When a river otter and a deer come face to face


I live in a little house in a meadow on a tiny island (a creek divides, goes around my property, and rejoins itself at the other end) on a larger island in the Salish Sea, a few miles south of the Canadian border. Here is a bit of our coastline, looking west. If the clouds weren’t there, you would see the snow-covered Olympic Mountains about ten miles across the water.


At this time of year, I can hardly get any work done because baby deer keep appearing and playing tag or staring at me through the window, like this little fellow. That fluttering tail, combined with the gaze, expresses so much. I’d tell you what, but don’t want to put words into a fawn’s mouth. Sometimes I have to turn away from the windows or nothing would get done around here.



A few mornings ago a fat river otter waddle-slithered out of the woods and made a beeline for my pond. I ran out with my camera, since I’ve never had an otter visit before, and stood watching him for a good ten minutes while he swam back and forth growling at me. I will put words in his mouth: “Dang blast you! Get out of my way! This is my pond! Go! Go! Go! I’m trying to scare you! See how fierce I am?”



I went back in the house to continue working, when a doe emerging from the woods caught my eye. She wandered over to the far end of the pond to graze. A moment later the otter crawled up the bank and suddenly there they were a few feet apart, a deer and a 45-pound, 4-foot -long otter. They both drew back in shock and the otter dove back in the pond and the deer ran to the other side of the meadow. How I wish I could have captured that on film.


So what have I been working on? A book titled Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heel Socks. It will be my first book to be electronic rather than paper. This new heel surprised me last winter during during peaceful days with my mother by her wood stove, reading, playing Quiddler (fantastic word game), and trying to fiddle my way towards a short-row heel that would fulfill my longing for smooth sides. I’d given up several times when almost unconsciously, I did one small thing. And just like that, the smooth, round, clean heel of my dreams existed. This small thing closes gaps, without wraps, fancy acrobatics, or effort. When the eBook is ready to release, I shall announce it here. In the meanwhile, here is a glimpse of the cover:


I’m going to offer the eBook like a slow-release vitamin — initially the cover, table of contents, the foundation lessons, and two or three socks. Then every month I’ll add one new sock (as an automatic digital update) until the book finally completes itself with all eight to ten designs.


Somewhere along the line I will also release the patterns as singles. All of this will happen on Ravelry and here, and probably also on Patternfish. The book will be laid out like my other books, with lots of illustrations, photos, charts, schematics, line-by-line instructions, and also live video links. A reader can print just the pages needed for a pattern, or work beside a laptop or iPad (which also allows charts and images to be stretched so details pop). It would take me close to two more years to complete this as a print book. I hesitate to invest in a large print run (necessary to keep the price reasonable) when electronic publishing, with its much smaller carbon footprint, is winning so many converts. So I am giving it a try, and am doing my very best to design a cozy, functional, and empowering experience for my readers.


I put my hand on my heart to thank all my students and readers, kindred spirits who also treasure the underlying peace and goodness that rises through knitting. I am honored to be able to devote my life to something of such deep and universal goodness.