Heeeat!

I’m excited we have heat again!

The plumber came by yesterday morning with the new parts and had everything taken apart and reassembled in less than an hour and half — including the time he took to fully inspect our system and make sure the whole house came up to heat properly.  Way, way faster than we could’ve done anything and it was completely painless other than to our wallets; but, to be fair, he charged a very reasonable rate considering all the work he did and parts that needed replacing.  We’ll definitely be adding him to our list of recommended services.

Other than that, KnitPicks is KILLING me with their yarn sales.  I just have the cuff left on the sweater’s remaining arm then a few inches left on the body and it’s ready to be blocked…so it’s time to think about more yarn (when am I not thinking about yarn?), so a horrible time for them to be waving $1 and $3 skeins in my face.  I definitely bit on a few things and will share those and for what projects later. 🙂

I’m feeling a bit itchy and organizational — maybe because we’re having the plumber’s dad and brother over tomorrow to give us a ductless A/C quote — so rather than clean I’m wanting to pull out all of my yarn and actually put it in my Ravelry stash so I have a digital record of what I have.   I’ve always wanted to make a digital stash of my fabric too but I have so much more fabric that it may be easier to start with yarn…but that’s complicated because a lot of my yarn was given to me so doesn’t have a brand, much less weight/yardage…and is likely older than I am so who knows if I’ll ever get around to it.  XD

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Frozen solid

Our heating system went kaput.  Right in time for the record low temperatures.  Huzzah!

Logan and I were able to diagnose the problems…that’s right, multiple cascading problems with auxiliary parts in the plumbing that caused the boiler to depressurize and be unable to refill.

We got a few things from Home Depot and cannibalized together a fix that trickle fed the boiler enough water that it repressurized overnight and we could turn it back on this morning so we have heat in some rooms and hot water again.

We did have to call in a guy to help out this afternoon, though.  We diagnosed four parts that failed, one catastrophically and the other three on the brink of death…so might as well have a pro do it can probably do a better job than we can definitely get the parts cheaper and sooner than we could.

Bonus, he’s also going to work up quotes for fixing another plumbing thing we hate but didn’t want to do ourselves and ductless air conditioning.

Still no heat in our upstairs, though.

Mitzi has no complaints; she loves any excuse to snuggle.

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One day…

I’ve gone ONE day without an accident.

Surely that has to count for something.

Sunday I pinched my finger taking apart a motor for Logan and have a fine looking blood pocket under the nail of my ring finger.  Luckily it’s not big enough to have to bore and drain, but it still hurts like the dickens.

Of course, yesterday I had a migraine, so I didn’t do much during the day but knit and feel miserable until Logan brought home a Coke and my medicine cocktail kicked in.  An hour later, I felt spry enough to whip out the drill and a hammer and finish the bookshelf without injury!

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Keeping in mind that Logan chose the ebony stain and wanted it to look a bit more rustic, it’s not that bad.  I hope it stays together.  >_>;;  I would’ve chosen a more gunstock or mahogany color myself (anything to warm up that basement), but whatever, sometimes he gets to pick things in the house too…at least for a little while.  ;P

I have some silver spray paint and a nice big bottle of cinnamon…and that may sound totally unrelated but I saw a fun tutorial about how to make wood look like rusted metal by using those over black paint, so Logan may get something more industrial and ancient looking if I get bored when we officially redo and finish the basement.  We have to get an escape window installed first though and figure out what do with those suspended pipes.  Bah!

Progress!

No better place to throw your anger at a internet fabric company than into cleaning, right?  😀

 

Remember Logan’s basement chaos?

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This is what it looked like as of tonight!

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This is “my” side of the basement, as Logan calls it…even though it now houses all of the home improvement supplies on those two big, metal shelves and his treadmill.  His scrap metal and wood collection are behind me in that storage thing I slapped together a few weeks ago.  The bookshelf will be added when it’s done. The chest freezer and canned good shelf is hidden in a cubby to the right and you can see a fair share of sewing goodies.

My quilting frame was unearthed!!!  I could’ve done a happy dance with that one.  I also have my precious Two Spool treadle set up and uncovered the sewing machine I was given that had belonged to Logan’s grandmother (both on the left).

The machines and cabinets on the left are for rehab.  The green one is empty, with a storage bench.  I’m stripping the paint off and refinishing it to replace the cabinet my 401a is currently in — the cabinet it has now is old and rickety and on it’s last leg.  This one has much more space and a tip out drawer, which I like.  Plus, it has the stool!  Logan’s collection of old magazines to sift through are on it right now because somebody (not naming names) put heavy stuff on it while I was stripping the interior paint off earlier this year and warped it a bit.  Since it’s a bit of a puzzle table and folds together neatly, it needs to be convinced to go back together smoothly before I carry on.  The other two machines were given to me and will be rehomed when they’re spiffed up — one is a treadle and just needs beautification and some love.  I may practice repainting sewing machine heads with it, or at least perfect a French polish; the clear coat is gone as are most of the decals, so no real loss if it takes a few tries.  The other is motorized but the motor was shot, so Logan wanted to play with learning to rewind one without consequences.

It was a long and messy process, with a bit of organization and break-down of larger components still left to do on the actual laboratory side, but Logan is really excited about it and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  He had to dance around with his light saber in the dark when we called it a night.  Floor space is awesome. 😛

Mitzi, however, remained unimpressed with everything we had to sort through.  She insisted on staying with us, though.

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Sorting boxes and cans of parts that one of our neighbors gave us into our own storage system.  Mitzi literally couldn’t care.

Logan has been determining whether or not parts are still viable and worth keeping and then I get to break down, organize, and put away what he wants to save.  I’ll share a photo of his laboratory at some point when it’s a little less chaotic.  It was in just as bad of shape as the other side, maybe worse.  Now, at least, it’s a functional processing center.  It, too, has only been improving every day.  The last of the mystery boxes from our neighbor is in the photo, so after this, we just have to finish disassembling things and harvesting parts from bigger projects — some projects aren’t worth saving, but the components are.

While we were sorting and cleaning tonight, we kept hearing a sad meow.

Sagan wanted to say hello but couldn’t quite get to us from upstairs.  Sagan is not a vocal cat, at all, so it surprised us both to hear him meowing.  He’s also not the brightest cat around — he definitely doesn’t live up to his namesake — so we’re always a bit surprised when he can find us.  He’s the type of cat that gets lost if you leave the room while he’s asleep.  His only motivations in life are food and snuggles.

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The pipes from our heating system run along the basement ceiling, through a hole in the block wall.  The hole connects to the boiler room where the cats love to hang out — so much that we put their litter boxes there.  I figure he was making a pit stop and saw the light and heard us, so finally put two and two together…plus, it was almost his dinner time.  😛

If you look super close, you can see cat hair stuck to the blocks and some black smears on the wall.  Those are from another of our cats, Joule.  She’s a wily little brat and loves nothing more than to give Logan a run for his money.

He thought he had his basement sealed off from the cats, but she comes and goes as she pleases through that hole and generally keeps the basement mouse free (yay!).  There are cute little paw prints on the wall to prove it — one of our friends thought we painted them on.  He finally caught her down there a few months ago and sure enough, she parkoured her way almost straight up the wall like Spiderman and vanished through the hole back into the house.

He once waged war on her as a kitten and tried locking her downstairs (our house is a multi-split level, so he was just trying to keep her in the bottom half) — he triumphantly told me there was no way she could get upstairs.  She’d beaten him upstairs by the time he’d gotten up there to tell me.  She’s my favorite of the cats and definitely my little sidekick.  >_>;

She even helps me when I’m on the phone or computer most nights.  ;P

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Adjustments

Today was spent adjusting the bookshelf plans I found online to fit the area we wanted then sawing up the wood to match our new calculations.  Hopefully my math works out!  We got most of the pocket holes in before it turned dark and we had to pack everything back inside.

It’s always fun playing with tools and making stuff.

The grape juice tester was too sweet, as I suspected.  Granny Boo used 1 cup of grapes and 1 cup if sugar per half gallon she made but I still think her Concords had a better, more tart flavor.  I made a second tester pint this morning and halved the sugar again and added a few more grapes to try to increase to overall flavor.   It’s ready now, so I’ll crack it open to try with dinner.  🙂

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Our water here is so hard, it makes the cans look awful.  I wonder if adding some vinegar to the bath would keep that down?

Busy, busy

I finished the collar on the cardigan and have picked up the stitches (still not my favorite thing to do) on the edge to start actually knitting the body.  Hooray!

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mess up and somehow manage to purl a stitch on both sides?  Never done that before…and don’t think I could recreate it if I tried. Luckily, my lifeline was just two rows before so no real time loss.

We grabbed lunch out at the fresh fish place today.  I had crab cakes and Logan had a poke bowl; both were super tasty.  I would share a photo but we inhaled it.

Then we went off to Lowes to grab the lumber I need for the bookshel I’ve been whining about.

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Yay, lumber!

I also had a good laugh in the store.  I had to actually explain to three guys what pocket screws were before somebody could tell me where they were in the store.  Physically explain what a pocket screw is.  I could’ve sworn the guys were just being jerks but they had to call in some old guy and thank goodness he knew what I wanted.  …as I was walking away, pocket screws in hand, the guys asked the old guy what the screws were for, so at least it wasn’t just me.

I also found some Concords!  That can only mean I’m making Granny Boo’s grape juice.

I did a trial can in a pint jar to make sure I’m not making it to sweet.  The variety she grew were a bit more tart than the ones I have now and I hate sweet juice.

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As it’s cooling, the grapes are releasing more juice.  Hopefully by morning, it’ll be the color I remember and the taste I’m looking for.  If not, I get to start playing with adjusting the recipe over and over.  Fun times!

I’m excited to have my grubby paws on some grapes, though.  I usually hate grape juice, but hers was always the exception.

Cables: knitted and electrical

Happily I received responses back from both the cardigan designer and the raveler that had the non-sad and droopy join.

The designer said the ugly cable was so the rope would kind of mirror itself down the front in a \ / kind of twist towards the center rather than a / /  and said that if I didn’t mind the parallel twist I could just continue the pattern as is to keep the nice ropes (which actually doesn’t work quite that simply because I’ve already tried that — but kind of her to offer a solution anyway).  I figure she didn’t think much of the join at the back of the neck because she has quite lovely, long hair to hide an odd cable whereas my Grandmother sports a very cute short haircut.

The ravelry member was very nice but made her project over three years ago and didn’t remember doing anything different from the pattern but did promise to dig out the pattern and check her notes just to make sure.  I did look at her sweater again and the ropes did have the / / pattern down the front instead of the \  /  ….but she still somehow got the ropes to connect with the pattern at the join when I can’t voodoo magic it.

For now, I’ve sucked it up and went with the weird cable unless the other raveler gets back to me with something from her notes.  If she does, then I can go back and either start over or rip it all out.  Either or, I really do enjoy knitting cables!

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I’ve absolutely invaded our “entertainment” room.  It’s for my entertainment currently!  It’s so much easier to knit when kicked back in a recliner enjoying Netflix on a projector.  …plus it’s one of the few rooms I can actually keep the cats out of.  It’s also why you can see my cross-stitch project from hell and wrapped Christmas presents hiding in the background.  Cat-free zones are precious in my house.

Speaking of the critters, they had fun trashing the house last night.

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Thorin finally murdered one of the few stuffed toys and gutted it, so polyfil is floating around all of the baseboards…and it appears one of the critters, hard to tell which since they all use it, finally tore through the huge dog bed and then gleefully began distributing chunks of foam everywhere.  By everywhere, I do mean I woke up with it in the bed with me upstairs and found some in the bathtub, so the cats were definitely involved.

The little dog likes to pretend she’s innocent of the whole thing since she sleeps with us all night, but she was chasing around the others with the squeaker from the gutted toy this morning…so I figure she set them all up from the get-go.  😛

After regaining some control of my living areas, I retreated to the basement/laboratory.  After making the scrap storage for Logan, he has finally began showing some spark of life about cleaning — FINALLY — and getting that area functional.  So I’m all about helping as much as I can.  Knitting and other stuff can wait!  (…at least a little bit…)

I assembled two big shelves for one of the corners of my side, replacing two bookshelves that were there.  One of the bookshelves was falling apart from all of our moves, so it was unfortunately time to be trashed…literally, the books were supporting the shelves.  The other bookshelf I’m going to exchange for the metal shelf I’m using currently for my sewing machine repair supplies and that sort of stuff. I don’t need anything substantial for my sewing machine stuff, but his laboratory could use some good shelving, so I’ll give Logan the metal racking.

The shelves I put together will hopefully hold most of the construction and home improvement stuff, along with a few other weird things.  The idea is to get it out of the part of the basement that will be his lab and to make that stuff more accessible in general.

I’ll try to remember to snap a photo tomorrow when I’m down there next, but so far I have 6 plastic bins I’m sorting home improvement supplies into (paint, plumbing, electrical, flooring, caulk and putty, and general repairs/hardware) and a shelf for paint (yah, we have that much), and some shelves set up for some of the more portable power tools.

Tomorrow I’m going to start putting books on the shelves.  We only store heavy reference and technical books down there…but we’re nerds, so we have a lot.  So far I was able to condense a whole bookshelf of paint down to one shelf, so I’m hoping a shelf of books can be done similarly.

I’ve also emptied out the old filing cabinet the former owners left in the attic — we had drug it down to the basement to use as our home improvement junk drawers — and fitted the cabinet drawers with some tension rods that now hold his spools of wire.  The wire that isn’t spool (including ribbon cable) he just wanted put in the bottom drawer as a fun kind of grab bag.  I’ve moved and spooled so much wire and cable today, I’m sure I’ll see it in my dreams.

It has already made the place soooo much more accessible and cleaner.  We still have a long way to go, but he’s enthusiastic and so long as I keep making in-roads on the parts I can do and work on organizing, he’s not getting overwhelmed and wanting to quit.

…now if only I knew about electronic parts, other than their basic names, so I could get all of those boxes and boxes of stuff from our neighbor sorted and cleaned up.

Whew!

Distraction

I’ve officially started the Chimney Fire cardigan.  I’m making a snail’s progress with it but thankfully I’ve been dilligent about moving my lifeline…I dropped it once and lost all the stitches on my left needle while in the middle of a cable and got distracted watching Netflix another and forgot what row I was on.  So, I’ve already had to rip twice.  BAH!

I’d rather rip than tink any day, though,  especially when working with cables.

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This is also my first time working with a provisional cast on.  I did a one step one and really enjoyed it.  I’m have about 2 inches of knitting left on side of the collar I’m working on before I rip out the waste yarn and start on the ither side.

As with any project, I stay distracted.  Logan has been extra stressed about his man cave laboratory lately.  Our elderly friend has been giving him lots of iron scraps and it has just been piling up in the garage and basement.

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One of many piles, plus some wire and other goodies

Logan is not good with organizing or thinking things through…or managing things in small bursts.  He very much just throws stuff into piles until he can take a week off from work and do nothing but that because it overwhelms him to even think about it. It explains a lot about him, his type of focus, and our house.  I’m just the opposite.

Sooo, I did a bit if problem solving for him.  Wood and pipes and iron are about the only things I understand in his lab, so are the only things I can really tackle without his oversight.

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Off the floor, out of piles, sorted, and stored in a small footprint (5″x1.5″ish).  Logan is thrilled.

Now if only we could get the rest of his lab overflow and junk taken care of on what is supposed to be my side of the basement (notice a sewing machine cabinet for restoration!)  Ughhh!

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I think my next project down there is going to be figuring out a way to spool and store the multitudes of wire he’s accumulating….