Round Round Right Round

I am obsessed. 

I know, that’s nothing like me and it’s totally shocking to find that I’m here again, but once I got the hang of these little spirals, and especially once I had the first row done and was picking up half of each motif from the sides of it’s birth parents… it started to be like potato chips.  I’d knit one, then another, then think "perhaps just one more" and the next thing you know it’s the wee hours and there’s nobody in the house who wants to hear or see anything more about it.

Each one is like a little project.  Each time you finish one I  have the total satisfaction of a complete little perfect knitted thing, and it makes me feel like I am really getting things done.  Really, really getting things done.  Really accomplishing just so much, and that’s a good feeling, since the rest of the house is chaos.  Total, unmitigated, unrestrained, absolutely unfettered Chaos. 

Joe had hoped, I know, to have most of the work done before I got back, but the contractors didn’t really work out the way he had hoped they would, and so while the drywalling and trim around the new ducts did get built, there was collateral damage.  For instance, for very, very complex reasons that I haven’t quite worked out yet, my office was unpacked into the kitchen, and the building materials moved into my office (feel free to imagine what either of those looks like), and oddly, since we weren’t doing any electrical,  one of two outlets in the living room is no longer  there.  There’s a hole where the outlet used to be, but no outlet, and I don’t even understand where or why it has left us. I’m afraid to ask, considering that dude got us in pretty deep in a whole lot of other ways… and I mean that in a literal sense. 

That is exactly what it looks like, which is my charming and affable husband standing in a seven foot deep hole at the side of our house. (By the way? There is absolutely nothing sexier than a man doing some brutish manual labour to save money.)   I’m sending anti-rain vibes into the world until the basement is no longer open to the outside world.  The foundation should be fixed this week (for the record, the problem with it turned out to be that at least in that one place IT DID NOT EXIST ANYMORE – which is a really horrible thought when you consider that it’s right under the bathtub – and it’s really incredible to me that it’s fixable, but it totally is, with the right contractor and for the right price)  and then there won’t be a big hole (I think) but until then, rain would stand in the way of progress – or mudslides, or a hundred other poor outcomes.  Joe keeps saying not to worry, that while the hole is bigger, the opening to the basement is smaller, and  I keep telling him that he is suffering from a failure of imagination if he thinks that a  hole in the house- running from the basement to the outside is not absolutely going to end with one of the most bloggable stories of our lives.** 

In the face of that,  I can’t tell you how comforting it is to be able to connect to a sense of finishing things while that’s going on.  Or at least that’s what I told myself while I am knitting that scarf – or pulling buckets of dirt out of a hole.  Things are getting finished, things are getting finished, things are getting finished.

(**Really, I think this story begins with a skunk falling into the seven foot deep hole, finding no way out except into the house- and then ends with  Joe standing on our bed screaming like a girl, us having to throw out all our possessions, me purchasing  twenty seven cans of tomato juice and us accruing a bill for therapy for our teenaged girls that makes a new foundation look cheap.  Mark my words.)

197 thoughts on “Round Round Right Round

  1. I checked on the offchance, because this entry hadn’t fed to my ravelry page yet and lo – and of course, – behold. I have faith that all will be ok in the end. Beautiful scarf, by the way…

  2. Best of luck with the reconstruction work. Your swirls are coming along great. Don’t feel the need to do any more of those myself!

  3. Really? Are there hoards of wild skunks roaming the streets of Toronto? I think you’ll be safe: I’ve heard that wool naturally repels skunks. Or is that attracts? I can never remember. 😉 Petra

  4. Think of all the NEW WOOL you will get to buy when that skunk comes in and destroys your current stash! Then again, does a skunk have enough “spray” to really get all of your wool?
    Good luck with the re/construction!

  5. It will be fine, and even if it’s not, it will be over. I promise.
    And I can’t remember a blog entry where Joe screams like a girl. Is that near the naked in Calgary entry?

  6. I am sure it will work out in the end. After all the girls will have to have something to tell their therapists right? Besides it would make an awesome blog story.

  7. Don’t worry about a skunk. There’s no way it could get past your squirrel.
    Ooohh, now I have a picture in my head of the squirrel getting into the basement through the hole and finding the wool for the gansey laid out in front of him like a big smorgasbord. So you probably wouldn’t need the tomato juice.
    Feel better now?

  8. Love the scarf. Is there a pattern for it somewhere? I have a friend who would love to knit it!!!
    Interesting remodel. I hate house problems. I would rather have a root-canal then deal with any of that. Make that 3 root-canals.

  9. Funny, first thing I thought of was a skunk as well. Oh, maybe becasue one greeted me this morning at 5:30am as I went for the newspaper. (Paper wasn’t there, I moved faster at warp speed back into the house, no need for tomato juice.) Heart’s working just fine, thank you.

  10. Ok, you win. Your home improvement project is WAY worse than mine. Mine is simply dragging on and on, but at least there are no holes to the outside world in my house. Hope all is repaired SOON!

  11. I will join you with the anti-rain vibes. My roof has started leaking and we can’t get anyone out until next week because of the Thanksgiving holiday here. So it is raining into my bedroom…it is difficult to sleep through the kerplops as it lands inthe bucket…but we live in a small house, so there are not a lot of open bedrooms(none , actually) and the forecast for the week is rain. I’m even doing a no rain dance.

  12. I have the pattern for that scarf/shawl and enough yarn to make the shawl. I have been putting it off because my friend (who has been knitting a lot longer than I have) said it looked hard. I think I might give it a try this weekend. I quit smoking one month ago and I have been doing a LOT of knitting! 🙂

  13. I can totally sympathize with the house work. We’re having insulation installed next week, because apparently only two rooms in the entire place actually had insulation. I do not want to think about the hundreds of dollars the previous owners paid to heat the place each winter. It gives me dizzy spells.

  14. Oh my, that IS a large hole! I certainly hope it will be gone before it gets really cold… We wouldn’t want the presence of a large hole in the house to affect the outcome of the coming furnace on-switch siege!
    The scarf is cool and I congratulate you, but I am not tempted. I tried domino knitting, I tried log cabin, but the start-and-stop nature of those methods drives me nuts after about 3 start-and-stops! Please just give me one long piece of yarn and leave me alone to use it all up in one big piece of knitting. 🙂

  15. I was going to say that skunks are usually not too big a deal & it takes a lot to get them to spray (ask the Mythbusters) and even point out a post from my friend Patti in Florida who had a skunk in her kitchen earlier this year…
    But then while finding the link I saw that the skunk had come back & sprayed her bathroom. Big drama ensued.
    I’ll send those clear sky vibes your way & hope you get that hole closed off soon. Perhaps some chicken wire might help in the mean time?

  16. Oh, wow. Unbelievable foundation crumbling + deep hole + outpourings of cash + imagined complications: NO WONDER you’re progressing heroically on those rounds. Praying for yez, that I am.

  17. Your swirls are beautiful! I googled skunks and they don’t like bright lights, citrus smells, or coyotes. So a motion sensor light, bag of orange peels, and stuffed animal that looks like a dog in the basement might prevent that fantastic blog entry.

  18. I’m curious — is that a scarf, or the beginnings of the shawl? Either way, it’s Very Fine, and I like it.
    I feel for you. We bought a house this year, and now all the repairs and remodels will have to be funded by us, and not the landlord (for the record, we had an excellent landlord, who usually had the problem fixed the same day we reported it; I’ll miss his timeliness, because now I Just Know it will take more than 3 hours to repair the air conditioning, for example). But, even anticipating problems, we love our new house, and I’m sure you are very attached to yours as well.

  19. I’m curious — is that a scarf, or the beginnings of the shawl? Either way, it’s Very Fine, and I like it.
    I feel for you. We bought a house this year, and now all the repairs and remodels will have to be funded by us, and not the landlord (for the record, we had an excellent landlord, who usually had the problem fixed the same day we reported it; I’ll miss his timeliness, because now I Just Know it will take more than 3 hours to repair the air conditioning, for example). But, even anticipating problems, we love our new house, and I’m sure you are very attached to yours as well.

  20. Oops. Sorry, I accidentally tapped the “post” key twice. Am wondering if there is some kind of nerve problem.

  21. The scarf looks great. I had been wondering what was happening with the repairs, but didn’t want to ask. I’m glad the problem is fixable (though possibly expensive.)

  22. Wow, that is a beautiful scarf.
    Re: the skunk story – when I was in high school a skunk walked up to our raised ranch house and let fly all over the vinyl siding. My brothers’ bedroom window was open so their carpet and some of their clothes were ruined. We had to evacuate the house in the middle of the night – the smell was so strong that we couldn’t even identify it as skunk, my dad thought that there had been some kind of toxid incident.
    When Dad went back to see what was up, he ended up using a power washer to spray down the outside of the house with tomato juice. For years afterward you could smell a lingerin skunk-y aroma when it rained.
    But I’m sure that won’t happen to you.

  23. Your knitting stamina always amazes me… and glad to see someone else’s house has “a few” problems like ours… we had a big hole to replace tar weather paper stuff between the outside world and the basement to keep the water out (I missed that saga thank goodness).

  24. I too, do not suffer from a failure of imagination. Here’s hoping the rain stays away and the barrier you put in place to keep out that skunk is also squirrel and mouse proof. You did put something over that hole, right? 🙂

  25. Wow! You’ve come quite a way on your swirl shawl! Maybe I’ll pick mine up and work on the remaining 16 swirls soon…….. btw, is this hole from the furnace that (hopefully) was replaced?

  26. When you tweeted that you spent a day digging drit out of a hole, you weren’t kidding. Maybe the skunks have hibernated this time of year?!?

  27. We had contracting. We ended up with a skunk in the basement. For a week. (not trying to freak you out here, just saying it’s not outside the area of imagination). If you get the skunk here’s how to get it out: Get a live trap – it’s kind of like a large cage that will shut when something walks in and triggers it- wrap the trap in a black garbage bag. Put a bowl of tuna fish in the trap. The skunk will go after the food and trip the trap shut. The skunk will NOT, repeat NOT,spray inside the wrapped trap because (believe it or not) skunks don’t like that smell either and will not spray itself. Remove trap and skunk to woods and release the skunk.It works. Believe me, I know.

  28. As the owner of an “old” home I totally understand your nightmares. Mine are usually about the bat’s in the attic……love the scarf, where’s the pattern?

  29. Now you understand why so many of us crocheters find motifs addictive…scarf looks lovely; good luck with basement.

  30. Ha- a lot to cope with but I bet you’re loving the furnace which keeps you warm even when you have a big hole in the house! Hope I’m right about that!

  31. I sure hope you don’t have to blog about a skunk! Ugh. I know they live in my neighborhood, because my neighbor shows us where they dig for grubs in our lawn. Fortunately, I’ve never been close to one and my dog has never been close to one.
    Speaking of bats, though, somehow they find my basement and fly over my head, while I’m on the computer! Hubby is good at whacking them and then getting them back outside again. We had one just recently.
    I hope the hole is fixed before you get a big rainstorm!

  32. Maybe I better come rescue the stash right now, before the skunk comes in.
    I’ll give it back, I promise! (when is another matter…)

  33. I felt the same way when I started the swirl scarf this time last year – then i saw that it was join as you go and i put it down to take a breather and i have only one swirl done… now maybe i will have to try again!

  34. my lys has that yarn and the pattern and i have been resisting the urge to acquire, but maybe if i knit those little swirls and send the “finished” vibes your way it will help? just trying to do my part.

  35. FYI, just in case, tomato juice will not eradicate eau de skunk. A mixture of 1 litre of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 tbsp. liquid soap (not detergent) will. This is the recipe to defumigate a dog and would need to be upsized proportionately for a whole house (or stash) of course.
    I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to needing this recipe. The joys of home ownership…

  36. I hope that you’re still able to meet your deadlines without too much stress from being in the kitchen…at least the coffee pot is closer.

  37. If ever I win the lottery, I am buying you a new house – you can mark my words on this. I may even begin playing the lottery just so I can, eventually, buy you a new house.

  38. Actually with the skunk it would most likely spray by your furnace so that every time the furnace turned on it would spread the smell through out the house. And even after you thought it was gone you’d go into town and be followed by people saying “Do you smell skunk?” I know because this is what happened to me a few years ago, even opening all the windows didn’t really help, the smell clung to everything. It was late October, I think he was looking for somewhere to sleep, luckily he found his own way out.

  39. That scarf is gorgeous! I’d be obsessed, too.
    As for the skunks, I, too, agree that your demented squirrel will take care of them. There’s no way it’s going to share its fiber stash with anyone. (Sorry that includes you, Steph.)

  40. You know where you stand with wool. The worst that can happen is knots, it doesn’t need continual inputs of money to stop it collapsing or bursting into flames. It’s a good thing you have a decent sized stash (couldn’t bring myself to say “small and perfectly formed”) because if you work it out in KSH equivalents there’s a lot of yardage must be going into that basement.

  41. Just in case your theory about the skunk comes true…let me warn you from experience (well, secondhand, since it happened to a good friend of mine) that tomato juice doesn’t do much to de-skunkify anything!

  42. Oh no, Stephanie. I don’t think it’ll be a skunk. It’ll be that damn squirrel. He’ll be coming in side looking for your wool where it sleeps.

  43. Love that scarf…good luck with the basement issue. I am sure that I would be ripping my hair out imagining all the same scenarios. Let me know if you need extra tomato juice sent to you! 😉

  44. Love the scarf, and love that it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, but I have to ask – do you have to weave in ends for EACH swirl? B/c that would be a total deal-breaker for me. I’ve decided I *HATE* weaving in ends!!!
    Looking forward to the Hellmouth – er, I mean, hole-in-the-ground follow-up post!!

  45. Wow – that’s an absolutely AMAZING stitch! I love it! I so want to learn to knit – and those beautiful spirals might just be the kick I need!

  46. This just crossed my desk yesterday:
    Skunk Remedy:
    1 qt. 3% hydrogen peroxide
    1/4 c. baking soda
    1-2 tsp liquid soap (Ivory=good)
    up to 1 qt tepid water may be added
    leave on 5 min, may repeat
    never store mixture, pressure builds and can cause injury
    use plastic containers and utensils, not metal
    use promptly
    just in case

  47. According to a pet expert, the best skunk de-stinker is 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1tablespoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon dish soap. Rub in, rinse off throw away unused portions. He swears by it, and I keep the recipe where I can find it just in case. No idea of the metric though

  48. so glad to see that someone has already posted the skunk remedy should your worst case scenario actually happen. Tomato juice does not work. Ask me how I know. Best of luck to you!

  49. You didn’t even factor in having to replace all that lost yarn. *shudder* (silver lining-starting from scratch, license to buy)

  50. I know how you feel about the scarf!!! I am in the process of making the Sock Blanket (you remember the one) and it is SO ADDICTING!!! those little squares are like tiny projects you start and finish in a blink! And then you just have to do one more…one more…one more….. The scarf is gorgeous and I can’t wait to try one!

  51. hilarious as usual. why is it that the (american) thanksgiving season brings about comical tragedy? here’s hoping some granny squares will work for me like your spirals work for you.

  52. Please be careful with digging that hole. I can’t see the compaction of the dirt real well from that picture, but you want to look at it now and then for stress lines or cracks and make sure that it isn’t going to collapse, especially if it rains. Can you put a large piece of wood in vertically or something to shore the sides up? Hope to not sound paranoid but I used to work a bit with trenching experts.

  53. OMG OMG OMG I am keeping my fingers crossed that the hole in your house disappears before the rain, the skunk, the squirrel, or – OMG – someone spills a vat of spaghetti sauce on your “office” (read stash).

  54. Is it rude to laugh at that last scenario? I did. If it’s rude, I’m sorry. :/ If that were my house, I’d be down in that hole slogging dirt and patching the foundation, hubby being outta commission right now. I’m glad you have Joe!! The scarf is making me want to try it. Darn. I know it’s way beyond my patience level, and probably my knitting skill. But it is beautiful! I’d love to knit something that beautiful too.

  55. Lovely scarf! I love all the little varegations and color changes in it.
    DH and I just found out that the furnace we purchased for the new house we’re building (WE’re building, literally) won’t work for us. We need to buy another one. **Headdesk** I decided f*** it. We’ve got woodstoves, I’m not dealing with another furnace right now!
    But the drywall is almost done!
    Sometimes renting looks like the way to go, doesn’t it? 🙂 It’ll get done though, it’ll get done… (Best of luck!)

  56. I just have to say that the first thing that came to mind when I read about your fascination with completing each spiral was – grape leaves. Remember those?
    I totally agree with the ‘man doing brutish heavy labor to save money’ = sexy. There’s nothing else like it.

  57. Ok, so maybe I was a little too optomistic reagarding the process of replacing your old furnace. But on the up side, you so totally DO have tons of stories to come from the ordeal, ummm… experience!

  58. Ok, so maybe I was a little too optomistic reagarding the process of replacing your old furnace. But on the up side, you so totally DO have tons of stories to come from the ordeal, ummm… experience!

  59. I can vouch for the sexiness of a man’s money-saving, brutish manual labor. A lovely scarf and a sexy husband working for your warmth. Sounds like it’s not all bad!
    A mixture of hydrogen peroxide, warm water, and dish soap is a good alternative to tomato juice for getting rid of skunk smell. Just in case any skunks are skulking…

  60. Aw. C’mon. Surely I can’t be the only one who secretly hopes (just the wee tiniest bit) for a black ‘n white visitor. Maybe just a visit without any spraying? Selfish I know. But really. I could use a good laugh and I’m already smiling at the thought of the next hilarious blog post.
    Of course if Mr. LePew does come around and graces the house with Eau de Skunk I’ll feel absolutely terrible and will have no doubt that his appearance was totally my fault. Now I feel terrible. Ok. Forget it. I hope he doesn’t call after all. Sheesh.

  61. Everyone with the solution of Hydrogen Peroxide, baking soda and soap is right. My dogs got skunked a couple of years ago and this solution worked really well. On the scarf note…I am glad you are enjoying the swirls. I totally agree with you on how each one is a mini project. They are addictive!

  62. So now I have a new word to describe bad but horribly fascinating situations: “bloggable.”
    (Great scarf, chica.)

  63. I know it’s mean, but I’m really looking forward to the skunk story. Keep a camera near the bed, because a picture of your husband screaming like a little girl would be priceless.

  64. Not to worry, you can take skunk smell out with peroxide, baking soda, and a bit of good quality dish soap. Much better than tomato juice and way cheaper. Not as much Vitamin C tho.
    However on the foundation part, I am not as keen to dig ours up now..after seeing yours. Maybe we will just wait a year or 10 if we can.

  65. Obsessing over swirls. Why do I keep remembering those little leaves you were making for a pair of socks? Small motifs excite you? Are we seeing a pattern here?
    As for the skunk, if it lands in the hole and can’t get out, slide a plank down (being EXTREMELY careful not to hit the skunk), then allow it to work its own way out.

  66. Just so you know – the tomatoe juice is an urban myth – you need baking sode and hydrogen peroxide

  67. Oh, man. All I can think of is rodents. Hope you’re putting some kind of barrier between the house and the outside while you’re not working on the hole/foundation. (Sorry if I’ve now given you an all new worry.)

  68. Hey Celia- That’s a great recipe. My dog decided to roll in a dead skunk. A friend of mine gave me this recipe and it works like a charm. The longer you leave it on the better it works.
    Steph- Oooh, now I want to make one. That is so pretty and I love that each swirl is like a mini project. It makes you feel so accomplished.

  69. Yeah, I’m always amazed when they have to dig all the way under one of the houses around here to fix plumbing. They’re all slab-on-grade and therefor it’s all tunneling work. Like mining for the sewer pipe.
    Amazing how many things can be fixed for the right price, or with the sufficient amount of brute force.

  70. Glad I’m not the only one who tortures herself with horrific (if implausible) “what ifs”. I’m on the west coast, and as I’m sure you recall, I think we got ALL the rain. There’s none left to fall on you. Thank goodness for good contractors and wonderful, unflappable Joe!

  71. Just keep knitting and hauling buckets. As you said it will finish, each bucket is one bucket closer to finishing…
    BTW I would more worried about snow than rain, but the skunk! that is terrifying 🙂

  72. Tomato juice doesn’t work. We have had two retrievers, and both have been sprayed, and the only thing that works (after thoroughly bathing them outside on the deck) is ladies’ stick deodorant, slathered on and worked into their fur as best you can. The smell will be gone. Which makes one think, if deodorant can kill even skunk smell, what the hell is in it and should we be putting it on ourselves? On a daily basis, no less? Anyway, if you do get a skunk down in the hole, take note, he or she will be extremely nervous, and will want to get out of there pronto. Put a plank gently down into the trench and then leave the area. Don’t shine your flashlight on the critter, they really don’t like bright lights.

  73. Once again, your knack for making light of your circumstances makes all the crap I’m dealing with right now look absolutely puny. Thanks for that. Maybe if I started one of those scarves,…

  74. Having stood at ground zero in the mushroom cloud of skunk spray just last week I can attest that the peroxide recipe worked great for the dog & I. But pity the clerks at the store who had to smell me as I shopped for peroxide that night. It was 5 days before air fresheners and scented candles canceled out the skunk funk hanging in the air that we brought into the house on the way to the bath to de-skunk ourselves.

  75. I had 2 good days, then everything that was going well took a turn for the worse and I was sitting here thinking “I’ll distract myself on the internet for a few minutes so I’m don’t start crying about stupid shit like money” and here is a new post from you. So thanks. Sorry you have a hole in your basement, tho. I expect that’ll keep you up at nights for a while. I know I’d be freaking out.

  76. Oh yes, and having once had a skunk go off in the living room, I can tell you that eventually it’s funny, and laundries are wonderful places… altho that old sofa always smelled a little funky when it was damp outside… (cat door, dog, skunk came thru the cat door, dog barked, skunk sprayed, dog killed skunk. So not only smell, but bloody, dead skunk to deal with too… at 3am, with a 4 year old. Always fun 🙂 She’s 26 now and remembers the night the skunk came in as something funny.)

  77. Thanks for the update on the house and foundation! I was so interested in you story when you found the brick in your basement that I kept wondering where it had all led… which kept me returning to your blog all this last month going “yeah but what happened with the foundation?” Glad it’s fixable!

  78. You do have a sheet of plywood, or something like it, to cover the hole when you’re not there, right? It won’t keep the rain out, but it will keep the skunk in the outdoors, where it belongs.
    Glad you’re enjoying the scarf.

  79. Really, if you’re worried about the skunk falling in, just live a board longer than the hole at an angle every night. The skunk doesn’t want to come in and will walk up the board and out.
    Don’t ask me how I know this.

  80. Are you having fun sewing in the 2 yarn ends per hexagon? LOL! Won’t do it. The swirls are simple, but the yarn ends are GAH!

  81. Would the therapy be needed because of the skunk or because of Joe screaming like a girl? And in either case, I suspect your girls have the ovarian fortitude to cope with it. And to give you something bright and cheery to look at, try and the wonderfully individual sheep she sculpts. (No connection to Karen other than owning one of her sheep and thinking that’s it
    ‘s marvelous that they each have their own face.)

  82. I totally get the obsessive thing to bring order into your life. And I TOTALLY agree with the manual labor = sexiness thing too!

  83. Wait, I thought that Joe was scared of Racoons?
    “Go out there and fight like a man!” as they say in Pearl-McPhee land.
    Of course, skunks aren’t much better…

  84. Wow. I am a-mazed at the way your scarf looks. That is how my swirls looked and I was so harsh that I just put it aside. I swear I am going to dig it out and get it done. Before the end of winter.
    I still say owning a home is over rated. My leak came via the roof. It was fixed in March. Guess what? It starting leaking in October. Luckily we had not started the fix the ceiling so it doesn’t look like crap work before it started leaking again. Good luck.

  85. Ha, ha! We actually DID the skunk in the window well thing! 🙂 The only way to save the skunk was to bring it in through the basement window and up through the rest of the house. And, yes, the husband took a direct hit from the skunk. That was a couple of stinky weeks at the homestead!

  86. Ha, ha! We actually DID the skunk in the window well thing! 🙂 The only way to save the skunk was to bring it in through the basement window and up through the rest of the house. And, yes, the husband took a direct hit from the skunk. That was a couple of stinky weeks at the homestead!

  87. I shudder at the thought of skunks and your stash somehow co-mingling… maybe you should temporarily move the stash elswhere till the threat of skunks (and rain and flooding for that matter) is no longer even a remote possibility.
    ps: I got kinda tired of those swirls after the 2nd row (and I’m (was) doing the shawl version. I really do need to finish it someday.)

  88. I know this is a knitting blog, and it’s been a knitting blog for a long time, but I have to say, I think the entries about failing household appliances and home repairs are, in fact, my favorites.

  89. I shall pray that the rain stays away. Good for Joe!! I wish you could teach me to do those swirls that you are knitting. I tried about 6 times and finally gave up.

  90. I shall pray that the rain stays away. Good for Joe!! I wish you could teach me to do those swirls that you are knitting. I tried about 6 times and finally gave up.

  91. My first thought was, aren’t you worried about the wool-stealing squirrel, who’s probably been watching and waiting for a way to get into your house, jumping in and making off with the goods?
    My second thought, after reading the comments, was horrified amazement at just how many people have had skunks in their houses. Yikes!

  92. Skip the tomato juice. Got to the vet and get a product called ‘Skunk Off’. Dilute 1/2 and 1/2 with water and wash the walls with it. Works better than all the cans of tomato juice I used – don’t ask! Great post, by the way. And I do hope you do not have cause to use the tomato juice or SkunkOff or any other product. Images of Joe screaming like a girl are just too horrible to consider.

  93. When we moved into our house, which was built atop 6 feet of heavy clay, pretty salty clay at that, my Joe dug a network of 6 to 7 foot holes through the clay to the sand layer, all around the property. He filled the bottom couple of feet with stones and gravel for drainage (we had to sign papers at move-in that we had been warned that gardening might be “difficult” LOL). He then dug channels to link all the holes, etc….
    Point is, every weekend for weeks, I’d look out a window to see shovels of dirt flying out of a hole, with very little of him showing above ground level. And, you’re right, what did show was strangely beguiling.
    The scarf is great, a nice batch of circles. You know what would make it greater? Lots and lots of cunning tiny leaves. You must have a pattern somewhere for them.

  94. Tomato juice doesn’t work. You need perm neutralizer from a hair salon. Yep. How do I know this???? Lets just say, 1 skunk cornered + 1 dog desperate to pee and a hound + 6 am = stinking mess. It was not pretty and the tomato juice just made it worse.
    To this day I love the smell of skunk. Better to like it than hate it.
    Great luck!
    ps… did you get my email????

  95. I now can’t get that song out of my head. Eepie!
    Love the scarf.
    Best of luck with the house. May the only thing you have to blog about that is that nothing further happened.

  96. I totally get the obsession with the spirals. I’m working on a crocheted afghan comprised of hexagons. I can make as many or as few as I feel like. I never “forget” where I am. Sometimes it’s fun to feel a mini-sense of accomplishment on the way to the larger finale.

  97. LOVE LOVE LOVE the scarf! Since I am mid major house clean for Thanksgiving (US Thanksgiving in 3 days – yikes!) it sounds wonderful that anything could give me that FINISHED feeling! sigh
    As far as skunks go – hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking powder and a squirt of (insert here the appropriate liquid soap for the item being cleaned – dog, man, clothing, etc.) works much better than tomato juice – ask me how I know.

  98. Stephanie – I sent a pm re: need to shore that hole. I see another commenter did too – please read my email – it really is important.
    Shoring involves placing a vertical plate of plywood or metal (given how deep that hole is) that is wedged in place tight against the wall of the hole to prevent collapse. Given your structural issues, you might want to shore the wall of your foundation too. I think they make boxes that can slide into large trenches, but have no idea where one would get such – maybe a rental place?

  99. I just saw the episode of Mythbusters on this. A mixture of baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide worked on surfaces even better than the commercial skunk cleaner. And tomato juice really did work on people.
    Just, you know, in case.

  100. Notes from the architect who had left off knitting, but now knits again (new very serious boyfriend has appreciated wool handknit socks)…
    The pounds/sf load of a bathtub, or waterbed, is less than a crowd of people standing in your living room. Think about it. (We all have 250 lb friends who are standing on a square foot of floor area. Friend in the bathtub plus water is impacting on 2.5′ x 5′ of floor area. Much less load.) Plus, a nice old castiron built-in bathtub is essentially a horizontal structural member. So the lack of foundation underneath is not THAT horrible. But it should be fixed.
    I have forwarded what you say about sexy men who dig holes to said boyfriend. We are both too Scotch to not like this.

  101. Oh dear!! Skip the coffee, skip the beer, skip the red wine, head straight for the scotch!!!

  102. Bummer about the house stuff, but your knitted spiral thingies made me gasp when I saw them. Beauty in the midst of chaos.

  103. No time to read any comments.
    Just had to say: Nix the tomato juice.
    Use a paste of hydrogen peroxide and water.
    It works better than tomato juice – which after a few weeks, leaves things smelling of rotten tomatoes as well as a lingering whiff of skunk.
    Janey, who just loves the swirlies

  104. I know you’ve heard it from previous posts, but I’m just gonna tell you as a professional – tomato juice doesn’t work. As a veterinarian, I can tell you from experience all this does is give you a pet that smells like skunks and spaghetti. If you are pregnant, you might vomit a little bit in your mouth. I’m just saying.
    The baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and detergent thing will work so much better. Not that it’s going to happen. No skunks. But mice, now there’s a thought. What a pain! Hope your cat is more than a furry lump like mine is.
    BTW, nice scarf!

  105. Will definitely try the swirls, someday.
    You are fortunate to be in Canada where if necessary you can call in Mike Holmes ( Check out the site and the show on HGTV.
    I’m not so sure you should worry about skunks. I would be more concerned about stash snatchers, a.k.a. squirrels.
    Just remember: Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat as often as necessary. This too shall pass.

  106. For the record, that picture of Joe in the hole? Is EXACTLY the sort of thing that keeps me up at night…..right after the one about the inescapable fire with the squirmy toddler and missing window ladder.
    The 100+ year old house has it’s charms to be sure, but its surprises can be brutal, oui?

  107. Wow! What’s the pattern? I love it! and i can see how it would be totally addictive!
    good luck with the foundation fixing!

  108. I currently have a similar looking hole at the side of my house- due to a similar foundation “issue” and have had the same vision of a skunk ending up in the house… isn’t that the obvious next step?

  109. I understand the swirls. I made the swirl shawl about a year and a half ago. Total and complete obsession until it was finished. I’m wide, so I even had the pleasure of adding two extra swirls/row. Then, because I’m a wee bit of a perfectionist, I also had the opportunity to frog and reknit a couple of the swirls in the middle of a row. That was a blast, nail biting, but still a thrill when they were completed. You’ll understand that I’m not being sarcastic, I truly enjoyed knitting the swirls.

  110. Just in case that skunk comes calling:
    # In the plastic container, combine hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and liquid soap. Add the lukewarm water if needed (for larger dogs). Mix ingredients well. Solution will fizz, as a chemical reaction is occurring. Use immediately – do not store.
    # Do not soak your dog with water prior to bathing. Promptly begin cleansing the affected areas thoroughly, massaging the solution deep into your dog’s coat. You may wish to use a sponge or washcloth. Avoid getting the solution in the eyes, ears or mouth.
    # Allow the solution to remain on your dog for at least five minutes (longer if strong odor persists).
    # Rinse your dog well with lukewarm water. Repeat steps 3-5 as necessary until odor is gone.
    # Dry your dog well and give her a treat!!

  111. Not to one-up you or anything, but one of my coworkers pretty much re-solidified her three story house’s foundation last year by herself. So, it’s do-able… but very, very tiring.
    The knitting looks fabulous! And I think the want to knit it is catching…

  112. I’m suddenly feeling much better about the leak we apparently have in our foundation somewhere that’s causing wet carpet in a very small area that can’t be even looked at until after Thanksgiving and in the meantime my dad and Anita are arriving in the midst of this and I promised Norma (yes, that Norma) that I’d knit a scarf ASAP. Fingers crossed that both of our situations end well, with, frankly, no hope that mine will at all and at least you get blog fodder. No, that isn’t enough to make me start to blogging either…

  113. Couldn’t think why pulling out buckets of dirt sounded so familiar … Oh, yeah. Getting the house in shape for Thanksgiving company. May have to settle for a backhoe, a flame-thrower and stringing ropes. (A couple of weeks ago I profited from the blog’s accumulated burn-wisdom. While I hope never to need a skunk remedy, it’s good to know the information is there. But weren’t raccoons your original co-tenants? And they’re nocturnal, too. Folds hands and looks expectant.)

  114. … And then Mike Holmes comes riding in on his great white steed to save the day!
    I love the scarf. I think I might just have to get that pattern. Raining in Ottawa today. I’ll try to keep it here as long as I can.

  115. Just blazed over to Jojoland’s website and ordered that pattern. It’s my after-the-holidays treat to myself. I will be obsessed. Thanks for sharing.

  116. Oh Dear! Can you knit swirls and drink your favorite adult beverage at the same time (I’m not talkin’ coffee)? My 75 y/o house has just undergone some sorely needed construction and decades deferred “maintenance”, roof now has intact shingles, door to basement now exists, etc. The fact that there is no insulation somehow pales to a lack of foundation “in one spot”. Joe is one in a million-probably deserves some gansey knitting (after the christmas knitting, of course). Um… said holiday knitting schedule been done by Lene yet? Just saying, today’s the 25th, only 30ish kniting days til christmas.

  117. just focus on those pretty little swirls! you can do it! (or return to port ludlow)
    my friend had an actual incident like the one in your nightmare only it was bats in the bedroom. yikes.

  118. Wow…that is quite an undertaking you’ve got going on there. I know what you mean about the menfolks getting sexier when they’re doing manual labor to save money. My husband and I are clearing land right now to build our own house, and there’s nothing like a bearded man in a flannel shirt hacking away at a log with a wedge and sledgehammer. 😉

  119. I LOVE a man in a toolbelt! In my house the poopchute pipe up to the 2nd floor is exposed with a floor to ceiling hole inside and out as a 4 foot verticle crack is patched. But oh, to see a guy slap on that tool belt and say “no problem, I can fix it” AND HE CAN!
    At the old farmhouse we DID have a skunk fall into the basement and spray the whole freaking basement before he escaped on his own. All that winter everytime the furnace kicked on the entire house was re-perfumed with skunk and everywhere we went people would sniff the air and ask “do you smell skunk????”
    Knitting is the perfect meditative distraction for all this chaos, knit on!

  120. I just read your twitter about American vs Canadian Thanksgiving. You should inform them of the history of Thanksgiving and the connection with harvest. Canada, being a more northern country had an earlier harvest and thus has an earlier thanksgiving.

  121. Oh, I’m not at all happy to see that enticing swirl scarf. I bought the pattern, but have been pretending it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately I have today off and will be near the yarn store. I have a feeling this is a slippery slope.
    The farm house I now do not live in and will never own (sometimes bad things turn out to be a blessing) has such foundation problems that what holds up the tub is a board, a rock, a cement block with a car jack balanced on top. I turned my head and tried to block that out, but every time I’d get in the shower…

  122. I am loving that scarf! It looks great, really really great.
    I’m so sorry for all the headaches you’re experiencing with…wow, everything there. Hopefully it gets all fixed up soon, with no skunks or girlish screaming from Joe. 😉

  123. Oh how I SO feel your pain! You don’t live on a farm, do you? I can tell you from personal experience that the various and sundry construction projects NEVER end in the country, and that survival comes only when you can take solace in the little things, like swirls on a scarf, that get finished along the way!

  124. And may I add, a little prematurely, that one of the things I’m grateful for is that Canada has a different date for their Thanksgiving: it serves as an early warning, extends our period of conscious gratitude and keeps open the possibility that Stephanie will post, since she’s considerately gotten her celebrating out of the way early.

  125. Yes, the swirly scarf is quite fetching.
    Do you wonder how that chunk missing from the foundation got to be missing? Some previous person must have either run out of materials to finish the foundation, or some work was done that removed part of it. And when all of that was done and the chunk was missing and they looked at it, they must have thought, ‘well, there you have it, it’s as done as it will be, I’ll just leave it now, not completely finished off’. Who *thinks* like that?!
    Actually, a previous owner of our current house did think like that; everytime we run across one of his masterpieces we say ‘Mr. Half-a*ser stikes again. It gets very old.
    In any event, I do hope the skunk thing does NOT happen. If it does, I don’t think there’s much any of us could do about Joe screaming like a girl or the girls requiring therapy, but dammit, it was a good tomato year and I don’t think I’m alone when I say that this knitter would be happy to donate home-canned tomato juice for an emergency delivery.

  126. As someone that’s actually HAD a skunk under their house, I want to tell you how right you are. You REALLY don’t want to go there!

  127. Use the peroxide, soda and soap, works great. We have a cat that likes to chase skunks. Works on little girls, their clothes and the cat. One shower with the mixture always did the lot. Good luck. The tomatoe juice is to much work to clean up after and doesn’t work as well. Like the scarf.

  128. Stephanie, I feel for you and your charming old house. My house is old, as well, though with a new outer shell and windows, and I always like to think that it knows how to mend itself, if things go wrong (silly ostrich with head in sand, that I am).
    I adore your scarf, and its seemingly organic growth pattern (couldn’t it grow into an amazing jacket!?!). What’s the name of those crabs that borrow shells to live in? That’s what you could call the pattern.

  129. You are hysterically funny,now I have a picture of you in my head of Stephanie, tubs ,tomato juice, and gobs and gobs of wool. I do believe however you should hire guards for the open places in your basement,it might not be as funny but it would save the stash and daughters too. Not to mention your sense of humor. By the way I think whoever e-mailed you about Canada’s Thanksgiving date has a rather large screw loose sometimes we Americans get way to full of ourselves.

  130. Our cat had a close encounter with a skunk two months ago. She came in the house smelling like burned rubber and garlic. I thought something in the house was on fire. The cat would lay down, then get up and move. She didn’t realize she was offending herself. We washed her with the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda/dish soap solution (the next time you need some excitement, try washing a 16 pound cat) and it got rid of most of it. She alerted us to the skunk’s return visit a few weeks later. Serioulsy big skunk. I truly pray one doesn’t vistit your house.

  131. Oh, house foundation. Despite the context I thought you meant make up, and I was wondering what sort you buy… I haven’t slept since I’m getting ready to drive home for thanksgiving, and apparently it’s got to me.

  132. Duct tape a tarp to the house siding and over the hole. Pin it down with the bricks. Dig a little trench around the edge of this new tent to catch rain. Cover the ends like doors – again, using tarps and duct tape so Joe can continue to work, even with an extension cord and work light. BTDT.

  133. For what it’s worth, if a skunk does come through, I have a recipe that really does work.
    Owner of two dogs that were skunked by a DEAD skunk.

  134. We had rain, to the east of you, on the 24th, and it’s pouring right now….Hope you’re in some sort of sunshine bubble where you are 🙂
    Tomato juice isn’t great for skunks, you need hydrogen peroxide (and I’m thinking there was baking soda too….but don’t quote me).

  135. Don’t worry about skunks, Steph, they’re in my neighborhood. I smelled them when I got home from knitting the other night. We’re waaaay over in Wisconsin so it’d take Mr. and Mrs. Skunk a long time to make it to your basement before winter.
    Gorgeous spirals. I’d like a new scarf. I saw a funky scarf in a store window that looks like it’s made from crocheted half- and whole hexagons with all kinds of yarn and fringe from every edge. No! Not until the last fish hat is made. Put down the crochet hook and back away.

  136. Hope the renovations are done soon. The floor guys left my house about 30 minutes ago and the hardwood floors are finished. By the way, I love your scarf. I’m making one, too, but using Kauni in the EQ rainbow colorway. Addictive project.

  137. As a US citizen, I’d like to officially offer my sincere apologies for the lunkhead who critcized Canada for having a different date for Thanksgiving. (You know, sometimes is ISN’T all about us. That, and you can’t re-write history.)

  138. I hope the person who sent you the email about Thanksgiving isn’t the same as the one who was harassing you last summer. Has it occurred to this moron that you, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, do not happen to be in charge of setting the date of Thanksgiving in Canada? That it was set back in 1957 by one Lester Pearson?
    I apologize for the idiot Americans who don’t understand reality.

  139. you know what I love best about you? I can read your blog, laugh myself silly so my spouse inquires why and all I have to say is remember me telling you about the woman whose husband got the truck stuck between his mom’s house and a pole . . and then my son say yeah, what’s going on now? Classic dinner talk. It’s just like being home. Have faith, all will be well . . . and the sock are amazing!

  140. Aww Steph. Seriously, just aww..I know this is killing you, but it is nice to be able to take a step back and think ‘at least I have something to blog about’. Right?
    Go knit another potato chip.

  141. Ok, I didn’t read through all the comments, so if someone suggested this already, I’m sorry to repeat.
    Skunk oder is neutralized by acidic solution, like tomato juice, but white vinegar is far cheaper….

  142. Okay– maybe pack a little ’emergency’ chest, so you end up with some mushroom soup instead of just tomato juice, and some clothes (and yarn!) that doesn’t smell like skunk! (And whatever you do, DON’T think about the hole… and keep knitting!)

  143. This sounds like one of those stories that begins with “uh-oh” and ends with “before turning the gun on herself.” I’m seriously hoping I’m wrong, and that the skunk thing works out. Oy.

  144. My sympathies for having to go through this horrid mess. One thing that stands out, though, is that your husband seems to be of the competent, capable kind who can actually help fix the foundation without bringing the entire house down around his ears. I hope your house gets sorted out properly and soon.

  145. Here is a quiet wish that your house renovations are going well. What an upheaval. I think of you.

  146. Any chance you might feel up to posting a little tutorial on the shawl? I’ve started my A2 hexagon about 50 million times and it just isn’t working. I thought I had it a few minutes ago. But no, it is still backwards. I’m ready to bang my head against the desk.
    And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that no skunks wander in. Or moths. The horror! I hope the house is sealed up and life is back to normal soon.

  147. A number of my friends, by which I mean in this case people I actually see fairly regularly in meatspace, have knit the shawl version. If I am going to weave in that many ends (you weave them in as you go, don’t you? I hate people like you) I want to have colorwork to show for it.
    Btw I didn’t read the comments thoroughly and someone undoubtedly already told you this, but coffee also works. If using it on a cat, make sure it’s decaf. If using it on a human, let your conscience be your guide.

  148. Just watch for rats….they love to come in through an open crawl space. Then you hear something behind the fireplace at 11.30 while sitting up knitting, then you trap the hideous kitten-sized things under your living room chesterfield at 2 AM, and end with Dettoling the hardwoods at 7. If you’re lucky it’s only one night of your life, but… might not be lucky (surprise).

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