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Yes, I know I have been quiet for quite a long time.

I have been occupied, since late May, by one of those conflicts with the neighbor from Eugene, Oregon, who moved next door last year, with a mistaken but fixed idea about what she purchased when she bought the place. She believed, or said she did, that she’d bought a strip a strip of land deeded to me.

This has involved a month with the town’s neighborhood mediation service, a survey agreed to but not complied with, a post-survey episode involving a threat with a pair of broken-off survey stakes, my first-ever-in-my-life 911 call that wasn’t for an ambulance, her being charged with menacing (scheduled for trial on 1 December), my finding counsel (aka Zach the Lawyer) and filing suit, and her finally finding counsel and countersuing.

More carrying on than you could imagine!

It is, and will be for some time, confusing, gut-wrenching, and a little scary.

It has also been time-consuming, and budget-busting (even though, as an old journalist, I can accomplish and verify basic research faster and better than Zach the Lawyer can, document the results, and turn them over to him, so I’m doing that instead of paying him $200 an hour for the same thing).

My apologies to all. My gratitude goes to supportive friends and neighbors. I’ll let you know how it all comes out.
In the meantime, I haven’t been knitting much, either. But I have been thinking about Christmas knitting, and the pleasure of those who give and receive a thoughtful gift of warmth. I was especially touched the other day by an order for Socks 101 and 201, patterns devised long before the mania for socks, from a customer who was just learning to knit when she decided to make one of the cowboy hats, then another and another. She was so pleased by her success with it that this year she’s making her first socks from someone whose patterns and customer support she trusts.

I love it when readers devise their own takes on things, and this Australian possum is outstanding for both redesign from the Raccoon scarf, and workmanship of Mary Keating, from Northmead, Australia. She did the curly tail by adding short rows to one side to make it curl properly. Altogether, when I looked up Australian possums, they aren't particularly handsome animals. But this is surely a wonderful scarf!

When that order came in, and some correspondence ensued, it was cold—we had four inches of snow on 9 October, another sixteen just a few days ago, and mostly chilly days—and I’d just finished a stretch of difficult research and was feeling sorry for myself. That customer bucked me right up.

About Christmas knitting: I’m glad to help, but it will be Christmas in my house, too, and last Christmas Eve I was up half the night e-mailing back and forth with a customer who needed help to finish some last minute knitting. Pace yourself. If you need help, earlier would be better. If one of us is tired and frantic and the other one is falling asleep over her keyboard, that just makes the whole thing harder, okay?

Knit on!

P.S. The shopping bag totes are still in the spotlight because Mollie and I both think they are just fantastic patterns. Those paper shopping bags just can't compare, and they won't fall apart in the snow and wet!

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