repair jobs never start with estimates in the low hundreds? By the way, will the cowl pattern be made available to the masses? It looks beautiful. πŸ™‚

  201. What a relief that it’s not any worse than you already knew about. And cashmere is definitely a soothing salve to so many a stressful situation. I’m glad you had some on hand! (But don’t rule out a belt of some liquid smoothness, either!) πŸ™‚
    That cowl is going to be gorgeous, and a nice memento of the times!

  202. I am here to tell you that plumbing in new houses can be as weird as plumbing in old houses. I was told by a plumber/ contracter “Somewhere in Kansas there is a lab where they clone Curly Larry and Moe. Then they sell them by the dozen to contracters building subdivisions to install furnaces and plumbing. This explains things like the faucet outlet placed behind the cabinets in the kitchen and only accesible by pulling the counter and the cabinets. We made the plumber put in a screw on type fixture so that should we need to replace it we can do it ourselves in fifteen minutes once we pull the counter and two cabinets.
    Please publish the pattern, I agree about being glad to pay for it, it looks luscious especially with cashmere.

  203. hmm….the ‘coping cowl’. I would purchase that pattern in a quick minute, it looks lovely. I’ll send up best energy for the piping. You live in an amazing house!

  204. I am so glad for you that things are working out! It seems like it has been one of those “when it rains it pours…” sequences of events. It is a very good thing that you have cashmere to fall back on! My brain though, keeps picturing that muskrat in a mirror store……Pretty hilarious!

  205. Having grown up in a “someday we’ll have it done” old house, I felt your pain… so I ran out after yesterday’s post and bought one of your books. Figured at least a little bit of royalty money would be heading your way to help with the plumber bills….
    I think I got the better end of the deal.
    Glad the bass ackwards logic of old houses worked, well, sort of okay for you. Thank the universe for cashmere goats!

  206. The cowl of your own devising does look wonderful, as does the cahsmere yarn. Can you share your cowl pattern?

  207. I’m glad it isn’t much worse than it could have been. This reminds me of the time we wanted to replace our sliding glass door (they-who-shall-not-be-named who lived there before us installed it backwards. So we could lock ourselves OUTSIDE of our house, but we couldn’t lock the bad guys out). And when they went to replace it, realized that all the studs where totally eaten by termites and we had to rebuild an entire 6 foot section of wall. Ahhh, home ownership πŸ™‚
    Good luck with the cashmere!

  208. What an adventure … and bless the miscreant who did the original work which has, in the end, paid off so nicely for you and yours.
    The cashmere cowl sounds comforting and cozy.
    Have a wonderful 2009!

  209. Cashmere is an excellent strategy. I’m so glad things have worked out well for you. While you have been having one form of household fun involving contractors, I’ve been having another. I have burley men (who have a strong dislike of my 30″ deep crawlspace) coming to jack up the main beam supporting my house (think spinal column)because the end bit under the front door has elected to rot off 3-4 inches (think busted tailbone). They tell me that 2 massive jack things (think steel pins)& something called “sistering the beam” will fix the fact that the inside skin of the house on the front side does not match the ouside skin by almost 1.5inches. Eep. I’m still faint.

  210. Hi there! I’ve been reading and enjoying the archives, and seem to have missed it – did you ever put the light-green-or-maybe-black zipper in that green garter vine sweater? I checked Ravelry, too, but can’t find a finished picture of it. Hope you’ll post one someday.
    The new washer looks like “The Captain” to me. Sir Washie’s moniker conveyed the traditionalist aspect of the Canadian psyche, that “we have HRM QE II on our bank notes” side. I think the Captain expresses that rugged individualist aspect to be found in, say, the Maritimes. And he’s high CAPacity.
    I’m afraid that sounded stupid. Oh, well. I have the feeling that pun-making dorks are welcome anyhow.

  211. did you buy the knitvisualizer for this project? have you had it for a while and is it worth the investment?

  212. I LOVE your beautiful cowl! Would you consider sharing your pattern? I would love to have one too! Thanks for posting. I love your site!

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