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The High Country Knitwear Newsletter



No, I haven't done a newsletter in quite some time.  Part of that was that I had to retain legal help, which advised no writing anywhere on any subject, after a new next-door neighbor asserted, incorrectly, that she owned about 20% of my property, refused to abide by two settlements based on appropriate surveys, and by and large  generated a difficult and costly time before a judge finally put an end to her claims with a scathing final decision.  It was awful, and at one point involved her being charged with menacing.

By then, not only was I not writing about knitting.  I was not knitting at all, pending two cataract surgeries last year.  
By the time I could have started again, I was doing or having done long-postponed work on my old house, built in 1924. 

I was fortunate with almost all my subcontractors, acting as my own general contractor.  The place  now has a new driveway, easy to shovel, and new gates; a new roof--hail-resistant, since I live in the hail belt-- and new gutters; new side doors and basement windows; some plumbing improvements; and a carefully done and handsome new paint job, which I did myself,  in the living room, dining room, kitchen, hall, and bathroom.  Some new lighting fixtures from the Habitat for Humanity store ($2 each!) went in the basement, which improved it a lot.

Best of all, a nifty mural by my artist/carpenter friend James, graces the dining room.  He'd stopped by just as I was dragging the dining room bookcase out and finishing the paint work there, and asked if there was anything he could help with.  I thought maybe a mural over a bare wall above the arch in the dining room.  The ladder was still in place.  He climbed up, pulled out a tape and a pencil,  measured,  marked, sketched, went and got his paints and brushes,  and painted for hour.  Watching it was like having one's own private magician.  We played Erroll Garner and Dave Brubeck and Oscar Peterson at considerable volume and kept ourselves going with good Chinese food, delivered, until it was done around 11:30 at night, and we could celebrate with a beer.

Anyway, the house is in better shape, more weather tight, quieter, looking  better.  I ended up repairing the old foundations myself, and having them recoated with stucco just as the weather was closing in, as it did in October, with a ferocious storm.  There's more to be done in spring and summer next year.

But once the weather closed down, I could get back to knitting.  For Christmas (and after) I made a lot of the new versions that evolved into Not-a-Scarf 2.0, trying to find the best way to do these.  And I made myself a hat, when I found a single ball of an old Rowan tweed; I worked this from the top down, worried about how much yarn I had. It turned out perfectly, with a deep cuff.  The new pattern going up today includes Not-a-Scarf 2.0 and the top-down hat.

I'm glad to be back, and provide a fine selection of work that you've done in the meantime, starting with the Polar Bear Scarf that became The Bipolar Bear.


Not-a-Scarf 2.0 is quick to work up, makes a wonderful gift for anyone who lives where it gets really cold, and is fun to do.  It can be varied in its yarn (get gauge, please!), and style.  The cabling helps make it warmer, but you can do jacquard with this to good effect, as well, with the floats across the back providing extra warmth and wind-turning capabilties. It has a pocket in front where you can keep a cell phone or a handkerchief, and it won't slither off, get in the way, or be left behind on a coffee shop coat hook. And the big collar can be turned up when the wind is blowing, which I love.

I have been working top-down hats and Not-a-Scarfs to outfit the neighborhood, as I worked on these two patterns, and sat the telephone trying to work things out for my eldest niece--once smart, pretty, and talented, and only ten years younger than I--who has, over the years, lost her hold on reality, wandering the country,  and making complaints to assorted FBI offices all over the place. 

She was here briefly in late October,  arriving unannounced.  I had not seen her in some 30 years.

She stayed for a few days; I did her laundry, repacked her; saw to having her prescriptions filled and purchased a ticket for her to get back to California, where she said she'd kept her apartment in a complex for the elderly and disabled.  And then she disappeared entirely, so I filed a report of her as a missing person.  It took more than two months for her to turn up, but she walked into an FBI office in another state to make a complaint, they found the missing persons report, and they notified the police department, which notified me.

With  a lawyer in California advising me and being immensely kind, I bought some of my niece's personal personal items from the apartment in California from which, as it turns out, she was evicted in October; and am trying to deal with the social services people in the state where she has alighted, and was briefly in a care facility, but departed.  Her parents are dead; her brothers and sister want nothing to do with her.

For many of us, mental illness is shameful and embarrassing, but it does occur, even in the best of families.  More than anything else, it is sad, and it is frustrating,  We can't expect people who are mentally ill to behave like people who are not, and we cannot really relate to the way they think. The law makes it hard to deal with appropriately.  But I'm trying.

Knit on,


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