never a dull moment

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

the most recent development in my second-floor workroom renovation involves the kitchen.
(raise your hand if you just knew it would come to this)

no, we are not installing a shower. we are two months into this one-month project and of course, there’s a long, drawn-out story as to why there’s a big hole with a plastic booth around it in my kitchen as a result of the “cosmetic” renovation we’re doing on the second floor. and of course the story involves getting to the bottom of a mysterious sag in the house in just that spot. but thankfully, it does not involve water or damage due to leakage (when did i start being thankful for not having leakage??).

the sag is pretty significant and localized; you can feel the dip when you walk across the floor near the kitchen door. we just never knew where it came from because nothing about the structure in that area seemed broken or unduly weighty (no bathroom above, for instance). except that little fireplace in my workroom.

then david started exploring and found that the fireplace is essentially sitting unsupported on top of nothing but the floor. behind it in the wall (not a load-bearing wall, mind you), was a defunct vent stack with three huge, cast-iron vent pipes attached, all leading nowhere. previously used for the fireplace that doesn’t work anymore, the old coal stove in the kitchen, and some coal-fired device in the basement that was removed long ago, the hundreds of pounds of cast iron hidden inside the wall were literally dragging us down. plus, they were smack-dab where we’d like to place the opening between the kitchen and dining/gathering room some day. it would mean losing my charming little fireplace, though—we wavered a bit over that. but then we realized we’d be clearing out a huge space between the walls that would be perfectly suited for a yarn walk-in closet.

we decided that most people would find a big walk-in closet at least as charming as a defunct fireplace that could come crashing through the floor into the dining room at any moment. and certainly it would serve one of my biggest needs from the space. the pipes had to come out.

(now, before we get all weepy about the fireplace going, let me say that the original house plans don’t have a fireplace in that spot, nor the structure to support the brick, concrete, and cast iron involved in having one there. my guess is that someone just had to have it and went ahead regardless of the result—which was the sag, apparently. i bet they were even sorry later . . .).

here are the hundreds of pounds (actually david says it’s about 1,000 pounds) of pipe that came out of the wall

my house is swinging its hair and dancing fancy-free in a sunny meadow just thinking about the weight that’s been lifted from its shoulders.

and the kitchen? not sure where we’re going with that right now; this morning it looked like this

certainly a lot better than the plastic booth we’ve been living with all week, BUT, i’m not sure if it’s temporary (as in two days) or what (as in “might as well leave it til we’re ready to gut that whole room”). who wants to ask something like that?

i have the creeping suspicion that events are forcing the situation closer toward the dreaded kitchen reno, which i try not to think about whenever possible.
i do like the new, conceptual switchplate in there

we always warn people that the place is not terribly kid-friendly.

so, this is a knitting blog and so far i’ve shown you no knitting, even though knitting is my best escape from all that other stuff. and let me just say that escapism is great for getting knitting done.

i’ve got sock progress—lots of it. i’m tooling right along on rimefrost and have about half the foot to go on the first sock. the pattern is written and rachel is proofing it before i send it off to gail for test knitting this week.

bricker has a leg and a heel and i started on the foot. the yarn is so beautiful—miss babs yummy sock in terracopper. it has gorgeous depth and tonal highlights; a really nice color for david. the pattern is easy-going and nice for TV knitting; the cushy merino has a nice twist that makes me happy.

the second holidazed sock is stalled because, well, i sorta forgot about it. it was in my travel bag all week and completely slipped my mind. i’ll catch up with it over the next few days—i don’t want to get behind on second socks.

of course there are good reasons why these things get forgotten—for one, out of sight, out of mind. and for another i’m making great progress on other knits.

i probably have too many items on the needles that are in the same stage of construction right at the moment—everything is about midway to the finish. the coral gables scarf (in shivaya prime merino lace) is my biggest priority for getting finished first. i’m staying on track more or less; i’d like to have it off the needles and blocking by midweek. i think that’s doable if i work on it diligently today and tomorrow.

i do stray though—after a few repeats on the scarf i’m usually ready to take a break and work on something else. my second-string project has been the boxleaf wrap

in briar rose josephine. it’s working up very quickly on size 6 needles in this rustic artisan mohair/coopworth yarn. you can see that the texture of this fabric is fuzzier and has a consistently more like handspun—this yarn is quite different from the one i used for the boxleaf triangle. but so many sport weight yarns would work—this wrap would also knit up beautifully in chris’s grandma’s blessing if you prefer a softer, smoother hand.

another effective escape i took advantage of this week was “getting out of dodge”. my friend beckie emailed me last friday and said: i need a day off, let’s make plans to get out of here.
so we decided that a day of shopping for and eating unusual foods was the thing.

we hit the trail early yesterday for the west side market in cleveland, so as not to miss anything. we shouldn’t really have worried; the market wasn’t nearly as busy on friday as it is on the saturdays i’ve been there.

i stocked up on bread from mediterra, new-to-me salts from narrin’s (i tried hawaiian pink salt and hawaiian salt mix this time), and some fresh pasta. we also went to the asian market and then out for a great thai lunch afterward. and of course we talked the whole time—that’s the best part, right?

have a good weekend everyone; thank you so very much for all your nice compliments and email about maplewing—i’m so happy everyone likes it so well.

32 thoughts on “never a dull moment

  1. From one old-house-renovating, DIY knitter to another, I can very much relate to being grateful for no leakage! Here’s how my son’s room looked last wk: http://livnletlrn.blogspot.com/2009/03/sometimes-we-make-pretties.html
    We were doing a happy dance to find no wiring/structural nightmares behind that insulation, as we’ve found many times before, and only one(!) obvious gaping hole where the squirrels are getting into the attic. Nothing like old house renovations to keep us humble…and dirty…and sore…and poor! But I’ll take an old house any day. 🙂

    Lovin’ the boxleaf wrap.

  2. Y0u are really a productive knitter!!! Is the bricker sock going to have a pattern made up? It’s really quite attractive and I went to the Miss Bab’s site and there are so many yarns I want…

  3. Nice that you got the pipes out before they ended up one floor lower than they started out! I feel your pain–we lived in our house during a second floor addition and I remember us all sleeping in one bedroom and washing dishes in the bathtub…ah, good times. I did get a room of my own for sewing, needlework,knitting storage–so it was well worth it! I’m loving the new Boxleaf shawl. Hurry up and finish it! LOL

  4. The Rimefrost socks are killing me. Can’t wait for the pattern and then to add Deb’s hoarfrost yarn to the “waiting” basket….(big basket.=)

  5. I see you’ve got some Lindt chocolate in the kitchen– there’s no handier weapon to see you through a renovation! Bon courage…

  6. Anne- I’m sure the house was happy when you and David moved in. Some “renovators” are better off not touching anything. You’re lucky the floor didn’t collapse from the weight.

    I was forced to re-do the kitchen when my cupboard fell off the wall- the guy who used to live here did not have it attached to the stud.

  7. You know . . . you could send all those cast iron pipes to England and get an AGA oven in exchange. Just make sure there’s enough support under the kitchen floor for it. 😉

    Meanwhile, I’ve got started on the Maplewing Shawl . . .

  8. I am a faithful reader of your blog, even though I don’t comment very often. I a am amazed at all that you and David accomplish… I feel like such a slacker at times! 😉 I don’t beat myself up too much, though. I think you and David must be Type A personalities, always on the go. I’m one of those people who likes to admire what you accomplish!

  9. I do hope the Yarn Harlot reads this because it reminds me of some of her complicated house problems. Those pipes are amazing. Isn’t it wonderful to have a man in the house–I don’t mean to be sexist, but this is not women’s work! Now the beautiful knitting. . . ah, such a relief. Your house will be right at last.

  10. I’m originally from Cleveland and the West Side Market is such a gem!! I’m a little homesick now. 🙂 I cannot wait for my New England Red to come so I can start the Maplewing.

  11. At least you are making progress….on all fronts. I have had wallpaper stripped from one of my bathrooms for just over a YEAR now. It looks hideous and I need to get on with the project. The problem is, the person who stripped it RUINED my walls…and I realized that a simple paint job is just not going to cut it (that was the original plan). Then I realized that I also want to replace the vanity, med. cab. and lighting. Then I knew that if I’m going to all that trouble, the floor needs to be redone. And the glass shower doors — but why replace the shower doors without replacing the bath/shower unit?

    At the same time, the master bath should have all the same treatments.

    Sigh. So it’s now in this naked ugly state, and I’ve chosen to take a head-in-the-sand approach rather than proceed. I just can’t face the shopping and the $$$ expenditure. I’d rather pretend it’s not there.

  12. Oh, boy. That’s a big ol’ hole in that wall. I can see why you wouldn’t want to ask to many questions. (BTW, I also see that you have the kneading board that I so very much want — the one with the lip that can overhand the counter to keep it in place. Someday…) The knitting is all looking great! With everything halfway to done, things are going to start rolling off the needles 🙂

  13. I find myself in a place to not just sympathize, but empathize with your renovation stories.
    Our pipes froze and a leak broke somewhere we can’t get to (the pipes under the concrete porch leading to the outside water faucet). Since the freezing is a constant dilemma DH and the landlord (good friend of ours) have decided to run the pipes through the inside of the house.
    I have been without water in the kitchen for over two weeks now. I have to fill buckets in the shower to wash dishes. Our bathroom supplies are sitting in the room outside the door. Tools are all over the kitchen counters.
    Sigh.
    Clearly I need something pretty to knit… clearly I need to pick up the Maplewing…

  14. Wow, I really envy your ability to make so much progress on so many different projects! All of them look absolutely beautiful so far.
    Best of luck with the renovation!

  15. Your sock designs are gorgeous & so many at the same time. I really admire your creativeness in designing. By the way, I love Maplewings.

  16. Thanks for the pics of the West Side Market in Cleveland. I miss that place! Lived in Avon Lake for 15 months and there are a few things I still miss. You’re a Knitter-to-the-utmost and it’s always a joy to see what you’re designing and knitting.

  17. Well, at least you solved the mystery of the sag and got those pipes out! But yeesh. It really does look like you’re putting a shower in the kitchen (and why not?)! Renovation. Always an adventure. In bocca al lupo as they say here. The socks and the wraps look lovely.

  18. Your house has a lot of personality – it’s like another member of the family! And the knitting, gorgeous as usual, and what a relief!

  19. Not having large amounts of iron and concrete crashing through the floor is always a good thing, no matter how much of a pain it was pulling it out. Still, this is exactly what I dread every time I start a project: that I’m going to uncover a sucking black hole to the middle of the universe that I will somehow have to deal with before I can paint.

  20. Having done a few kitchen renovations myself, try not to think of it as dreaded, but more like an opportunity. In the end, we were so happy with our renovations that I forgot why we had waited so long. Kitchens can be costly, for sure, but there are lots of ways to make them cost effective, beautiful and of course functional.

    PS…love the socks!!!

  21. You’re quite the multitasker…I wouldn’t be able to function with construction going on in my home. I would probably escape to somewhere outside the home.

  22. This Old House R Us! We’re behind plastic sheeting too. (Somehow the dust sneaks through though.) The only silver lining is that we will have a master bathroom, walkin closet, bedroom combo. My knitting room/craft room is not even on the agenda yet. We persevere, right?!

  23. i love following the adventures of your reno! the plastic sheeting looks very familiar…oh! my kitchen reno! that’s where i’ve seen it before!

    finished your rivolo scarf last week and cast on tudor this past weekend. they’re gorgeous! now lurking for a good first laceweight project. any suggestions?

  24. Those socks are gorgeous. I need to learn how to make socks just to knit that pattern when it is published. The maplewing is beyond words.

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