My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Why I Did Not Knit Last Night

It’s never good when the fire alarm goes off, as it did in my condo building late yesterday afternoon shortly after I got home. The fire engines showed up.

When I opened my front door and saw smoke, I immediately bundled Lucy into her carrier and left the building. It was tricky, because the stairwell closest to my condo was too filled with smoke to use, so I ran to the end of the building and found a less smoky stairwell and got out through the garage (which is above-ground and connected to the end of the building via three walkways at different floors).

It quickly got dark. Here’s the scene outside:

There were 8 – 10 fire engines plus other assorted emergency vehicles. A condo on the 2nd floor was on fire (I live on the 10th floor) — the fire department put a ladder up to it and broke out the windows to get in. All very dramatic!

They very quickly put out the fire, but of course were here for hours, ensuring that all was safe.

They blocked off my street completely, so I couldn’t leave, so I popped Miss Lucy, in her carrier, in my car, because it was getting pretty cold outside.

All’s well that ends well. The condo was empty, so no one was injured or killed. But I wonder how the fire started in an empty condo — that’s a cause for concern, I think. The fire inspectors are supposed to come today to investigate, so we should have some answers soon.

Here’s what the burned out condo looks like this morning:

And outside, you can see where they boarded up the windows they broke out.

The building is a mess. Soot tracked over carpet and water damage, etc. All the common areas reek of smoke, but fortunately I have no smoke smell in my condo. I, of course, had not turned on the heat, so no recirculated air from within the building. I had the windows open and fans going all night and got up this morning to a nice clean smoke-free condo. Oh, and I got the temperature in here below 71 degrees! πŸ˜‰

Miss Lucy is perfectly fine. She was upset when I stuffed her in her carrier, but as soon as she figured out that she wasn’t going to the vet, she just snuggled down on her little shearling mat in the carrier and waited. When I came back in and let her out, she went into the kitchen, ate some food, and threw herself down on the floor to wash her paws. No smell of smoke in her fur at all, but I reeked of it. I guess the carrier protected her while we were going through the smoke.

Lucy sez:

“I’m fine. What’s the big deal?”

She’s a little trooper. But I stayed home from work today, partly to keep an eye on her and partly because I’m dealing with some minor smoke inhalation. But I’m perfectly fine too!


  1. Oh Wendy, how scary! So glad you and Lucy are okay.

    We had a house fire some years ago (before the kittehs arrived, thank goodness) and I still have nightmares about it.

  2. Yikes! I’m so glad you and Lucy are all right – scary evening!

    Kirsties last blog post..First Christmas FO 2008

  3. I’m glad you are both okay. See, that no heat thing worked out for the best!

    Jennifers last blog post..Sweater in November?

  4. Oh my! I can’t imagine how scarey that was. Thankfully you were home with Lucy. It would have been awful for you to hear that somewhere in your building was a fire and know that Lucy was home alone. I’m glad things are ok.

    On a lighter note, think of all that yarn!!! No smoke smell there either, I hope!

    Debbies last blog post..VOTE

  5. I’m so glad you and Lucy are safe! (BIG HUG to you both!) But I am a little surprised that you don’t keep emergency knitting in your car. πŸ™‚

    BTW, my dad was a firefighter/arson investigator for 30 years, so I’ve heard more than my share of fire stories – good for you having your priorities straight – you and Lucy. Everything else, even yarn, is replaceable. You are not!

    Tammy/DarthKnitters last blog post..November Already?

  6. So glad you are OK. Did your yarn stash get smoked?

    Tans last blog post..Who is this guy, anyway?

  7. You left without anything to knit? With all that time to stand around? What about the stash? Just joking. Glad you all made it through and no one was hurt.

    Dianas last blog post..I Voted – Did You?

  8. Holy cow! I’m so glad y’all got out safely. What drama!

    Kriss last blog post..Recent Arrivals

  9. Wow, scary stuff!

    Jenns last blog post..And then the lightbulb goes on

  10. Yikes! I’m really glad you and Lucy are OK!

    (I’m wondering if the owner of the condo was trying to get out of paying his tax assessment – which I think was due yesterday. Scary stuff like that has been happening all over, with people either forgetting – or just not caring! – that other people live there, too!)

    CraftyGryphons last blog post..My favorite knitting photo so far…

  11. Yikes! I am glad everyone is ok!! And hey.. now you can knit today!

  12. I am glad that you and Lucy are ok, and that no one was in the burning condo.

    I am amused that you managed to remember your camera. πŸ˜‰

    Angela in Ontarios last blog post..Monday, yes?

  13. I’m glad everyone’s ok! Scary stuff. I think you and Lucy deserve a treat today, for all the stress.

  14. My first thought was “OMG – are you all ok?” then “Was anyone hurt?” then “OH NO – the yarn would be all smokey!” Yeah we’ve all got priorities I guess!

    Angelas last blog post..Finished Object – Hearts & Flowers Blanket

  15. I’m just glad to hear you’re okay. Me, I wouldn’t be able to get through something like that *without* knitting. I would have been much more stressed out than my cat.

    I hope everything stays fine, no damage and no lingering problems. I hope the smoke stays away from your yarn, but at least it isn’t cigarette smoke!

  16. Having lived in a dorm with an arsonist, I can whole heartedly agree that very little is scarier than a fire alarm coupled with smoke! I am so glad nobody was hurt.

  17. Wow, when I saw two posts this morning in Bloglines rather than just one, I knew something was up. I am so glad you are OK and that Lucy was not too traumatized. I’m really glad you didn’t get smoke in the apartment. Whew. May tonight bring calm, pleasant knitting and beads.

    Sunas last blog post..Comfort Socks Done and Gone!

  18. So glad to hear you and Lucy are fine. Must have been very scary. Good thing you were home.

    Out of bad always comes good-you finally got your place as cool as you want it to be. I guess the old adage, “be careful what you wish for” applies here.

    Take care of yourself, and Lucy.

  19. How frightening!! I am glad to hear that you are all fine and doing well!!

  20. You must have been really scared. I am so glad you both got out ok and there was no damage done to your home. Though, like Angela ,I think it is amusing that you not only took your camera, but managed to get a photo of fire trucks arriving on scene! There are photojournalists out there who are less on the spot than you when it comes to “live news as it happens!”

    Have little knit to calm yourself down!

  21. Holy smokes! What an evening. Glad you are all OK…and your stash is smoke-free.

  22. Glad to know all is well. And given all the fiber in your condo, a very good thing the smoke didn’t make it up there!

  23. Very, very scary! So glad to hear that you and miss Lucy are safe and sound! Good thinking about not turning on the heat and keeping smoke-free. All the best!

  24. Thank goodness you and Lucy are o.k. That must have been scary.

  25. always a scary thing! glad all turned out all right!

  26. I’m so glad to know you and Lucy are okay! What a scary thing to go through.

  27. Wow, that is a little too much excitement. I’m glad no one was hurt. Thank goodness for firemen.

  28. What a nightmare! Glad to hear that you didn’t suffer smoke damage to your condo contents. Hopefully your HOA won’t have to spend big bucks to clean up the common areas.

  29. Ouch! This is so scary! I am very happy that both you and Lucy are ok!

  30. First, I join everyone else in being happy that you and Lucy are okay.

    Second, I have never heard such a good reason for not knitting for a night.

    Third, thank God the yarn is safe.

    Malias last blog post..No Words

  31. Timing is everything. Thank goodness you were home and could grab Lucy and go. I hope they figure out what happened and find whoever is responsible, assuming it was intentional. Hope you have some peaceful, smoke-free knitting with Lucy tonight!

    Melissas last blog post..Heartbreaking…

  32. omg… how scary… glad things are ok!

  33. Glad you (and the kitty) are safe. Pretty scary experience

    Joansies last blog post..Socks Anyone?

  34. Wendy, so glad you and Lucy are well. How scary! I think staying home today is a wise move.

    lauragayles last blog post..Quiet Sunday

  35. having lived through a fire in my home, I can honsetly say that you are VERY lucky! glad you, Lucy and your stash are all OK.

    Caties last blog post..Happy Birthday Mon!

  36. that’s scary! glad to hear nobody was hurt and that you and lucy are okay. i’m surprised they let everyone back into the building even after the fire was put out. i hope that other people on the 2nd floor and around the burned condo were not displaced out of their homes.

  37. Ouch! I’m glad that you and Lucy are doing all right. That is a bit more excitement than I think I would want in an evening!

    Rest up!

    Seanna Leas last blog post..piratical

  38. Glad to hear you and Lucy are doing alright. At least one of you can be nonchalant about the whole thing. πŸ˜‰

  39. So glad you didn’t hesitate to grab the irreplaceables (you and Lucy) and head right out the door! Glad, too, your home is okay.

    Cindys last blog post..PS to Solitude

  40. So glad to hear that you are both just fine, and there was no major building damage.

    Thingwhatsqueekss last blog post..No Content

  41. So glad everyone was alright! I’m sure Lucy is enjoying the company today…

    HBs last blog post..Yea – it’s FRIDAY!!!

  42. How scary! Knit and Tonic was just talking about the fires in CA. Here’s the comment I wrote there:
    I had a fire where I lived when I was 19(I was out when it happened). I’m a nut about saving things. All our important papers and all our pic’s are scanned/downloaded to discs and kept in a fire-proof box. Along with a video of our posessions (including all my yarn!) for insurance purposes.

    I’m terrified to ever have another fire. Especially now with little kids and all that yarn. At least the kids can run – yarn has no legs! jk

    5elementknitrs last blog post..Around The Internets

  43. A much better excuse than mine! I’m glad that all is well.

    Rachels last blog post..Beyond the lace-only stereotype

  44. Oh my goodness! At least you and Lucy are alright and no one was hurt.

    Fire terrifies me.

    Nicoles last blog post..This – is all I can say.

  45. I am glad to hear you and Lucy are ok. I hope they find the cause of the fire soon.

    LittleWits last blog post..Snow!

  46. Glad you and Lucy are ok! And I’m amused that you took your camera. I hope I would, too, if I could think that fast.

    pdxknitteratis last blog post..We have lift-off

  47. glad you’re both ok, it’s sounds like you did all the right things without panicking.
    On a completely different note thanks for the book recommendation – Casting Spells – I got it yesterday and read it in one sitting.

  48. Theresa in Italy says:

    So glad to know you and Lucy are ok. I raced through the post with bated breath, but I had to giggle at the part where you said as soon as Lucy realized she wasn’t going to the vet’s, she settled down—I know a dog who would have reacted the same way. Still, pretty scary, and all that smoke can’t be pleasant or healthy. Take care of yourself.

  49. Wow. What a night for you! I hope you find out why the empty condo caught on fire. Not good.

    Hopefully everything’s back to normal today. Back to the stole…. πŸ˜‰

  50. Sheesh. That will wake you up! Glad all ended well and you are safe. Love to Lucy.

    Julias last blog post..A Little Knitting

  51. Glad to hear you’re OK and that you and Lucy were able to stay warm in your car. My grandma’s condo caught fire once when she wasn’t there. More accurately, her balcony caught fire… some idiot flicked a cigarette butt onto her BBQ cover and it smouldered until it was a full-on fire! The heat was so intense that it cracked the patio window. Of course with her not being there, the firefighters had to break down the door (damage to condo – as if fire on the balcony wasn’t enough) trudge across hardwood floor (more damage to condo interior) and put out fire. What a freeaking pain. Oh don’t get me wrong, the whole complex was also evacuated. All round pain for everyone!

  52. Thank God no one one hurt and you both are safe!! What a crazy night!

    Lanis last blog post..Raleigh Yarn Pr0n

  53. Oh, my, Wendy, not a nice way to end your day! Glad to hear that no one was hurt.

  54. So good to hear you are all alright. Fire is scary. And, I would think, especially scary when 10 floors up and you have to get down and out.


    E. Engmans last blog post..SKULL ISLE HATS

  55. Little shearling mat? I’ll have to get one of those.

    Helens last blog post..Steady Progress

  56. Michele In Maine says:

    Oh, Wendy, how scary for you and Lucy! Good thing you handled it so calmly – it would have taken me quite a while to get my three into carriers, I’m afraid.

    Thank goodness you are both all right.

  57. Thank goodness no one was hurt. I hope you’re feeling better soon. I’m sure Lucy is more than willing to look after you as long as you close those windows. ;^)

  58. I’m glad that you got out OK and you are safe!

    Eileens last blog post..A Sunday Post

  59. Eek! Glad everything is OK and that there’s an up side to your condo being on the warm side. I hope they figure out what happened so they can fix the wiring in other units if necessary.

    knitopias last blog post..Heelless baby socks

  60. OMG! Thank goodness you and Lucy are O.K. !!! What a scary, scary situation. Fire is NEVER, EVER a good thing! Just ask anyone living in SoCal, especially this past week!!

    So very glad to hear you, Lucy and your stash are A.O.K. luv.m.

  61. So very glad you and Lucy are all right. Your story reminded me that I need to post something in my house about the cats in case of fire while I’m gone. I know some fire departments have a sticker or form to post.

  62. Whew! So you and Lucy are OK, and that your condo is free of smoke. That’s enough excitement for a while!

    Betss last blog post..Long Time No See

  63. Oh that’s so scary. Thank God the two of you are OK.

    Pats last blog post..When two become one

  64. I am SO glad you both are fine. Scary.

    kmkats last blog post..The word from Paris re: shawls and how to wear them.

  65. Eep! That’s SCARY!! So glad that everything’s (mostly) okay, though–especially for you and Lucy!

    –Debs last blog post..Something’s Missing

  66. i’m so glad you and lucy are ok and that it seems damage pretty much contained to the burnt condo – but smoke smell can be hard to handle – hope you have a nice tuesday….

    debbies last blog post..back in the saddle….

  67. So glad you are fine. I lost a friend in a highly publicized high rise fire here in Chicago a few years ago, and reading that your stairwell was full of smoke was terrifying. I’m so glad no one was hurt.

    Angelas last blog post..Leg Three: Friday Harbor, WA

  68. OMG such a nightmare! Glad to hear that you and Miss Lucy are OK. I would be scared if I had to put my two fat cats in their carrier, they also think carrier=vet πŸ˜‰ But anyway, as you wrote, all is well that ends well. Take care!

  69. Thank goodness everyone (especially Lucy =P) is OK! I bet that was pretty scary for awhile.

  70. Oh my goodness! And they go off so often because of some accident or popcorn burning. What a dramatic night. You are so organized to have the cat carrier at your finger tips. makes me think I should get it out of the storage area and put it in the apartment somewhere. I’m so glad that everything is ok.

  71. Thank God you and Lucy are alright! ((hugs))

    Anitas last blog post..Busy, busy, busy…

  72. Oh my! That was an unnecessarily exciting evening you had. I glad every one is ok. You provide a good example of grabbing the important stuff and getting out!

    Ann in CTs last blog post..Splutter

  73. How scary! I’m glad everyone has survived!

    Katrinas last blog post..Flower Hat

  74. Phew! Glad you and Lucy are ok. Hope the other condo residents are ok too.

  75. NewJerseyLaura says:

    Oh my! I had a fire in my apt. building once, years ago. While reading your account, I was remembering that moment of hearing the alarms, then a pounding at my door, then opening it to a fireman in full fire regalia. Oh my! That smokey stairwell, and the escape, and I hope you could have some tea (or a hot toddy) and some relaxation later. Also I hope you don’t have to wash everything you own to get rid of the smokey smell. Here’s to a mellower night full of knitting!

  76. As I said earlier I’m glad that you and Lucy and your neighbors are okay.

  77. So glad to hear you and Lucy are fine!! My husband and I have always said that if a similiar situation came up, the only thing(s) we would worry about were the cat(s) (the number has varied over the years). Everything else can be replaced but not our babies :>

    Beautiful lacework, as usual. The beads are lending a very elegant touch.

  78. Glad you and Lucy are ok.

  79. Oh My God! So glad to hear that you and Lucy are OK and no one was injured.

    Jens last blog post..I was speechless.

  80. Glad to hear you girls are okay and that you were home with Lucy when the fire broke out.

  81. So glad to hear that you and Lucy are okay.

    Dallass last blog post..Beginner Questions Set #1

  82. So glad that you are ok. And so glad that you were home with Lucy when the fire started. They probably wouldn’t have let you up to get her had you not already been home, and even though under the circumstances she probably would have been fine, you would have been a nervous wreck. That is my biggest fear about fire, that my dog would be home alone if something ever happened.

  83. Omigosh! I’m so sorry that both of you had to deal with so much drama last night but glad about the happy ending. Give Lucy a scratch behind the ears for me. πŸ™‚

  84. Hi Wendy,

    I can think of nothing more frightening than a fire! I was married to a fire chief of a large metro city which is probably why it scares me more than most. Glad all of you are okay!

    Shirleys last blog post..Red Mittens

  85. I’m glad to hear that you and Lucy are okay, I hope you have recovered from the smoke inhalation. That was quite a night for both of you.

    Roseanns last blog post..Samhain Sock

  86. I’m with all the rest in being happy you were home with Lucy to evacuate the little princess and that you both came through this with no injuries (other than the smoke inhalation which I assume has cleared up over the past 24 hours – if not, please see a doctor). I guess keeping the windows open is a good policy after all πŸ™‚

  87. I’m usually a lurker but had to come out to say: My how scary!!! I’m so glad you and Lucy are ok. Take care,


  88. too much excitement…thank goodness Lucy and you are ok and fiber has no smell

    kathleens last blog post..Hold that baby stuff….till 12/25

  89. Holy S@#t! Glad everybody is ok! Take care-

  90. JulieThePurpleChick says:

    Wowzo! Sorry y’all went through that and glad you ladies are okay.

  91. OH no! I’m glad you and Lucy are okay! (and that nobody was hurt!)
    That’d be a bit stressful to go through, methinks!

    Cookis last blog post..GODDAMN YOU CELGA. -update-

  92. Glad to hear you, Lucy, the condo and all the fibre are fine.

    So…no pictures of cute firemen?

    yarnpiggys last blog post..10 stitches at a time…

  93. How frightening! I’m glad you were able to get out quickly with Lucy. There was a fire less than 2 wees ago at my garden condo complex – just next door to my building. It is an unreal experience to see the firefighters breaking windows to make sure everyone in the building is out. One apartment was totally destroyed, and 3 are unlivable until the common hall is repaired. I have a new respect for the firefighters after seeing them in action. I’m still feeling a bit shakey after 10 days, and my ordeal was less than yours, so give yourself plenty of time to recover.

  94. I’m so glad you and Lucy and okay, you both deserved a day off. I hope you both are doing okay now?

  95. Linda from Kansas says:

    I am glad you and Miss Lucy are both safe.

  96. anne marie in philly says:

    OMFG! glad to hear all is well. and yes, it IS stressful to endure (been thru one myself 30 years ago).

    but HOW did an empty condo burst into flames? keep us posted…

  97. Oh my goodness! That’s too close for comfort, for sure. I’m so glad that you and Lucy are ok and that your condo was not damaged from the smoke or water. (Can you imagine if you had to hand wash all that stash of your because of smoke!!!!!) I’ve only had to evacuate because of fire one time and that was in a hotel in Canada. Everybody had to leave the building. People were standing around in their gowns and PJ’s, holding at least one suit case. We put on our clothes and I grabed my purse and jewelry. Fortunately, we were only out of the building an hour or so. One of the guests on a floor below us caused the mishap, but little damage was done. Just scared everyone! Glad you’re ok!

    Elizabeths last blog post..It’s about time——-

  98. Wow. Glad it turned out well, but boy, is that terrifying.

    Lauries last blog post..What Your Taste in Art Says About You

  99. Gosh, that’s some kind of scary!

    Please do keep us posted as to the source of the fire. Either arson (bad enough) or faulty wiring (even worse, if you think about how much wiring is in the building). One of the supervisors in my office had her brand new house burn down due to a faulty fireplace. Thank goodness no one was seriously injured!

    Stay safe!

    karla (threadbndr)s last blog post..Hole-y, Hole-y, Hole-y

  100. We’re all very happy that the two of you are safe