Why is it always Green

One day about ten years ago, the washing machine stopped working.  It just sat there, breaking in almost the worst way a washer can break, which is full of wet clothes and soap, with the water refusing to drain.  (I say almost the worst way a washer can break, because all you have to do to get top spot is substitute diapers for clothes, and you’re there.)  We called a guy to come and fix it, and as he was working on the machine he said something like "Ah, it seems that the pump is clogged with something" which I thought was super interesting until I remembered that I had been felting clogs in there, and that there had been a lot of green fibre floating in the water – stuff that had come off of the clogs, and it hadn’t really occurred to me that the clog fibres might actually clog the washer.  I was suddenly possessed of a wish.

As the repair guy we could ill afford disassembled the pump, I started to send a hope out into the world. "Don’t let it be green wool. Don’t let it be green wool. Don’t let it be green wool." I sent that hope out as he opened the pump, and turned to face us, the innards of the thing displayed, and clogged with green – well.  Clog bits.   Joe made a tight face, but he didn’t say anything, and I’ve been really careful to put the stuff I’m felting in a pillowcase or something like that ever since then.  That was a really expensive pair of felted clogs.

This morning I went to vaccuum the living room, and as I turned it on I heard a terrible noise. The grinding, churning noise of a motor trying to turn and not being able to, and so I shut the machine off straight away and flipped over the power head thingie.  There was no smell, which is usually a good sign and I couldn’t see anything keeping the brush gizmo from turning, so I got a screwdriver and took it apart. The brush was on a cylinder, the ends of which terminated in two yellow doohickeys which fit into the main vaccuum head widget. I lifted that out and looked closely at them.  One of them looked fine, and that’s where the belt that was driving the thing went, but the other one had yarn something wrapped around it. 
I got the scissors and a knife and a knitting needle, and started snipping, cutting and prying off the green fibre which – yeah… turned out to be yarn.
Still, I don’t know what your experience of the vacuum is, but often I find stuff wrapped around that brush (that isn’t yarn) and have to clean it off, so I wasn’t really all that concerned.  I snipped and cleaned it up, then put it all back together, and turned it on. Same problem.

Joe came downstairs and had a look.  He’s better at fixing things than I am.  He’s got that engineering education and understands how machines work. I have to rely on intuition – it’s way less effective.  Anyway, he spots the issue straightaway. The cylinder ends go into the yellow doohickeys and as Joe pointed out, the doohickeys stay still, and the cylinder turns. Therefore the yellow doohickey should turn freely- which it doesn’t.  Joe conducts an experiment with the other side to see if the yellow thing comes off, and it does, so he tries to pull the other one off. It doesn’t want to come though, and as he’s pulling he says "Damn, it’s like there’s something in there, wound around it."

I freeze and start wishing again.  This is a pretty new vacuum, and I am now pretty darn sure that Joe is going to get that thingie off and there’s going to be yarn in there, and he’s going to make that tight face, and I’m going to feel terrible and he’s going to not-so-secretly wonder why I can’t keep track of my yarn/fibre in a way that doesn’t keep breaking appliances, and I’m going to say I thought I was, and that’s really only two major appliances in 10 years, which is totally not bad (right?) and it’s going to be a thing.  A total thing. I’m going to end up saying something like "maybe the vacuum wouldn’t have yarn in it if you ever vacuumed" which is totally a low blow… Oh, I can feel it. The whole marital thing is written in stone now.  I’m me and he’s him and it’s just the way it’s going to be. I vow not to let it be that way. I vow to keep my mouth shut. To apologize and not say a thing, no matter what he says. There can be peace, and it can begin with me.

He struggles to get the end off, and says it might be too tight to get off "because of whatever is in there" and we both know what’s in there now, and I keep thinking "don’t be yarn, don’t be yarn, don’t be yarn" and then there’s a crack, and Joe swears, and looks in his hand and the yellow thingie has broken off, because it was too tight because of what’s in there, and what’s in there?

Of course. It’s yarn. It’s totally yarn.  I take a deep breath, Joe takes a deep breath, and he looks at me, and I look at him – and I think we see the way it’s going to go, and then Joe says "Well, the yarn was really around that… " and he pauses, and says "…not that this is your fault."

I look at Joe and say "Thank you for pretending that might be someone else’s yarn." and he looks at me and says "No problem" and laughs, and I realize that we’re getting pretty good at being married (that took a while) but that Joe probably does wish that I’d stop letting yarn get somehow into appliances. 

Me? I just once want something to break because it has his wire around it.  It would really help.

153 thoughts on “Why is it always Green

  1. Oh, i’m glad to hear that these marital things get easier. After ten years of being happily ‘unmarried”, I find us starting the ‘same old fight’ (usually about yarn taking over the house) and we’ve started to appreciate the little quirks that are us.
    And, before i vacuum, i run a swiffer over the rugs to id any rogue yarns.

  2. Yup, I know what it’s like to have an appliance quit when you have a brand new baby – the dryer in our town house started leaving scorch marks all over everything, and was somehow both burning them AND not drying them at the same time. When you’re in a period where babies need multiple clothes changes a day, this was NOT A GOOD THING. Thankfully they replaced it, and because it’s rented we didn’t have to pay for it!

  3. While I always enjoy your writing, this one really squeezed my heart. Lucky you to have a guy like Joe. My sweetie hasn’t gotten there after 28 years and I really am sorry about the pins in the rugs (and his feet) and do really really try to keep track of every single little one!!

  4. Have you ever had the vacuum eat the end of the single while the bobbin is sitting on the lazy kate? That bobbin spins round soo fast. Or so I imagine anyway because of course it’s never happened to me.

  5. Great save of the argument. Based on your description “brush was on a cylinder” and the picture, I think what you’re referring to is what we call in the U.S. the beater bar. I don’t know if your yellow doohickies are replacable, but the the beater bars almost always are, and not too expensive. Best of luck!

  6. The week that two kids were sick and way too young to aim, and the washing machine packed up… that was a bad week.
    Before I vaccuum, I make the kids crawl around and pick up any odd bits of yarn that have found their way onto the carpet. Which seems totally unfair, but most of what I knit is for them, so they can do their part!
    Learning to laugh instead of fight. A huge blessing in a marriage. We are getting there.

  7. My vacuum is acting petulant, perhaps I should look into it instead of just using it as if everything was just fine and no small children lived here.
    Oh all right! If you cannot say what you knew was going to be said and sanity prevailed, perhaps I can go look at its guts before it really dies.
    You are always an inspiration Stephanie. 🙂 Sometimes a cautionary tale but always inspiring.

  8. Looks like you have a problem with migrating green yarn, solution don’t buy any more green yarn. Sell, trade or give away the rest of your green yarn and your appliances will rest in peace.
    I just hope green isn’t your favorite color….in which case forget what I said.

  9. I completely sympathize.
    You should see the havoc my hair can wreak on most everything with moving parts.
    It is really funny when, although I wear my hair pulled into a bun *all day* my coworkers, whose homes I have never visited, manage to find 3ft long hairs laying around.

  10. The problem with wire is that it isn’t fibre and sticky and while good for burying bits of itself into carpets is lousy for making sweaters, socks, shawls and jamming appliances. Two yarn-related appliance issues in 10 years averages out to fairly reasonable in my books. Beats the new frig and freezer I had to buy after the ditz housesitter turned off the main power for some reason….

  11. Seems to me a vacuum cleaner that can’t deal with a perfectly ordinary length of yarn isn’t designed very well. And who made that yellow thing so that you had to break it to get at the yarn? That wasn’t either you or Joe. It was some nameless vacuum cleaner designer who lives in some strange house that has only tiny short chunky things on the floors. I’d send a link to this post to the manufacturer.

  12. The irony is … some of your best, most memorable stories seem to involve something breaking. Which does lead me to believe that it’s how you handle life when things aren’t going the way you want them to go really defines your character most accurately.
    It’s great that you and Joe can get a laugh out of this. I definitely agree about the poor design of the vac! I totally disagree with blaming all this on the color green. I love green, and there have been many well behaved green yarns in your home, just because the two most memorable appliance issues involved green yarn… that’s just coincidence! I’m sure of it.

  13. This is so funny. I’ve been going back and reading some of your older (much older) blogs and just finished with the Mr Washie story, with the green clogs. I could so understand your fears! I don’t think the answer is no more green yarn and I do think that any vacuum worth it’s salt should be able to handle a couple of bits of loose yarn. (How long were they, anyway???)

  14. Ah, fun times. I remember my vacuum messing up because of the vast quantities of yarn fuzz I kept shedding off. Never a good thing to find a huge felted wool ball in the hose attachment.

  15. Well, yarn is still less gross than my hair. Which seems to do the same thing your yarn does to my own appliances.
    And my hair is red so it ALWAYS pointing the finger of fault right at me.
    It really sucks when you can’t blame someone else once in a while.

  16. Yarn is not the only culprit. When my long-haired daughter lived at home, there were frequently yarn washers on the vacuum, and yarn clogs in the bathroom sinks. I am sure the yellow thingie can be easily replaced, and congratulate you both on your handling of the situation.

  17. Only thing I could think of was “ohh, I love the green of that yarn, wonder where she got it?” I do have sympathy for the broken appliance, but really, a yarn vice is so much less troublesome to a marriage than, say, booze or younger men, am I right?

  18. It’s always green cause you love green. And since yarn is how you earn a living, you can consider appliance repair a business expense.

  19. Perhaps old Mr. Washie and new Prince Hoover are jealous that you have knit nothing for them and are self yarn-bombing out of spite.

  20. Ah, yes…Do you have any recollection of some advice I offered a few years ago about cranberries in the disposal (don’t do it…they float and clog the dishwasher hose)? That requires a “please don’t let it be cranberries” prayer — especially the second time around. And the disposal…my own green encounter…”please don’t let it be those two big clumps of slimy parsley that I chewed up in there”…That prayer didn’t work either. Nice hat tip to Joe for being a good guy about it. Lessons learned…

  21. That’s ok, I think it was our third or fourth Christmas together when after the holidays I tried to vacuum up the pine needles on the floor after we removed the tree. I mean- that’s what a vac is supposed to do-right? They were so clogged in there it wasn’t funny. Had to have the hose replaced. Never once did the now ex-hubs say anything stupid. Amazing now looking back on it. I think it was because he would have done the same thing.

  22. Great post. I’m sending this to my husband. Haven’t broken any appliances yet, but yarny annoyances of other kinds have occurred. Yay for respecting each other when stressed!

  23. There’s not much I can offer about vacuuming (I gave it up) except maybe using a metal rake on the rug to loosen and rake up both yarn and long hair.
    About the clogs (and other felting), they will felt just as well inside a zippered or safety-pinned cotton cloth pillow cover, which can be opened to monitor the progress of the felting, and which helps catch the loose wool fragments.

  24. Yikes! I feel your pain. It’s really, really hard to keep track of those yarn scraps. The only thing worse than an appliance breaking is to have your cat eat them and get clogged parts. I feel like I’m super, super careful but one of my cats has found yarn a couple of times. That is also an expensive not to mention scary proposition. My washer right now is making horrible noises like it’s trying to launch itself into outerspace — but I know it’s not yarn related as I don’t felt. The washer is close to 20 years old so can’t complain. The repairman is coming on Monday — hopefully I don’t end up with a soaking wet load before then.

  25. Once our washer flooded the whole bathroom and wouldn’t drain. As my now ex starred taking it apart I was thinking along the same lines ‘please don’t be yarn or something my fault!’. As he took the motor apart a little piece of wire fell out. Someone hadn’t emptied their pockets and it wasn’t me!

  26. Wonderful, laugh out loud, esp. at the end. Thank you so much for sharing (and was it from the jumper for Nephew?) xx

  27. Usually at our house all the drains back up because of pet hair (long-haired white dogs, which get lots of baths). Which is totally both of our “hobby.” Which is great because ya know what? This marriage thing is hard enough already! Great job to you and Joe on keeping your wits about you in a tough situation!

  28. Has it occured to you that things have possibly broken because of his stuff, but that you haven’t been privy to the moment and he fixed it on the sly? It’s possible anyway, that’s what I like to think happens at my house. 🙂

  29. Good man that Joe….I have one just like him! Married for 47 years…we both laugh a lot…i’m just sayin.

  30. I just read this to my hubby. Since he lives in a house with 3 women (me and the two daughters) we’re well acquainted with hair on the roller brush of the vacuum. In fact, he just rolled the Dyson out, tipped it so I could see the brush, which is obscured by hair.
    Then he put it back in the closet without clearing out the hair. Something is wrong with that action, but I’ll deal with that later.
    He knows he can’t point the finger of blame at anyone, because his hair is likely in there too, despite having short hair.
    That said, I think Joe is a definite keeper, and I think that you need to tell us what you were knitting, because that *is* a very pretty shade of green, and inquiring sympathetic commenters want to know.
    (and no, I’ve not had yarn stop my vacuum cleaner…or any other appliance… yet.)

  31. Hmmm… what yarn is that? Pretty green! And I didn’t realize ‘doohickey’ was used so far away from Willowdale. 🙂 My dad has nails and hooks all labelled in the garage (yeah, an engineer) and one of them says ‘lawnmower doohickey’. Great word. Sorry about the vacuum. You can order by bits by part #.

  32. My hair falls past my hips. Guess what always joins the yarn in our vacuum? (Actually there’s always much more hair than anything, although I mainly wear it up. Sigh.)

  33. The same thing used to happen at my house, only it was a combination of my daughter’s long hair and the uncontrollably vast quantities of dog hair to fill in the spaces (German shepherds shed twice a year for six months). Fortunately I am the mechanical one so no one else knew the cause and wanted to get rid of my dog (or daughter). I have since replaced the regular house vacuum with a shop vacuum… no more spinning brush to get stuck.

  34. I had a similar expierience after buying my first real vacuum- first one that was not bought second hand, or passed down. Years later I would become proficient at “open heart surgery” on it, removing yarn bits, cat toys, kid toys and the odd sock, but at the time it was all newfangled and scary. Living in NYC, I had to take it- a giant green Orek, on the Subway to be repaired. As if it wasn’t odd enough to be riding the subway with a vacuum, the repair guy, pulled out ,of all things- a red foam clown nose. But while he was digging, I was wishing “please don’t let it be a cat turd, please don’t let it be a cat turd…”
    We were fostering about 7 cats from a litter we found in an ally until they could be adopted. I still have two of them….and I have no explanation for the clown nose.

  35. Not sure what it says about me that I think this is incredibly romantic.
    Probably that I need to vacuum more.

  36. Broken appliances are the reasons that I (1) don’t felt anything in a machine without putting it in something first and (2) pick up all the bitty scraps of yarn before I vacuum. It’s bad enough that we have a collection of my long hair, fuzz from animals that don’t belong to us (communal washers in our apartment building), and dog hair (from an animal that does belong to us).

  37. I guess when I felt the green slippers I’m knitting for Dad’s Christmas present, I should remember that pillowcase trick. Noted.

  38. Well, my husband and I have a running argument about whose hair clogs the pipes. And he moans and groans about the pet hair…
    I was not the one who came back from a beach fishing trip and dumped all my pants in the washing machine…without rolling down the cuffs and shaking them out outside.
    And when the washer stopped working, the technician who responded to our plea for help found several cups worth of that ground up shell matter in the filter.
    Even better, I got a local history lesson from said technician! ;-D

  39. In my house it’s overloading the disposal with onion or potato skins. At least annually. You are not alone!

  40. I’ve never had yarn/fibre mess up my appliances, but I can’t say the same for hair. I’ve got a *good* vacuum (a gift, cause there’s no way we’d have been able to afford it) that’s made specifically for dealing with animals (3 cats), and it’s MY hair that causes the most problem. It regularly snarls up the doohickey and I have to take it apart and take scissors to it and try to unwind my hairy self from it. It’s the vacuums fault, I swear.

  41. caring is sharing….but I hope that bits of wire never do get into your vacuum cleaner as I can assure you that they WILL wreak expensive havoc in its innerds!!

  42. You have two options: 1)Stop knitting. 2)Stop vacuuming. Let me guess which one you will choose…

  43. Earlier this week I cleared what could only be dishware fibers out of my dishwasher water jets. At least you have reasonable explanations of how the fiber got in your appliances.
    And, Joe’s wire probably does get in stuff but he has the advantage of the engineering background so he can bluff and pretend it’s part of the appliance.

  44. From a book I recently read (called “Girl 99”, quite good, actually), I have to impart the notion that if the wish fairy is listening, you would have wasted a wish. Therefore, you must always add something of value just in case the wish fairy is actually listening.
    Practice it! “I wish it won’t be green yarn in the vacuum…..and also a million dollars.”
    “I wish it won’t be green yarn in the vacuum…..and also a pound of quiviut.”

  45. Yes, but he broke the yellow doo-hickey, and you can probably replace that online….model and serial # of vacuum probably needed. Next, it’s probably only made in China, so there will be tariffs and what-not on it. By the time you pay for all the shipping…oh, you didn’t want to know anyway.
    It probably costs the manufacturer a nickle to make.

  46. Having just vacuumed the floor at my mom’s house with an unfamiliar machine, I laughed at this story. Much long blonde hair was cut out of the beater bar. Not mine, not mom’s nor my brother’s. It’s my brother’s girlfriend’s hair. She last visited about 3 months ago so I expect that not much vacuuming gets done around here.

  47. Next time—blue yarn, or that lovely Rhinebeck sweater color. The universe was telling you something with that migratory green stuff.

  48. You know what? My husband is frequently taking apart the power head and snipping it free of whatever it is that is causing the trouble. It never occured to me even once that it was yarn he was snipping out of there. And now that I think of it, he has never made it occur to me. What a great guy. I’m going to give him a kiss when I get home.

  49. Thanks for the laugh, now I have to wipe Coke off the screen.You are a mess Miss Stephanie,a loveable mess.

  50. I have situations like this though it is not about appliances and it is more about my mess. Yarn takes up way more space than video games unfortunately!

  51. Believe it or not, this story brought a little tear to my eyes (at least moistening). My partner and I have struggled with “argument patterns” and have been working hard to break out of them. Recognizing the pattern exists is hard, seeing your personal part in the pattern is harder. And having your partner see THEIR part as well can be hardest.
    So often one or the other wants to break free, but it takes both to really do it. And reading how Joe saw the same thing, came to the same place and had the same resolution was really, really, really moving to me.
    BTW, I assume by now you’ve ORDERED THE EXTRA SKEINS OF BISON YARN that you will need now that you realized you had skeins in two different shades. So there is NO POSSIBILITY OF RUNNING OUT OF THE ONE SHADE YOU NEED before finishing the pattern.
    Thanks for sharing Stephanie!

  52. I have an irobot vacuum, you just press a button walk out the door and he vacuums while we are away. One day I did this but neglected to see the tail of my knitting hanging down onto the floor and came home to find Henry (vacuum) had eaten my knitting, I mean really mangled it to the extent I had to knit that piece again and couldnt reuse the cotton. That was a bummer.

  53. Yes, yarn even defeats the Dyson. Wraps its twisty self around the cylinder (?beater). Must dissect it off before smells happen. I usually find it when the vacuum cleaner won’t suck. Or, actually when the vacuum cleaner sucks. Yeah, that’s what I mean.

  54. Wasn’t there a wire tie in the dishwasher a few years ago? And a pistachio shell?
    I am conveniently forgetting the roving for you….

  55. We had an episode with the vacumn and a big a*s darning needle, the power head spit it across the room like nobody’s business (it’s a good thing no eyes were at floor level). I was shocked and (guilty as charged, yes) looked at my husband, the only thing I could think of to say was Thank God no one stepped on it or the dog ate it….the dog has a death wish with needles I might add.
    Stuff happens, yes stuff happens!!:)

  56. Next time I use the vacuum cleaner I’m going to have to get in there and cut all my hair and yarn out of it first, I’m finding it’s not doing as good a job atm due to all that stray stringy stuff in there. It’s not my fault, after all DH likes my hair long and he likes me to remain sane, hence the proliferation of yarn and fabric in our house.

  57. Well done. Signed, 37 years and counting (sometimes with a tight face, sometimes with a giggle).

  58. I say that the vacuum was simply doing its job and the fact that yarn was present simply means that YOU are doing your job too – vacuuming is a job and you do it. Hence, yarn is picked up by the vacuum. The vacuum failed to send the yarn to the right place (bag or cannister) and instead rerouted it to this less-than-appropriate place. Hence, it’s the vacuum’s fault.

  59. Can you order a replacement yellow doohickey for the vacuum? I bet you can. And I think if it were me, I’d start picking up yarn that’s more than an inch long! LOL

  60. My husband and I have separate vacuums. Mine clogs with dog hair. His spews drywall dust all over the house, coating everything with fine white powder. After I dust it off, he vacuums again. But he never, ever washed the couch stuffing in a garment bag with a faulty zipper. So I guess I’m ahead. Or he is. Depending on how you look at it. Thanks for the laugh!

  61. I don’t know if this helps, but I found pin wire (sort of a heavier paper clip) in the dryer exhaust 5 years after my husband died. I laughed so hard I had to sit down.

  62. I too have been married a very long time. Sometimes – not often – I have been known to ummmm stack the deck just a teensy bit in my favor ……… just when I am the one in the wrong a little too often. I don’t advice you to wind wire around anything of course – that would be bad. Very very bad. Your conscience would hurt. Ummm yup that would be bad.

  63. Would you consider a canister vacuum? Mine cleans up all kinds of fiber from various activities, as well as fur from a small herd of cats & the usual human hair, & there has been no problem with clogs & no need to remove parts, other than filter replacement.

  64. The EXACT same part broke on our vacuum cleaner today. No yarn involved, although there was quite a bit of long hair such as one would find in a home with 2 daughters. Most of that was on the other end, the end with the belt. Ours seems to have broken just due to lack of willpower to go on turning the little brush day after day.
    The replacement part on ours costs around $65US. We’re wondering if we’ll find any Black Friday sales on vacuums.

  65. My vacuum let out some black smoke today and had awful noises, too. I was sure it was the drive band again, but no, that was fine. Since the whole machine and cord is held together by duct tape after 20 years, I guess it is time to get another. I am sure the parts have been holding together on a wing and a prayer for years. To top it off, I began wondering why my turkey defrosted so fast in the refrigerator this year. The 18 year old side by side is probably not holding the freezer temp at 0 like it should and I hope I don’t kill anyone tomorrow.

  66. Two words: Laminate Floors!
    And no vacuum cleaners anywhere in my house, never, ever again!
    OK, so yarn can clog up a broom, but it isn’t a catastrophic event because you can just haul off and pull it out of the bristles and toss it in the garbage. And even if it were a catastrophic event, though I can’t for the life of me imagine how right at this minute, a new broom is about ten bucks. Brooms, and dust mops, and swiffers win, hands down.

  67. Well after 37 years of marriage and yarn and vacuums and washers and ….. it does help to just quietly admit that although it does look like the green yarn you were knitting with it would seem that all your yarn was accounted for and therefore the offending yarn must belong to the gremlins that keep hiding things and leaving yarn on the floor. If it works better for you than it does for me, let me know!

  68. been there done that – twice!!! And that is why I now have hardwood or laminate floors all through the house. The damn beater bar no longer gets any use unless it’s for the two rugs we have. And those I can keep relatively yarn free.
    With the washer, I now have one that one can open from the front and take out accumulated yarn, pennies, quarters( coins are my husband’s), hair pins (my daughter’s), and dog fur and other hair…Yuck! But I leave that job for my husband…hehehe…and I have to say, he has never complained about me breaking machines. He’s a keeper!

  69. Before the invention of cleaning ladies, I became intimately acquainted with that cylindrical thingie myself and knew every place in my town to buy new vacuum belts w-a-a-y before I ever started knitting. Tell Joe it’s just the universe telling us that vacuum cleaner designs are not perfect so that vacuum repair stores can stay in business and you are just doing your part in this economy to help them out. And I am waiting with baited breath to find out if Liz at 6:27 p.m. killed anyone with that half-frozen turkey. Sometimes I think all us domestic types live more on the edge of a precipice than one would think.

  70. Oh Stephanie, this one touched my heart and made laugh and cry at the same time.
    You are priceless.

  71. I am one of the long haired folks and it is always me who has to disassemble the thingamijiggy and snip it all away. And it is obviously a poorly designed thingamajiggy that would even let yarn get in there in the first place!

  72. I once killed a vacuum with a Weeble. Unintentionally. I never saw the #$%@ thing. Really.
    It was spectacular, but smelly, scared the kids and hubs was nearly as amused as I was.
    I still laugh when I think about it.

  73. Love the story, and the reminder to laugh when possible. Much needed as my washing machine sits half filled with water and a load of diapers — fortunately on the final rinse cycle, but still! (Water main break, sigh)

  74. Every damned time I vacuum I have to take the thing apart, either because the bag is full or I have broken the belt. It’s usually not knitting yarn at fault, though, it’s the raveling carpet that winds around the roller and burns up the belt. Well, that and the 47 quarts of dog and cat hair.

  75. Dog hair. Family dogs, but really everybody in the family knows they are mine. But the dental floss, that is his. For some reason he can’t make sure the floss actually lands, and stays in, the bin. Check on line for the vacuum replacement part. I’ve been able to fix all sorts of things by going online. Except the chainsaw.

  76. Ah yes. I had the felted mohair slipper episode. But hubby has had his share of dental floss escapades. Does not-so-wonderful things to vacuums.

  77. Some years ago, the power head on my canister vacuum stopped working — with that ominous scent of ozone and burnt plastic that warns the motor had burnt out. Yarn was not the culprit. One of the stuffed toy mice belonging to my cat was.
    I took the thing in for repairs, only to learn that those would cost roughly half as much as a new vacuum of comparable quality. So now I have two canister vacuums that work, but only one has a working power head.
    (P.S. to Millie: Please put your toys away, dear. You don’t want mama and papa to blame you for breaking the vacuum cleaner!)

  78. Picture a person washing lots of little felted purses, just tickling a tigers ass, so to speak, throwing caution to the wind, not using a pillowcase, oh no, using the ridiculously expensive new machine, then feel the blood drain from your face when it fills with water and, no, it doesn’t drain. Frantically call the repair hotline, have the guy say I think I know what the problem is….now, just feel the sense of relief when you see that the culprit is your 13 year old son whose little airsoft pellets perfectly block all the little drain holes and laugh hysterically when you realize it’s not your fault. Consider checking pockets from here on out.

  79. I’ve got a Karcher (German) vacuum cleaner where the engine is actually a removable engine top and it’s separated from the dust collected below by a fine mesh.
    I am now appreciating it better after hearing your story!

  80. I have been brushing my 3 feet of hair outside for years, yet somehow there are strands on the bathmat, the bathroom floor, my sweaters, and other odd places. And, of course, the vacuum rollers! My mom used to hand us an exacto knife on a regular basis, with instructions to cut the strands of hair off the roller.
    I’m super careful about bits of yarn due to the cats, paranoid even, but they manage to sneak their way over to the vacuum nay-the-less. I’m with you on the wire – maybe some day a guitar string will be the culprit!

  81. Me again. You do know that you are not the only knitter to ever live in that house. Unless you are sure the yarn was yours, who knows what goes on when you are visiting all of us.

  82. We all remember the truck kerfuffle. The great part of long-term relationships is that each partner has a “moment” and we keep on keepin’ on.

  83. Oooooh, I need to make sure I don’t vacuum any more yarn. I’m pretty sure I have done so in the past. Also, you and Joe are pretty cute 🙂

  84. As far as I am concerned, it is not your fault, it is a design or construction mishap of the vacuumcleaner. Doohickies should not allow threads or anything else to pass through to their insides. If I were you, I’d send the company it sold the picture and the how it got taken and advise them to do something about it. Maybe they give you a refund for the doohickie and a thank you for saving them from future trouble. Maybe it was just one faulty doohickie with a slight tear from the beginning. I do not advise you sueing the company, like maybe your southern neighbours would do, it is not worth the trouble when the cost of a new yellow dhkie seems to be low. Think about vacuuming with a full length of hair Maltezer lion in the house, vacuumbags full of dogshair and yes, we do comb the little ball of hair sorry I meant sweetheart twice a day, faulty doohickies would not survive that for a week.

  85. I’m sure dozens of people have already said, and it was green…
    Seriously, though. You and Joe are so cool. Getting good at this married thing–kudos to both of you. (I have so been guilty on that vacuum cleaner thing, and my hubby’s pretty cool about it too.)

  86. I’m crying from laughing so hard! Hillarious. I was going to refer back to your beautiful, Homeward Softly prose. But I’m crying and laughing too hard! Oh Stephanie. This a great!!!! Thanks for sharing. That photo with the broken yellow bit and the green yarn? Pushed me over the edge of laughter again! Too funny!!!
    I’m falling in love with your marriage. It’s great!

  87. My vacuum burnt out three drive bands recently. It took a while to identify the problem. The beater bar came off for investigation several times before it became clear that the bearing at one end had seized. There may or may not have been fluff involved.
    My vacuum came from that wonderfully inventive man, James D. It was 12 years old and was made of various coloured spare parts, sourced from a well known online market place. We could have got a new genuine D part. a second-hand genuine D part, or even a generic part… but my hubby bought me a brand new vacuum from the wonderful James D. An easier to use one. A lighter one. It has a BALL! and my back says thank you. And I promise to continue picking up every stray inch of yarn or fibre that I spot on the floor before plugging my wonder machine in. My back will be more up to t he task now.

  88. This is why you are my favorite knitting blog, knitting and life mixed together in just the right amounts!
    “Oh, I can feel it. The whole marital thing is written in stone now. I’m me and he’s him and it’s just the way it’s going to be.”
    We will be cleaning up the knitting bag (mine) and the piles of history books (his) while preparing for company this Thanksgiving Day. We are getting better at just cleaning them up (moving them where the company won’t be appalled at the amount of both) without commenting on them!

  89. That happened to me yesterday! Only it was dental floss! How did dental floss get on the livingroom rug? The dogs pulled it out of the bathroom wastepaper basket. (just as long as it was not yarn and not me!)

  90. You know, the vacuum cleaner manufacturer HAS to accept some of the blame! After all, they used a “flimsy” piece of plastic! It’s not your fault that it broke doing the job it was designed to do. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!!

  91. If that’s Dyson, they may be really understanding about the whole broken bit. They have replaced a couple broken bits on mine, not due to yarn, but from general “over loving”. Still….yarn is reasonable use, no? Just call their customer service and ask.
    You and Joe are awesome. I can only hope the DH and I evolve to such an awesome relationship.

  92. First I can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog for so long, I remember Mr. Washie dying. Very glad our washer and dryer died of old age when I was pregnant, we put our new ones in 2 days before our daughter was born. Baby and dead washer would have been the worst.
    Maybe every 10 years take a break from green yarn, or be extra careful with it.

  93. My vacuum cleaner beater always has my hair wrapped around it. Well, that and occasional spinning fibers. I’m not going to wear a hair net, so we’ve learned to live with it. Of course, it hasn’t actually broken the vacuum yet, knock on wood.

  94. Anyone have a connection with NASA? Those rocket scientists should solve the doohickey issue now that the space program is kaput. I’ve been cutting hair and dental floss out of the cylinder ends my entire life. Criminy, they can send people to the moon . . .

  95. Wait…. doesn’t Joe have a rap sheet a mile long of all the coffee makers he’s killed? I’d say you’re even over 10 years.

  96. Maybe it’s the same killer yarn that’s been lurking, just waiting to strike. I can’t believe that all yarn would have it in them.

  97. What you need is a shop vac. Those suckers don’t have turning parts or brushes to get yarn tangled in. They just suck it up like gang busters! We got one for Christmas a few years ago and our cyclonic vacuum now just sits around because it is sooo much better.

  98. I too have killed a washer by felting carelessly (and am lucky enough to have a husband who didn’t mention the red fluffe found in every internal part of it. Because of it, I try not to mention his dirty boots that sit in the middle of the floor for long periods of time. It is good to find knitting enablers 😉

  99. The same thing happened to my vacuum two days ago! What a coincidence! There is no fixing the roller though. gotta buy a new roller if you can or a whole new vacuum.

  100. Kudos! I don’t think I could even get the words “Thank you for pretending that might be someone else’s yarn” out of my mouth before collapsing on the floor in a heap of hilarity, and neither could my husband hear it with a straight face.

  101. I remember buying the felted clog pattern after your story about wrecking your washer – odd motivation, I admit. Now I have to felt clogs at my mother’s because I have a front-loader. Looking at comments about pet hair and people har I have to admit that not vacuuming is tempting, but our cat hair has a weird way of binding the huge amounts of dog hair to the point of tumbleweeds that seem to large to vacuum up. Sometimes it’s just too much to think about.

  102. LOL I can so relate. Seriously, I recall saying things like that to myself so many times that it’s not funny.

  103. Like a couple of other commenters, I have had this same problem with my hair. It’s especially bad, because it’s only me and my Dear living in this house, and my Dear has very short hair indeed. And I can’t blame it on my visiting sister because, somehow, her 3ft long brown hairs never wind up in our appliances. Only my 2 1/2ft red ones.
    I hope your vacuume is fixed easily and cheaply. Good luck! (And really, two incidents in ten years isn’t a bad average at all, when you consider the danger yarn/fuzz poses to most household appliances.)

  104. Woo boy. COMMA ABUSE. I’m sorry, I don’t know what ran off with me just then. Maybe I should move the knitting basket away from the computer. I’m afraid the wool fumes are beginning to get to me.

  105. At our house, when we were growing up, it was straight pins. Mom was a very talented seamstress, and we had to have the repairman out couple of times because the pump was completely clogged with the pins she’d left in her projects or pinned to her dress.
    She didn’t have a cutting table and always cut out her projects on their bed…one time she also accidentally cut out a perfect copy of the dress she was working on…in bedspread fabric.

  106. Don’t feel bad. I read your missive to Woolyprop and he sympathizes completely as he has had experiences with green wool messing up his chainsaw.
    Let me explain: In a previous existence, Woolyprop was a sub-contractor doing forestry work in North Yorkshire. (Oddly enough in the same area the the Royal Air Force Regiment would hold training exercises.) While conducting said exercises in the dark, and not wishing to give away positions with flashlights and not being blessed the night vision of their airborne counterparts, they would mark trails through the forest with green acrylic “cord.” Woolyprop could have knit sweaters for the regiment with the amount of the stuff he found.
    Despite his care in seeking out and removing the green stuff, some would inevitably become caught in his chainsaw. As acrylic has a very low melting point, this would jam the saw, solidify and have to be removed.
    Removal of melted acrylic goes as follows: Find your thinnest screwdriver or thinnest chain-saw-bar-cleaning tool. Open up the chainsaw, taking it apart as you go, cleaning and picking out now-solidified bits of green guck while roundly cursing Her Majesty’s Forces.

  107. After a couple of broken vacuumes I solved my problems by installing wood floors. Brooms and swiffer sweapers do not break from yarn! Honestly the yarn was usually hiding under the sofa and when I vaccumed under it – well I feel the yarn was protecting itself and attacked the vacuume – so totally not my fault! I have had an especially sad year having lost my 3 Standard Poodles to various illnesses and this blog helps to cheer me up a bit. Thank you

  108. Ahhh. Didn’t you screw a washing machine pump before with felting things? I’m certain I remember reading that since everytime I felt something, I think of you and routinely check the water and scoop up all the stray fibers I can, and then once the machine is done, I carefully hand pick fiber from the holes. Then, when it’s dry, I will vacuum it. Of course, it has to be TOTALLY dry….and that doesn’t happen much with three kids…LOL. I wonder each time if this will be the time I’ll end up like you, and just how much fuzz did you have, compared to my fuzz….

  109. SORRY! I just went and re-read your post and see you were writing about the first experience. Phew. I thought you had done it AGAIN! Okay. I don’t think it was 10 years ago though…unless when you wrote about it before, you were re-counting the story….

  110. After laughing so hard at this post I thought I should do a little vacuuming too. Cut all the long hairs wrapped around the bar before I started only to have the thing start making funny noises & smoking after 4 minutes! Whew! What a stench! Left it for the “engineer” hubby to fix & we had the exact same problem as you – only mine was jammed up with hair 🙂 No carpets in the knitting zone. Burnt the belt though but it was easily replaced.

  111. It is totally the vacuum cleaner manufacturer’s fault. Why? Because the make things with plastic instead of a nice metal that would not snap off.

  112. OMG–I am in total denial about a vacuum that has the exact same problem right now and I just don’t want to tell Brian. It’s so bad that I actually dragged the old vacuum out and fixed it myself (because I could–I can’t seem to fix the new one this time) because the rug was starting to look like a beach! And I swear to you that I don’t vacuum up yarn (this is not the first time this has happened and apparently I can be taught) so I don’t know how in the name of all things fluffy it got there.

  113. Plastic glue!! Really – we’ve used a brand called Plastic Surgery, which works well, but doesn’t last after you open the tube, so we tend to save up plastic-gluing jobs, and another kind (Loc-tite Plastics Bonding System) which is a pen that you use with regular superglue. Among many other household items, we glued the plastic part holding our kitchen faucet sprayer head on, and it lasted amazingly well.

  114. Some thoughts come to mind:
    1. That last sentence is a wicked thought. If it weren’t so funny it couldn’t be excused.
    2. Joe is just about perfect. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating.
    Marriage ain’t for the faint of heart.

  115. You realize, these are your tools and tools naturally wear out and break from work. A carpenter might feel regret for a moment when a tool breaks, but he/she knows it is from doing work and a natural part of having a job.
    You work from home, with yarn, and part of your pay is for replacing worn-out and broken tools, like the vacuum.
    This is not something to feel guilty about.
    Thank you for all your hard work.

  116. Aaaaaand this is why *I’m* the one that fixes the vacuum. Although I do need to figure out how to – if I even can – pop the end-caps off our beater bar, as it’s starting to turn less freely than it should. I’d like to catch it *before* I imitate your experience. Like so many others – two long haired people and fiber. My vacuum tried to eat the wool roving off my spinning wheel; thankfully I was using the little brush attachment, so I had time to turn off the machine and mount a rescue.

  117. The last vacuum death we had around here was due to fishing line . . . it didn’t get wrapped around the brush roller, but instead was whisked into the very guts of the motor–and the whole thing went to pieces. Spectacular, really. The noise, and the smoke, and the crunching, splintering noises. It was an oooold vacuum, and the plastic of the motor was brittle, I guess. I bought a $30, 30-year-old Kirby from Craigslist, and we’ve lived happily ever after. The entire thing is heavy-duty metal, and ain’t NUTHIN’ that’s gonna kill that thing.
    You might want to try that route, eh? ;o)

  118. In our household it was the GREEN bathroom rugs that caused the demise of the washing machine, which was fine, I hated the rugs and the washing machine, so having to listen to a lecture about washing rugs with rubber backs was a small price to pay to get new rugs AND a new washing machine.

Comments are closed.