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How My Knowledge of Fiber Saved My Life

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Last night I was sitting on the sofa by a lovely roaring fire, typing away at my blog post. My boyfriend had gone down to the pub with his friend, and I was all alone in the small Welsh cottage. As I got up to get myself a mug of tea, I glanced at the woodburner and noticed that the candle that had been left on top of it (note use of passive) looked a bit lopsided, so I thought I’d better take it off there and put it to one side. The saucer was full of hot melted wax though, so it was rather tricky to do, and I noticed that the flames were licking away at that side of the burner, making it even hotter. Not knowing a whole lot about fires, I opened the woodburner door to try to rearrange the logs. Woosh! The flames licked out of the hinge and one side of the woodburner caught fire. It finally clicked that there was hot hot wax dripping down that entire side of the woodburner. In a few brief moments, many thoughts ran through my head:

– My God, the fire is outside the woodburner.
– Maybe if I leave it, it’ll just burn up.
– I can’t call my boyfriend.
– How am I going to tell him I burnt his house down?

The room was quickly filling with smoke and the smell of acrid candle wax. I realised I had to do something fast. I wasn’t sure water would be the best thing (as I said, I don’t know as much as I should about fires, and all that popped into my head were those hot oil and water experiments we did at school), so I decided to look around for a blanket. I had never put out a fire before, and I am not fond of fires at the best of times. I looked frantically at the blanket in the (empty) dog basket. It looked man-made, and like it might be full of flammable batting. Then I looked at my boyfriend’s long-abused woven wool blanket. For a moment I stood in the middle of the room looking at each in turn as if I were watching a tennis match. I know wool, I thought, and this thought gave me confidence, it doesn’t burn. I grabbed the lovely blanket from the sofa and threw it over the hot wax, pressing down to make sure I blocked out all the air. I lifted the blanket, now sadly covered in wax. The fire was out but what was left of the wax was still smoking with the heat of the woodburner. I scrubbed away as much of it as I could with some newspaper, and then a damp cloth which sizzled as the water evaporated instantly. The room was still full of foul smelling smoke, so I flung open the window and the door. My heart was racing so fast I felt dizzy, but incredibly relieved.

I made myself that cup of tea.

It’s possible that the dog blanket would have done the trick just as well. It’s possible that I actually know as little about fiber as I do of fire, but I can tell you this, when I needed it most, wool was there for me.

10th November, 2008  // Yarn // tags: , , , , .


  1. Lou says:

    That’s so scary! Well done you using your head and the woollen blanket.

    Put the blanket in the freezer and the wax will get very hard then you should be able to break it off. Or, I used to iron table clothes that had candle wax on, put kitchen paper or similar over the area and iron, the wax should end up on the paper.

  2. laylock says:

    Wow, thanks so much for the tips, Lou! I was wondering how to get it off, and scraping it was about the best thing I thought of. We don’t have a freezer, so I’ll try ironing it.

    Also, thanks for being my first commenter on this blog. Woo! :)

  3. Cedric says:

    What an awesome story. Hurrah for wool.

    That should totally work its way into your NaNoWriMo novel.

  4. laylock says:

    Cedric – I think it might! Especially if I get desperate (very likely). It will definitely make its way into a geekish non-fic I’m planning called ‘Thinking Knitting’ too. ;)

  5. Katerina says:

    If the freezing/scraping thing doesn’t get all the wax off, you can also take some paper towels and a warm iron and “iron” the blanket with papertowels betweek the iron and the blanket, and as the wax heats up, it should be ‘absorbed’ by the paper towels. You just have to keep moving them around as they take up the wax.
    Great job thinking on your feet!

  6. Cesia says:

    Good thing you didn’t use water! Once, I had a similar experience at a friend’s house, where we were playing with candles and the fire got out of hand. My friend threw water at it … and it flared up so big we thought we caught the house on fire!! Lol. Its one of those things we will never forget.

  7. Anna Verey says:

    YOU ARE MY HERO!!!!!!! what an amaaazing website and amaaazing story!!! it is incredible derya, you are definitely my hero… I am going to carry on looking now xxxxxxxxx

  8. laylock says:

    Katerina – Thank you!

    Cesia – Very scary, but very useful to know, thank you! :)

    Anna – Hahaha, Anna thank you so much. You’re my hero too! :) xxx

  9. The Big L says:

    […] down that rather busy, rather narrow road was probably the scariest thing I’ve done since I saved the cottage from burning down. Clearly I need to do more scary […]

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