Meltdown in the electronic cottage.

Yes, there’s been a lot of that happening here in our condo after 5+ years. Things have been going belly-up with mystifying regularity.  Remembering words from a Robert Frost poem, “the best way out is always through,” I’ve been working through this, eager to finish so I can get back to my knitting and projects that are calling loudly to be completed.

First to go was the heat pump fan installed in the ceiling.  Things are often not as simple as they first appear.  When it was all over, the final bill included a new fan and the cost of cutting away and replacing a portion of the ceiling (because the pump had initially been installed incorrectly).  Could there actually be a law in nature that prevents costly items from breaking down during warranty periods?

The next to bite the dirt was my all-in-one printer which suddenly produced grinding noises when it should have been printing.  Alas, it was 2-1/2 years old, close to ancient in the world of electronics. After replacing it with a newer, simpler, cheaper model (who needs a fax, anyway?), I experienced a feeling of sweet victory after losing a big one with the heat pump. Shortly thereafter the over-the-oven microwave weighed in with symptoms suspiciously similar to the printer.  And if you’re like me, you, too, wonder if all of the recent earthquakes aren’t somehow related?  Only a few days after the printer was replaced, the microwave began producing noise instead of heat.  The magnetron (think old tv picture tube) was shot, as well as a control panel, which triggered some serious microwave consumer research.  It’s amazing how much information I sifted through trying to make the right microwave decision. A week later, I’m again able to re-heat coffee, defrost breakfast blueberries, make popcorn, enjoy fresh asparagus. and heat up leftovers. It’s not lost on me that I could be in the same situation if I’d limited my information gathering to a few hours…

To celebrate getting back to my real life, my knitting life (or maybe as a cleansing ritual?), I am dealing with my UFOs.  Thankfully, my unfinished projects are few in number.  You may have noticed that I didn’t say I’d finish them—-just deal with them.  It’s a clean slate I’m after! Or maybe this is my version of spring cleaning. Yesterday I finished my son’s late Christmas socks. He likes 4″ ribbing and long legs . These measure 10 inches from cast-on to the beginning of the heel flap.  A lacy-topped version of this pattern (“Rhythm”) appears in the new edition of my book “Knit Socks!” which will be available from Storey Press in September.

Next to be completed are two very close-to-being-finished lace projects.  The first is “Manzanita,” a triangle shawl pattern by Evelyn Clark.  I had just started applying the lace edging when I put this down in July. This is the third time I’ve made this pattern from Fleece Artist Suri Blue yarn. The pattern is easy enough for relaxing social knitting. Note: the color is more yellow-green than the yellow that shows up here on my monitor.

The second is “Wildflower Lace Scarf,” also by Evelyn Clark and knit from Gypsy Girl Creations “Transitions,” yarn in “viola bouquet” color. The hand-dyed colors move from an intense sapphire blue at one end of the skein morphing into a brassy gold and then to a buttery natural at the other end.  It’d be fun to use both ends of a 50 gram skein to makeslip stitch patterned gloves or socks.  I was on a roll knitting this side-to-side garter stitch scarf over the course of a few days in early March when I confirmed (a few inches from the end) that I needed to order more yarn to finish it.

If I keep on track, I should be able to finish both projects tonight or tomorrow.  It’s good to be back tending to my knitting!

4 thoughts on “Meltdown in the electronic cottage.

  1. Hopefully all your “oops” events are over. Fun to see what you’re knitting. I’m off now to look at Evelyn Clark patterns.

    • Linda, if you’ve never knit an Evelyn Clark pattern before, you’re in for a treat. They’re very well written, clearly charted and contain helpful yardage information for various weights of yarn. I went on a “little” lace knitting binge last summer that included “Autumn Lace Scarf,” “Flowerbasket Lace Shawl,” “Swallowtail Lace Shawl,” “Deciduous Lace Shawl” and “Bertha Lace Shawl.” Have fun! I really did.

  2. Betsy,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. I turn 60 this year and am looking forward to retiring with my husband in another 5-7 years. Any tips? We are planning to relocate to another place when we do retire–possibly Asheville, NC.

    Thanks for sharing your exploits and I hope your appliances are now done breaking down for awhile!


    • Judy, your “any tips?” question could trigger me to write some blogs on retiring and relocating. So many things come to mind. I left healthcare and got into knitting full time three years before my husband retired. In retrospect this seems good to have done—although it just happened that way and wasn’t carefully planned out. It gave me some needed time to explore what I wanted to do while he was still very busy at work. It was really a gift because I’d always worked and needed a transition period for taking a deep breath, trying things out, etc. If two people are each essentially reinventing their lives at the same time that their relationship is also changing and they’re also moving to a new location—–well, that’s a lot of change and turmoil happening at once. I’m not saying it’s impossible or bad but just that it’s something that should be thought through. Maybe the transition could start in small ways several years before the actual retirement begins.

      We didn’t decide to relocate until a year after my husband retired and announced he didn’t want to be a gardener for the rest of his life–we had a large, mature yard and a 1949 vintage house. Had we known this earlier, it would have been good to start the downsizing gradually, deciding what you loved and needed and what didn’t need to be with you for the rest of your life. We had more furniture, pictures, books, etc., than we needed or wanted to move. It might have been easier and a smoother process to have tried to gradually envision what sort of living arrangement we wanted and then to pare down accordingly. And this paring down seems to go best in stages—-one sweep after another, maybe every few months or whatever. I’m not through thinking about your question!! And I’m not through paring down. Right now I could fill a big bag of things to drop off at Goodwill!

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