Bugging Out

I just bugged out of the house instead of freaking out inside it, and now find myself down the street in a slightly crappy café, with wonderful espresso, a warm croissant and no internet – which is the only thing that really makes it slightly crappy.  (I went to the good café which has all of the above, but it was full, probably because it is the good café. I’ll shift to somewhere with internet and post this soon.)   What this café does have going for it is that right now it’s not my house.  I had to stay long enough for the work to be started and to understand where things were going and what they were doing, and I had to stay while the energy audit was done, but as soon as I could I bugged out of that joint. It’s a crazy place.  Everything is in the wrong spot.  Everything. 

Now, I’m not the sort of person that dirt bothers.  I’m not.  I’m not very tidy, I don’t scrub hardly anything unless I’m worried or having company, so you would think that a big reno like this wouldn’t throw me much, but truth be told, while I fight against it every minute of every day,  deep down inside I am one of the worlds least flexible people.   I don’t like noise.  I don’t like people in my house, I don’t like people touching my things or invading my space. I can’t bear it if Joe sits at my desk, so people in the house touching my things, messing up my stuff – moving my stuff, cutting holes in all my floors and ceilings and running power tools while smashing out plaster and lathe is a really, really big challenge for me, and Joe called twice this morning to make sure I was "handling it", on account of his belief that I have a history of not managing renovation well, which I suppose might be true if you think that flipping out and attempting to micro manage, interrogate or over-control the craftspeople in your house before bursting into tears and taking a three hour bath with the door locked is an unreasonable response to home renovation… which I do not.

In any case, I was struggling but doing well, and I stood a chance of portraying a normal human until they blocked my access to the coffeemaker and started saying "uh-oh" while peering into the heaps of rubble, and even then I might have made it, had they not accidentally bumped into a wall and knocked down  something I love.  It’s broken, and not fixable and I was upset. They are nice men, they are doing a great job,  these things happen, they were not reckless with my things…   It was not worth much, it might even be replaceable, and it’s not like I don’t have too many possessions anyway, and really, if I didn’t want that in the line of fire I should have moved it to protect it and …. well.  That’s the logical argument.

The illogical part of me however,  barely managed to  control myself long enough to mumble "It’s okay" and to jam my knitting and laptop in my bag and make it onto the street before pulling out my phone and calling Joe to tell him that NOT ONLY are they touching my stuff but now they are breaking it and that the whole house is trashed and that all of our things have been moved – all of them and that the wardrobe in the back room has to be on the other side of the room FOREVER and that it’s the wrong side, all wrong, and that I just don’t think that is going to work but I have no choice, and there are BIG HOLES in the floor and you can see the rooms below through them and that they are big enough for the cat to fall through, and isn’t anybody worried about that? That the cat might fall through?  Is anyone concerned?  And how about those big saws. Do they need to be that loud? Are they thinking about the wiring? Does he know that shelf by the front door? The one that we keep bike helmets on… it’s gone.  Now we have nowhere to keep helmets and also we have one less hook by the front door and some of the coats won’t fit and really, this means we can never have company again because we’re short coathooks and also, that wall was plaster and lathe and now it’s all rubble and that made a huge mess and I would vaccuum it up except they’re still making more mess and did I mention that the energy guy sealed up the house with a strange fan thing and that .. well, it was weird and the world is weird enough without our home getting weird and did I tell you that they’re not just touching all of my stuff but they’re touching yours too – and they saw the bulk of the stash and I don’t think they were okay with it because the guy just kept pointing and saying "Is that wool? .. Is that wool?" Is that…. more wool?" and you know what? People think I’m crazy enough when I tell them I write "knitting humour".  I don’t need them coming into my own home and thinking I’m crazy and those people do think I’m crazy and that’s making me crazy.  It’s a circle of crazy.   That I just don’t know what to say when people are touching and breaking my stuff and I do know it’s crazy, I know it is, but they even went in our bedroom, and they need to move not just the downstairs wool but the upstairs wool too, and that I just can’t stand it. 

Now, Joe and I have been together for a long time, and he knows that I’m only able to appear normal as long as nobody messes with me too much, and Joe listened to all of that, while I’m yelling and pacing and telling him all of it, and he finally says "Honey?  Honey.  Are you going somewhere where you won’t talk to people and nobody will talk to you?"    So I said I was doing that now, that I was walking to the café  and I told him too that those guys in our house blocked off the coffee maker and that the toaster was dusty on the inside now, and that I didn’t even know how you got plaster out of a toaster so I hoped that he bloody well had a plan to cope with that, and furthermore…  and he interrupted me.

"Steph, you gotta get away from the house and not talk to anybody.  Don’t go back there.  Go to my mum’s if you have to, nobody will talk to you there. Go somewhere quiet and knit something.  It’s going to be okay"

… and as soon as he said it I realized that he was using soothing tones with me, like you do with someone who’s way close to the edge, and I stepped back from it.  Not all the way, but far enough that I can order coffee without trying to show my server the pictures of the holes in my floor,  and from here I’m going down the street the otherway to the pub with the internet so I can post this, and I’m even going to have myself a little afternoon pint, and then I’m going to knit and knit sorting out stitches  until I feel better, and I’m going to think about these  questions.

How do non-knitters handle stress?  I mean, I know they must do something, since it’s not like I see them all weeping on the bus all the time, but when everything in their lives is all messed up, what is the thread of sanity and sameness that runs through it and keeps them from being a lunatic?   Does knitting attract people who need something to moderate stress more than others?   Do you think that you use knitting to moderate your behaviour, and in this spirit of this shirt (I knit so I don’t kill people) do you think your behaviour would be different if you didn’t? 

Thoughts to renovate (and knit) by.

543 thoughts on “Bugging Out

  1. As someone who works from home I can so relate. Hang in, breathe and knit. And, boy do I get it about the “soothing tone.”

  2. You know, you may have just hit on the reason why people run amok in post offices with weapons. They don’t knit. Check it out – I bet they are non-knitters, every one.

  3. What a mess! It would make anybody crazy. I hope you’ve made plans for a few more days. This isn’t going to be over tomorrow.

  4. I’m so sorry! I do not deal with house changes well, either – I hope it all will be finished soon! I do knit in order to sooth my worried brain, and even more, I knit so I won’t spend the evening eating everything in the pantry. I get to create something beautiful and cool, and the cookies survive another day. Win-win.

  5. You are going to survive this. Look what you have survived so far this year. You will be cozy and warm. You will appreciate all the new in your house. Your house will still be your house. Breathe, Stephanie. IT WILL BE OKAY, ANY MINUTE NOW.
    Knit, breathe, drink if ya have to, knit breathe…This too shall pass and you will be alright at the end of it.
    I certainly hope all of us happy cowl knitters have taken a small bite out of the bill for all of this. We do what we can.
    Remember, BREATHE! (through a mask) and coffee makers are portable-move it every day if you have to; heck, carry it around with you.

  6. I think all of those non-knitters are runners, or bikers, or cross-stitchers, or tennis players.
    We all have to have a way to unwind.

  7. People would never come near me if I didn’t knit. Even when I knit, I applaud people who get too close when I’m in THAT mood…
    So, I don’t see anything wrong with your reaction. Seems perfectly normal to me…

  8. I knit because it calms me down, knit purl, knit purl it’s like my own little mantra!

  9. You’re totally in your right mind. I would be doing exactly what you’re doing right now, except I’d probably be with two dogs, crying, and unable to appear in public. Oh, and have I mentioned that we haven’t gotten the radiators to work on the third floor of our lovely new (old) home in Winnipeg? Yeah. I am dreading the possibility of putting in a new boiler or furnace. Dreading it. I’m with you…and also have way too much wool. Oh, and I’d totally need the knitting as a talisman against a complete breakdown.

  10. Wow. You might want to stay away until you get the all-clear from Joe, or one of the girls. Definitely a test for anybody’s sanity.
    I have been through numerous renovation projects in my current home, having bought a fixer-upper (which was all I could afford), and am in a doozy of a stage right now – residing the house with cedar shakes, and preparing for a complete kitchen renovation right after Christmas. Lots more involved in that, but sometimes I just have to walk away, and either work on a craft (knitting, crocheting, etc) or lose myself in a good book. (Not liking alcohol leaves out the option of a pint or two. Or three.)
    Otherwise I would be beating my head bloody against a wall most days, I think. So good luck, and keep your chins up. It won’t last forever.

  11. I was not able to knit when the kids were little, it was too overwhelming. I prayed the rosary. Now, I knit (okay, I still pray). I get calm when I do either. Centered is a better word. Best of luck. Knit on.

  12. You will get past all this. I repeat, you will get past all this. Keep knitting. I knitted my way through 16 years of living in Washington, DC (a beautiful city, but not my own country) while my husband travelled, on behalf of the IMF and World Bank, to dangerous parts of the globe, leaving me to deal with EVERYTHING on my own with 2 kids in tow and no extended family. Yes, I even coped with 9/11 and the Washington sniper through knitting (although they wouldn’t let me bring knitting needles into the National Cathedral when I attended the 9/11 memorial). Now that we’re back in Canada, I sometimes work on a novel I’m writing, which takes place in DC (go figure), so I’m learning other ways to cope with stress. Renovation stress can be pretty horrible though, and I admit that last fall when workmen took over our house, my husband and I hopped in the car and drove to Burlington, Vermont, where I bought (you guessed it) some more wool. You will get past it.

  13. I knit, but when I’m really upset I get on my bike and ride as fast and as far as I possibly can. I ride and ride and ride until I am physically exhausted. And then I turn around and ride home. I’ve been known to stop for a cookie at a cafe or bakery on the way home too. A good cookie can only help matters. 🙂

  14. hmmm….. well, atleast you get an afternoon pint out all this mess? I’m just trying to look on the bright side.

  15. OK, I had to laugh, but it was in a sympathetic, I SO know what you mean kind of way. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without knitting (and really good reading, especially fantasy novels with lots of good endings, where people survive things like holes in their floors with actual, honest-to-goodness aplomb; I want to be those people when I grow up). I spent all of last Friday knitting just to keep myself from quitting my job after a really bad week. It must have worked, ’cause I’m still here… I don’t know how non-knitters do it — maybe they have better drugs?

  16. I do most of my work from home and I, too, can relate. I have also been so busy that I have not really knit in approximately two weeks and as a result am sad, irritable and, quite frankly, close to tears as I write this. I am going to back away from the computer and go and pick up some knitting and for a blissful hour I am going to get my sanity back.
    I do have a question though: When they turn the furnace on to test it, does that mean you have lost the furnace war for the year? It seems a little early for Ian to have caved already, if I’m remembering correctly. Maybe you can get special dispensation just this once?
    Fingers crossed that all goes well with the reno and that you are toasty all winter.

  17. “Does knitting attract people who need something to moderate stress more than others? Do you think that you use knitting to moderate your behaviour, and in this spirit of this shirt (I knit so I don’t kill people) do you think your behaviour would be different if you didn’t?”
    I think that knitting attracts people who have FANTASTIC coping mechanisms for stress. Or at least, the knowledge that they need one 😉 I absolutely knit to calm myself down, and it works and for that I’m forever grateful. I think if I didn’t knit I’d need a higher dose of medication for my anxiety disorder, and I’m totally serious about that. So is my therapist 😀

  18. My house has been a wreck like this for the past five years. Yes – FIVE. And a half almost, now. Every now again I freak out and threaten to divorce my husband or kill myself or something, then I go and buy wool. And even knit some of it.
    It really makes me cry, reading your post – because I know exactly what you are going through. Just console yourself that it isn’t going to last 5 years.

  19. I totally know what you mean. I have been told that I’m hypersensitive because I so dislike noises, people touching my things, invading my space, etc. And home renovations are not a good thing in my world. The only way I can deal with them is to try not to be home at all during the time that the work people might conceivably be there, and to lock myself into a sane room when I am there. With my coffee pot and my knitting.
    I wish you luck. Really I do.

  20. I’m coming to Toronto tonight, and if you need an escape I may just have a huge quiet hotel room stocked with beer and coffee that I’m willing to share. As a matter of fact I may not even be in it most of the time since I’m going to the Creativ festival this weekend. Just sayin’

  21. Hey, I recognize that sock yarn! I used it for the first pair of socks I knit for someone else (my dad). LOVED it.
    I an understand how having strangers in your house making holes and noise and dust can feel terribly invasive, even if you are paying them to do it. It’s like invasive surgery. Hope it’s all over soon.

  22. Chickens and sheep antics….those get me through stressful times. They are so entertaining without even knowing it. I love to escape to the paddocks to watch them and scratch their necks. Do you have a wee bit of room for a few banties and a few shetlands..hhhmm? Outside of course, because it sounds like your inside is really full.

  23. “Go to my mum’s, nobody will talk to you there”? I wish the in laws would stop talking to me!
    I had to drive carpool today for 3 boys and none of them was where they were supposed to be and I had to track them down and one missed his dentist appointments becaus he is not so bright. At the end I went to the local yarn shop which is thankfully very close to the school. I just went in and touched yarn for a few minutes and them went back to driving the route again. I feel your pain today, and yours is way worse than mine.

  24. I knit to avoid coming face to face with a Assistant District Attorney who may or may not want to prosecute me for what I did while not under the influence of wool fumes.
    I guess home renovation beats packing up and moving, right? Perspective. And a pint. It’s what’s good for you today.

  25. Sending you tea and sympathy (double scotch and sympathy?). You will get through it and don’t forget how good it will feel to actually be warm when this is done, assuming you are actually willing to turn the furnace on at some point this year. Oh, and thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one who gets all twitchy when someone sits at my desk.

  26. oh man, as soon as I read the earlier post, I thought, “Holy #@$&@!!!” I too write at home and even the littlest bit of renovation work makes me wonky…
    that said, this is a funny post.

  27. I don’t knit to avoid stress. If I want to diffuse anger I will hit the living daylights out of a small defenceless white plastic object. Some other people around me call it table-tennis.

  28. I learned to knit when I was nine. Started again about five years ago when my husband and son had a semi-serious accident involving a mountain. There were surgeries, physical therapy sessions and dr appointments to get through. Knitting helped keep the panic at a managable level. I made scarves, lots and lots of scarves – very soothing. I have moved on from scarves to more interesting projects but knitting still calms and soothes. And if anyone bothers me I can poke them (haha)Soon your home will be nice and warm and you can put all of your things where you want them.

  29. I don’t even need stress, I just have to knit. I don’t think I could have sat through all those years of swimming and music lessons, baseball and soccer games, and home renovations without knitting. We are do-it yourself people, so we have rarely had other folks in to do the work, but I didn’t like it when we did. And when other folks weren’t doing it, it took months. Keep that fiber coming!

  30. This will all be a distant, fuzzy memory this February. And you will be warm!! Knitting only for fun, actually having to lift the knitting off your lap so you can cool down. It will all be worth it. And yes, knitting does calm me down.

  31. about the cat thing. When I lived with a friend his house was getting something similar done and his cat did fall down the hole. the cat was fine, but yes, it can happen.
    and i don’t know, i think non-knitters just drink or just cry or just both, not really sure

  32. oh gee, it is my husband who destroys our house like that, can not blame it on some innocent workmen. Paid workment ususally clean up the messes they make, unlike my husband. I can relate to the chaos and the destruction since we gutted and redid this 100 yr. old house. I don’t think I had time to knit. I had a crawling baby, a 5 year old and 4 teenagers. I think I just cried.

  33. I am exceedingly lucky to have a DH, Kelly, who is very similar to your Joe. Kelly will hug me (if we’re in proximity) or talk soothingly to me (if we’re not) about the strange tangents I take. He’ll walk me through my doomsday scenarios, analyzing each step, until I realize that it’s not really as bad as I make it out to be… and even if it is, we just tackle things one at a time. My favorite aunt just passed away, and that was how he got me through taking care of dismantling her household. If he wasn’t there, I would still be crying in the middle of her living room, not wanting to donate the 428th costume jewelry necklace we found. You have a winner in Joe; lean on him when you need to and be there when he needs you. That’s how we handle stress.

  34. Oh dear. I totally identify with your position on having people in the house moving stuff/changing things &c. In fact I am you & you are me. This is why our house is virtually untouched since we moved in 15 years ago, as OH is the only person I trust to do DIY and he’s too busy a lot of the time. (And I have better things to do. Like knitting.)
    I think this is a perfectly reasonable position to take. I do.

  35. Yes. I knit as a stress relief, and the few stressful times in my life from pre-knitting I honestly don’t remember. And yes, I wonder how non-knitters handle stress. My husband plays video games to manage his stress, so there’s one answer.

  36. Makes *sympathetic* and *soothing noises*…
    I know *just* how you feel, though by the time I had put my foot through the kitchen ceiling by backing into the Huge Open Hole the Husband-Thing had left in the middle of the upstairs bathroom we were trying to fix from When the Water Came Through The Ceiling, and then we had the plumbers in, the part where it turned out that with infinite persistence and sneakiness the RosieCat had managed to trick the plumbers into Nailing Her Up Inside the Floor (she did’t get nailed, the floor did), it became quite funny. We got her out through the Hole That Was STILL in the Kitchen Ceiling, over her violent protests. If she had figured out how to get us to put tuna water up into the ceiling regularly, she would have considered herself Queen for Life.

  37. I re-learned to knit to I could have the pretty clothes and things I wanted without spending 300$ on a cashmere scarf.
    I’m sorry your house has been overtaken by the furnace project. I don’t like people in my space either. 🙁

  38. I don’t deal well with change, either. In fact, I tend to leave when things like what you describe happen. Take the example of moving: Of the last 3 moves I’ve made, I’ve been (1) out of town, (2) out of the country, or (3) defending my dissertation. I’ll go to great lengths to avoid packing and unpacking! I’ll have to move again in a year or so and I’m seriously considering becoming an astro-tourist.

  39. You have my deep and sincere sympathy. A few months ago I had the distinct pleasure of having my upstairs drain pipe spring a leak that required tearing out walls and pipes from the second floor down to the basement (the link on my name is to a post and photos about it). It was awful. I freely admit I cried, though I did manage to not cry in front of the plumbers.
    The advice to leave is a good one, as is the advice to hold off on cleaning till it’s all over and done with. I ended up needing to wash EVERY dish in the house and to wipe down EVERY book before the dust was all gone. It was well and truly lousy.
    However, I survived, my marriage survived (which was in doubt on one or two occasions), and the new bathroom is awesome. The only comfort is that in time, you forget the worst bits of it. Good luck.

  40. My behavior wouldn’t be different, but my blood pressure certainly would be. Here’s another thought to knit by: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
    It will pass. It will be better soon. And no, you may not stab the nice workmen with your sock needles.

  41. Thanks, Stephanie! I thought it was only me who hated having strangers in my space, touching my stuff, maybe judging me for how much wool I have (“what’s all THAT?”) I have been known to mutter at work “I just need to knit a little… just one row would be enough…” Co-workers have said to me, “WHAT are you doing? We don’t have time for that!” Hello! Can you see that I am rocking in my chair that isn’t supposed to rock? Leave me alone, it is just for 60 seconds, and then I will be better. Is this normal? or are we crazy? I don’t know.

  42. I had a major renovation of my house done a year after my husband died, and looking back, I don’t know how I survived it, as it lasted over a year and I did not knit. The only saving grace was that the contractors would babysit for my children, and took my 4 year old son to lunch almost every day. They taught him that napkins are for sissies, and that was what his sleeve was for, among other things.
    I find as I have become older I can tolerate a lot less noise and confusion, and I also hate it when people touch my things. Coffee, then beer. My favorite combination of stimulants and depressants.
    Keep on knitting-remember EZ’a advice to “knit on with confidence and hope through all crises”, something I practice on a fairly regular basis myself.

  43. I HATE when people touch my stuff, even when I know them, but especially when I don’t. I don’t think you are overreacting at all. Good luck with getting your house back the way you want it!

  44. Feel your pain. Your “I don’t like” list sounded as I had written it myself. The husband (a truck driver who is only home every three weeks) and I have been in the deep, dark, scary, suffocating hole of home renovations since June. Just had the carpet guys in my house for three days. Will take me a week to clean up after them. All of my furniture has been sitting in the middle of my floors for months. I haven’t had a bed to sleep in all week. I’ve walked around on the verge of tears all day today. I could go on and on but will suffice it to say … Yes, I feel your pain.

  45. I may be in a similar predicament at some unspecified time in the future. My husband wants to re-do the kitchen. We have three cats. I don’t knit in hot weather (we live in south Georgia). I’ll return to your blog when that time comes and read all the nice comments telling you that this, too, shall pass. Just think, when this is all over, you’ll have a nice new furnace that will actually warm your whole house and the memory of workmen touching your things (I can relate to that, too) will fade. Hang in there, Steph. I’m thinking good thoughts for you.

  46. Oh dear. I, too, hate people touching my stuff and making a mess in my house. If I were you I would be considering checking into a motel for a couple nights…. Hang in there, keep knitting and enjoy a pint.

  47. They drink. Or shoot up. Of course then they don’t have normal stress anymore, either.
    I used to bike. I kept knitting when I stopped smoking. It helped a lot. I knit to keep the food entering my mouth to a manageable mountain. I knit to keep from eating my weight in dark chocolate. That’s a LOT of dark chocolate, mind.
    I leave home for a long while. The length of time is directly relative to the amount of craziness going on at home. Taking several special comfort projects, a new novel that I’ve been saving, enough $$ to stay away for a good long time, if needs be.
    I am also not the world’s greatest housekeeper either. Company or holidays, that’s enough. I get the crazies myself whenever I hire somebody to come in to clean for a day. I go away then too.
    Courage. Think of better days. Plan a fun vacation with Joe. I am SO glad I bought the cowl pattern……best advice is to pack up a few projects and go to an understanding friend’s house for a few days. Seriously.

  48. Joe is so right. Sometimes you gotta just walk away.
    I think everybody, knitters and non-, have their own ways of dealing with stress. Some eat, some drink, some (the smart ones) channel it into productive activity like exercise or the craft of their choice. I knit and clean. Not at the same time, but alternately. And self-medicate with chocolate. (Did you get your coffee?)

  49. Oh my goodness! I totally sympathize. When my husband and I married I’d been a single mom with 2 kids for a long time and a lot of things needed repairing and renovation around here. My husband comes in and immediately starts helping. We got lots of things fixed and updated around here. But after about a yr. of having the house in total disarray I had to tell him it was time to back off and take a break! I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. I think he was secretly glad because he was about to break the household bank but didn’t want to say anything. However, there are times you just gotta have a new furnace. You’re doing the right thing by getting out and away from it all. To answer your questions, yes, I use knitting to calm me down AND put me to sleep (thus not a whole LOT of knitting actually gets done around here). Would I behave differently if I didn’t knit? Yepper, I’d be nastier (right now everyone thinks I’m pretty nice and easy to get along with). When I’m knitting I can appear to be listening to what folks are saying to me and give a nod and they don’t know the difference. If I weren’t knitting I’d actually have to look at them and respond verbally (not always a good idea, when you consider some of the inane drivel you have to respond to). Keep knitting. Stay away from the craziness and go home after it’s all cleaned up and pretend it never happened. But enjoy that new found warmth in every room of the house.

  50. Love the upstairs yarn and downstairs yarn. Pity that my house is only 1 story. Does that mean I only get to accumulate 1/2 a stash?
    You will get through this, even if it means much cafe and pub time. Knit on!

  51. This reminds me of last winter when our pipes froze. The roto rooter guys showed up with their “super heater” They took it down to the basement and started it up and it sounded like the house was going to shoot off to the moon! I forced myself to take a peek and saw the flames shooting out the back of the thing. Could that possibly be safe? But everything was OK in the end . . . and it will be for you too!

  52. Oh man, this is shades of things to come for me! We are getting ready to renovate our 2 bathrooms (out of necessity….I’m kinda funny about water leaking into my living room-from both bathrooms-at the same time) and I’m going to be a basket case…but I will remember this post and do a lot of being thankful for my calm, patient, and sane husband! Hang in there Stephanie!

  53. We had our carpet ripped up last summer and the hardwood floors underneath sanded and lacquered. Change unnerves me and I’m just now recovering. So all my best to you and I hope your house is back to normal soon.

  54. I knit at work over my lunch hour, and sometimes I come home and dive into garter for a little while, just to decompress. Otherwise the needles would become WMDs. And I am like you, hate, hate, hate all those nice (and sometimes not-so-nice) workers messing with my house, so I try not to be there when they do, but sometimes it is unavoidable. I am having a workshop converted to a laundry area, and the lock on the kitchen door allows them access to where they need access and blocks off the rest of the house so I don’t have to be there.

  55. My empathy! I’m currently surrounded by boxes and boxes, having just moved in with a fiance who promptly left for the U.S. for work for a month! Does it bode well if he too uses soothing tones, and asks me if I have my knitting handy when I sound like I’m teetering on the edge?
    PS: I’m going to cope by blocking a shawl now (first lace! One of N.B.’s in Kinitted Lace of Estonia! Hopefully it worked…)

  56. How did you get in my head?! And the soothing tones…my hubby has to do the same thing with me occasionally.
    It will all be over soon! Your home will become normal again–maybe a little different, but it will be normal. And with reliable heat!

  57. Oh dear! I know how you feel! It’s all about deep breathing, yoga and strong drinks — and great sock yarn! I made my dad a pair of socks with that yarn for Xmas last year and he wears them all the time. It’s lucky, I tell you! Here comes some lucky vibes…

  58. Just reading about that renovation raises my bloodpressure. I don’t like strangers in my house either (especially since at my apartment complex there are strangers that can let themselves in — and do.) Your reaction is the normal reaction, everyone else is crazy.
    But the knitting is lovely! (and the needles are too.)

  59. I definitely use/need my knitting to cope and have no idea what I did prior to a few years ago when I started. The funny thing is that it has helped me cope but it has also made me closer to the edge of the crazy cliff in that I am like a starving dog feeding while knitting. If anyone comes near me while I am “coping” they are likely to get a warning growl and maybe even their hand bit off if they interrupt. I have social knitting and coping knitting. The coping knitting is not to be messed with.
    Try and have a better day. You’ve found some coffee, some internet, and some beer. Be nice to yourself now and find some fabulous yarn and some chocolate. Go home only when those people have left.

  60. That whole “I knit so I don’t kill people” sounds right to me. I even used to say “Knitting! Because you can’t beat your kids!”
    But my husband tells me that makes me look unstable. I don’t think he gets it. I’m glad someone does! Needles and wool have given me reserves of patience I would otherwise have never tapped into.

  61. Exactly – a motel with a pool and cable TV and room service. A business expense. You ARE working on another book, no??
    Sitting at my desk? Grounds for at least a legal separation.
    Commenting on my yarn – – – er, stash? Why, them baskets er sittin’ around for deck-o-ra-shun!
    Under the bed? In my dresser? What on earth were you doing THERE?
    French Poulain dark chocolate…..the best. And so reasonable, too. Surely it’s available in Toronto!

  62. Touching (and especially breaking!) someone’s stuff is a clear crossing of the line. I hope things are better when you get back. 🙂
    I also must say that I absolutely love these two lines:
    “… the guy just kept pointing and saying “Is that wool? .. Is that wool?” Is that…. more wool?”
    – Because my husband said much the same when he was moving my stash to redo our floor (I was very pregnant at the time, or I would have moved it myself!)
    “… they need to move not just the downstairs wool but the upstairs wool too …
    – Because I just love that you have “downstairs” wool and “upstairs” wool 🙂

  63. I usually take the tot and leave town when we have things done. It makes me crazy to have people messing around in my house too. Hang in there; this too shall pass and then you’ll have heat!
    I had incredible thyroid problems after the tot was born. I stopped knitting. When I picked it back up was when the fog started to clear. I am a much less anxious person when I am knitting.
    And I love that Joe told you to go where no one would talk to you.

  64. Oh, honey! My eyelid started twitching before I got 1/2 way thru your post.
    I had smart people (i.e. those kind of smart people who know what you have to do to install new doors and make them acutally open and close) in my house last week. They kept leaving the front door open, no matter how many times I said (with increasing volume and anxiety) PLEASE DON’T LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN BECUAS THE CATS WILL GET OUT AND RUN AWAY!
    I couldn’t even knit because they were planing doors and sawdust was everywhere and I couldn’t leave becuase they would wind up letting the cats out and then I would have to explain why I had seriously maimed/killed craftsmen AND comfort my child on the loss of our pets.
    I’m getting all twitchy just thinking about holes in walls and floors.
    Let’s go have some alcohol, OK?

  65. Sounds like this is the appropriate time to quote Elizabeth Zimmerman:
    “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

  66. You know. I have no idea how I coped before I became a knitter. I mean, obviously I coped, because I survived long enough *to* become a knitter, but now I can’t remember how I did it.
    You’re right, this calls for contemplation.

  67. Stress, coping mechanisms thereof, today: Go to work, decide that the 3-week-old sinus headache is in fact more than I can bear, do three hours of work so I can escape (including 10+ emails related to Rhinebeck), put on timesheet out sick this afternoon and tomorrow. Get 2nd cup of coffee on way to girlfriend’s house to pick up two cots for her daughters to sleep on at Rhinebeck, because there will be no room in her van going to Rhinebeck for cots – she will be carrying 5 people, 2 large coolers, 5 sleeping bags, 5 people’s luggage, and 7 fleeces to sell at the fleece sale (Shetland, Jacob/Shetland, Cheviot/Shetland, in case you’re wondering).
    Get cots. Talk with girlfriend for 3 hours about Rhinebeck, work, daughters, stress, husband/boyfriend, work, spinning, work, knitting, stress, etc. Show her how to wash fleece. Resist stealing the purple Chasing Rainbows bombyx silk belonging to one of the daughters – she’s planning on needle-felting with it. Fondle chocolate brown alpaca DK weight yarn; she has 1300 yards. Discuss what to knit with it. Make list of what girlfriend wants for yarn at Rhinebeck so I can go rifle my stash and see if I have anything suitable instead. Drive home.
    Read email, Harlot, Ravelry, work email; eat peanut M&Ms while doing so. Write excessively long comment on Harlot’s blog because, well, because just thank the sheep you exist, that’s all I can say.
    Off to rifle the stash now. Thank you, Steph; without you to brighten our days and guide us through reality, well, I just wouldn’t make it, OK?

  68. My first thought when I saw the hole in the floor was ‘what about the cat?!?!’
    I definitely think I started knitting to deal with stress, but lately I’ve been hitting the elliptical climber instead. I still knit, but a good workout (and Metallica) goes a long way towards stress relief.

  69. YIKES!!!!! We removed carpet and put down wood flooring and THAT made me nuts. I can’t imagine all that noise with holes everywhere. Can you stay at your MIL’s until this is done?
    And those non-knitters?? They take pills.

  70. I know I use knitting to help me through stress. I made a hat just today because we have to now wait 14 days for the new oven to come in. So in 14 days when they are tearing up the house to put in the new stove, oven and ventahood, I may be at the coffee shop downing expresso and knitting like a crazy woman. But knitting does keep me sane, well, I think it does. Hang in there. Soon you will be enjoying wonderfully warm heat and no one will be touching your stuff. (I understand that too).

  71. I don’t think that knitting attracts the easily stressed but the people who know that they don’t have to deal with stress.
    Just think of knitting and tax credits while the renos are going on.

  72. You must be in hell, but your Joe sounds a great guy, repeat after me…it will get better…and enjoy that beer

  73. YES! Knitting attracts people who have more of a need to manage stress than others. YES YES YES. Right now knitting is not quite enough, so I’m spinning. That might not be enough either, so I’ve made an acupuncture appointment…. and so on.

  74. Oh, Steph, honey. I really feel for you. I think just about anyone would be stressed from having strangers making lots of holes in their house and breaking things. Home is where you’re supposed to be most comfortable (it’s home!), and when someone takes that away from you, how can you not be stressed? So no, you’re not crazy.
    Do what you need to do to get through this. It sounds like you’re on the right track. Just remember, the chaos is finite. It will end, and your house will be a home again.

  75. Oh YES! Knitting is for the sanity! The completed knitted items, well, they are just by-products. The result of knitting: sanity!
    Knitting might attract people who want to be sane, or cope with the world, in a sensible way.

  76. Deep breathing, while knitting or (better) spinning. Know to soothe the savage beast who rises up when people touch your stuff. You and the cat will be OK.

  77. Non-knitters cope with drugs. The cousin of a friend of mine had such extensive renovations that the architect moved in with them for several months. The day after all the work was finished, a ceiling collapsed. The lady of the house took to her bed with a bottle of tranquilizers and stayed there for the 3 weeks it took for her husband to have the ceiling repaired.
    See how well you’re coping?

  78. Deep breathing…while knitting or (better) spinning is known to soothe the savage beast who rises up when people touch your stuff. You and the cat will be OK.

  79. I hope you can find some peace in your knitting. It’s absolutely a coping mechanism for me–I recently was facing two very different and really hugenormous life decisions and both of them were spinning around in my head at 90 mph. And all i seemed physically capable of doing was stockinette. I knit an entire pair of socks just trying to get my brain to slow down.
    I don’t know how other people do it. Alcohol I think…

  80. Oh, you poor dear!
    I have no clue how non-knitters cope. I don’t remember what I did to cope before I was a knitter. I think I gibbered.
    Your house will soon be back to normal. *hugs*

  81. Having been through the same thing I KNOW what is happening to you. One pint will not be enough.

  82. It is not knitting humour; it is knitting wisdom. Bear with this “construction” and the end will justify the means. Very cliche but it kept me going through kitchen renovation and ac instillation. cd

  83. All I can tell you is that knitting and my incredibly patient husband are the only things that help me moderate my stress enough to even contemplate the three more years of grad school I’ve signed up for.
    So maybe knitting does attract people who need to, ahem, calm down sometimes 🙂 I definitely don’t handle stress very well. Or without becoming, ahem, shrill.

  84. Even with knitting, I tend to give people a look that says “are you insane or just stupid”. Take a deep breath and imagine your office being warm. *hug*

  85. By gosh I know EXACTLY how you feel. I am not very tidy either, but things have their homes, especially my yarn. We are painting the living room, kitchen and hallway so i have had to move EVERYTHING, and now i cannot even sit on my couch and knit to destress! MY house is small, the only other rooms are bed rooms so everything from the living room and kitchen is in the bed rooms, I cannot even relax in there.
    Would I look crazy if I went down to the local bar and sat there knitting? I need somewhere to knit darn it!

  86. I knit because it helps to stop that twitch I get in my eyebrow. And because it is a soothing repetitive motion that is more socially acceptable than the alternative soothing repetitive motion of rocking back and forth in the corner mumbling about how somebody took my stapler.

  87. As Sandra said, seems perfectly normal to me. The increasingly hysterical interior monologue and then conversation with Joe? Absolutely normal. Yep…..could have been taken straight out of my head anytime anyone stressses me out. I’d go feral without my knitting. Thanks for the link to the shirt. I’m going to buy that t-shirt to go along with my WTF cup.

  88. Hate people in my house. Hubby’s lucky I let him live there. ;-).
    Ya might consider increasing your beer intake while cutting back on the coffee. Just a thought.

  89. The stress of the in-laws does drive me to the brink, so before we go visit, hubby makes sure I have enough projects to get me through. He also makes sure the yarn is of good quality so that I won’t be tempted to strangle them with it.
    I also finding winding skeins into yarn cakes is very soothing. This helps when you have a teenage boy in the house.

  90. The roofers were here today and I now have a new roof. It has taken me a year to get someone I had confidence in to do the roof. I was so happy to get it done that I didn’t mind the noise, the destruction of the fall garden or my potted mums getting stepped on. They cleaned up their mess including cleaning out the gutters. For me it was one day and I could live with it. I did go out for lunch with a friend to maintain sanity.
    I can imagine how frustrating renos can be inside the house when they seem to go on forever.

  91. My hubby plays solitaire on the computer for hours when he’s stessed. and I, too, hate poeple in my house, touching my stuff, upsetting my routine, so you have my sympathy. just have that pint and knit those socks, and all will be well.

  92. Knitting got me through the insanity of thesis writing and a year at a job that I hated. When I get extremely stressed out, my husband often brings up the line that I shared with him from your wedding post: “just do a couple of lines and take the edge off”. Knitting always helps.

  93. I’ve only been knitting for 2 years and I barely remember what I used for a coping technique for stress. I read alot…no really. I used that as a coping technique for many years.
    Once I started working in the Oil Sands away from home and therefore my book collection, I couldn’t use reading to deal with stress. Watching hockey during the winter helped as the chatter of the play-by-play announcer & colour commentator filled my head with white noise. I also love doing laundry so to relax I will wash, dry and fold my clothing. The smell of clean laundry reminds me of my mom and the various PMQs I grew up in. I guess it has the same effect as warm cookies, baking bread or homemade beef stew.
    I still do all the things I mentioned but I knit now so when I’m doing laundry or watching hockey I’ll knit. Just the feel of the project (not the yarn) in my hands instantly calms me down as it reminds me that even though I’m stressed I’m still capable of making something to provide for myself or the people in my life. It works 🙂 Reading is still No. 1 though.

  94. This sounds exactly like me, and I am definitely “only able to appear normal as long as nobody messes with me too much.” That describes it exactly.
    The only difference is, I probably would have gotten away from them as fast as I could and cried after they broke the whatever.
    And it’s always so much work to get everything put back together the right way after someone does even a very minor thing in your space, let alone major work.
    I hope it all gets better as fast as it can.

  95. Last year my husband and son were working under the kitchen sink, and when they started talking about hitting things with sledgehammers I went out the living room and knit. When they started talking about the propane torch my memory gets a little fuzzy, but I think I went to the yarn store. Somewhere I couldn’t see or hear what they were doing, that’s for sure.
    Joe is a very wise man. Glad to hear you followed his advice.

  96. I went to the dentist this week. (I have a very bad history with dentists.) I insisted on keeping my knitting bag in my lap. They didn’t understand and kept offering to “hang that up for me.” I did feel a little better with it there – I could, if necessary, clear the room and knit a few rounds.

  97. We have had a few major life changing events in the past 3 years, knitting kept me from going ‘over’ the edge. Knitting through my daughter’s transition to universtiy away from home. Knitting through my husband’s surgery and recovery. Knitting through a fire that could have affected our lively hood and the resulting year of rebuilding. Then this year knitting through a summer with both kids away.
    It has become my ‘meditation’, busy hands.
    It will get better, you will have a warm house, and perhaps more storage downstairs, new furnaces take up so little space.
    Chin up…

  98. I understand, Stephanie. I feel exactly as you do about people in my house, touching, and especially breaking things!! I made the hubby move my mother’s old teawagon, and some other family pieces so the movers won’t touch them. Also all my yarn my sewing machines, etc. Nobody messes with my stuff!!! Just the spinning wheel to go. Luckily my stuff is either fuzzy and no breaky, or small enough to get into the truck! 🙂
    Today is the first day I’ve felt frazzled about our move. My darling boys came to help move boxes last Saturday, and John told them to move the boxes of food too. So where the heck is the cereal!!! It nearly tipped me over the edge today, that did.
    You’re smart to get out and go somewhere quiet to knit and write. It will be worth it in the end, I’m sure. It’s just this messy noisy journey that is awful. Knit on!

  99. Oh, I feel your pain. My husband is currently refinishing the floor in our bedroom, 8 boards at a time (and they’re narrow boards–this is taking a while!). A large portion of my stash is under the bed. That means that very soon he is going to see it, touch it, move it and worst of all, COMMENT on it! My stomach is in knots!
    And in answer to your questions about knitting and stress: I have a daughter with emotional issues. She graduated from high school in one piece because I knit my way through high school with her. It was how I managed her crazy. It kept me sane, even when we had to hospitalize her. Once stitch after another over and over, until I was calm. It works.

  100. Having such major renovation done is always stressful. Hopefully you can get something done.
    Non-knitters exercise…or have a stroke…or eat. My DH eats… my boys go out to the barn and work… my mom, God love her, calls me and tells me about her stress.

  101. Oh my god, you poor thing. I’ve been through that kind of freak out and it is definitely not fun.
    That said, I began knitting as therapy. It is one of the few things that can absolutely calm me down and focus me back into reality. Before knitting, I was contemplating how I was going to pay for a therapist.
    Turns out yarn is much cheaper.

  102. Oh my. I am actually a little relieved that someone I admire is the same sort of crazy about things like this. (The last time we moved, my dearly beloved set up our bedroom, put me in it, and then closed the door until most of the craziness was over. LOL)
    I hope that all the work will be done quickly and that no harm will come to anything else that is dear to you (cat and yarn especially.)

  103. I have to laugh with you on this… I’m a commercial construction project manager and yet, I HATE home renovations. HATE them. That is why our cute little fixer upper we bought when we were young and fabulous is still halfway done.
    When I go to project meetings my subcontractors always ask about my latest knitting project. One of them finally fessed up that they know it will be a good meeting if I have knitting with me.
    So see, even those of us who do this for a living need our stress management too. You will live through this, you will be very happy with the results. Its just the journey to the end that will be quite bumpy. I recommend lots of knitting for the duration.

  104. First of all, YAY to me for not being alone in this world! I thought it was just me who went crazy at stuff like this!
    Not yay for you, though, as it is so tough to be us.
    I am the mom of a travel soccer player…a girl travel soccer player to boot. I am nearly always anxious. Last weekend was the first in many that I haven’t been a nervous wreck because she was out of town but not to play but to watch! Whatever I will do when she’s playing in college and I can’t make every game?!
    My stress reliever? Chocolate. Lots of it. In fact, my stress level can be measured by the size of the candy bar required to bring me back to earth (i.e. “Honey, this is a SuperSize Triple nut Snickers Bar kind of project).
    Knitting is my other stress reliever.
    But not at the same time as I don’t like to get chocolate on my knitting.
    Oh, and loving on my fur babies. My Molly and I ‘nuggle (as opposed to snuggle).
    Anything to keep my mind off of the thing I’m stressing about is good, as long as it doesn’t involve taxing brain power.
    Hugs to you, Yarn Harlot.

  105. Your Joe is someone I really really would like to meet one day. What a honey!!!!
    “May the force be with you”. Just think…. no more furnace crapping out on you when it gets cold.
    PS Anyone turned the furnace on yet in your family? I know you always have a competition.

  106. Oh good lord. Let me just say that an afternoon pint and some knitting needles sounds about perfect, and if you happen to find a second afternoon pint lying around, no one will judge you for having that one too. (Well, someone might judge you, but it sure as hell won’t be me.) Good luck.

  107. Going into my third month with a partial bathroom over here. It was completely unusable for a month and a half, and all that I can use it in since then is the bathtub. In that month and a half, in a house that was supposed to be entirely renovated (it was, in truth, but a pack of ill-trained wombats could have done a better job), the room was gutted. We just kept finding things that absolutely had to be repaired (bare electrical buried in the floor, anyone?). As of today, the tub surround has been grouted but is still missing about 12 tiles. The toilet and vanity are in the spare bedroom. The room beneath the bathroom (where the first problem was discovered, as the toilet began dripping through its ceiling) has been repaired, but is still a minor disaster area as other things get finished up. I have a toilet and sink downstairs, but have spent way too much time washing my hair in the kitchen sink.
    How have I coped? Knitting is nice, but NyQuil is better. I would have to knit or spin practically all day to even out this stress, and they frown on that when you’re in the classroom. If I can’t sleep, I really can’t cope, and the level of chaos around here is such that I can’t wind down at night. Hence, NyQuil.

  108. I’ve known how to knit since I was about six, and I’d done it on and off over the years, but I started seriously while sitting by my son’s hospital bed and during his radiation treatments that his oncologist said would raise his survival odds from “significantly less than 20 percent” (I think that is oncologist for “about the same as getting struck by lightning on a clear day”) to about one in four. So you may have something there.
    (I didn’t write that intending to minimize your predicament. My stepmother drives me batsh*t insane because she always wants to improve my stuff, usually by throwing most of it away, which of course involves touching it.)

  109. Before I did knitting, I would cross-stitch and read. I also had a habit (strange, because I’m not a girly girl) when things were bad to do a spot of retail therapy: a unredeemablely mediocre magazine, a new shade of nail polish, or a lipstick.

  110. Hugs honey.
    We redid our furnace ourselves. New Returns, registers and ducting ran by yours truly.
    Well worth it, but I understand the mess and I’m OCD and it took a lot to get hubby to talk me into it.
    Since it looks like most of the registers will be on the floor, you’ll have fun with Millie sleeping on top of them. We moved all of ours to the ceiling.
    And most of my non-knitter friends run to deal with stress.

  111. Renovations suck, and there is no way around it. Change is highly overrated, too. I am glad you live within walking distance of a variety of cafes – maybe one of them will keep some of your stash behind the counter for you so you can just move in until it is all over.
    It does seem like non-knitters have figured out some other way to handle stress, but i am not convinced it is any good. They never come through the other side of the crisis with good socks like we all do.

  112. I knit so I don’t kill people – I’ve tried yoga, meditation, running, and so far, knitting is my best coping strategy. Hubby was laid off two weeks ago and I’ve done more knitting in the last 2 weeks than I did in the previous 2 months 🙂

  113. I have to say that Joe’s response kind of made me tear up a little. It’s wonderful when someone loves you enough to know exactly how nuts you are and is willing to do whatever he/she can to make you feel better even if your behavior might be a teensy, weensy bit…um, crazy. 😉 I’ve got my own Joe (literally) so I know whereof I speak. Not that I’m ever crazy. No sirree.

  114. my beloved TWINS (baseball for all you hockey-types) just had a disasterous series with those damn Yankees. I knit everytime the Yankees batted. It didn’t affect the outcome of the game, but the people sitting in front of me at the stadium don’t realize what knitting saved them from!

  115. I feel exactly the way you feel about having a bunch of guys come in and mess with my stuff, and move and change everything. You’ve been in that house a long time, and got things pretty much the way you want them, and done much of the renovating yourself. I think you’d be better off staying home and keeping an eye on things even if those guys give you the feeling that you’re “interfering.”

  116. Well, believe it or not, my grandmother CLEANED to cope with stress.
    My oldest daughter goes shopping for a new purse when she is stressed. I read, knit, spin or make art.
    Would you like to come to Kentucky for a few days?
    I’m sure we could find a nice warm place for you to stay til all this is over.

  117. Yes. Yes, I do use knitting to regulate my behavior. Recently, my husband walked through the house and said, “Oh, thank God you’re knitting!” if that tells you anything.

  118. Poor Steph. I think, maybe, you should have had this done while you were in Oregon.
    I learned to knit because I have to do *something,* and the arthritis in my hands had gotten too bad for me to do needlepoint, which was my previous pastime. My hands are better, now, but I can’t go back to needlepoint– it would take time away from my knitting!
    I hope you can replace your broken thing.

  119. I can take most things but cutting holes in my floor would require smelling salts. My sincere ccondolences and congrats to Joe for getting you out of there!

  120. Many non-knitters run. Think of it. If you had started running at 10 this morning, by now you could have been in, like, Niagara Falls or someplace. Maybe Kitchener-Waterloo. Didn’t you say there’s great yarn out that way? If you can’t run that far, how about biking?

  121. Firstly – it WILL all be worth it. When you wake up on an icy, yucky, cold Februrary morning and come downstairs and you realize that the floors are toasty warm and that you, indeed, are toasty warm – you’ll be glad you did it and it will all be worth the pain. Or at least by then the dust and pain will be a distant memory. It will be nice to be warm and know that the new furnace will happyily be working away in the background, efficiently.
    Remember when you had to (sadly) end your relationship with Mr. Washie? And how painful it was to get the new machine in? And how wonderful it was once the new machine was all hooked up and working? Like that.
    And yes, I use knitting to modify stress. A lot. I have a stress sock on the go now, that I pick up and knit on for a few minutes at various times throughout the day to calm down. As I’m currently doing customer service on a website, it won’t surprise you to learn that the sock I cast on last Monday will be finished tomorrow!

  122. We’re having our shower pan replaced- tearing out tiles, cement, boards, etc. to clean out the rotten parts because it was leaking. The noise is tremendous, with Sawzalls, mini-jackhammers, etc. AND I HAVE TO TEACH MUSIC IN THIS!!! (Me talking to my husband next to the shower downstairs). Somehow we managed, but the cat freaked out, because she couldn’t take her afternoon nap, we all got a bit crazy after 3 straight hours of destruction noise, and talking on the dial phone was a joke. I sat in front of my laptop, watched the Mentalist and knitted,…..a lot…..with earphones…..

  123. I knit so I don’t go running naked into the street, shaking my fist and using language that would make sailors blush.
    I knit so I can stay married, and my dogs can live.
    I knit so steam does not come out of my ears.
    My dh thinks yarn is cheaper than a really good lawyer, and me spending years in jail.
    I knit because there is crazy in the world, and I would like not to be part of it.

  124. I can totally relate…do not touch my stuff!
    Hubby sat still while I read your post and never batted an eye…then when I finished he says “that sounds like you…and yes you are much calmer when you knit.”
    I knit the entire time he was in surgery…daughter took the item so that I wouldn’t see how many dropped stitches I had and fret over it; I knit when our little chi was being neutered; I knit when I’m in line at the market and the checker is taking her sweet time; I knit at the car dealers; I knit my way through a migraine; I knit when the daughters moved away from home with my grandsons ~ both in opposite directions and hundreds of miles away from each other and us; I knit when the phone rings;
    I knit…I think that if I didn’t I would probably either be in a looney bin somewhere or be with our Maker.
    Knitting is my sanity.
    Our son visited us three years ago with his SO and three little ones…I was a complete utter wreck the entire week…I didn’t knit a stitch the entire time…totally broke down in tears a full day and try to remember the time spent with granddaughter and cannot…
    Knitting is my sanity.
    A cup of coffee in the morning and a beer in the evening do not hurt either.
    Yes, I can totally relate and really the only thing I can say is “Have a pint and knit”

  125. When people ask why I knit so much I tell them that
    a. it’s my form of anger management;
    2. it’s cheaper than psychotherapy and you can do it in your pajamas;
    c. when you’re done, you can actually see and wear the results of your therapy sessions.
    Also, I feel powerful clutching very pointy sticks and occasionally threatening people with them.

  126. I occasionally freak when someone moves my toothbrush, so I understand. Think cashmere and good luck!

  127. Some of the non-knitters I know obsessively worry, sue people, verge on hypochondria, spend too much money (and not on yarn), and clean like Mr. Monk. Some of these people think I knit too much and can’t understand why I do it! Knitting and reading are my way of coping. I hope the installation gets better for you. We live in the mid-Atlantic part of the states and had a new heating unit put in last year. Parts of our house are now actually warm during the winter. Best wishes and this too shall pass.

  128. Sometimes it helps to put it all into perspective. Your husband, kids, and you are fine. You have a house that is being improved. You have at least one cat. Your car is fine. You have lots and lots of yarn. Everybody is healthy and happy. This is not a disaster of biblical proportions, it is an inconvenience. I realize that your feelings are very deep, but you need to look at the big picture.
    However, you would be totally right to give a bad time to the guy who broke your stuff. He was wrong to do that. If that item was important to you, then let him have it.
    In two days or so, it will all be over and your life will be fine again, except you will have a new heater for your house.
    Hang in there.

  129. Laughed till I cried and oh, Steph, having remodeled, I so much relate. As for the stress thing–one non-knitter I know goes and yanks out every weed she can find. HARD. My son plays the piano, LOUD. (Beats driving fast, that’s for sure.) There are ways.
    I hope the broken thing is replaceable soon, and I was holding my breath in fear that it was your wheel or something.

  130. I’m definitely more crazy when I don’t have some knitting time. I think other people find what works for them: exercise, reading, drinking, smoking, fishing, etc. Take care. It won’t last forever. And you’ll be toasty warm (if you use it) this winter.

  131. Doing some breathing for you here.
    I totally get “don’t touch my stuff”. I’m not tidy, not even a little bit, but that doesn’t matter, DON’T TOUCH IT!
    Knitting is good. Beer is good. Knitting and beer are very good.

  132. I’m so sorry, no doubt it will get worse before it gets better but it WILL get better. The new furnace will cost less to run and then there will be more money for the essentials in life. We all have different definitions of “essential” but I can think of many better things to spend my money on than the gas bill.

  133. You know I adore Joe almost as much as Rams does, but how come *he* got to be Somewhere Else?

  134. Actually I think these are very valid questions and I think about why I knit quite a bit (and I identify with your horror of people being in your space and touching your stuff). It is definitely a stress release for me, but I also think it can be avoidant. There are people that only read Twilight books, or play World of Warcraft. Sometimes I think knitting (and photographing it, and blogging about it) are the same thing. There are positive aspects, like the feeling of fulfillment at creating, and the meditative nature of the stitching, and there can be negative aspects, like justifying consumerism by saying “it’s wool!” or not interacting with the world because I knit. Whether knitting attracts people that are a certain way or not, I can’t say, but I can say that certain knitting groups I’ve been to seem like, well, group. People go there because it’s a warm accepting place where socially awkward folks can sort out their individual stuff without feeling threatened.
    Someone said they teared up at Joe’s response. I teared up because I knew exactly that feeling of helplessness and frustration. I haven’t had renovations but I moved out of the country and had packers mess with all my stuff. I sorted through my “I don’t trust the sea shipment with my stuff” section of the stash and actually mailed myself boxes that I thought I couldn’t live without for 3-4 months.
    We all have ways of coping.

  135. I have those days. If people do not leave me alone with my Ipod and my knitting, I will kill them. I don’t know how non-knitters do it. They must yell a lot more than we do.

  136. Ok, so I just had an Ah-ha moment. I don’t like people touching my stuff either. I now know why I get the jitters when I have to share my space!
    I’m not competent enough to knit as a stress reliever yet (stress inducer for now, but hoping to change that!), but I think I cook. Or read: there’s nothing like submerging yourself in a crime novel where I know the baddie gets caught in the end to avoid whatever it is thats stressing me out!

  137. As a physician who definitely knits to keep from maybe killing someone; my family knows that I need an immediate fix of knitting as soon as I walk in the door. 10 minutes until I can really cope with the next thing. Have been known to knit while trying to drive but as I am only homicidal and not suicidal this practiced is banned. Now I simply put the yarn on the seat besdie me and fondle it frequently,as needed.
    Some of my nonknitting friends smoke, and it seems to be the same sort of need. I think that does for them what knitting does for me. But they are way more stinky.

  138. yikes, good luck with all this! it does sound stressful; i don’t think it’s that you’re abnormally sensitive. and i’m a big fan of the occasional therapeutic afternoon pint– go ahead and treat yourself!

  139. My teenaged sister says she goes for long walks to deal with the stress of having a terminally uncool family.

  140. Do you ever got to Lettuce Knit anymore? I sent you something there about six months ago – a couple of t-shirts – and I’m wondering if you ever got them.

  141. What an absolutely terrible situation. I feel for you immensely. That being said, good for you for getting it taken care of before it was out of your hands. Imagine how bad it would be if it were an emergency on top of everything else.
    I honestly got into knitting BECAUSE I needed a way to cope. As a non-knitter, I think I read escapist (read here bodice-ripper) literature…I can’t really remember anymore – it’s been too long.

  142. Poor you. I hope they finish quickly so you can have your (warm, at least at the end of the furnace wars) home back.
    If they have to turn the new furnace on to test it, will you lose the war? Or is your brother a kind individual?

  143. It seems like Joe, knowing how this effects you, could have arranged for this to be done while you were away or something.. like the Sock Summit etc.
    Hey Honey, I’m home. Oh, look what you did while I was away!
    I react much the same way as you. One Christmas I managed to flood our home with laundry tub overflow. 3 solid months of reno’s and I was a jibbering idiot by the end of it but I had knit over 50 (yes, 5-0) beaded amulet bags. They saved my life. ( Hub’s answer to a newly decorated home was to sell it. I should have just smacked him one right there!)
    My first love, weaving was on hold as the flood water had run through the light fixtures and into my loom room. We grabbed the (till then ‘hidden’) stash and tossed it into another room. So, there is all was… out in the open for all to see, including Hub. I just threw him an evil eye and he went as silent as a grave.
    Since then, all my stash is an open book. Clear storage containers stacked proudly and in full view. Daring anyone to comment and then reap what they sow!
    We have reno’s that flare up here like a bad rash. There’s a lull right now but a new kitchen is likely to break out after Christmas and decks lurking in the spring. It’s like getting an operation . You know you need it. Even want it..(Sort of).. but god, isn’t there a better way to do it??!!
    Blocking access to the coffee maker is grounds for an insanity defense…
    Duncan, BC.

  144. Of COURSE knitting helps me manage stress. Whenever my kids tease me about my stash I say “can you imagine mom without her knitting?” and they shudder and tell me it’s o.k. to buy more.

  145. Um, yes. Knitting is the drug to take the edge off. While I was pregnant with my second daughter… I literally destroyed the edging of a blanket while on not so voluntary bed rest for months on end. Rubbing those edges until they didn’t exist anymore. Shortly after she was born I started knitting. I should have learned sooner! For the past year that same daughter, now 3, has been battling Leukemia. I think we can just say a lot of blankets were saved this year by knitting!!!

  146. I know from whence you speak. I am bipolar, and the mere thought of people touching my stuff, even simply commenting on it, even my husband, sends me running for the Klonopin. And my knitting. I’m working on baby booties for my nephew who’s due end of November, but I keep not knitting them. And there’s the poncho that needs to be blocked and sewn up by Saturday for Rhinebeck…
    Joe is your rock, same as my husband is for me. They talk us down from the ledge; I thank my lucky stars every day for my man.

  147. Oh, honey!
    I read that and thought…yeah, I’d probably do the exact same thing…and my husband would do the exact same thing except tell me to take my crochet/knitting to a brewery.

  148. I don’t know what non-knitters do. However, when I don’t have any knitting at hand, and it happens rather often, and my social phobia strikes me, I simply panic. Like, walk around with weird face, heart rate around 500, feeling that I may either throw up or the world will explode or something up.

  149. I had some difficult news this morning between my getting out of bed and eating my breakfast (like, before getting the cat fed, but she was very understanding) and once breakfast was had, I got all practical and emptied the compost, cleared out the water tank inlets and then did what any sensible person would do – I sat at the spinning wheel and spun like a woman possessed!

  150. Wow! You’re coping so well! I’m not being sarcastic. I’d be knitting in the psych ward. You’re doing great!

  151. When my husband’s heart stopped (he survived intact, a 5% chance) ten years ago, I knit and knit and knit, while he spent two weeks in the hospital. It kept me (and him) sane. I definitely need knitting during stress.
    That is why I so enjoyed knitting the Pretty Thing while I had a wretched cold and Steve was at a meeting in Malta. He comes home today, the Pretty Thing is ready to be blocked (handspun camel down and tussah), and my cold is better.
    This too will pass, and you will have a new furnace which will work at -40 (C or F).
    Love and Hugs

  152. You know, I don’t know what I’d do. I knit a lot now to destress, and I always enjoy having something to do with my hands. . .but I’m trying to think back and figure out what I DID with my hands six years ago when I was stressed and didn’t know how to knit, and like. It’s coming up blank.
    Also, I believe in you. You’ll sort out the home reno. I’m jealous of your pint.

  153. Stephanie,
    I am a rower, knitter and singer. Those three things (and a wonderful husband) keep me sane. And I have this saying on my bulletin board at work:
    “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
    Dame Julien of Norwich, 14th century mystic

  154. I don’t like people sitting in my computer chair or touching my things, etc., either. Perfectly normal reaction. Good thing that Joe is sensible and reminded you to go somewhere to knit. I like him.

  155. I just survived a reno and you are not going to believe how peaceful the house will be after everyone leaves. It will be utter bliss I promise you – be brave!!

  156. Hi, Stephanie
    I know what you’re going through. All I can suggest is that you go to Rhinebeck this weekend. That should help.

  157. I’m a very organized person, so when we do home improvements, sometimes I handle it well and sometimes I don’t. My husband has gotten to the point that he waits until I’m out of town to paint a room. I can handle the disarry a few days, but more than 5 I’m quite cranky. I totally understand where you’re coming from and I hope it’s over soon.

  158. I find that exercising also helps as does watching really good movies (altho that really has to wait until the worst is past.) You are lucky to have Joe. My partner exacerbates everything. If I am upset, he either acts like I am crazy or stupid. Or he gets even more upset himself. Neither of which helps at all. I tell you there have been many times that he is lucky I only use circular needles because, if I had some 14″ straights, I might be tempted to use them on him!

  159. This is going to sound really weird, but in the interest of a minority viewpoint:
    I used to knit. I knit through an unhappy marriage, and being underutilized in my job, stuck in a market that couldn’t really support me. But I started making changes, and rather grew out of it. I looked at the projects I had planned, and I couldn’t see how yet another handmade sweater or pair of socks would make life better, when I had plenty, and what I really wanted were other things.
    I make other things; elaborate costumes and equipment for historical play which involves hitting people with sticks (and getting hit). I draw an illustrated journal. I play several musical instruments. I facebook, and chat with friends online (particularly the ones from the historical play group). I tidy. I cook. I practice yoga.
    I expect to knit again someday. I have some projects I would like to do when I live in a colder climate and can really enjoy having more warm things to wear. And I really do remember the zen of each stitch, one after another…but I just don’t need to do that now. It’s all right. Knitting will wait for me.

  160. I almost always carry some knitting with me. At home I often spin. Must be something about the stitch by stitch (or inch by inch) motions that are soothing. I figure it’s productive valium!

  161. I’m not having my house torn apart, but I am spending the evening knitting to alleviate stress and hopefully induce some happy feelings about today. Sorry you had a crummy day too. Tomorrow will be better. *hug*!
    Non-knitter coping mechanisms don’t seem to be nearly as constructive or productive as knitting mechanisms. With the possible exception of compulsive shopping, are there any other coping mechanisms that produce gifts for others as a bonus effect?

  162. Poor Baby! It sounds very stressful and upsetting. It really is distressing to have your home torn all apart, the end product will be very good, but in the meanwhile it’s got to be hard to deal with. Enjoy your pint, have 2, hell, have 2 every afternoon until the work is done. Hang in there!

  163. Just keep knitting, breathing and drinking beer until you have passed out or in a blissful stress free state 🙂

  164. I’m fairly certain that I should take up kickboxing in addition to knitting. The knitting is usually soothing. Mellow. Relaxing. For those times when I really flip out (and they are legion), kickboxing seems awfully attractive.
    Hang in there. Think about how nice it’ll be to bask in some heat while you’re in your office. And, well, this is like tossing the stash to make sure there’s no pests or anything, right? Just…now with more rearranging.

  165. You know, the cat is probably in very little danger of falling down any of those holes because if she has any self respect at all she is probably hiding! My cat’s favorite spots are behind the toilet or under the bed, in the closet is a good spot too but I know you said you don’t have many of those. Don’t worry about her, or the workmen, or the house or the holes, it will all work out ok!
    I knit to keep the stress from killing me too. I’ve got a small child (11 months old) and boy some days I really need that knitting time! Sometimes I actually have to hold my knitting up around head height, with him grabbing at the tails, just to keep from exploding with tension and stress. I don’t know what I would do without knitting and fiber stuff in general.

  166. Hi! All I could think of when I saw the holes in the floor was:
    “I bet she is really glad her kids are past the age where holes in the floor as fascinating, both for dropping things in and trying to drop oneself through”
    We did a major renovation here – involving the kitchen, the furnace, moving walls, radiators, etc. – before all the children were born. I don’t think we have touched a think since.

  167. Oh, you poor dear. Try to think of all of the nice warm air that you are going to have in every room of your house from now on. Sacrafices must be made. Keep knitting and stay sane.

  168. Maybe they were envious of your wool stash. Perhaps they have wives which have stashes much bigger than yours and can’t believe yours is so small.
    Even Kathy Griffin (a “D list star” per her own words) moved out when the renovations got too tough. She lived it up at a Holiday Inn Express… If a star with an entourage to vent at had to decamp, I think that’s a good model to follow. Go and live in some guest rooms/hotel for the worst of it. Bring your coffee maker.
    Some people are good at seeing the huge picture and go on faith or micromanaging. Others are fantastic at avoidance. Before I knit, I read books. I still read books when stressed ;). A marathon of shows like Buffy also helps.

  169. I understand PERFECTLY!
    Last week, the people who own the apartment place I live in had workmen come and tear out the ENTIRE KITCHEN!
    Before they arrived, the entire contents of the kitchen was in my living room! Food, ice cube trays, pots and pans, dishes, kitchen gadgets, silverware, etc. I had to stay up until 5am to move it all out. I started moving things much too late because I had no idea there was THAT MUCH STUFF in my kitchen!
    Then, I had to be up at 8am to let the workmen in.
    A half an hour or so after their arrival there was NOTHING in the kitchen except badly scarred walls and dirt on the floor!
    But I had someplace to go to calm my nerves instead of staying there. Yes, I did. I had a DENTAL APPOINTMENT!
    Luckily, I also had some industrial strength Valium that had been prescribed by the doctor for just such an emergency. I highly recommend it! It doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all until the dentist tells me to open my mouth (something that strikes terror into my very sole), and then I can sit there, relaxed, and open my mouth with a smile on my face.
    Failing that, I recommend that you go to a pub instead of the Cafe.
    When I got home from the dentist, I discovered that they had installed a stove that was a foot wider than the previous small stove, wiping out a lot of cabinet space and sticking out a half a foot further than the counters around it. And I have a tiny kitchen! It’s so big that I keep walking into it.
    I mean, I’m not stupid enough to walk into it, but when I’m preparing food at the counter, I take a small step to the right to reach for something else, and BAM, there’s a sharp pain in my hip where I’ve collided with the stove that’s so big you could roast an entire COW in it.
    My thoughts and good wishes are with you!
    Once again: Valium or a pub to go with the knitting! And forget about the bad men in your house, and design a new sweater!
    Good luck!

  170. Yes, I can relate. My house is in desparate need of several big construction things, but I can’t bring myself to invite strangers in to trash my yarn holder and then put it back together again.
    Your Joe is a wise man. Would he talk to my boss and explain knitting to her? I know I could handle stress better if I could just take a couple of knitting breaks each day. Eight hours is just too long to go without knitting. Actually, ten hours if you count travel time and lunch for errands and yoga, which I do. Nope, yoga does not manage stress like knitting does.

  171. Yeh. I’ve been applying for things abroad for next year, after I graduate college, and I’m honestly having trouble thinking about adjusting to being all alone in a new place that doesn’t have much knitting. I mean, obviously I did something before I knit. I read for fun, a lot, before I got to college, and I’m devastated about the possible lack of English books in some of these places, too. But the knitting is really comforting when things are stressful, though it makes it that much worse when there really aren’t enough minutes in the day for it.
    Anyway, I hope things pick up okay.

  172. Well, I knit so I won’t eat. Can’t be stuffing your face with sweeties and goodies when both your hands are busy with the softest, lovliest wool on the planet.
    Admittedly, this doesn’t always work, but I know for sure that if I didn’t knit, I’d weigh 800 pounds and I’d be that lady on the news that had to be removed from her home through the window with a forklift. Have to depend on my enabler to bring me cake and cookies as I would be unable to walk. I’d have to find an enabler first, though.
    No, it’s better that I knit.

  173. How do non-knitters handle stress?? As a former non-knitter I can shed a bit of light on that. It would depend on the stress. Angry or tense stress would find me cleaning house. Needing to get away from it all would find me reading, or in the bath reading. The rest of the times I would talk with my hands a lot and worry too much. Well I still talk with my hands and worry too much but the knitting focuses it a bit. I’ve only been a knitter for 3 and 1/2 years and when I look back in my life to some incredibly hard and stressful times I wish I had been able to knit through them…but for me at the time knitting wasn’t even thought of.

  174. Knitting helps with long plane rides. But stress? Yes, it does help but the magic for me is running. Long, far and in the trees. Ain’t nothin’ better than a long run. It helps me so much that it got inserted into our wedding vows. Minimum 3x per week – and he gets to tell me to go take a lap if he thinks I need it.
    Hang in there honey. It’ll be over sooner than you think.

  175. And I quote “I don’t like noise. I don’t like people in my house, I don’t like people touching my things or invading my space.”
    Are you trying to describe ME again???
    I am SO with you on this one…every home improvement project done by someone else in MY house has made me absolutely nuts until they left…I guess that is why I have learned to do so much myself…a lot of people thought you were nuts when you redid the bedroom yourself…nope…I thought you were veryvery smart…
    The only glimmer of sanity I can give you is that you are so smart to do this now because if the furnace went out when it was forty below AND you had these guys in your house…well…let us just say it wouldn’t be a pretty picture…
    Just thinking about this makes me need to go knit now…

  176. Stephanie, dear heart,
    If it’s going to take a week of men standing around wrecking your house then you need a plan. Every day you need to go somewhere safe. Some place where you can have coffee, and knit, and not panic about what the men might be breaking. Your MIL’s? RachelH? Lettuce Knit?
    Clearly staying there and watching them isn’t going to work. Plan ahead.

  177. Are you not coming to Rhinebeck this weekend? OMG!!!! Come! I have a room with two double beds and only me and my 2 sisters, you can share a bed. We won’t talk to you, look at you, ot touch you, but you can have tea with us if you’d like.

  178. I learned to knit at around five years old and It has been the only thing that has helped me cope.
    I knit through three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit with my first born,15 years of teenagers, the death of both parents in 2 months of each other. I so need the shirt. When I knit I can be very understanding and easy going, take away my pointy sticks and string and i am a very cranky miserable person.

  179. When I pull out my knitting in a public/unconventional space and get ‘that’ look, I just say, “This is my Xanax”…..(most recently on an airplane)

  180. so I just want to know when you are on a rant like that do you talk faster and faster like I was reading it and like I would do – I can so see myself going off like that – I don’t lose it often but when I do it is SPECTACULAR!
    Just keep telling yourself it will be worth it it will be worth it

  181. oooooooooooooooh! i am relaaaaaaaaaating! i have been known to crouch in a corner murmuring “my stuffffff, my stufffffffff. people…are…touching… my ……stuffffff”
    (shudder).. be strong! focus on the end result and rejoice in its newness!

  182. We’ve moved 12 times, so ALL the in-laws have seen, touched and COMMENTED on ALL my stuff. Tomorrow leave right after breakfast (or eat out)and let Joe talk to the workmen, if needed.

  183. I had to take a knitting break at work today so stop my on coming panic and severe anxiety. It calms me down and makes me nice.

  184. “Does knitting attract people who need something to moderate stress more than others?”
    Well…I taught myself to knit during my third year of law school. And having spent the majority of this year in a major depressive episode, I’ve realized that while I can’t stand the thought of yarn (horrors!) when at rock bottom, when I’m hovering above it I knit compulsively. Hence why there’s a mitten on the coffee table, a beret at the other end of the sofa, a sweater in the tote next to the sofa, and a sock in my backpack.
    Renovations suck. All I can tell you is just keep knitting.

  185. First, it will eventually be OK. The dust and dusty men will eventually be gone.
    Second, one of the reasons I enjoy reading your blog is that so often you give a voice to what I often have in my head but don’t say because I am self-conscious. I have had those rambling, oh-so-close-to-the-edge, logical to me but not to anyone else rants. I don’t get riled up about remodeling but I have had them about many other things. Thanks for giving a voice to the little voice in my head that sometimes gets really close to the edge.

  186. Oh, yeah. I am sooo with you on this one, Steph. It’s to the point where my husband starts to worry if I don’t have my knitting along when we leave the house. He worries about my ability to cope. I have no idea what I’d do if I didn’t knit….especially when I’m trapped with nothing to do, but it is also definitely a stress-reliever. I think others chew gum. Or maybe that’s the reason we have such an increase in road rage and other uncivil behavior. I know I’m nicer when I have my pointy sticks and some string. 🙂

  187. I definitely knit to stop from killing people. Last winter I was so stressed out I knit 47 hats! Only today I told someone I’d knit them a hat and she said only if I pay you and I said NO NO I need to knit something useful for someone and you don’t have one of my hats so PLEASE and she agreed. And I’m a therapist.
    I tell clients to learn to knit.
    I do.

  188. Oh Steph, I’m so with you about the stress. Mine isn’t about renovation, mine has been about one of my kids being sick. And yesterday I took him to see the endocrinologist that it’s taken us 6 months to get in to see, and he was arrogant and obnoxious and treated us like we’d wasted his time because it’s “obvious” that this kid has emotional problems and isn’t diabetic. Well, if it were obvious, I wouldn’t have driven 100 miles to see you, you jerk. Fortunately I’d put the knitting away when he came in because I’d have stabbed him with the needles and it would have gotten blood all over one of my Christmas gifts. Today I vented at my sister, the nurse, who had some good advice. I feel better now. Less stressed. I’m going to put my headphones on, watch one of my favorite TV shows and finish this lace shawl. That’ll get rid of the rest of the stress. And I’ll be happy my kid isn’t diabetic and remind myself that obnoxious people have karma too.

  189. I think they exercise.
    You know, I’ve been studying day and night for the last 2 months for a major huge exam, and I’m at my breaking point. And now I just found out that my grandfather is likely going to die in this next week or so. But what more can we do but knit, right? “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

  190. with a three year old and a 5 month old, I have plenty of aggravating and stressful situations in life that I wish I could just knit away. alas, my hands are usually occupied. good thing prolactin is so calming…when i get too stressed i just sit down and nurse the baby. sometimes I wish I could pack up and disappear to the cafe though.
    this too shall pass!

  191. I started knitting because of a whole house renovation. At one point there was a crane holding the roof off the the house while workers added to the height of the room. It makes no sense to sane people and yet I agreed to it. That was the weekend I learned to cable. Knitting has saved my sanity and my marriage and my husband knows it. He encourages fiber purchases. Smart man.

  192. “Steph, you gotta get away from the house and not talk to anybody. Don’t go back there. Go to my mum’s if you have to, nobody will talk to you there. Go somewhere quiet and knit something. It’s going to be okay”
    So I read that to my husband, and we declared two things.
    1) That is the statement of a man who knows his wife.
    2) One day, my husband will utter those words over the phone to me.
    Glad you’re finding a way to cope. It will all be over soon, I promise.

  193. Knitting helps my anxiety problems- it keeps something in my hands, it keeps me distracted from the fact that I am surrounded by people I don’t know, and ohmygodoneofthemistouchingme and it’s noisy and there’s a stranger beside me and WHOISTHISCREEPYMAN?!?!
    Yes, knitting definitely saves my sanity, and it allows me to go out into public (read: crowded) areas without panic attacks. It works better than breathing exercises, and pills. Or maybe it’s just because I like to count things anyways, and I like things done in pairs, so lace in public makes me happy. (I will feed my unpaired skittles to anyone who thinks a lone yellow skittle is acceptable eating material.)

  194. Boy did you nail this column. We just had a hole in our wall to the outside, in February in the frigid north for 4 weeks with a newborn and the contractor went out west skiing. I don’t think a jury would have convicted me. I may never be able to laugh about it.

  195. OMG. You’re me, but Canadian. I had a leak that turned into MAJOR FLOOD and because I was gone for two weeks, it became MAJOR MOLD. Not only was everything in every room of my house moved, but there were a number of items (and about 1/3 of my stash) that just had to be mercilessly thrown out. And on top of THAT I couldn’t even BE there when they were doing the mold removal for 10 days!!!! They were IN MY HOUSE and they were TOUCHING MY STUFF and I couldn’t even BE there!!!! *hyperventilating*
    And all that was after someone broke into my house and robbed it. So even before the mold guys, who were very nice, tidy, trustworthy guys were there touching my stuff, there were people I didn’t even KNOW not only TOUCHING my stuff, but TAKING it, too!!!
    At one point they damn near had to sedate me. I was a complete and total wreck by the time the mold guys were done.
    There was lots and lots of knitting. Some of it even usuable. Some of it…well, let’s just say I had some tension issues for a while. LOL

  196. I know how you feel. We’re on week 8 of a major insulation and kitchen renovation on an old house. One more to go. I hit the wall today because it is so cold and cooking in the unheated front porch has lost its charms.
    I usually knit to keep my mind off of work- so it is a stress relief- I’ve been trying to knit during these renovations, but the noise, dust and dirt have been too much to even do that. Hang in there.

  197. I can only imagine your stress. I had a workman come repair a hole in the wall ( a plumbing issue that involved a happy plumber and a bad saw). After spending 6 hrs talking about drywall mud he told me he has to come back the following Saturday. The hole isn’t even that big. I noticed him eyeing the finishing pile on the ottman. And the WIP on the sofa. He might have peeked at the “autumn/winter project” basket sort of behind the chair. He was nosy. Good luck and get some good scotch.

  198. I totally understand. I also have to leave when workmen are in the house. I do this for their benefit as well, since I’m sure they don’t want me watching and making suggestions. We had a plumber at the house one morning working on the upstairs bathroom. Later that evening I heard a faint, pitiful meowing. He had shut our cat up in the wall!!! Check on your kitty’s whereabouts frequently!

  199. Oh hell yes I do! You are not alone – I too cannot stand change and strangers messing with my stuff, which is why I hate flying and moving and home repairs. The very first thing I pack for any of those things is the knitting bag (and the Xanax, if it’s flying). There’s a picture of me crouched on the bottom of the stairs spinning in our empty apartment after we moved cross-country; I had to jam everything me and the cat needed to live for two weeks without our possessions into one trunk on the plane, but by sheep I carried my spinning wheel and knitting bag as carry-on luggage, because there was no way I was going to survive with all of my worldy goods (and my stash!) in a giant truck in the hands of strangers driving from Chicago to Seattle. I discovered that if you are petite enough, it is possible to sit on the stairs and spin on an Ashford Joy even when you have no furniture.
    Not only do I knit to keep from killing people, I knit so that I will not be tempted to use the pointy sticks as stabbing tools. Can’t get blood on the wool, you know?

  200. Wow. That sounds really bad. I understand your reaction completely and it is really good that you have Joe. Good thing that you got to be hysterical first, so that he had to be the calm one. I hate it when I get home all cranky, and my husband got there first and I have to be the reasonable one. Only one of you is allowed to lose it at a time. So, remember that when Joe wigs out, you’ll have to pull yourself together and get him through his crisis when it occurs. I hope you have good people doing the work. Things always get really, really messy before they straighten out. But I’m very sorry that you have to go through this. At least they don’t sound interested in absconding with your stash!

  201. Breaking stuff is wrong, and making comments about ANYTHING in your house is just WRONG. I’m unreasonably angry at the guy who kept commenting about your wool.
    I started knitting while my husband was in grad school, when I had a job that wasn’t all that fun but gave us a tuition discount, because he was in the room (studying) but effectively not in the room for weeks at a time, and I was so lonely I would otherwise pace the house and cry. It wasn’t too long ago, and I’m crying just thinking about it. Now he has a job he loves and I’m unemployed. I need to go knit.

  202. My nine-year-old read this and laughed out loud (not at your stress, but at the excellent way you write about it!!) He thinks I’m a bit nuts as well, so he totally understood your stress. He says video games work well too when you want to de-stress!

  203. Wow we could be stress twins! I’m good at appearing “normal” in public as long as there is “no touchy” of my stuff. Even my partner shouldn’t touch my stuff. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to have people going through your house!
    I took up knitting as a stress reliever. I knew that if I could find something to keep my hands busy the world would be better off. And I was right. And then an obsession was born.

  204. Oh Steph, I am so sorry about your broken possession and how hard all this is. We love you. I have this quote which I am sure you know by EZ on my wall and it has really helped me. “Knit on with hope and confidence and you will get through any crises.”

  205. You know how much better I feel to learn that I’m like someone else in the world in that “I don’t like noise; I don’t like people in my house; I don’t like people touching my things or invading my space.” Exactly like that! Doesn’t make me a very relaxed homeschooling mom, or hostess, and yes, knitting helps me keep my sanity!

  206. DH and YS are in the process of painting the living room, dining room and hallway. All so we can get new carpeting and then the new furniture will come. Last weekend we ate out every day ’cause I couldn’t get to the stove. I also couldn’t get to the computer (that really drove me bonkers), and today I discovered that somehow I got a little bit of paint on my brand-new, first-time-wearing sweater. I can get to the stove and the computer, but things are still piled up, I haven’t stitched or knitted in weeks, and I think I’m going nuts. Fortunately, we’re going to DisneyWorld the end of next week.

  207. I feel your pain. I hate having people in my place, too. I’ve had a busted garbage disposal for years, because I don’t want the repair guy in my apartment.
    I’ve always felt that the most important trait in a partner is how they handle your freakouts. They can be smart, good-looking, great in bed, a great provider, generous, humble, whatever. But what really matters is can they talk you down? Do you feel validated, yet calmer? I’ve dated men who just made the situation worse. They were judgmental, or didn’t validate my feelings, or took the other party’s side, or whatever. You don’t need that shit. You need someone who can talk you down without putting you down. Your husband seems like an awesome guy.

  208. Bless your heart. Sounds like you could’ve used more than just one pint from the pub! (Personally, I would have forgone the pint in favor of a glass of Scotch, but that’s just me. )I totally empathize with your train of thought. I will leave you with two of my favorite Bible verses.
    Luke 2:1a–And it came…to pass. The ellipsis points are mine obviously, but you get the idea. This will eventually end. The light at the end of the tunnel is NOT an oncoming train.
    Matt. 6:34–Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of its own things;sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
    Knit on and may tomorrow be better than today.

  209. In all that ranting in my previous post, I failed to say I understand totally where you’re coming from, Stephanie. Hang on, there is an end to all this madness.

  210. this experience resonated so much with me that it made me cry. i totally knit to moderate my mood and stress level so long as i’m not too far gone.
    knit on and know i’m knitting with you!

  211. I can somewhat understand your feelings. I don’t like peoaple touching my stuff either. However, you will get thru this. You have a huge support group sending soothing vibes.
    My DH and I, in the 36 years we have beem married and living in this house, have done 6 renos, and 1 HUGE addition. We will never be finished. But there is no demo going on, and any in the future will be minor. Missing baseboards and strange light fixtures don’t really bother me.
    Strongly suggest you call your partner in ‘crime’ Rachel H. She will support you thru this, if only with beer.

  212. This is the first post of yours I’ve read (I follow you on Twitter, but I’m lazy with reading blogs, never quite get around to it), and I think I’ve just fallen in love!
    I’m showing this to my husband to prove that it’s not just me that doesn’t like the be messed with!!
    I think my motto is: If they just do it how I say then all will be fine and I won’t have to freak out on them!!

  213. Oh my I do relate. I use knitting for a lot of stress reduction. When I taught middle school I knit through every meeting. Well not at the beginning. Then I opened my mouth and said things I regretted later. Once I started knitting I realized I could appear normal, appear to be right with the program but know that I was the only one making any progress on anything.
    I am so glad Joe is so supportive of you and that even before you called him you took yourself out of that mess.
    Sending lots of calm vibes.

  214. Totally understand. Breathe deep — spike the tea. I dread repairmen in the house as well, and I get so upset when they (or the husband or kids) break even minor things. We knit or we eat. Lately I think I have been doing both. Think of how warm you will be when it is over – and it will be over.

  215. Laughed out loud when I saw the shirt, and am very grateful to you that you tell us all that you’re only normal unless nobody messes with you, or words to that effect. I do knit to reduce the stress, but sometimes it is not enough – gotta start jiggling! All over, gently, prescribed from a wonderful book called ‘How to Feel as Good as You can in spite of everything’ by someone fabulous whose name sadly I can’t remember just now. I hope the reno’s (as we say in Australia) are all over soon, and the heat from the new furnace is great.

  216. Knitting has truly saved my life this past year. I’m one of those victims of our current economy that you read about in the paper. Whoda thunk that a fundraising consultant for non-profits would be the first to go. Really–they need me now more than they ever have but everyone’s so terrified that they’re not doing (or hiring) anyone.
    So I knit. And knit. And knit. I’m so far ahead that with my Christmas knitting that I’ve actually wrapped presents. It’s freaky. But at the very least, I feel like I’m accomplishing something every day.

  217. P.S. Sorry about your house. If you need someone to come vacuum, I’m off and I have more than enough time on my hands to drive to Toronto to vacuum for them.

  218. I thought it was just me because even ONE stranger in my house make me crazy. And if they touch my stuff then I can’t touch my stuff for a long time after. And if they break my stuff, I never get over it.
    But it won’t be forever. Sooner or later, they will be done and you can get yourself set kind of straight – because things are never the same when you have to change because you have no choice. Just know that the change will be good when you are surrounded by good heat in the dead of winter.
    Yes, I knit to cope, and to keep from screaming because sometimes when I knit I have to count. Counting is good, screaming bad.
    Anyway, good luck with the reno, and the changes.

  219. When I had a new furnace and baseboard hot water put in, starting in October, and there was one delay after another (and no heat except the woodstove in the front of the house, so I slept on the sofa) and it got to January … I packed the cat and some clothes and moved to a friend’s house until they finished in February.
    When the bedrooms got painted, I hired the kid next door to help me move furniture and then went on vacation for a week.
    When the new windows got put in, and it rained, so the carpentry had to be done inside (dust, sawdust, etc.), and it rained in from time to time, I put in a lot of overtime at work.
    For me, it’s not about people touching my stuff. It’s the chaos. I don’t want to go through the whole day saying “How will I ever clean this mess up”. I don’t want to go through the whole day feeling like I’m out of place in my own house. I’m glad, at times like these, that I do not work at home, because it means I.Have.To.Leave.The.House.
    Think about the good things that will come when this is done, and it will indeed be over soon.

  220. My solution to a total kitchen renovation after a fire was to move the whole family into my mother-in-law’s for 4 months. Luckily she had a house big enough for 5 of us. I didn’t knit then so I kept busy making up and cooking very elaborate dinners every night for all 7 of us. Going back to the house every day to see how things were progressing was so stressful that I quit doing it. We moved out on June 9th and moved back in on October 29-my oldest son’s birthday(that was back in 1986). Knitting might have helped.

  221. I sympathize. I am totally the same way. I cannot even have a plumber come over to fix a toilet without breaking into a sweat. That said, I have a solution: Rhinebeck! Are you not coming this year? It will be cold and snowy… but at least you won’t see people touching your stuff; and that’s really half the battle. If you don’t SEE it, it isn’t happening. Or that’s what I tell myself…

  222. I love the way your husband said to go somewhere quiet and knit something. He’s a very wise man who knows you well. I knit to alleviate stress all the time. I know well the feeling of “if I didn’t knit I would kill somebody.” Whew.

  223. My own dear husband has been working on our kitchen steadily for two months. Walls have been taken out, wires dangle, cabinets move into place very very slowly. This is because DH is doing the renovation and DH has no legs so he is doing all this from either a wheelchair or the floor. Here is a site for you:
    http://thereifixedit.com/ I visit it often. whatever is going on in my house, it isn’t as bad as these.

  224. Wow. I SO get that. I knit when stressed, yes, sure, and spin (for different kinds of stress probably), and SKATING – yes that too is a complete and utter sanity saver. So you’re doing well if you think about it – sometimes I think I’m stressing b/c I don’t have enough time to do all the things that help me de-stress. One or two of them yea, but not enough of them 😉
    Looking forward to All Done! pictures.

  225. I don’t know how non-knitters cope. I teach high school and had a kid I like come up to me today and tell me that her ex-boyfriend is getting HIV tested, and she should too, and being freaked about having HIV is making her cut herself. I sent her to the social worker, found the location of the nearest health dept with free testing, and checked in on her a few times.
    I made it through the school day acting terribly calm and sensible. And the I came home and found some nice yarn. And burst into tears.
    Yesterday was just a kid telling me that girlfriend was probably pregnant and they didn’t know what to do. Simple, in comparison, but only as long as the knitting is handy.
    Take care, and good luck surviving the renovation.

  226. I sympathize it sounds horrible. I am sure you will get thorough it though. I myself knit or read a good book. I hope it is all over soon.

  227. When I get as upset as you are I have to quilt- if I try to knit my tension is too too tight and I have to frog whatever I knit- and that makes me angrier. Quilting calms me down and I can’t make it too tight- the machine controls that!. When I had to live thru a reno- I had a picture of how I wanted it to look and that cheered me and reminded me it was going to be worth it.

  228. I feel your pain! I hate having people touch things in my house so much that I actually hate having company over. I love my friends–I just need to meet them at their houses or in neutral territory. I’ve just lived through having workmen in my house for six weeks–with no idea when (if? what day?) any of them would show up and what they would begin pawing through. I kept trying to hide in my wool room and then they kept ending up in there, touching more things. I was so distressed one particular day that I took to carrying a ball of yarn around with me so I could pet it since I had no time to actually knit with it. I hope it all ends swiftly for you, and that you are soon in your warm house with no one else there….

  229. I’m so sorry about the reno guys. The results can be wonderful. (Loved the shower we had installed) Hated living through the installation. Knitting can keep us sane. Though sometimes it has to be something simple if I’m too stressed. I’m not sure that non-knitters do well in the managing the stress.

  230. This post was Total Validation for me. There are painters in my house all this week, covering things up and moving them around and just totally being in my way.They are very nice painters; they can’t help being in my way, but they are. Sometimes I can’t go up the stairs, sometimes I can’t get through the front door, sometimes it’s just fumes. I know it’s totally trivial (and my husband’s delighted that we’re finally getting to it) but oh what a relief to hear all these women made similarly crazy by similar things.
    As for knitting to counter stress, I once said to DH as I was knitting in the car, “This is a lot cheaper than anti-anxiety medication.” He paused for a beat, then replied, “OK, but should you be taking it in such massive doses?”

  231. I know that knitting does help me handle stress. My daughter has had some major medical issues over the past 2 years and it has helped to have knitting during all the hospitalizations. However, there have been times when I didn’t have my knitting – I was at school and had to rush straight to the hospital and stay for 2 or 3 days and didn’t go home and no one brought me knitting. And you know what? I was okay. Now that I’m extremely busy, as a single mom with a full-time job (just took that plunge from part-time this fall) and a high maintenance medical needs kid (even went through a kidney transplant!), I don’t really even have the energy to pull together a new knitting project and I’m still okay. I did order some yarn recently, but it’s all somehow on the back burner. But I have realized I read more when I’m knitting less, even though I can read and knit at the same time.

  232. Valium….. lots and lots of valium….. that’s how the non-knitters handle it (they call it “better living through chemistry”).
    As for me, I’d be going ballistic and forget leaving, they’d have to be as miserable as I am (I am a control freak, to the point of anxiety attacks).
    So come to my house (literally in the middle of nowhere also known as upstate NY where I have to give people directions in relation to Albany), not only do i have GOOD coffee, but an espresso maker, lots of room to knit without being bugged, beer in the fridge, and apple pie about to come out of the oven 🙂

  233. I’m sending good thoughts your way. That sounds rather like a panic attack, and those are no fun no matter what. Glad you are taking some time just to take care of yourself.

  234. I started knitting in 2008 to deal with my grief over the loss of my mother, who died of lung cancer that year. Like you, I need to have everything in its place in my home (and at work), and that includes people as well as stuff. Knitting has become my zen. I can even tell when I’ve gone too long without knitting, because I go a little crazy. Before reading your blog tonight I was knitting a simple baby bib to prep me to host 3 work events over the next 2 days. Without knitting, I’d be crazier.
    I’m going to show my wife your post so she’ll understand that I’m not alone. 🙂

  235. Oh, yes, my dear. I learned how to knit on purpose; it was all part of my plan to deal with the stress at faculty meetings. I am now famous for knitting at faculty meetings. I also have not even smacked anyone, so I think it’s working.
    If it helps: there is always a point in renovation where the homeowner freaks out. For me, it was the shower door. I was going to move out rather than have to live in a house with a shower door (I had specifically asked for a curtain space, NOT a DAMN DOOR). I made my point, but not before I looked kind of ridiculous. Oh well.
    Hold onto your knitting and hang in there! It’ll be over soon!

  236. Well – I’m like comment 2,345,765 so I don’t know if you’ll make it this far – but I have to tell you (and likely someone has beat me too it) there are some really neat little heat duct diverter thingamabobs (techincal terms!) that you can use to direct the heat from the duct out under furniture like the couch (I mean davenport) or if there is space underneath a wardrobe.
    Also – if you happen to get the opportunity have Joe (or the furnace people if you can stand to have them in the house longer)install a humidifier on the furnace it will keep the yarn from getting staticy and you won’t spark your family when you touch them (unless you really try). I make no promises about hair because, well, hair doesn’t care if you have a humidifier. If hair wants to stand on end it will.

  237. I don’t have anything to say except that I am exactly the same as you are. My hubby attempted to move our furniture around while on was on a retreat. I walked in the door, looked around, and said “I’m taking a nap. You’d better have everything back exactly the way it was before I left when I wake up”. I don’t do well with change in my environment. And I hate having people in my house. And I hate having people touching and using my stuff. When my in-laws stay to watch my kids so my hubby and I can get away, inevitably, my kitchen cupboards will be rearranged and its all I can do to maintain my sanity and not bodily injure people.

  238. Oh dear, poor Stephanie. I’m sorry — no one likes renovations. Just keep your eye on the end goal: a reliable new furnace, heat throughout the winter, heat in your office & possible central A/C someday. Just keep knitting … Hang in there.

  239. Steph, count your blessings that you have a roof over your head and will have a furnace that works. There are many less fortunate than you. It will be ok.

  240. Oh, Steph. Change is so hard. Especially when it’s the bull in the house he wasn’t supposed to be in, like a glass house. You will survive, I have faith in you. You have survived much worse. Remember moths? You’ll knit through it.
    I like the shirt that says ‘learned to knit in prison’. It’s pretty effective too.
    By the way, I posted in my blog about heroes this evening and you were mentioned in my list. Hope it helps to be admired. ~tb http://www.knittwhisperer.blogspot.com

  241. Good gosh, I just realized I am perennially in the middle of a renovation. I just thought I hadn’t gotten around to the UFO of the various house projects that are half-started. There’s nobody messing with my stuff, not even me. *sigh*
    I say the furnace replacement wipes out house wars for this winter. Testing doesn’t count, either. Having to dispose of wool is equivalent to losing insulation, so that changes the playing field, and the whole thing adds up to a draw.

  242. Before I knit, I would walk – fortunately my family owns a bit of land in the country, so I would walk down the back road, or through the fields or down to the pond or up to the woods. I still actually do that more for stress than the knitting. I am likely to stab myself with a knitting needle if I am too stressed! I sympathize and hope it all goes relatively smoothly from here on in.

  243. *pat* I understand what you’re saying about getting uncomfortable with people touching, or looking at your things, much less breaking them. I hope it’s over quickly, and that your yarn and afternoon pints will sustain you until then.
    I am not a “true” knitter in that I knit when relaxed. When I’m stressed, I surf the web. This is NOT a relaxation technique, quite the contrary, but I can’t seem to stop. And I don’t get a pair of socks out of it in the end.

  244. Afternoon pint…I think an afternoon PITCHER might better suit the rotten day you’ve had.
    I wonder, sometimes, how a non-knitter manages to stay alive. No, wait, I wonder how the friends and family of a non-knitter manage to stay alive.
    I’m working on my bachelor’s degree, and I occasionally…no, frequently… bitterly resent my education and the time that it takes away from my knitting. Never mind that the education will afford me a better standard of living, therefore, I will have more time to knit AND more beautiful yarn to knit. I tend to forget that when I’m feeling anxious about anything or everything and NEED to sit down and knit.
    Thank goodness we found this thing called “knitting.”

  245. Oh good, you are human. I was reading yesterday’s post thinking, “I would not be able to handle people in my house like that.” And like you, I have not thrown myself into the whole house cleaning thing. But heaven forbid somebody move something on my desk etc…
    I would have been freaking out and going insane right there with you.

  246. I ride horses. When I’m stressed and life is crazy, I head to the barn and I ride. I might just go for a walk on a horse, or I might ask for a lesson and ask my instructor to totally kick my butt. If I can’t ride, then I run or do some other form of physical exercise.
    I knit because I don’t handle waiting very well and it gives me something to do other than to just wait. This is why I also knit while watching TV or reading – even just knitting is typically not distracting enough for me.

    If I didn’t knit, I’d be a complete raving lunatic. I’m a victim advocate in my real job. My knitting is the only thing that keeps me from losing it…knitting, my family, my home, my stuff and I totally connect with you. I do not like people I don’t know in my home, touching my stuff either. My home is my sanctuary. It’s my retreat from the “real” world of crime and violence. It’s my “positive addiction.”
    I could do worse…

  248. I’m still sort of a newish knitter… my coping skills are all in books and singing. I read or sing so I don’t strangle people. 🙂 I do like knitting for the calming though. I was waiting like 2 and a half hours for my car to be fixed and I was happy! Thanks scarf!

  249. The magnet I got at Sock Summit says it for me: “I knit so I don’t come unraveled.” Though that’s true, during the most stressful time in my life, when my husband ran off with a Russian floozie, I couldn’t knit. He took all my creativity, every ounce, with him. Although I haven’t fully recovered, I am taking the knitting back and even going overboard with it. And now it helps the stress like it used to.

  250. I am an adult college student, and we watch movies in class and I take that opportunity to knit, which helps me focus on the movie and not fidget in the uncomfortable chair. Really it’s the best of both worlds.
    I hope that by the end of the semester I have a pile of holiday gifts done. Bonus!!

  251. While I was growing up, my mom would get home from the office (lawyer), go upstairs and change clothes, then come back down and sit (exactly where I am sitting right this minute) and do some sort of handwork until bedtime. Didn’t matter if she was knitting, doing cross stitch, needlepoint or hand quilting. She was doing SOMETHING crafty while we watched TV or just hung out.
    Fast forward to about eight years ago when I was living in Los Angeles and we moved from an apartment to our first house. I mentioned to my mom that I hadn’t knit or sewn anything (I’m also a quilter) in almost two weeks and it was starting to bother me. She said “Amy, why do you think I came home and knitted/stitched every night? It helped me keep my sanity!” Duh. I had never put 2+2 together like that before.
    So yeah. I have no idea how the muggles cope. My best friend has an online game he plays that does for him what knitting/quilting does for me. But most people? I have no idea.
    This renovation WILL be worth it. Take a deep breath and just get through it. We re-did our master bed/bath in March, so I kind of understand.

  252. I come from a long line of drinkers. Really.
    I don’t drink. I knit.
    And I have pointy weapons to wave at others when they get too close.
    In desperate times I go to yarn shops and plunge my hands into soft, colorful wool to keep my hands from plunging pointy weapons into people.
    And then I knit more.

  253. I feel your pain. Try comparing your situation to going through labour, except instead of a baby you’ll have a nice new furnace!

  254. Home reno drives everybody crazy. It’s all the frustration. Don’t worry about being too nice to the workers. A little intimidation may keep them on their toes.

  255. Apparently I am a bit like this – a tendancy to need to exert control in stressful situations. Tim knows to stay out of my way when I’m preparing for a party or guests coming to stay, because the tipping point is never far away.
    On your point about knitters using our craft to help us cope, it surprised me at first how many knitters I met who struggle with depression and anxiety. But it does seem logical that people with nervous disorders would turn to something soothing; alright, so knitting a Shetland heirloom shawl in black cobweb yarn is hardly ‘soothing’, but you can’t beat a bit of garter stitch when your mind’s on edge. I think knitters fall into two categories: those for whom knitting is a daily salve, a preventative; and those for whom knitting is a remedy for stress.
    I hope they get through the renovations soon. In the meantime, keep knitting.

  256. It is purrfectly normal to go crazy when things go crazy. It is in fact NOT normal to stay calm when all around you descends into chaos! Much healthier to blog/scream/drink/knitknitknit/be soothed at by loving friends.
    I’m with you on the immediate retreat to nearest cafe. Thanks to your fine example I also now always pack needles, wool plus laptop. Screaming in print, knitting in peace, and drinking whatever to swallow the rage = purrfection to me. Go Steph!
    Just think: you are adding to your stash of beautiful, covetable and unique knitted pieces (partly) as a stress reaction. Sounds like the crucible of true art to me.

  257. If you turn the toaster over it should have a latch on the bottom where normally you could dump the crumbs out of. Should be just as easy to get rid of the plaster dust from there, and then use your vacuum cleaner hose to gets anymore of said plaster gone.
    If it doesn’t work, and the toaster is toast, you can always get some frack imprinted toast over at my place. The bsg toaster arrived last week but we’re waiting til we move into the new place to christen it.

  258. I am so much like you I found myself laughing. And I bet there are a lot more like us out there. Knowing there are others like us makes it a kind of normal way to be. We all deal with things one way or another and it doesn’t really matter how as long as we get through it. My dearest auntie used to say, “Don’t worry dear, this too shall pass.” And my dear friend from Ireland sighs and says, “Forever to be tormented…” Then he laughs. :o)

  259. Knitting honestly saved my life. Learned when I was a little kid, but threw myself into it with abandon when I was a crazy mohawked sixteen year old with clinical anxiety and about to lose my freaking mind in a really bad way. I have no idea how I would have gotten through anything in my life since then without knitting. The other day I realized that I now get the same gauge with worsted weight yarn on US 6’s that I used to produce on US 9’s. It’s a really clear indicator of just how much less stressed out I am now, and I attribute 99% of that to knitting.

  260. I have that very shirt (in short sleeve and long sleeve) and one that says I knit so no one has to die. That means I completely understand where you are, and Joe is an awesome man for understanding that. I don’t even like to have people over, because someone always has to comment on the fact that there are 6 knitting projects in the basket, and do you think you have enough yarn? (except my best friend, because she’s a knitter and she has a similar basket!)
    Breathe fiber fumes and this too shall pass.

  261. You get dust out of a toaster with a vacuum nozzle.
    This winter you will be toasty warm in your house and all that is happening now will be a distant nightmare.
    My husband knows how to talk in soothing tones over the phone. He always advises me to get right away from these situations and buy some wool. I hate having strangers touching my things. That includes repairmen.

  262. In the forty years that I have been married, we have lived in eighteen homes – I have had central heating installed three times, windows replaced about the same, once a new roof. I totally sympathise, its awful having strangers in your space, and the mess is revolting. However, as my Dad used to say – it came to pass.. – and it does pass, eventually. Meanwhile – the knitting helps, believe me. I’d be completely crazy if I didn’t knit. instead of just slightly crazy. Go pick up the knitting, and a large whisky! Good luck.

  263. *HUGS*
    If it’s any relief, even a plumber coming in to fix the bathtub will end with me huddled up in a huge blankie with copious amounts of honeyed tea gently rocking back and forth for the rest of the day. Noise? Lots of people? In MY place? Chaos? Ahhhhhhhh… I’d be running for the hills (or rather driving, it’s a good excuse to just grab the car and drive up to the coast and sit there and watch the waves, you know)

  264. Hmmmm… maybe that’s my problem…. I’m newly single mom with 3 boys (one a newborn) and I’m in the middle of a move. I haven’t had the time to knit much lately (and I used to knit at least a couple hours a day) and maybe that’s why I’ve been a little cranky (my loving sister “moo” ed at me today).

  265. Three years ago almost to the day workmen arrived and took most of the roof off my house. And the outside of the walls off, and the windows out. It took four months and some of the roof still wasn’t back on over the New Year, when we had some of the worst gales in Scotland for decades. Sometimes we had no electricity, sometimes we had no internet. The heating was condemmed the following Feburary. There was scaffolding over my entire house for five months, and workmen. It was one of the worst five months of my life. There’s still parts of the inside that need redecorationg from this onslaught but I’m still too traumatised to care.
    Did I knit? Err, can’t remember. One horrid great blur in my mind.

  266. I was in a completely miserable job with a boss who was the queen of the passive aggressive micromanagers…and she was the “nice” person in the group…I had to keep the job because the hours helped me get through my graduate program…so there were times after particularly bad meetings when I would go to my office (a converted closet, just big enough for a small desk, chair and me) close the door and my choice was cry or knit. It was the middle of the day, and I could not go home. It felt a little weird to knit at work, basically hiding behind my closed door, in my little closet. I felt some guilt being as I have a serious puritan work ethic, but I knew somewhere deep down that I would make a complete ass of myself if I did not do something to center myself. So I would knit for a short bit and then go back out and face the nasty little world I was in at the time. I have since graduated and moved on but I always have a sock with me to work on. It is part of my armour against the world
    There is no rule that says you have to stay in the house while they are working on it. Your stuff is replaceable, your wits are not. A friend told me a long time ago, what ever does not break you makes you stronger. People like us, we do not break. You will get through this….just knit your arse off

  267. Your reactions sound totally normal to me. I knit in departmental meetings in order to keep a semblance of calm. I once asked my head of department is it was OK, and he was quick to say, “Oh, we all prefer it when you do.”

  268. I sympathise with your predicament. Your comfort zone has been truly invaded by people you haven’t really invited. I know that you are excited by the new furnace but no-one relishes spending money, having the builders in. they are not the same as party goers! It will get sorted and it will be ok and what super blog fodder.
    I love the comment from Joe. Go to his Mums, no one will talk to your there. I trust he means that there will be no builders, who i know love to talk more than work (I know I am one), but it just doesn’t paint that mental picture for me.

  269. I feel your stress. My house is going through bathroom renovations. It is noisy, they are making a mess. When they clean up after they finish one bathroom, the whole process starts with the other. I’m knitting a lot of lace.

  270. I’m with you. I can’t stand someone rearranging my stuff, no matter how messy it may appear to be.
    At work right now another teacher is teaching in my classroom during my conference period. He is a very nice man, and he takes very good care of things, but I’m not there supervising those particular students, and that makes me incredibly antsy.
    I’ve been known to knit to deal with this kind of stress. I don’t know if it’s the repetitive action or if it’s simply that I feel more secure when holding pointy sticks.

  271. I started knitting as a child – and found the meditative qualities by accident. I was an abused child and knitting soothed my soul. When I could control nothing else, I could knit. As I grew older and we moved every two years (my da was military) I didn’t handle the changes very well – but knitting was always the same. Later, when I lived in Montreal with a man I still call the devil incarnate, knitting never let me down. Today, living alone in Newfoundland, working temporary jobs, meeting some of my family for the first time and truly enjoying life – I’ve just learnt how to knit socks. I’ve met my 93 year old grandmother and we knit together – well mostly she looks at what I’m trying to do while she knits and talks. Knitting holds your life together when everything else is falling apart – so knit on and all will be well.

  272. Non-knitters drink, do drugs, hit family members, eat, run away, don’t eat, refuse to take medication, crochet, weave, spin, scream, yell, have inappropriate affairs – pretty much what knitters do except knit. Knitting has to be the healthiest of the whole list, though, and you (hopefully) wind up with something useful besides.
    Last night I knit through a Bill Bradley/Newt Gingrich talk that I went to. Nothing to do with stress but otherwise I fidget. I also knit through an entire afternoon of talks at a professional meeting this week. There, it helps keep me awake.
    Most of our home improvement projects have been done by us. And my husband’s attitude toward this kind of thing is rather different than mine, but even he had the vacuum cleaner out every night during the project below. I have never been through a MAJOR house renovation, but we did have most of our windows replaced this year. I think we did a yeoman job of getting stuff out of their way, but while I also do not keep the cleanest house, I hate to have people I don’t know wandering around my stuff. And it turned out to be the biggest job this crew had ever done, and why couldn’t they get finished in ANY ONE room until the whole job was over? Having learned that I would need to demand this, I will probably never have the opportunity to apply what I learned.
    I know about not wanting to have people messing with your stuff. A friend of mine has had someone cleaning for her for a couple of years, and urging me to do the same. Never mind that I don’t think we could afford it, the idea of somebody wandering around my house when I’m not there is beyond considering, unless I’m truly incapacitated. And even when I was recovering from surgery, I couldn’t imagine having someone doing that.
    My husband likes to move things around, even when it isn’t his, and it really isn’t in his way. I call this “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic”. Recently he decided he should move some stuff in the laundry, and rearranged the cupboard where the detergent is kept, putting all of the most used stuff in the back. So I rearranged a few of his drawers (a few t-shirts in the sock drawer, a few socks in the underwear drawer, etc.) and he didn’t get it and finally asked me what that was about. I don’t think he figured out that the stuff in the kitchen that he uses every breakfast was now in new locations because of this, but he did ask me where the dried cranberries had gotten to…

  273. knitting is my sanity! I have 4 boys, I’m a midnight manager at a restaraunt(which in itself is funny, because i generally don’t like people)Some days I will leave work, call my husband and tell him I need to go roll in the yarn at my LYS!The pointy neeedles are also very handy with keeping people from touching me, I have “bubble issues” and my coworkers tend to try to “pet” my newest knitted sweaters!

  274. Dude, my heart goes out to you! You officially deserve the best coffee in the world now, and a nice pint AND more wool.
    On the ‘sanity issue’ I can only say this; Much as I like and agree with Obama (and I like and agree with Obama a whole lot) and much as I appreciate the fact that he probably deserves that Nobel Peace prize, it really shoud have gone to knitting. And it’s long overdue too.
    I can’t really speak on anyone else’s behalf, but on my own I can say that as long as I have my knitting with me I can deal with stuff just fine. Stuff being the likes of the almost 8 hour delay at the airport last week and the 1 hour wait for the parlementary debate to begin last night. Both contributed graciously to the growth of my soon-to-be new socks and I was unfazed. Now without the socks that would have been an entirely different story……(need I specify that I am not patient by nature…).
    I hope the installation works go well and will result in glorious heat all around your house, SOON.

  275. It will get better. Just keep thinking good thoughts about it, remember warm rooms, warm office. The cat will come thru just fine and you will be able to move the wardrobe too. Dust from the toaster, huh? I think blowing it out and then running a couple of test pieces of bread thru it should do it. Enjoy the pint and the knitting.

  276. Susie B, again. You think you don’t take people touching your stuff well–I made my brother-in-law move in the middle of winter because he moved things in my kitchen. He’s now scared of even getting a drink of water in my house without asking.

  277. I have serious problems with anxiety in social settings. If it wasn’t for knitting I’d never leave my house. Somehow it makes it easier to actually talk to people. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  278. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing that, though.
    I wish I could say I knit for stress release, and I used to, but these days it’s almost become a source of stress for me, along with every other source. I think I realized last year that I was putting too much on my knitting plate and I PROMISED myself I wouldn’t knit for anybody but immediate family but that promise keeps being compromised (by me). I do knit to distract myself from my stressors but I’ve started realizing that I’m doing this (along with other distractors) and I’m wondering if maybe, instead of running from my stressors, I need to start facing them head on. But I don’t know how to do that yet so it’s a big circle of stress.
    I hope they’re done with your house quickly and can let you regain your peace there.

  279. Wow, first Mr Washie and now the furnace…it’s clear that your appliances do not like being replaced and show their displeasure in the destruction of your home.
    I completely understand your reaction to having builders in the house and I think you’ve done the right thing by decamping. What a treasure you have in Joe…who clearly knew exactly what you needed.

  280. Joe sounds like an angel. It’s always hard when people are messing about inside one’s home, even if they mean well. Keep knitting, breathe easy.

  281. Oh Stephanie, I feel for you. We had steam heat (radiators) and finally had to replace the old converted coal-to-gas burning boiler. It was huge, and looked something like the witch’s oven in the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. It took three days to break it up, remove it, and replace it with the new boiler. Luckily we had this done in August so I could retreat to the patio to escape the noise, dirt etc. I do make it a point when hiring contractors to insist that they must tidy up and remove any rubble at the end of each day. You can’t do much about the dust that infiltrates everything until they are finished with the job, but I cannot live with sawdust, plaster/lath bits, and rubble from holes in walls, floors and ceilings. Sometimes I wonder if workman have any idea what terror we feel when they keep saying uh-oh, oh boy, and assorted muttered curses. You just know it’s probably bad and will probably cost money. I had to replace the dishwasher a couple of years ago. The installer sent by Sears was an older man who kept saying to himself in heavily Russian accented English, “Theese no good, ah, theese no good”, the entire time he was trying to fit the new dishwasher into the space under the counter left by the old one. I was quite relieved when he finally did get the new dishwasher into the old space! Anyway, what would we do without our knitting to calm and destress us? And do not worry about what the workmen think about the size of the stash. I am sure they have way more in their tool stash than you do in your yarn stash.

  282. Steph, I do not think you are really all that crazy. Or, if you are, I would be that exact same flavour of crazy if the same things were happening in my house, to my stuff, and around my wool. Hang in there, but know that you’re not totally mad and it will probably all be ok in the end. (And warmer.)
    Also, I knit pretty-much the exact pair of socks last week (Austermann Step, right?) to cope with the stress of returning to work after a year’s maternity leave. Knitting to deal with emotional problems? You betcha!

  283. Ow, I do feel your pain. I spent four months with walls ripped out- leaving my bedroom open to the living room- while we did did a major renovation (built a second story- the wall-ripping was to make room for the stairs). Just about the whole first floor had to be packed and put into the basement for the duration. I think even my knitting was packed- if I hadn’t had a job to go to, I would have gone nuts. As it was, it took me two years to feel really recovered.

  284. Joe is a good man, and I’m sending you warm wooly thoughts to help you cope. A pint and a bit of knitting sound like just the things you need 🙂 As for your question, one of the managers at my job who is on an aweful project with me has offered to buy me a sheep, and occasionally, my husband will put me in a room and bring me my knitting and a glass of wine. So, yes, I do knit to help manage stress. I hope the new furnace brings you warmth through out the winter. Eight months? Really?

  285. Oh, my–I think my reaction would be similar. I don’t tolerate people touching my stuff very well, either.
    I knit to keep my sanity–I am a not-so-young mom with two young sons (I’m 44, they are 5 and 3). With all the running, screaming and mess that comes with little boys, I knit to keep from yelling all the time. It really does help. And my boys know that their hats and mittens come from mom knitting yarn, not from Wal-Mart.

  286. I have no idea how non-knitters stay calm/sane in the face of craziness. My house was broken into yesterday, and the only thing I could do to calm down was knit. Knit, knit, and knit some more until I crashed. It’s the only reason I slept last night.

  287. Everybody’s got some way to cope; if they don’t, they hurt people. My main way to get through stuff (besides knitting and spinning) is friends. Knowing they’re there. And care about me. And I vent on them. And that’s one of the ways you cope, too — that’s what your blog is. You know we’re out here, and you know we understand and care, and we are reaching out over the Great Invisible Internet and patting your shoulder and getting you another beer. Just keep on keeping on!

  288. I would have reacted the exact same way you did, not to worry….reading your post I just kept nodding and saying ‘yes, yes, I would have done that, too…’ only I probably would have burst into tears when they broke the something, making them and me feel even more awkward.
    It will all be over soon, just keep telling yourself that.

  289. How nonknitters handle stress is the same way everyone else does. They call their husbands or friends or family members to get them through the crisis. They go a-visiting. They grab a favorite book and hit the road, or they go to the library as a stand by when they can’t get to the bookshelves. I bet you could convince your LYS to have a KAL/Christmas giftalong.
    Lean on your friends. They will be glad to see you and they will understand your frustration. Plus, they will even feed you and bring you beer.
    But seriously, they blocked your coffeemaker? Dude, if they’re still alive after that, you’re way tougher than they give you credit for. They should be thanking their lucky stars! lol
    AND, sometimes, if you pick the biggest guy in the room to injure, the rest of them work much faster. 🙂 Just kidding.
    This reminds me of that time during hurricane opal where we were landlocked with no electricity, air conditioning, or refrigeration for almost a week in Florida humidity. I wasn’t a knitter then; I was a crocheter and a reader of books, and even that didn’t help. I was miserable for about two weeks straight, and it took months before everything felt like it was back to normal. We were living more outdoors than indoors because it was so hot, and I am an indoors kind of girl. Despite all that, we are all still alive. And a whole lot of babies were born nine months later. A whole lot.

  290. Dear Stephanie:
    1. Joe is JUST AWESOME. If ever there was the right guy, he is IT.
    2. I tried knitting to modify my behavior. Eventually I needed to upgrade to actual prescription drugs, but knitting still helps moderate the situation.

  291. Poor you. Joe sounds like a sweetie.
    I have to say, the one drawback about knitting is I don’t read as much. Before I knitted, my escape was to read. Stressed, overwhelmed, the world is out to get me? Read. Worked like a charm. Loved it. Now I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, and it makes me a little sad. But knitting (can) make me feel productive, so for that kind of stress, it’s good. Knock wood, I haven’t had terrible overwhelming stress for a while, so I’m not sure which I’d choose, knitting or books. But yes. I definitely do one or the other to moderate my behavior. Good luck, and stay out of the house.

  292. You’ve already covered the bases with knitting and the afternoot pint. Might I suggest a wee bit of Jamiesons with the am coffee. The blocking of the coffeemaker would have been the last straw.

  293. Well first breath deep say a little prayer or a curse as is your preference.Then knit ,yes I started knitting for fun or so I thought , it was really gods way to help me through a drug addicted teen habitual runaway ,and then after sanity starts returning the
    (good child)has a unplanned pregnancy and a very premature birth.
    I didnt want to smoke my husband does enough for both , and well liquer is exspensive and so is wool.So I became a complete fiber addict , but its not my fault(is it?)
    well lets hit etsy,ebay,ravelry

  294. I really don’t know how people who don’t knit don’t kill people. I knit every single day, and all of my classmates and coworkers are still alive, so I’m not going to mess with the status quo.
    Hang in there–you’ll be thrilled to pieces when everything’s done!

  295. I know exactly what you mean. We’ve had wood floors installed g.r.a.d.u.a.l.l.y over twelve years. The dust goes everywhere, no matter what I do.
    I have to just leave the house too.
    Enjoy your days AWAY from the chaos.

  296. I have this theory that everyone, in some way, self-medicates. Not everyone is aware of HOW they do this or with WHAT, but everyone does. Some use food. Some exercise. Some beer. Some use knitting. I, personally, like the combination approach. Everyone of those tools can work in moderation (things in excess can get a little ugly, can’t they?) and likely most solve the dilemma: if I don’t do “X” then I’m going to kill someone. So, continue to medicate and when you do go home (when it’s much safer) close your eyes until you get past the carnage.

  297. Sounds Frantic! Imagine yourself gently falling back into a luxurious cloud of soft, fluffy wool!

  298. To Janet at October 16, 2009 10:25 AM” — books on CD — you will be able to enjoy both knitting and reading.
    Your local library probably has a good selection of classics. I’ve gone back to read (or listen to) the book lists that I never actually got to enjoy in college since I had the dread of writing a paper at the end. Now I just listen with delight and knit, knit, knit!

  299. When I get like that Charles suggests I go buy some yarn. I have to say, it isn’t much incentive to avoid feeling this way. ^_-
    Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one with Upstairs Yarn and Downstairs Yarn!

  300. I think the toaster has a tray on the bottom that is removable for cleaning crumbs and such. Maybe that’ll work for getting the dust and plaster out.
    I knit despite the pokiness of the needles because it’s soothing. We’re in the midst of troubling times ourselves, and something about knitting, doing something women have done for generations despite the chaos going on around them, is soothing to me. The click of the needles, the feel of the yarn, the knowledge that I can take this ball of string and make something beautiful out of it no matter what else is wrong around me is soothing to me.

  301. Knit. Breathe. Pint. Knit. Breathe. Pint. It’ll work out. Hang in there, girl. You can do this.

  302. Oh boy does that suck. Sounds like lots of us feel the same way about people in our space. Your instincts to remove yourself were great, and thank heavens you have a supportive and nurturing husband. But when I saw that first picture? I had to look again…I have the same flooring. Hang in there and stay out as long as you can today!

  303. Ah, Spinningfishwife, do you live in a sandstone Victorian build? Your experience sounds so familiar. I spent eight months last winter with scaffolding up the back,front and inside the stairwell of our block of flats, plus most of the roof off and a lot of stone out of the flat’s back wall. Did I knit? Of course I did – I needed the sweaters!
    Stephanie, this too shall pass. And you will have a warm house in which to store even more yarn.

  304. Knitting has gotten me through the last 15 months. Nine with the Dh jobless and six with him in a job he hates liveing 120 miles away durning the week. Well, sleeping a lot has helped too, that being my own personal favorite way of dealing with stress but I know that is not an option when big saws start making holes in the floor.
    Always remember, “What I do is normal. What everyone else does is wierd!”
    Therefore it follows that you are indeed normal!
    Hang in there. Warm house on the horizon!

  305. Yeah, I’m the same way. If things get really bad, I spin. Does that work for you? I find it to be the most relaxing portable thing I can do. I prefer my wheel, but drop spindle is even more portable. It seems like things just sort themselves out. Hang in there!

  306. I suffer from anxiety and periodic depression…and knitting definitely helps me cope. I started knitting at a time when I was under stress. At the time it seemed like a big coincidence that I wanted to take up knitting just at the moment that my auntie (also a knitter) was told that her cancer had come back and this time there was nothing they could do to fix it….but looking back I realised I reached for the one thing that I felt would help me cope. And it did. I was 5000 miles away from my entire family and being able to knit not just for my auntie but for my grandma and my mum at that hard time made it a bit easier. Now I find that I knit the most when I’m under pressure at work or I’m suffering from severe anxiety.
    At the moment I almost can’t stop knitting (which doesn’t make the problems at work any better!) but it’s helping me get through a difficult period where my stress levels are a bit more than I can handle.
    So yeah…maybe people who do need something extra to help them cope with difficult situations do take up knitting or crochet or some other craft to help them through. Lots of people need something to do with their hands.
    Maybe it’s like what you said when you did your talk in London at the IKnit day last year. Maybe we knit because it allows our reptilian brain to focus on something while we process the difficult situation with our more rational, evolved mind. 😉

  307. Knitting makes fights shorter. There are a few non-knitters I know who either need to start knitting or something similar….too many people don’t have good stress reducers!

  308. I am a huge reader….that didn’t come out right…I read a huge number of books and when I am under severe stress I alternate knitting and reading; I also try hard to leave the house, so that I am not micro-managing the workmen (we are starting a bathroom reno next week and your situation is making me stressed already). We have had a number of reno’s and I always forget how the dust gets in everywhere! Good luck!!!

  309. Dude. You just need to remember your office will be *warm* in winter (and so will Megan), and if the need arises, you will be able to slip in a central air unit that won’t blow your house circuits like a wall unit would. It’s all about perspective. I broke down and made the executive decision to finally get the wood stove chimney fixed so we could actually use it this winter. Yule gifts are canceled, but we’ll be warm, and maybe use a little less oil this winter.

  310. I must be the odd one out. I knit all the time (between mothering 5 kids and running the farm), but when tragedy strikes, I don’t knit much at all. It is like the stress and frustration and anxiety suck out all desire to be productive! My five year old daughter walked through a fire pit early this summer and was in the hospital and physical therapy and still recovering. What did I get knitted? Nada. Weird, huh? Now that she is on the mend, I am back to needles clacking constantly.

  311. You’re not crazy! Lots of other people would hate that too (me included). I had a skylight replaced in my bedroom yesterday and it stressed me out so much I decided to not be there while they were working. I covered everything in the room with bedsheets (to keep the dust and debris off). It wasn’t a big mess, but I’m still cleaning every little thing in the room because invaders were in there. The guys who did the work were very nice and did a great job. I just don’t want people in my space. So, yeah. You’re not alone. I hope you feel better after the work’s done and it’s all cleaned up and set to rights again.

  312. As someone who is going through a home renovation that requires the removal of almost everything related to the yarn, I can completely sympathize with you. It’s no one’s business how much wool we have, and thank you very much for keeping your hands off our stuff. I just hope the contractors don’t say what our contractor did, “huh, I’ve never seen this before.” Not words of comfort!

  313. Before the knitting, there was running, for me. Running a 4miler is just enough to do some angry running or “running away from it all” faster running, without eternally damaging your lungs.
    But I can’t blame you for not wanting to watch it all happen. I mean… when you have surgery under local anaesthetic, you don’t watch the surgeon digging around either, do you?

  314. Make sure you get those shirts printed soon. The sales could probably pay for the heater! You’ve mentioned that over half a million people knit in North America. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons there’s so much overpopulation. We haven’t killed all these inept workmen that tear up our houses. Or in my case the *#$%(&% who stole my bike last night.

  315. Hang in there Stephanie. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing and you have the best husband in the world.
    I’m the same way, and my husband gets it too. We’re so lucky.

  316. Oh, for sure! I am struck by the curious fact that I do something with sharp, pointy, instruments to keep me from hurting people, but I haven’t poked anyone yet…. I run on the treadmill, or go to spin class too, just to mix it up.

  317. When we have work done on the house, I have to leave. Not just leave the house, but leave town.
    if I can’t get away I sometimes when I feel like I am coming apart–unravelling– so to speak. There is nothing like knitting (with little needles!) to make me feel more grounded. Maybe our bodies/brains understand the metaphor of re-knitting.

  318. Well,
    stressed out people who are lucky have good spouses who can talk them off the ledge. Aaron Spelling, of Dynasty and Dallas, and so on, married eighteen year old Candy, and she was gold for him. The comment was: he didn’t need therapy, he needed Candy. And he made sure she knew, at all times, that she was the most important person in his life, and owner of all he could get his hands on. That’s why I tend to not believe tabloid stories about Tori Spelling. She’s seen how a really good marriage works.
    Second off, they do yoga, Pilates, mountain biking, meditation….I know you do a great deal of yoga and biking, so I think, possibly you are very highly strung.
    And, let’s see, formal prayers- there’s a whole round of formal services each day, plus rosaries. not for the faint of heart.
    Also, there is TV. And playing with the dog or cat. This is for the less intensely strung.ds1 goes this route, as does the husband.
    There is all-consuming work. That’s my dad’s solution. He adds in opera, for emotional overwhelmingness. Really, it’s a whole lifestyle- and opera singers usually need big knits, if you are interested. And scarves- lots of scarves- to protect their necks. And infant gear, since their passion seems to run high. And, really, for the infants, you don’t have to bother with gauge- they have some astonishingly big infants. I don’t know about show singers, but opera singers- think operatic. it’s not actually a cliche.
    Overwhelming work- which is what I think you did with baby stuff- and what you do now. By my count, you type out an episodic novel each season- go read your December columns all in a row- that’s a short story, complete with a story arc, conflicts, and a mystery. Plus, the enormous sock summit, and speaking tours, with really great speeches. You know, Dickens gets his own paragraphs about his speaking tours and dramatic readings.
    There’s handrubbing, hairpulling, picking your skin, anorexia, sexual acting out- you know, all the concern articles in women’s magazines. Why they dont’ mention obsessive spoon- polishing, walking around with books on your head, practicing the model method of coat opening, writing curlicue script thank you notes on cotton paper, bossing around the maid…..
    There’s farming, printing, dairy farming, running a restaurant, emergency medicine in all its forms, frontline military adventurism, stock/commodity/bond trading on the trading floor- really, just about anything innovative in the western world’s economy runs on a high furnace- think of the biography of Ben Franklin. Or the discoverers- crazy as bedbugs, and never really needed to eat or sleep.
    May I suggest, first off, continue what you’re doing- you’ve survived this far. Second, consider some fish oil pills, and a magnesium tablet or two ( not three) at bedtime. It makes a difference in the life and behavior of DS2, my dad, and honestly, me. The magnesium blocks calcium channel pores in your brain cells, not completely- just enough to moderate pain and panic. That’s how I discovered its usefulness. . I know you drink a ton of coffee, and that totally sieves out magnesium. You could go really high, but that would take a doctor’s supervision. There are books and articles, if you want to google them.
    The fish oil- I’m still not sure what it does, but it seems to moderate all sorts of reactions in the body, presumably another cell membrane sort of thing. My ds2 requests it, he says it helps in some unspecified sort of way, at school. I think, without it, he would be considered a candidate for Ritalin. My brother was one of the test cases for Ritalin, and ds2 has the same personality, affect, behavior, and needs. It’s scary seeing the kids at school who get diagnosed and dosed. They go from being bright-eyed, reactive, and alert and sensitive- to staring blankly into space, not noticing anything.
    These are both cheap possibilities, to add to the knitting arsenal. If it helps- they also help joints and skin.
    All my regards, and you are in my thoughts and prayers this week,

  319. I’m so sorry that you’re stressed- your house is your castle and well meaning repair men will never take care of it as well as you. I’m that way with my truck – she’s reliable and absolutely loyal. My family understands that I’m hovering over the mechanics when she goes in for maintenance, and the knitting comes with me. I use knitting to channel the stress into something productive. I hope by the time you read this, you are back home and the repairs are done. At least you can get to the coffee pot.

  320. When I get like that I go get a hug from my husband, who gives the world’s best hugs IMHO. 🙂 Can you go to where Joe is?

  321. Hmm. We just crammed a two month reno into four months, and coping mechanisms included knitting, researching weaving looms, buckets of coffee, taking shoes out of the dogs’ kennels, beds, and mouths (they have their own mechanisms), laundry, nagging, more coffee, too much time on the internet…I also liked the part where the contractors stood around trying to decide if the wall they were about to knock down was load-bearing.

  322. I totally knit to relax, work through things.
    I find it very soothing.
    Which is part of why I don’t finish things I’m sure! It works so well, I move on. ;-D
    I’m not sure what other people do. Excercise?
    You write too. Writing helps.
    All these sympathetic comments can’t be worthless either hey?
    Hmmm…blog reading must help us too!

  323. A recent flooring renno had me crazy nervous. It was a health surprise for out of town hubby. So sleeping in the garage, crawling up a ladder to get in the window to a bathroom, backin my truck into the neighbor’s downspout – freaky. I finally laid on the garage in the sofa and read a book to my dog. For things more serious, I go saddle my horse, ride to a meadow up in the hills and sob my heart out. My horse stands there and lets me drown him with my tears. Eventually, we both go back down the hill and back to life. Sometimes, we all have to fall off the face of the earth and crawl back on at our own pace.

  324. This is how I handle stress: drugs, wine and/or booze, and knitting. Sometimes it takes all three. My guess is the rest of the population just uses the first two.

  325. A contractor I know intimately (I married him) has a saying that is totally applicable for your present situation:
    “Temporary inconvenience for permanent improvement.”
    I know. I used to hit him when he said it to me during home remodelings. Now I just have to look at him when I know he’s thinking it and he goes very, very quiet and refuses to make eye contact.

  326. We’re going to have all of our ductwork replace sometime in the next month. I really hope no saws are involved. BTW, I learned to knit when I was working on my thesis in grad school. It was the only way I could relax enough to sleep at night. And ten years later, knitting still gets me through rough times.

  327. I suspect other people either exercise or smoke their lungs to bits.
    I think a drink and a new pattern would certainly help this situation. I have certainly been “there” – was there for seven months last year, with momentary flashbacks now that I am having to sue the contractor. I am most productive with those needles during these kinds of moments.
    “I knit so I don’t kill people” – I’m getting that t-shirt AND the bumper sticker.

  328. Depends on how tightly my jaw is clenched. There is a point at which my knitting would look as bad as my head/neck/jaw feel.

  329. Sorry you’re having such a hard time, renovations are the hardest. Regarding your vacuum – the dust will block up the bag even if it is not full. So it won’t pull air through and it doesn’t work. Changing out the bag often when vacuuming very fine particulates will fix it.

  330. When I worked for the crazy woman who was making life miserable for everyone, it was all I could do not to pull out my knitting at work. Because, really, except at lunch or on breaks, my job isn’t the sort that lends itself to knitting while working – but everyday, I brought my knitting and just touching the bag would make me feel a little better.

  331. I deal with strangers in my home about as well as you do… it takes most of my energy just to keep from visibly cringing whenever they move around. My cats have taken cues from me and now follow any handyman or woman around “supervising” to make sure they don’t do anything “unacceptable”. I usually retreat to the backyard and knit until the hubub is over. Even if knitting IS a coping mechanism, it is much healthier than many alternatives. And you get more finished products/gifts the more stressed out you are.

  332. I’m not a people person, but I have to fake it at work. When my “people bucket” is full, I need peace and quiet, and knitting.
    When things get bad, I take it up a notch. Before I had knitting, I played a lot more video games. Shooters. I’d come home and announce “I need to shoot something repeatedly and violently, right now. And then I need to blow something up. Big boom. NOW.”
    Half an hour of taking out my agressions on a bunch of evil pixels, and I could cope for another day at work.
    Now I have knitting, and we have Rock Band on the game system. Banging on the drums works too. I think it’s all about engaging your brain with something complicated or fast enough so that it can’t obsess in an endless spiral of emotion and freak-out. Break the cycle and give your system a chance to balance itself, and then you’re ready to dive back in.
    This too shall pass, and then you’ll clean up, and then it will be wonderful. 🙂

  333. I hear you, Sister! I would need some heavy-duty therapy to get through a project like this!!

  334. I totally understand and sympathise. When I had my kitchen renovated I called my mother and cried. Then I moved out and back to my parents till it was all done.

  335. First, your reaction to a renovation in the house is NORMAL. Home projects, especially one of this magnitude are difficult at best. Our 2 foot by 3 foot shower project took 5 months to complete. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. My husband was aghast 5 years later when I suggested new countertops in the kitchen: that took 2 weeks. Go figure. Well, you can’t, because it doesn’t make sense. It is what it is.
    Second, you have a wonderful support system in place: an Understanding Joe, and an escape plan.
    Third, Knitting!!! Calming, soothing, knitting. I honestly don’t know what non-knitters do to soothe themselves. My husband claims golfing does it for him, but for me, whacking a ball is not a calming activity, especially when it doesn’t go closer to the hole. I love how I can stuff a project in my purse, and it’s available 24/7.
    This too shall pass.

  336. Having spent a good chunk of holiday Monday knitting in Emergency (I seem to have done whole socks in the hospital these last several years), I hear you. Glad you have the knitting.
    This too shall pass… but be sure to get extra stuff from the stash to take over to your Mom’s in the meantime.

  337. Oh man, do I know how you feel. I’m the same way. I tidy up when I need to. But I really hate having people come into my house to do work. And touch my stuff. And make comments about my stuff.
    The move almost did me in with the comments on the number of boxes labelled “scrapbook” (which is my wool) and “kids toys”. Do I really have more of both than everyone else? Really?
    Unfortunately my stress coping skills include copious amounts of chocolate. Perhaps I should try knitting.

  338. I live in a coastal town, and I teach on AN ISLAND that can be reached by ONLY ONE ROAD. Now, I love President Obama MADLY, but I do wish he’d staggered all those stimulus funds a bit, because we have been having CONSTRUCTION EXPLOSION on our roads all summer. The biggest/longest/most poorly run project is, of course, in the middle of the One Road Onto and Off the Island. Onto = going into work; Off = heading home.
    The only reason that there has not been a large headline announcing the bludgeoning deaths of numerous “STOP/SLOW” sign guys on that one stretch of road is that I have been enlightened enough to bring my current sock project with me in the car, so that when we are STILL a mile from the construction site and traffic stops dead for an hour, I can turn off the engine, turn up my audiobook, and break out my knitting.
    One non-knitting friend to whom I told this story said, “I don’t think it’s safe to knit while driving,” totally missing the fact that I AM NOT DRIVING which is why I am knitting during those interminable and unpredictable waits.
    If I were truly a good person, I’d give the finished socks to one of the sign turner guys when I’m done.

  339. You know, if I’m really on the edge, and about to have a breakdown, Ja will ask me when the last time I knit was…
    When I was really sick with our third hooligan, he knew I was feeling better when I had needles in my hands, and didn’t just lay on the couch all day!
    I need that shirt!

  340. I absolutely use knitting to modify my behaviour. It amuses me when non-knitting onlookers say they don’t have the patience for knitting. Ha! I don’t have the patience for NOT knitting. Knitting keeps me occupied when I would otherwise be behaving in very NON-patient ways.

  341. Just remember that if any of us got in your house and saw that stash, we would faint. Whether from happiness of jealousy, who can say.
    I definately use stitches to clam my nerves. If I am nervous/agitated about something that is fixable, like my tea saucer broke, I fix it (glue it back together). But I get nervous at nothing, too, so it is very good to have knitting to calm my nerves when there is nothing I can fix.
    Lol to Jamie above. I totally know I am sick when I just sit on the couch with my needles in hand but don’t knit.

  342. I had one of those weird fan things at my house once. On the front door to test air pressure and how well sealed the house was.
    Happily all they did was insulate under the sink pipes and change my light bulbs to CFLs.
    Focus on how warm and happy you’ll be when it’s all done.

  343. You just described me and how I respond to change. Sorry. I know, and I hope its over soon.

  344. Your question made me think of that song “What Do the Simple Folk Do?” from Camelot.
    Do you get a discount on the work because they stood between you and your coffee? I believe there are laws about that.

  345. Every time my sister stresses about something I tell her, if you knit you wouldn’t have this problem. Every time someone complains of being stuck in traffic or in a long line, I say, if you knit, you wouldn’t have this problem.
    They still haven’t gotten it though.

  346. Hi, Stephanie,
    If you haven’t read “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle, you should. It’s the story of a couple who bought an old farmhouse in France and then had to renovate it. Apparently renovators are the same the world over. The book also contains lots of yummy food and drink. Wish I could send you a copy!

  347. I’m actually sitting here in tears. You have no idea how timely this post was.
    I am currently going through a divorce, and yesterday had a really bad work day, only to come home to a message from the mortgage company saying that I have to finish my home renovation in two-and-a-half weeks or I can’t have the loan to keep my house, and it’s been snowing in State College (really early, for here) since yesterday, making all the tree limbs with leaves come down, which has caused massive power outages, which means my electric has been out all day.
    I read this while I was contemplating going home to a cold, dark, empty, not-done house that may not get done and wondering just what I would do. Now I know.
    I’m going to knit something by candlelight. Thank you.

  348. The only thing that kept me sane before I started knitting was Zoloft. Knitting is much better than meds!!
    Hang in there it will all be over soon!

  349. Oh my sister, I feel your pain. We had all our siding replaced a few years ago–even though they worked outside, it was like being under siege b/c of the banging, hammering, power tool noises and the fact that the Watchdog flipped out when she even heard voices outside, unless I was in the room with her. Was working 3-11:30 and they showed up at 7 AM most days..slept on couch a lot. And yes, dust, carpet fuzz, etc. kill the hell out of vacuum cleaners. Good you can get out of the house when you need to. Knit and visualize the end result. (Y’know, I think my first apartment must have had a gravity furnace, from what you describe. Which burned coal. Lovely!)

  350. I had to laugh because you could have been describing me, also not a very flexible person! I describe it as the box I live in:) I totally sympathize with you. I have a lot of wool, too, and books, and other things, so I know exactly what you mean about the comments of people intruding on your private space and things. Knitting is most definitely a stress reliever for me, whether it is the soothing rhythm of a straight garter stitch or a more complicated pattern that requires my focus (away from other less enjoyable thoughts). Nonknitters have other ways to deal with stress, if they deal with it, but I don’t know what I’d do without my knitting. Best of luck getting through this difficult time!

  351. I do knit so that I don’t kill people. Never underestimate the calming value of a cup of Earl Grey either. Tea and knitting keep me sane. Well relatively sane anyway. I’m not sure what I’d do if I didn’t knit. When Mom died in March there were moments when all I could manage to do was knit on the lace scarf that I’d started for her. Knitting is therapy and has calmed my nerves when dealing with the drama that seems inevitable when it comes to my family. (Yes, I know that I knit at all of our family gatherings, but it’s the only thing keeping me from biting your head off! OK, calm again.)
    Any rennovatins suck. They just do. They are stressful, messy, and just suck! Hope yors are done soon! Just keep knitting!

  352. I think I’d have to do a lot more shoe shopping if I didn’t have knitting…
    Hang in there!

  353. Oh Stephanie, your post was just what I needed! I’m sorry for all your renovation stress, but I can definitely relate. In the past 3+ months we’ve been preparing for a move across country. During that time, we’ve renovated part of the kitchen and two bathrooms, besides doing all the packing. And I’m still suffering with side effects from a violent allergic reaction to something kicked up by the renovation. Three more days and we’ll be on the road. Don’t know what the rest of the world does, but the knitting helps to keep me sane!

  354. As someone who has survived several years of remodeling projects, while living among the mess, I totally understand your frustration. And I didn’t knit then–don’t know exactly what I did to get through the process. I do know that the end results were always worth the troubles–sometimes it took a little longer to get to that realization…. Wishing you and yours the very best of luck–just think how toasty warm you’ll be this winter.

  355. I am with you fellow escape knitter, “we” (mostly DH) are undertaking a bathroom reno…..day 1 – I survived and didn’t freak-out, apparently you are not the only one who doesn’t deal well……

  356. I don’t understand how non-knitters do it either. I know several and they seem to be fairly calm most of the time.
    Having seen your reno pix and read your entry today, I’m really ashamed of the hissy I threw this morning with the nice ladies at UPS and QVC customer service when the new netbook that wasn’t supposed to come until 10/26 was almost delivered yesterday while I was at school and was supposed to be tried again today at the same time! No, I can’t be home between 2 and 5 to sign for a package, nor can my neighbors who work either. No, driving two hours each way to the “nearest” UPS office doesn’t float my boat either.
    After all that, I got home today, saw the UPS truck on the way here, and just waited about thirty minutes until he showed up with my pretty little netbook that I’m typing on right now!
    May all your reno nightmares be over quickly so you can enjoy the new furnace!

  357. Oh, bless you, Stephanie! I love how in one fell swoop you described the crazy that is me and my coping skills, along with your home renovations and need to knit. As I’m expecting our first baby and it looks like he’s going to be very late, I am knitting and coping. Thanks for putting it all into perspective for me again! I gotta make sure David reads this so he knows he’s not alone!

  358. I started knitting when I was diagnosed with cancer and stuck in bed for 6 entire months of my life. It was the only thing that kept me alive and sane. Now I walk, but I still can’t live without my knitting.

  359. I don’t think Knitting attracts people who are more stressed than others, but we quickly find out it’s one of the best de-stressors on the planet, coming in a close second to Xanex.
    Not only is it portable and only requires a length of stringy something and two sticks, but it can be adjusted to require all or just some of your concentration.
    Of course, knitting will occasionally cause it’s own stress (e.g., annual holiday knitting panic).

  360. I started knitting to get me through meetings. The group worked using a formal consensus process, which meant that everyone had to agree to every decision. This meant I attended many, many, many long meetings where everyone got to have their say. Knitting kept me from overtalking, interrupting, eyerolling, and fidgeting. It also helped me keep my temper.

  361. Hi. I would use kniiting to moderate my behavior except that my head is fighting me. I can only handle garter stitch scarves right now but I think about mittens, how hard can they be? Or socks, quick. Or fancy scarves. So I don’t knit. But in the last few years I have realized I’m gay and my youngest is only 11 and I SAH and I deeply love my husband who is my best friend but I’m just not wired that way. What I’m saying is my life has fallen apart and without the knitting I have no mechanism to deal with it at all. I really related to what you said about really only holding it together when the pressure is not on.
    The good news is that even in a free fall without any coping mechanisms you eventually hit bottom and start to figure things out. I really think knitting is good therapy though. Sorry to go on so long.

  362. I started knitting again shortly after my Mom had her first stroke in 2000. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t knit. When I have a bad day at work, I go to my LYS and touch the wool, just so I can go back to work. I hope your reno get’s better. I am starting to worry, as I am going to have a bathroom gutted and redone and they start at the beginning of November. I am also tearing up a bedroom so it can be my wool room, but I thing I will just lock the door, so that they don”t think I am nuttier than they already do.

  363. Oh dear. Don’t vacuum plaster dust with a normal vacuum. The repair guy told me so after I ruined a good one that way. Can the contractors lend you their special one for this purpose?
    This will be a funny memory someday we all hope.

  364. Actually, I spin so I don’t kill people. Knitting is just for fun.
    I think Joe was right, though, and the cafe is your best bet. Considering the wreck I’d be in your place, the fact that you can appear in public is impressive, and a good sign. Imagine how many socks you’ll knit!
    Hang in there.

  365. Stephanie,
    You have my complete sympathy. I also cannot deal with renovation. Can’t stand unnecessary noise – clocks ticking, microwave beeping, hell, the vaccumm cleaner hurts my ears. And the new iron beeps before the auto shut off – arrrgh! I am extremely physically sensitive and getting worse with age. However, the fact that my house is a complete pigsty doesn’t bother me, and though I hate having workmen in my house, I don’t care what they think. Yes, it is a good thing we knit, and if more people devoted their time to doing things with their hands there would be less murder in the world. I think a lot of people turn to alcohol. That stuff has never solved any problem for me. This, too,shall pass.Keep knitting.

  366. I would probably go to the LYS and buy more yarn, darnit! I might not be able to knit but I can always hug soft squooshy yarn. Like getting hugs and you don’t have to say anything.

  367. We remodeled and built on to our house ONE time. Lived in the mess for 6 months. It was then that I decided that I would use TNT to blow it up and start over before I would EVER renovate again! 22 years have past and it STILL pisses me off!

  368. I learned to knit to stay awake during night shift, but now I knit to ease the stress of my day away. I knit away my anger, my sadness, my pain, and tears and frustration. Every stitch is a thought that I don’t need in my head. Most of the time.

  369. I can certainly empathize with you but I’d like to give some major kudos to Joe. He knows how you are, accepts it and doesn’t try to poo-poo your reactions and concerns. I have a friend who, if I become really upset/angry/freaking out about something always gives me this spiel about how I shouldn’t get so upset..that it will make me sick. What she doesn’t know is that her speech comes close to making her seriously injured. She should be truly glad that there is almost always a plain stockinette sock that needs a few more rows done. No thinking, just the rhythm of the stitches and the comfort of the wool.

  370. I’ll spare you the story about what is happening in my life right now that makes this so timely a post, but I’ll say this: if I didn’t have a husband and son who can deal with my insanity with patience and love, and my wool and knitting needles to comfort me when I’m ready to burst into either tears or violence, I’m afraid I might have to be sent away to a quiet place with lots of doctors. I’ve gone from feeling thankful and filled with joy just a few days ago, to feeling overwhelmed and saddened by my own apparent lack of emotional balance, and the fact that I deal so poorly with this particular kind of stress shames me and frustrates me.
    Knitting is like meditation or prayer, much of the time, and right now, that’s certainly how I’m approaching it.
    Hope your life will be back on and even keel very soon, and I’m deeply grateful you have Joe and your stash. Life’s good, isn’t it? Even when we’re breaking, or on the edge of breaking. Need to hold onto that thought.

  371. hey! I had this done one time, too! I was luckier – we were too young to have furniture, so the house was virtually empty.
    I have neighbors who nearly divorced over a kitchen renovation. My kitchen is just as old, but I can’t face it. There’s no pub in my neighborhood!

  372. Hey Steph
    I was thinking you could turn the big ducts into closet space or space for your wool. It could help insulate the house.Yes they would have to cut the wall for a door but just imagine all the space you’ll have.
    just a thought
    no to go check out the t-shirt everyone is taking about.
    wish you luck.!!!

  373. actually, i swim so i don’t kill people.
    house renovation is its own special kind of stressful though.
    good luck!

  374. My life and the lives of all the people around me would be very much more horrible if I didn’t knit. I knit so that I won’t scream all. the. time.

  375. Truthfully, most people cannot handle their personal spaces being messed with. That’s why it’s called “personal space.” (Mine! Not yours!)
    If the renovation is going to take a while, why not take some time to grab a rolling bag of wool and take it over to your mother-in-law’s house? Or someone who won’t mind if you just sit and have some downtime in a corner of their place? Libaries are also remarkably nice about this, and are usually well-lit enough that you can see to pick up stitches/ do other trickiness. With a library and a laptop and a rolling bag, you are Queen. And you have backup knitting, which is comforting. Admittedly, a cup of tea would do well here, too, but that is gravy. This is preventative stuff, maintenance of sanity.
    Something else to keep in mind — stress is a fight-or-flight reaction. Zebras don’t get ulcers. If you give it a physical outlet, whether it’s walking or punching a pillow really hard or running (like you recently took up), your body will be happier with you.

  376. I really hope that you people are right and that knitting can be a stress reliever. I’ve been having difficulties handling my life recently and right now I’m banking on the knitting. Thanks Stephanie for being real.

  377. Stephanie,
    Joe is a great man. My husband is a great man. He knows me, he listens and just like Joe, he would tell me go and knit,etc.

  378. You’ve got a real renovation contractor, with employees, and liability insurance, and WCB coverage, and all the right stuff? No sweat, it’ll get done, no problem. We, on the other hand… When we were getting our main bathroom renovated, we got the same guy we’d had for years, a fireman who moonlighted doing renovations—great work, great rates, but all on a handshake and cash basis. So one Friday before a long weekend he and one of his fireman buddies tore out the toilet, the tub and the sink—he got to whang on a cast-iron pipe with a 12-pound sledgehammer—tore out the plaster walls leaving studs and exterior stucco, and capped off the main waste pipe shared with the basement toilet with a hose clamp and an old carton from the deli, (they weren’t professionals, right?), under some pressure from me removed the old fixtures from the front yard to the city dump, and said they’d be back sometime the next week, after the fishing derby up the coast. Next week came and went, and the following one. I phoned. His daughter said he had had a heart attack in the ferry line-up and DROPPED DEAD. Our house was full of other, dead, people’s plumbing tools, and through the deli container you could hear the water running in the sewer when someone flushed in a house up the street. Stress, what stress?

  379. Uhm, some of us are going to Rhinebeck tomorrow and Sunday. Toooo bad you won’t be there this year. It would be the perfect antidote…otherwise, I’m sorry I am fresh out of advice, other than go knit some more. And also, Joe needs to take you out to dinner, and then to a hotel.

  380. It was actually a remodeling of my broken bathroom that drove me back to knitting. Hey, $50 project, luscious alpaca, groovy lace pattern and TOTALLY WITHIN MY CONTROL. As opposed to $10K and utterly out of it and rife with problems/surprises/people in MY house running power tools at oh-god-too-early in the morning. Knitting — and a big funny furry dog — kept me sane. Well. sort of.

  381. I am a fairly newbie knitter, so I can remember the preknit days. I cried sometimes, and got depressed, and had an upset stomach 24/7/365 so I threw up a lot. Joe is a wonderful man. I would want a Joe, if I did not have a Simon aka the Best Man in My Hemisphere. My Simon suggested trying to learn to knit a few years when things were really really really bad. We are talking clinical depression and life-threatening illness (people who are depressed frequently just do not take care of themselves well.) and that is not even counting the ulcer. The ulcer was small potatoes!
    The Best Man in My Hemisphere suggested trying to learn knitting and probably saved my life. As well as the lives of countless others.
    I hope it is all better soon. Just think of it, when the Heater War is over, you can bask in the warmth of your new heater!

  382. I love you but please don’t come visit–this old house is a renovation nightmare–and I am doing as much of the work myself as I can–which is a huge amount..I own some of those tools that make that noise, I have torn out and also repaired that plaster and lath..and my furnace moved out of bedroom and into utility area this year…woo, more space for my sewing and knitting…and I too don’t like people messing or touching my stuff..and have yarns and tools and fabics and such all over….you will get through this, the house will be more comfortable, any $$ saved can go to more fiber and yarn….

  383. Wow, Steph–have you touched a nerve! This seems like the most comments ever!
    I can so empathize with what you’re going through and wish I had the option of leaving the house when this sort of thing is going on but always feel I have to stay and keep an eye on the workmen! That makes it even worse. (And no way anybody touches my stuff!)
    I think I’ve just lost any desire to renovate the kitchen. As a matter of fact, who cares if the driveway is full of potholes?
    Take care of yourself…get out of there, knit, drink whatever, and just think about how warm you will be this winter!

  384. Today is Friday, and I’m at the end of week 11 on the kitchen remodel. I SO COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND.
    And sometimes it is the STUPID crap that sets you off – at the end of it, anyway. Almost done.

  385. I feel your pain Stephanie. I’m not renovating, just the opposite. My mother is coming to stay with me while I have surgery. So I am putting everything back together. I come from neat-nik people. They don’t understand works in progress all over the place!

  386. Steph, I just looked at the weather forecast in Toronto. It’s not a good time to be without heat. If you’re determined not to move the family in with a relative or into a motel, *bake cookies.* All day long. And make soup. And bake beans. Whatever gets you to have the stove on.

  387. Isn’t it wonderful how we all use knitting in different ways at different times.
    These days I’m knitting for my niece who is undergoing breast cancer treatment; I’m making every stitch a prayer for her, her husband, and their four-year-old twins. I’m too far away to help in person, so I’m knitting a LOT.

  388. Well, Stephanie, I am pretty much like you. We haven’t replaced the carpet in the living room/hallway (which really, really needs to be replaced) mainly because I couldn’t handle all of the moving around of things, etc. We’ve had two opportunities where we were *this* close to doing it and I just freaked and I don’t think it will ever be done at this point. And that’s just carpet. I think I might die a little if people were inside my home cutting floors and walls and things up. There is a certain amount of filth I am willing to live in, but anything beyond that and I freak. It doesn’t help that my husband is about the opposite of Joe! Whenever he makes one comment about the amount of yarn (which really, I don’t think he knows about half of it) or time spent knitting or money spent (which to be fair, hasn’t been in awhile since we currently have no income!), I tell him that knitting keeps me sane. I would go bonkers if I couldn’t knit.

  389. I wrote in my ravelry bio, “I think I would explode if you took my creative outlets away”
    I have an awful lot of creative outlets. Knitting is probably the biggest one, followed by spinning. I would probably be an entirely useless, sniffling puddle in a corner somewhere most of the time if I couldn’t knit.

  390. I am not a knitter- tried it when I was 8 years old but never took to it. I do scrapbook and I quilt. But when I am stressed, only a good book, a diet coke and not interruptions work for me.
    I am sorry that you have this level of stress and that they broke your things. I hope that get better soon.
    Love and hugs to you,

  391. When our kitchen was being updated, our contractor (who we loved dearly) hired a painter who phoned a porno line during his painting stay. It was a good thing that I had documented everyone who was ever in our house during the renovation and times when they were there. There were so many times during that renovation that if I had not had my knitting I would have put a gun to my head, or anyone else in close range. “Breathe, knit……repeat.”

  392. “Breathe, knit… repeat.” I like that. May have to see about getting that one on a tee.
    It’s been great to read the comments on this post. Nice to see that I’m not alone!

  393. Ack. Not that I’m saying I’m glad to know any of the rest of you are having to deal with stress. Sorry, just thought my comment sounded like I was glad not to be alone in my stress.
    I can’t express myself well at all lately. Apologies.

  394. I don’t deal with renovation well either. I’m happy when it’s over and all is shiny and pretty and new. But I hate the process and the inevitable cleaning up. And I hate having people in my home that I don’t know.
    There are two things I do to relax and deal with stress. Either I knit or I listen to music and sing along. But I definately have to be by myself. I can’t handle stress at all when there are still people around me, for some reason that really bugs me.
    I hope your renovation will be over and done with soon!

  395. *(Breathe, knit, sip beer)repeat from * until mess has cleared. So good for me know that I am not alone in my thinking. You are preaching to the choir. *(Breathe, knit, sip beer) repeat from * until all yarn is back where it should be. If the type of people that are drawn to knitting do have any extra need for handling stress, the world is very lucky that we choose to do something constructive with our needles.
    *(Breathe, knit, sip beer)repeat until you are warm and toasty in every room of the house.

  396. I most definitely use knitting to calm my nerves, before I started knitting, i had a heavy bag in my family room. NO Lie! I’d come home from work and punch the stuffing out of it! It is now in the attic.

  397. Knitting physically helped me lower my heartrate when I thought I’d lost an entire chapter of my PhD thesis the night before it was due. I had found the chapter in tact after an hour of digital searching, but still my heart was having difficulty keeping up with the situation. I honestly believe if I had not started knitting that scarf, an ambulance would have been called. Knitting is a life-saving technique.

  398. I feel your pain dude. We just got finished with gutting and redoing our kitchen. Which consisted of a lot of testosterone filled, hulking men with Very Loud Tools destroying my kitchen. And asking me ten thousand questions like where, precisely, did I want the cabinet knob? I did not have a sink for 3 weeks. I did the dishes in the bathroom! DISGUSTING. Did I mention I am germophobic and antisocial – and have two kids, 4 and 2, who like to eat approx every 15 minutes?
    There was one point where they were ripping out the kitchen tile with some kind of JACKHAMMER and I just had to pack everyone up and flee. I could not take it another minute. And then when I did flee, I took everyone to the Aquarium, on the last weekend before school started, which just happens to be nice and warm and packed with germy children and very much like a petri dish. And we all caught the swine flu and endured the rest of the remodel whilst SICK and I couldn’t even disinfect anything properly because NO SINK…
    AND THEN they ordered the wrong countertop and basically told me I could buy another one, purchasing TWO countertops AT FULL PRICE but only possessing ONE countertop, or I could just take the wrong one and know that every single other material choice I made in the kitchen was centered around that countertop and now it all would CLASH….
    Good Grief. I think my blood pressure’s going up.
    And being spoken in Soothing Tones just makes me want to stab someone with pointy needles.
    Anyway. I feel you, dawg.

  399. I would be a lot worse than you! There would probably a chalk outline in the middle of my floor, resulting from my having lost it in a fit of rage. Perfectly good pointy sticks would be ruined.

  400. I can totally relate! We just finished an addition to our house (started in June. Who knew they wouldn’t finish until October!) Knitting and alcohol are the only things that kept me sane!

  401. I feel your pain. Last October my boss decided it was time to expand our conference room and add some storage space (while he headed out to hunt for 10 days) and we decided it was the time to replace ALL of the windows in our own house – there was no place in my life without dust, dirt, men, things torn apart. Knitting (when I could get to my stash), wine/other booze and a couple of understanding friends helped – but I was ready for the rubber room. We were almost done with both by Christmas.

  402. Well, some people smoke, some drink, some smoke funny cigarettes that they roll themselves. They say these habits relax them, although I don’t think that’s true. Some choose healthy habits instead like walking, or running. I used to garden, when I had nice sunny patch, which I think is not dissimilar to knitting. Seeing things growing in nice neat rows, things which do not talk back and can be ripped out if they’re not towing the line, (especially if they’re weeds) can be very relaxing. Some people even crochet.

  403. Wow, I really thought I was the only person who felt that way about people invading her space. I loathe having workmen, guests, and extraneous family members in my home. And if they’re making a lot of noise it’s infinitely worse.

  404. I think everyone needs some way to handle stress, even if they won’t admit it. I didn’t have a ‘de-stressor’ before finding knitting and I honestly wasn’t as happy a person. Tense people usually aren’t. I imagine our ancestors lives had lots of natural relaxing moments, just living out in nature and the later as farmers, the daily chores that allowed zoning out. (ever churn butter or knead dough or muck a stall or weed with a hoe?) Today we have so much information and things that need doing immediately that any added stress, like a home renovation, is the straw that broke the camel’s back.
    Steph, I hope the workmen are done with your house soon. It is so difficult to live with construction mess, especially when the job is so mundane as your heating system. You’re not gaining something new. But if the construction mess was happening because you were adding on a yarn room, that would not be as stressful because there would be a wonderful end result. Good luck with your new furnace and hopefully lower fuel bill! We noticed a huge savings when we replaced ours.

  405. Let’s see, before I was a knitter…I read, exercised, read, hiked, read, and read some more.
    I don’t do as much reading now.

  406. Stephanie, I have been thru several beastly horrible renovations. (of course they ALL! are that) Eventually the pain goes away. It takes a year or so, depending on how long it takes for you to put things back where they belong, after figuring out where that may be. Kitchens are the hardest, so start somewhere else. Don’t start with the hardest, you might as well kill yourself, and perhaps everyone around you too! Probably a bad thing!
    By the way some people embroider so they don’t damage themselves and others. The principle is the same. Go do something non harmful that you enjoy. (Take as long as you need.)
    As my Mom says “This too shall pass.”

  407. Change can be good but it is never by any stretch of the imagination easy. Nor is it comfortable, especially when your personal space is being invaded, triggering your fight or flight reflex. Fortunately for you you have various outlets to release your stress and have actually very well developed coping skills. I have faith that you and your family will survive this temporary test of your patience. Thanks for sharing your feelings, I think just about anyone who has had to endure it can relate.
    I don’t believe having a large wool stash is all that a strange thing to have, especially for a person who has knit for as long as you have and makes her living from writing about knitting. I am sure that the invaders have seen many a stranger thing in peoples homes than a large fiber stash. Beer can collections, Barbie dolls…shoes. Just sayin’

  408. Ouch.
    I don’t know what non-knitters do to handle stress. My partner is going through some stressful stuff at the moment, and all I could think to do last week was get some yarn and needles and offer to teach him to knit.

  409. First of all, (((( Stephanie )))) (note the spaces– not a smothering hug)
    Second, Have I told you about the time I had carpal tunnel symptoms in both hands and my doctor told me to stop knitting? I immediately developed shingles. Severe, nerve (thus far permanent) damaging shingles. I knit therefore I can remain calm. Sit down next to me. We won’t speak. Except to occasionally say, I know. I know.

  410. I really did, no kidding, learn to knit after a stint in a mental hospital. I tell people that and they think I’m crazy.
    DUH! Isn’t that rather the point?
    Seriously, though, Joe’s right. Be alone and knit and you’ll get through it.

  411. Haha! It’s like you’re writing about me! I’m exactly like that about people being in my house and touching my stuff. Thank goodness there’s wool in the world.

  412. People who don’t knit yell a lot.
    I can not abide people touching my stuff. Breath, knit drink a pint. this too shall pass.

  413. Renovating a house is like moving to a new country. It shakes your core. Your physical foundation has literally shifted beneath you.
    I think non-knitters keep very clean houses to work out their stress. Since I get stressed very easily, but despise housework, I had to take up knitting.

  414. When I’m really stressed out to the point when I can’t think about anything else, I call my sister or my best friend on the phone. I’m not a “phone person” (I don’t like talking on the phone very much) but we arrange a time for them to call me back (such as when the kids have all gone to bed and hubby isn’t around!).Just knowing that I have an appointment to spill my guts really helps me to put my stress aside for a bit. Knitting is my relaxation and enjoyment and I find that I don’t knit as much when I’m really stressed.

  415. I taught myself to knit at the same time I was teaching my 6 year old son to read. You know when they try to read, they go so slowly and you are like, “‘THE’!! The word is ‘THE’!!!”? So I started knitting and I told him to take his time, I don’t care. I’ve got all the time in the world…

  416. Knitters also take Xanax (Wen) and drink wine — especially when their (almost)19 yr old daughter informs them that she is withdrawing from the fabulous, expensive private art school that could have been the means to a great career to move to Fl with her boyfriend of 3 months.
    Or so I’ve heard….
    At said times, I would venture a guess that said knitters’ knitting involves just a tad more ripping than usual, and that could possibly be therapeutic (picture vigorous snatching out of stitches and you get the picture)
    Just saying.

  417. Those holes in the floor and the plaster is crazymaking. Book a hotel and stay there until the whole thing is over. Seriously. You can take a bath in a hotel room completely alone, with no holes and plaster to haunt you!

  418. Oh, yes! I knit to stay sane. The father of my dear friend (and the woman I work for) died this week. Another friend of mine made her a beautiful card from scratch – gorgeous, would sell in an art museum. I’m knitting her socks. What else could I do? I did Sock Wars and realize that it really doesn’t take long to make them when I put my mind to it, she really loves them, and what else comforts another like hand knit socks? And it’s keeping me sane while I help her through this process (my parents are both deceased, so I know something of what she’s going through). As Dorie in “Finding Nemo” says (editted a bit) keep on knitting, keep on knitting, keep on knitting (okay, she said keep on swimming, but I use her sing song voice when I say it).
    Hang in there Stephanie!

  419. I relate so well to — over-worrying & ending up in a much worse place than if I do didn’t care at all. Imagine 2 checking accounts: both of which change names and account numbers. One tells you not to use checks from them after a certain date, but you don’t throw out those checks (why?). Both accounts next check start with the same number. Guess you replace the working checking account w/ checks from the defunct checking account, but you don’t know this until you’ve returned from 1 week vacation and are 2/3rd through the month of October and see the September statement and realize the error of your ways. And each check has a $20 overdraft fee. It’s Saturday night and I need to wait until Monday morning when DH goes to both credit unions, to 1) remove funds from one and 2) deposit funds in other and…by the way, see how many checks were overdrafts. How often should I worry about this Sunday?

  420. I’ve just read this entire post saying ‘poor Stephanie’ at 5 second intervals throughout.
    Poor Stephanie. I couldn’t handle that either. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the horizon, which has a fully-functioning furnace, cheaper fuel bills and re-stashed wool.
    How do non-knitters handle stress? I’m fairly sure they roam the streets, shooting people. Have you not seen ‘Falling Down’? Michael Douglas? So not a knitter.

  421. It is stressful having people in your house, making noise and dust! When we had a furnace installed, they were there all one day and part of the next. We already had forced-air, so it was a little simpler, but still very noisy and a lot of pounding of sheet metal.
    The sump pump install was also noisy and dusty. Ugh. It’s just weird having extra people in the house.
    The new furnace will be nice and the lower fuel bills will be nice, too!

  422. Well let’s see….I took up knitting in earnest when I started my student teaching. So yes, I think stress definitely has something to do with it!

  423. Can the wardrobe be raised up a little, either on legs or blocks? If so, you can get something to change the angle of the airflow right above the heat register so that it flows across the floor instead of straight up. Like http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=64473-33599-ABBBWH15&lpage=none maybe? I’m not sure if that’s the right product, it’s called a baseboard diffuser – your heating guys should be able to tell you if that’s the right thing or if it would work.

  424. I’m not saying I don’t deal well with domestic upheaval, but when we bought our new house (for us, actually 100+ years old) and knew that our first house needed sprucing up before we could put it on the market and the new purchase needed work before we could move is, I insisted we live in one while working on the other. I worked in an arcade that had to undergo major renovations while remaining open and knew that I could not deal with that amount of plaster dust and noise on a daily basis… in my own home… and still be able to function. You are definitely not alone. I’m glad you were able to find some semblance of solitude… and coffee. Good luck and I’m not sure what non-knitters do in the face of overwhelming stress. I know my mom likes to go outside for a walk or take a quick hike (weather permitting) and come to think of it, so do I, but I usually grab a sock in progress on my way out the door.

  425. I’ve only just begun to knit so its not my default stress buster yet as I’m still so slow its frustrating but I read cookery books and stroke them, or any books really< i go to a bookstore and browse, thats how I stop myself killing people.
    When we moved house the moving guys touching all my stuff (and damaging lots of it despite my over protective packing) just drove me to the edge, I didnt knit then, I spent a lot of time locked in the bathroom with a book

  426. Awesome rant on home renovations that obviously hit a chord with your readers. And I see you practiced one of my other stress relievers today-running!
    When we shopped for our first house, we toured many in various stages of incomplete renovations…because the stress had destroyed the marriage.
    We are now living in a home built in the 1930’s and needing a series of renovations. Our biggest project to date has been adding an addition that was nearly the same size as our original house.
    At the time, my Mom, who was in the early stages of Alzheimers, lived with us. The contractor was a sensitive guy who really pushed to complete the project in record time…which meant we had construction workers at our house from about 12 hours a day six days a week.
    Mom developed a crush on the contractor, then started hallucinating, slipping out to meet him, writing him checks (he was not participating in this…and returned all her checks), etc.
    My dog died of cancer during this project, and I also lost my Quaker parrot.
    I survived; my marriage survived, and the house looks great. Now it is just a series of funny stories.
    Run, knit and write about it. Also, David Barry has a great humor book about home renovation and contractors that I’d recommend.
    And, when it is -40 and you have heat in your office, you will be so glad you replaced that old furnace “on your schedule”!
    Hugs, Smiles (and a pint…or shot…or skein!)

  427. Please consider this – you are paying for a team of workers to finish this non-negotiable project as quickly as possible. If you and/or Joe were doing this yourselves you would be hysterical for a very long time. Unfortunately, it’s time or money, always. Also, don’t use your regular vac to clean plaster dust, EVER!
    When I think back to my projects, it seems to me that the more complex the pattern, the worse the situation it saw me through. As I hate ripping worse than anything, I would have to concentrate to the utmost. When I came up for air, miraculously most of the poisonous tension was gone.
    Also, I definitely recall telling my family that I knit so I wouldn’t kill anyone. I also would mention that if I ever found out that I would be allowed my knitting in prison, well, forwarned is forarmed!

  428. Your Joe sounds like my John – who gave me an odd look when I yelled at the computer, “I’ve found my twin!” When we replaced our air conditioner and furnace, a huge crew showed up because they’d heard the big brass where coming. Turns out, the owners were trying to expand their business and were on their way with prospective investors (without advance notice?!?). So, they show up on my doorstep asking if they could come in. We have a little home, too, and I think there were 14 people roaming all over my place. The crew recognized the look of a woman on the edge and did a lot of extras and after the bigwigs tottered off. Bleh.

  429. Steph,
    I completely understand. We are undergoing a reno as well and I no longer drink so I cannot even have the comfort of an afternoon pint! I got hit in the hand with a golf ball last week and cannot even knit! At this rate, I will NOT be responsible for the lives of the people who are annoying me…believe me, I can relate. My wife tells me it will get better, but I am not certain I believe her. I only hope your new furnace is worth the hassle…mine reno is full house…if my hand doesn’t get better soon…there may be headlines in San Diego! Relax and knit something so I can relax through you…I need this, really.

  430. How would we know what non-knitters do? I would have had to do pretty much exactly what you did. I found myself having to move twice in the last six months, and I dealt with it by giving away 1/3 of my things (oddly enough none of those things were woolen in nature) and regularly locking myself in my room with knitting, coffee, and my laptop. Which is where I wish I was right now.

  431. No, you’re not crazy and thank you for confirming that I’m not either under such circumstances. Thank you.

  432. I learned to knit one night because my Uncle had started wandering off from his house in the middle of the night, insisting it wasn’t his house and he needed to look for where he really lived. So they needed someone to stay awake in his house all night, until they could find a 24 hour caretaker for him on a holiday weekend.
    Knitting kept me sane through that, through breakfast the next morning when he kept asking me who that man sitting next to him was (my Mother, his sister).
    Kept me sane through two strikes in my industry that put me out of work. Through three of my shows I work on being canceled in the same month. Through my Dad having open heart surgery twice, with a cancer surgery sandwiched in between.
    I don’t know how non-knitters get through it. Before I knitted, my brain was a incessant squeaky hamster wheel when under stress.
    Nowadays I may still be hamster wheeling but at least the squeak is gone.

  433. I knit to keep sane and “escape” from the stress of my job. I teach 6th graders with learning challenges. Although I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, there are days where a stiff drink and some knitting with the ipod are a necessity.
    I love knitting, I love the process and I love the results. I love the creativity and without this I would drink a whole lot more than socially….
    God Bless, yarn, needles and others who knit!

  434. I am married to such contractor…and sometimes I think he touches my stuff to get me out of the house, while he works! No internet cafe here, not close enough to walk to…so I walk the dogs by the ocean, when I had horses, I would sometimes just bridle one and jump on bareback and go for a ride by the ocean…never thought about my knitting…for me it was about expending pent up energy. Curently, I am sitting in an office with insulation showing, my stuff is everywhere, but I have new windows…life is a trade off.

  435. Steph,
    You really should have made plans to go to Rhinebeck and then come back to Webs for a couple of days. By then most of this would have been done. Sorry I didn’t write sooner but I was in Rhinebeck and now I’m home and I live near ( 20 min) Webs. Take care and have another coffee.

  436. I am so glad to see this posted. At least I know that I am not alone. We had to have all of our old knob and tube wiring ripped out of the house we just bought, and my boyfriend decided he would take the task on himself. So now there are holes in the walls, I got stuck on a knitting project, and I was really pissed. I left the house to catch my breath and came home to knit a project that is going very well. I am so grateful to be a knitter!!

  437. This will surprise no one (who knows me), but I ride my bike to handle stress. Often that involves riding my bike and yelling obscenities and/or insults at drivers and pedestrians who are doing stupid things that appear to be about to get both/all of us killed.
    And I knit, of course. Not both at the same time, however, since I am opposed to things that get me killed.

  438. I don’t know if you’ve quit reading by now, but I’m so sorry for all your stress. Knit on ….through all crises, to paraphrase Elizabeth. Do you remember that the lady sitting next to me, in the front row at Page & Palette, in Fairhope, AL was wearing that exact shirt. Her name escapes me at the moment, but it’s probably in your blog. I really covet that shirt. I need one.

  439. Oh my gosh, what a coincidence! I am reading the Yarn Harlot book (somehow I had not read the first book…not sure how that happened…)and I just read an essay about the disappearing tape measures and how she suspects the cat is tossing them down the heat vents. Maybe that mystery will be solved when the monster furnace has been dismantled! It would be nice to find 50 extra tape measures!

  440. Hopefully the results will be worth the stress and frustration.
    Before I started knitting, I used to do ceramics to relive stress. It was really great to pretend the clay I was pounding on was who or whatever had been bothering me.

  441. I can relate ENTIRELY to going spastic about the touching of stuff. I suppose people think that just because a person isn’t tidy that it is open season to touch their stuff. That’s not the case AT ALL.
    I can’t stand it when co-workers touch the crap in my office that I’ve spilled coffee on and am going to throw away anyway, I cannot even imagine them touching and commenting on my stash.
    Blessings to you, your stash, the new furnace and the nice men installing it who really don’t mean any harm.

  442. I’m doing a very similar renovation but instead of the ducts which we did before we moved in THANK GOD we have two small children who are not as all small as they once were and now they want and deserve their own bedrooms which are currently serving as my office and my husbands office. I’ve been putting this off since last Dec. you may notice the current date and it simply can’t be put off anymore also apparently having children and pets go from very small to not so small is kinda hard on the flooring and all the carpet HAS to be replaced. Yep we have 1,080 sq ft. My mind reals. I’m not doing any better than you. Perhaps even a tad worse. You finish that sock and I’ll finish this balaclava 😉 and maybe another pint…

  443. Biking is a good stress reliever.
    Another one is a trip, come to Paris and forget about home renovations. Yours will seem ridiculous compared to the ones in the older buildings here.

  444. Oh Stephanie, I feel so bad for you. I’m single and I REALLY hate to have any workmen in my condo. I feel your pain. I’ve put off having my only bathroom remodeled for years because of my anxiety about the chaos this will entail. Ten years later, with the paint peeling off of the tub, I have relented. My nightmare remodel will start next month.
    The only encouragement I can give you is to keep reminding yourself of how warm your house will be this winter. Try to visualize the finished product. I’m trying to do this myself–picturing my self taking a bath instead of a shower for the first time in about 9 years–but I’ll admit that I’m getting more anxious as the time for my remodel approaches.

  445. I tell people that knitting “keeps me from being disruptive in class”. I drag my knitting everywhere and find particular comfort in having it here with me in the magical Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  446. I knit a 7 foot by 3 foot scarf when we were in the process of buying our house. It didn’t start out to be that size…it just grew and grew and grew as the stress piled on. So many tears are soaked into that yarn.
    It is THE ugliest scarf in history. But we got the house 😀

  447. Can you pack up a whole lot of knitting and beer/wine and go to the lovely cabin in the woods that you visited while writing your last book? I bet that’s looking good right about now …

  448. Steph,
    I totally relate! We had to have our roof and siding done this summer. I was on maternity leave during which I had some postpartum complications and these very well mannered, well meaning and hard working guys did this loud banging, trash throwing, all together outragious work on our house. And, wouldn’t you know it, but the one shot glass (I know that sounds strange) from my collection that fell and broke was the one I got during my one and only trip to CANADA!!!

  449. I know you probably have several WIPs of varying levels of concentration required to get you through this. And you have Joe. Things will get better.
    If I didn’t knit I’d probably exercise more, but somehow I think doing jumping jacks in a waiting room would look more odd than knitting. The housework would still get done under protest.

  450. Knit on, through the wind, knit on, through the rain….
    Yes, I do believe we knit to deal with stress. Or to relax. or to stick our head in the sand and avoid the everpresent eliptical in the basement (well, perhaps that’s just my reason).
    What DO other people do? I believe we knitters knit so that we can deal with stress and remain productive simultaneously. And have a pint. Natch. Sending love & stitches your way!

  451. Oh, I have that t-shirt (it’s one of my favorites) and people always smile when I wear it UNTIL I point out whether I have needles in my hands. If the needles are missing….well, let’s just say, they were warned. I also have the shirt that says “I have needles and I know how to use them.” I truly do try to warn people; can I help it if they don’t take the warning? Seriously though, the renovation, though EXTREMELY upsetting, will eventually pass. Just try to knit some nice Christmas presents while you are avoiding your home.

  452. I have been there–lived through a renovation where they took off our roof, added a second floor, moved walls around on the first floor. It took many months and we lived there through it, except for a few days when the floors were refinished. Two small children, a dog and 2 cats were also involved. I wasn’t even a knitter at the time! We survived and I know you will too. I hope Rhinebeck saved your sanity and took your mind off of things for awhile–and now you have new wool!

  453. I am a casual knitter. I love it, but don’t do it every day. My stress reliever? Cat therapy. I come home from work, and my Oskar greets me at the door, doing figure 8s around my legs and chrping and chattering, then sits on the kitchen chair, supervising while I make dinner, then sits next to me, or on my lap all evening, purring loudly and incessantly. The petting and purring is very pacifying (and also, apparently, alliteration-inducing!).

  454. As a former teacher I can honestly say that knitting kept me calm and able to handle children each day. They also felt comforted by seeing their teacher knit during state-mandated testing. Knitting definitely helped me cope with boring meetings at work, stress at home and even to give me a happy distraction at the doctor’s office. Knitting alleviates stress in the most peculiar way. Maybe it’s the rhythmic clicking?

  455. Sat in an OR waiting room last week while 82 YO father had surgery. My sister and I were both knitting (it helps) when the surgeon came in to talk to us. Before he left us he put in a order for socks LOL!

  456. Oh Stephanie! I make things so that I do not become an addicted, neurotic, bi-polar mess. Making things, dying, sewing, knitting, keeps me focused on being a better person. Otherwise I might lash out and attack someone that I love, forgetting that my mind is the actual problem. But this by no means, means that I am insaner than you or the average person sitting at the bus stop doing nothing other than waiting. Plus I listen better when I make stuff.

  457. I’m totally with you on fearing the cats will fall through the duct holes! We just finished 3 weekends of furnace-replacement shenanigans at my house, and if the ‘contractors’ weren’t my loving family laboring for free, I probably would have flipped out too. But it went really well, my family is amazing, and best of all it’s really done! I have toasty energy-efficient heat, my family has gone to their respective homes, and I have (mostly) put my house back together. And just think, without that huge gravity furnace, you’ll have so much more space for stash! Our basement nearly doubled in size without the ‘octopus’ furnace!

  458. Only 2 floors of wool? I live in a 4-level split and yes I have stash on each level, why would you ask? I can’t remember how that happened. But it’s like books – a room without books is not really liveable. Likewise a room without yarn. I have a husband who’s kind of like Joe. And I don’t even make an income from knitting. We’ve been doing renos for going on 6 years now, as we can pay for it. The house is always upside down, in a mess, our front door is non-functional and there is someone installing baseboards right now. But I’m not there – I’m at work & going for lunch and to knit on my ‘work’ knitting.

  459. You know, this will only get to you if you let it. My husband tore up our hall bathroom for 4 years. We just used other ones, until he got back to it. You are on the verge of having a wonderful new heating system. Keep your eye on the prize!

  460. I’m betting that non-knitters do all sorts of non-productive and destructive things like getting drunk, doing drugs, and shooting from bell towers. When life feels like it’s falling apart (and your house is literally being taken apart), making something out of almost nothing feels pretty good.

  461. You’re not crazy. I respond the same way — both to dirt (don’t care) and to change (get very stressed). Well, maybe that means that I’m crazy too, but at least that makes you not uniquely crazy.
    By the way, today I finally caught up with the blog! I’ve been months behind because of my 17 month old boy who is lying here asleep next to me. Maybe I’ll even figure out how/when to knit more regularly again!

  462. At the coffee maker at work one day, I heard a woman decision maker say “I am stressed. Let’s go work out.”
    Can’t say I ever thought of exercising like that: Going for a walk, yes; Going to the gym, No.
    I hope the rant, the walk, the coffee, the knitting, the post, the beer, the knitting and the Blog have all calmed you down.
    All things that have a beginning have an ending. There is an ending to the men in the house touching your wool and getting plaster (Plaster!!! horrid invasive stuff) all over everything. There will be an ending, and you will have your home to yourself and heat in your office, and everything in the best possible place again.

  463. Saw all these amazing handknits at Rhinebeck, and wondered what other people do in their free time. It has to be something that stimulates the same stuff in the brain as knitting….I’m reading about dopaminergic receptors as reward center focus, and I am SO SURE that dopamine is why we knit.
    I’m so with you on those guys in your space and messing with your shit. I would have committed murder. Or rended (rent?) my clothes and torn my hair.

  464. Did you ever watch the movie Finding Nemo? Meet Dora? I sometimes mutter her mantra….. “Just keep swimming – just keep swimming.” only I say “Just keep knitting, just keep knitting……”

  465. I know how you feel. Knit and hide. And the cat should be OK – ours never managed to get walled up inside the bath cavity in spite of me worrying sick about it every second i was away from the house.

  466. oh my, I would be crazy-pants without my ‘place’…and having strangers in amongst my things. arghghg. Yes, I knit and de-stress. I simply love to knit and breath and watch string turn into a 3-dimensional object; with sticks no less. Watching color fill space thrills me to my toes. I will send best ju-ju for a sturdy, sound place for you and your family during the renovation.

  467. I realize that it is a tad far, but if you want to come to Cleveland, you can. We did a huge renovation in 2004 and, I hate to break this to you, we are still finding weird stuff.
    On the upside, however, is that sometimes I look around and go, “how cool is this.”
    Go get another cup of coffee or beer.

  468. Stephanie,
    I understand!
    For years I thought I was the only person who could feel this way, and I was a terrible person because of that. Now I know both are not true.
    Thank you!
    PS Use this situation as an excuse (reason) to buy more wool!!
    From Fran

  469. Well, my husband and I have been going thru some stress lately. I spin and knit, and he drinks and plays Mafia Wars on the internets.
    When my parents were renovating their old house, a worker forgot to put the screen back in the upstairs bathroom window, and my cat jumped from the SECOND STORY and landed on our deck. My dad watched the whole thing from the backyard. He laid there for a minute (the cat, not my dad), then got up and was fine. Cats always land on their feet.

  470. Steph, it’s been 5 days. We need an update to make sure we don’t need to post bail. Keep thinking about how wonderful efficient heat and a/c will be. Just not the immediate. Keep knitting and keep the pointy sticks away from the workmen and in the yarn.

  471. Please do not worry about the cats, they are way smarter than the average workman…sorry, husband is a carpenter…
    Are you guys still alive, and how about warm, it snowed in Maine the other night…

  472. What a response to your entertaining rendition of the renovation experience! Do you think you’ve hit a collective nerve, maybe???? I read this blog days ago and it just seems to have taken on a life of its own- Knitting and our good vibes will surely get you through all this disruption!

  473. It’s really a true gift that as hideous as this all sounds, you managed to make a funny entry about it that the rest of can read and laugh and sympathize with. I enjoy your blog so much!

  474. I just had to comment…. I am still having post traumatic stress from remodeling….. and that was 3 years ago! And I REALLY hated it when eveyone said “it will be worth it when it is done”. hahaha All I know is I will NEVER do that again.
    Love your blog- because of you I am knitting my very first sweater, for myself – and it is actually going good!
    Thanks for the good blog!

  475. You might want to think about moving to that lovely cabin in the woods for a few weeks. Just pack all your wool into a trailer and take it along. Just park it and nobody new will know how much we knitters like to possess. Remodeling is a big mess and there is no away around it. I would pack up the toaster and any other things laying out because I swear these guys can find the most impossible things to break and can never figure out how it happened. Even DH has managed to do so doing the smallest job.

  476. You can remove almost anything from a toaster with a shopvac. Unplug the toaster first. If the shopvac has been used for icky things in the past, put the part you’re going to clean the toaster with through the diswasher first.

  477. For the benefit of any home renovators out there who have decided to explore what the heck that crazy chick who writes knitting humour could possibly find funny about living with heaps of wool stuffed into every corner of her house, LISTEN UP! Following is a list of the most common places to find wool in the home of a person who sees nothing wrong with sharing her home with wool, along with a helpful guide for handling individual location stashes. Rubbermaid containers or green garbage bags full of wool located in the basement should be taken away from the working area, but if you need to (briefly) put a hammer or other non-threatening object on the bin, that is okay. Green or clear garbage bags full of wool discovered hiding in coat cupboards or behind sofas, chairs or on top of shelving units should be respectfully treated as if they were the family pet – ‘nice kitty; you stay over here out of harm’s way.’ If the home has a downstairs and wool was found downstairs, the following rule is extremely important: On pain of potential loss of something you value (like your heart), you will treat UPstairs wool as if it were your own child. Upstairs wool is ‘special’ wool, coveted wool, not to be confused with downstairs “I’ll get to you down the road, perhaps one day when I am reading something about what someone else knit,or researching a pattern and remembering that, yes, I am sure I have that yarn in my DOWNstairs stash”, etc. Any yarn that never sees the cold, harsh darkness of a damp basement means its owner has likely almost forgotten a mortgage payment to get it and, as such, should be treated with the highest care and regard. You would get major brownie points if you were to advise the owner of upstairs wool at any occasion where there might be noise or potential dust injury to the upstairs wool if it weren’t moved out of harm’s way (by the owner, NOT by you). Tomorrow’s lesson – Celebrating Sheep.

  478. A friend of mine bought an huge old house. He said he rebuilt it from the inside out. You are not alone.
    Don’t forget Vicuna if you need something stronger.

  479. I believe it has been pointed out that Joe is a saint.
    I’m catching up on your posts, reading a couple weeks’ worth at a time, and now I am holding my breath to see what the most recent one says. Who needs reality TV?

  480. We once had renovations done by a guy who was so unpredictable and bull-headed we called him Ghengis Contractor.

  481. Oh my do I feel for you. I have never seen it written or heard anyone say it before but Lordy how many times have I said “I knit so I don’t kill people” Thanks for making me laugh. Hang in there.

  482. *bleep* YES, I know how you feel!!! And how.
    I think you (and Joe) handled it very well. As for that T-shirt…well, I just bookmarked the page.

  483. In the past, I have used the internet as my drug of second choice. Knitting is my first, but the kids don’t seem to respect it for its sanity-saving powers as much as they stay away from me when I’m typing. lol
    I hope things are all better now . . .

  484. WOW, I’m stressed just reading about your stress! You really will get through it. I hate having my house invaded by workers too. A few years ago, on Halloween, which was the only day they had available, I had a new floor put in my kitchen and livingroom. It was just ridiculous, trying to keep the dogs and my son off the partly done floor.we didn’t have a kitchen or furniture so i had to pack up some food and keep everyone in a bedroom and have a friend take my son trick-or-treating. I guess by now u can tell how much I sympathize with you, but don’t worry it will all work out. I want to tell you that I adore your books, they make me laugh out loud, i think i have them all. I have so much yarn that i got some of those “space bags” and I’m going to try to suction up a ton of yarn so my poor husband can get into our walk-in closet that is filled to the brim with my knitting and spinning stuff. good luck with your home, Barbie Brundige

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