Lovely Yarn Escapes

My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Yarns - Tying up Loose Threads

     I finished two projects I had hanging around, my Fingerless Mitts and my Beach Hairband.  I'm just sewing in the loose hanging yarns while I read and drink tea.  It feels good to get some things done.  And my hands will appreciate the mitts.  It went from the 80's here a few weeks ago and now it's in the 30's - 40's in the day.  No in between seasons in Colorado.  Just sharp temperature changes.  A little snow in the past few days, but the leaves are just turning a bit.  But for my walks I need my fingerless mitts, just right for a Fall walk.

Pattern and project notes - Beach Hairband

     The Beach Hairband still needs blocking then hopefully Friday I'll send it to my daughter who is better than I am in knitting.  I think the lacework will still impress her.

     I just finished reading a free book on Kindle by Kristen Noel Fisher that I really liked - "Anna's Courage" Rose Island Book 1.  It was a thoughtful romance dealing with deep issues of overcoming death and fear and moving on and having faith in God in spite of tragedy.  Goodreads Review - Anna's Courage

(Please skip this part if you're not into religion or faith. To me, it's a fascinating debate that opened my eyes, but not meant to offend.)

     I think grasping that bad things can happen as a Christian and what to do with that is hard.  I've been there.  There are some hidden ideological questions in this book "Anna's Courage" that personally, I'm not sure I agree on, but they're a debatable aspect of Christianity that most others probably wouldn't notice.  The author has a "God's in control" sort of theme which seems innocent and in some ways might be totally true (I'm always willing to admit I could be wrong).  But if we were to blindly say God is in total control that makes him out as a puppeteer.  It's also a Calvinistic belief that just kind of gets past down through the generations.  It's comforting in a way.  I'm not sure if it's right or wrong.  Somehow I think it does God and man a disservice because the question of happenstance is a biblical truth too.*  So life can just happen.  Also, I believe God has given us a large amount of free will to decide what to do.  I take a little unknown stance called "Arminianism" a position between "Openness" (God is blind to whatever will happen to Man on purpose and just lets things play out naturally) and "Calvinism" where God is in total control, knows what will happen and orchestrates everything.  I found Arminianism just in the middle.  God knows what will happen but lets us be.  I think He intervenes when we pray, but not always.  Maybe knowing the outcome of our prayers are not always good for us.  It's hard to grasp but I believe God allows sorrow and difficulties in our lives for a reason.  So prayer is important in my view, but we also are free to make our own choices.  But I'm sure God has intervened in places where there's no prayer.  And God's free not to answer our prayers, we don't manipulate him with them, but of course, that leaves us with why didn't He answer our prayers?  We can't always make sense of things and I've found that having the faith that He knows, even if I don't is enough for me.  Also, tragedy is not God's fault.  Did He allow it and why?  Also very good questions in times of hurt.  I don't know.  I also believe in the reality of evil, but I'm not one to want to talk about that.  But it has a play in circumstances at times.  But I'm also good with not knowing or figuring it all out.  OK, I'm betting this is more than what you wanted to know, but it does affect how you view tragedy.  If you blame God for doing everything because he's supposedly in perfect control, you're going to be jaded and angry at God.  But if you factor in the randomness of life, and man's free will, then things look different.  I do believe in God's ability to answer prayer, I know His hands are on my life.  But Life is Life, death, sickness, it comes.  I think how we react to it and God is the important part.  Acceptance for me that life isn't perfect, but I can perfectly deal with life prayerfully, with a good attitude and that makes all the difference.

I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Yarns - A Basket Filled with Fall Fibery Goodness

      These days with Christmas gifts I want to be done and a few projects I just had to do, my basket of handiwork is full.  I overdid it, indeed.  But I'm finding I'm getting things accomplished and seeing things grow, so there's hope in sight of finishing.  I feel the most peace when I work on those gifts.  Getting them done means a lot to me.

     One of my projects I laid aside last year and just picked up again is Boiled Fisherman's Mittens.  Last year I made a pair for my son living in Maine and he said they were the best he'd worn.  He works outside as a carpenter so good gloves matter and these were better than the new super ones he had bought.  So now that he's got a job as a Carpenter for a sustainable building company (his dream job) I want to perfect his mittens and get him another pair. 

     Made in a natural wool so they shrink (I use Simply Wool Bulky from KnitPicks) they start out huge and he used several methods to shrink them down.  My project, pattern and his methods of felting them are found in this blog post - Boiled Fisherman's Mittens.  The original pattern is found in New England Today and is a neat story of how the pattern was recreated from an old pair of mittens made from an old woman who made them for local fishermen but died - Boiled Wool Mittens Instructions.  This year I'm trying to make them a bit narrower by not adding the increase at the wrist.  My son wanted them snugger.  Also, he wanted the cuffs longer so there was no gap between his coat and mitt.  So far they look really long and definitely slimmer, so the proof is in the shrinking, to see how they fit.  We'll see how they work.  And I just created another blog post with the pattern on it because I'm concerned I'll lose it.  Some people have had a hard time linking to the New England Today magazine.  So here's just the pattern - Boiled Wool Fisherman's Mitten Pattern.

     For reading, I set aside some more serious reads and have been reading some Romance novels.  I just have had it with the news the past week and for a weekend I didn't read the news and started just a nice light book. Sometimes I need to just check out and give myself something just softer to read.   "A Promise Of Home" by Wendy Vella begins with Branna O'Donnell entering her old hometown after years away.  She lived there and went to High School for only 3 years but she shared a strong relationship with an older woman who leaves her her home after she dies.  Right at the start both she and her former classmate Jake spar and are at odds.  Both are reclusive and recovering from deep trauma.  The story is engaging, believable, funny and interesting so far.  And free!  If you ever want a free or reduced Kindle to read I get e-mails from these sources - BookBubThe Fussy Librarian, and Early Bird Books.  Often I do find great books and authors and it then leads me to new authors to read.  I have seen my favorite authors reduced like Diana Gabaldon and my favorite cookbook, so it's a good source, some good, some not.

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Boiled Wool Fisherman's Mitten Pattern

I'm copying the pattern of the Fisherman's Boiled Wool Mittens here because often the link to the New England Today article where the pattern is isn't working.  So this is a back-up.  (Please note it is an interesting article to read.)  Here's my previous blog post on how to shrink them (according to my son), it took a lot of effort, and finally, he figured out the best way, a dryer -  Boiled Fisherman's Mittens

From the New England Today article - Boiled Wool Mittens Instructions

I used size #8 double pointed needles and Simply Wool Bulky  Some knitters in Ravelry used Cascade Eco Wool Yarn.


Yarn: Two skeins Bartlett yarns, 2- or 3-ply fisherman yarn, or other worsted-weight wool with lanolin, used singly.
Equipment: Four number 4 double-pointed needles, or size needed to knit correct gauge.
Gauge: Five stitches equal one inch.
On size four double-pointed needles, cast on 12, 15, and 15 stitches, a total of 42 stitches on three needles. Knit two, purl one until wristband measures four inches.
Then, first round: place last purl stitch on first needle. Purl one, knit two, purl one. Knit rest of round, increasing two stitches on each needle for a total of 48 stitches.
Second round: start thumb gore. Purl one, increasing one stitch in each of the next two stitches, purl one. Knit around, and knit rounds three, four, and five, maintaining the two purl stitches as a marker.
Sixth round: purl one, increase in the next stitch, knit two, increase in the next stitch, purl one (eight stitches, including two purls). Knit around. Knit three more rounds.
Continue to increase this way every fourth row until you have 14 stitches for the thumb gore, including the two purl stitches. Knit three more rounds and place the 14 stitches on a string.
Cast on 10 stitches to bridge the gap and divide the stitches 18 to a needle (total 54 stitches). Knit up 4 to 4-1/2 inches from thumb for the hand.
Begin decreasing in next round:
Knit two together, knit seven. Repeat around. Knit two rounds. Knit two together, knit six, and repeat around. Knit two rounds. Knit two together, knit five, and repeat around. Knit two rounds. Knit two together, knit four, and repeat around. Knit one round. Knit two together, knit three, and repeat around. Knit one round. Knit two together around. Break the yarn and draw up the remaining stitches on the tail, using a yarn needle. Darn the tail back and forth across the tip of the mitten. Thumb: Pick up from thumb gore seven stitches on each of two needles and one stitch from each side of the thumbhole, a total of 16 stitches on two needles. Pick up the 10 stitches from the palm side of the thumbhole on a third needle. Knit two rounds. Next round, decrease one stitch on each end of the third needle. There are now eight stitches on each needle. Knit 2 to 2-1/2 inches.
Next round, decrease: knit two together, knit two, and repeat around. Knit one round. Next round, knit two together, knit one, and repeat around. Break yarn and draw up remaining stitches on the tall, using a yarn needle. Darn the end into the tip of the thumb. Work all other loose ends into the fabric of the mitten.
Crochet a loop at the edge of the cuff for hanging the mitten to dry. Use the tail left from casting on, if possible. To shrink: soak the mittens in boiling hot water, squeeze them out and dry them on a radiator. I shrink mine in the dryer on the hot setting, but this takes out some of the oil. Some men say to dry them in the freezer. This takes a long, long time. Some claim they soak their mittens in fish gore, then wash them in hot water. However you choose to shrink your mittens, the first shrinking will not complete the trick, but the mittens will continue to shrink in use. Don’t give up.
End of Article

  • - Note I use a size #8 double pointed needles and my son found putting them in a dryer and keeping a watch on them and rewetting them till they're the right size works better than other methods (like boiling, despite the name).  Check out my blog post above for shrinking instructions - Boiled Fisherman's Mittens.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Yarns: A Fingerless Mitt Among Changing Aspens

     When the cold wind blows you grab your yarn and in this case, it was Capra DK Yarn in Thicket, wool with a touch of cashmere.  We went camping a night on the other side of Pikes Peak mountain from where we live at Mueller State Park

      We reserved the last site, a walk-in tent site for the night to see the glow of Aspens at Peak.  We've done a lot of summer camping, but not in the cold.  At 9,300 ft. when the sun sets it gets cold, especially with a wind kicking up off the rolling hills and peaks.  But the view was worth it!  I started my Cestari Fingerless Mittens (free pattern) in my camp chair in the last rays of sunshine as my husband started a fire. (Detailed instructions on my version of the Mitts done in a circular fashion with a thumb added below!)

     I drank a Pumpkin Coffee Latte made on a camp stove, yummy!  The view was spectacular.  Then I got on a few rows huddled over a fire.  Ate a swift dinner of beans and a veggie hotdog as the sun set and the wind began to blow.  We retreated to the tent to bundle up.  My husband fell asleep and by the camp light hanging overhead I knit and read the end of my book on a tablet - "After You" by Jojo Moyes (I kept dragging it out, reading little bits at a time, not wanting the story to end).


     The next day we left our site and headed down a hiking trail to find a spot for lunch and we found a grouping of lichen-covered rocks, under huge pines.  The sun finally had come out, it was warm and we had a perfect place for the afternoon to read.  And I knit a bit and stared at the scenery.  Wishing I never had to leave.

Fingerless Mitt Instructions

      I took the pattern Cestari Fingerless Mittens and altered it a bit.  But bear in mind my hands are small and adjust accordingly.  (If 33 is good for small, consider the gauge is 5 stitches per inch for #6 needles and DK yarn.)  I cast on 33 stitches and used 4 double pointed needles to knit in the round (instead of the knit in the flat pattern, I didn't want an inch hem in my mitt).  A trick for circular knitting is found in TinCanKnits - Casting On to Circulars.  When casting on (using Long-tail cast-on) I add one stitch and move it over to the other needle to create a smooth edge, no jog.  Remember you are doing garter to start, 4 rows.  But now you're in the round, so I did my first row as purl (because Long-tail cast on creates an extra knit row), the second knit, purl, then knit, then I just kept on in knit.  I knit for about 2 1/4 inches, then I switched to a flat knit, lining up to where I started (the tail of the yarn hangs down below, but you could mark it at the beginning).  Knitting one way, purling back.  This leaves your thumb hole which I did for 2 inches before going back and knitting in the round.  At the beginning of each row knit or purl, I slipped the first stitch to avoid a knot forming.  Note you will find the tension on your stitches different from below where it's in the round to when you changed to knitting flat a bit different, that's normal and I was OK with that imperfection.  After the hole, I knit in the round to match the same length as below (about 2 1/4 ") and I did garter for 4 rows and bound off (this is important!) with a needle 2 sizes up, I used a size #8, so the bind off was nice a loose at your wrist.  You might notice the way I did the thumb below kept each mitt ambidextrous!  That way you can grab either mitt and it will work perfectly for either hand. 

Thumb Instructions

     I have one fingerless mitt done and I added a thumb because I didn't like a cold thumb.  Pick up 20 stitches around the thumb hole with the right side of the mitt facing you.  It was about one stitch per each stitch around the hole and an extra stitch at the bottom.  Also go back and pull those cast on stitches a bit tight with a needle before you start so no holes or gaps.  When I started knitting the thumb in the round with 3 needles (it's awkward at first, you're all thumbs!) I worked the tail end of the yarn where I started the cast on into a few stitches to secure it.  I knit about 5 rows and then decreased by 4 stitches by knitting together two stitches at the bottom of the thumb with a plain stitch between and two at the top, also with a plain stitch between.  I knit till it felt right (about 10 rows since the decrease), fitting it on as I went.  Cast off with a larger needle like a #8.

 And use this technique to finish off cuffs and thumb holes - Jogless Finish When Binding Off in the Round

     I finished "After You" by Jojo Moyes and I loved it at points and felt it dragged at others. I so wished I had started the series in the correct order because now I was ready to read "Still Me", the third book, which I read first.  I even tried to start it again, but I'm just not good a revisiting a story I just read.  But "After You"(second book) ends with Louisa getting on the plane for New York, leaving her boyfriend behind for a new adventure, hesitantly with tears in her eyes.  "Still Me", I think it's the best of the three and it opens with her rambling on about herself to the security guard in the airport in New York.  Sigh.  Next time, maybe in 5 years or so, I'll re-read it all in order.

     I'm just starting Jojo Moyes book "The Girl You Left Behind".  

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Yarns: Finishing and Starting

      I'm finishing my Beach Hair Don't Care hairband.  I finished the lace and only have the other hair tie to do (in I-cord which is so fun!).  A great lace knit that I'm sending off to my daughter who will more likely use it with her really long hair. Previous blog post - Yarns: Beach Hairband KAL.

     And I just got my Malabrigo Mechita Yarn - Cielo y Tierra, a fall looking color combo that I've been eyeing since last year.  Now I'm making myself finish some things before I start anything.  This pattern caught my eye and I love the designer's shawls, especially her one-skein wonders - Citadel by Janina Kallio.  I've done one of her shawls before, also in Malabrigo Mechita - Yarns -The Ardent Shawl Finished!

      Yesterday I cast on fingerless mitts onto double pointed needles when it got really cold.  I'm using one skein of Capretta yarn from KnitPicks in worsted in a nutty brown color with a touch of cashmere.  I had set aside this fingerless glove pattern last year and it takes just the 130 yds.  Free pattern - Cestari Fingerless Mittens.  I'm doing it up differently than the pattern.  It has you knit it flat and seam it together with a one-inch seam.  So I cut the number of cast on stitches to 33 and I'm knitting it in the round.  I have very small hands so I'm hoping it fits.


     And I'm reading "After You" by Jojo Moyes, the second book in a three book series.  I'm nearly finished with it.  I love it at times, and then I get bored at others (maybe because reading in the wrong order gave some things away?)  I read the third one first - "Still Me", not knowing it was a series, but I loved it so I read the first book "Me Before You".  That book's equally awesome, but for different reasons.  It's a real tearjerker dealing with a quadriplegic and his desire to commit suicide and yes, it is a romance and it's funny too.  All her books have great characters and stories of small English life.  Her middle book is good and I'm glad I read it because it fills in the blanks of the other books and ties them together but I don't find it as interesting as the other two.  But I am now a JoJo fan and  I went to my second-hand bookshop and got a few more to read.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Yarns: Pooling Plaid Protest Scarf and "Me Before You"

 (Please Note Pattern is found down below) 

     I started a Resistance group called "Resistance Knitters" last year.  A member came up with the idea of creating a scarf using ombre or pooling yarn from Red Heart as a resistance symbol.  One that would remind one of the Plaid Shirt Guy, a High School Senior who sat behind Trump during a rally last month and just had his natural reactions on his face to what Trump was saying.  He didn't realize till friends texted him halfway through that he was visually right over the president's shoulder and very visible.  Later he was escorted out.  To me the scarf can be an opportunity to talk up your views to someone noticing it, complimenting your scarf.  Be yourself, explain your views.  

     Talking up our political situation is good.  If you're Liberal and the other person is Conservative remember having an ability to cross over and talk to your political opposite is also very important!  We lack conversation in this country between the opposite parties.  Socially we aren't even supposed to talk politics.  So when are our differences hammered out?  We are like a big dysfunctional family.  A tip when talking to a Conservative (if you're a Liberal) remind them that we need moderate Republicans.  We need Republicans that can talk to Liberal Democrats and find solutions.  I truly believe this country needs a balance between the two sides.  That doesn't mean I agree with them, I just believe healthy debate and discussion is important to find good solutions.  This scarf perhaps is more of a reminder to the person wearing it to engage in positive conversation.  Remember to kindly bridge gaps between people you might not agree with.  But talk, its important.  Also reminding people to vote in the Mid-terms, especially young adults is very good.  For further reading on some upbeat viewpoints I'd recommend Van Jones book "Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together".

     This new yarn - Super Saving Pooling was primarily developed for crocheters.  Red Heart replied to my inquiry about knitting techniques and said they are in the process of developing knitting patterns.  So I was on my own.  I spent a weekend trying to do the crochet but I realized it just wasn't me (after a day of stress and cramped hands).  (If you are a crocheter here's the pattern and video on how to make a scarf that pools in crochet - Perfect Planned Pooling Scarf).  So after lots of rip outs and watching this video on pooling in knitting - Knit Argyle Color Pooling, I started again late at night and finally figured it out.  In the morning I ripped out one last time and created a bigger color jog and that was perfect!  The yarn can be bought at JoannMary Maxim or ordered from Red Heart.

Please note that this scarf is made with the color "Haute". Different colors in Red Hearts Pooling yarn might have a different number of colors in their sequence and have to be set up differently. I have hints below the pattern on how to do it.

 Here's my pattern -

On Ravelry - Pooling Plaid Scarf

Instructions on knitting scarf-

I knit this up on #8 straight needles on  Red Hearts Pooling yarn in Haute, a predesigned yarn that creates an argyle pattern.

This pooling yarn color Haute has 6 repeats of color. To do the whole sequence in a row made it wider than I wanted it, so I halved it for a thin scarf. So each row is 3 colors and every other row the same color shows up. 

Casting on:

To work up a scarf you need to start out just right, then you're good to go. My cast on was a Continental Knit On (video -knit on cast). Now to do this you need to make a row of cast on out of the first whole color sequence (to save time you can start casting on about 1 1/2 colors in). For instance, I started with red in my sequence, to cast on I just started after red, and into the White (you can rip out the unused cast on stitches later). So cast on till you reach just before the first color repeats itself, red for me, but don't knit the red (or whatever your first color is in the sequence).

First Row:

 Now knit one row, k2, p2 till you use half your colors, three colors. At the end of the row, you want to pull off some stitches that you just did so you have an offset (your color shifts to one side). I pulled off 4 stitches (again you can pull out the unused cast on stitches later). So I have 32 stitches. Your tension might be different than mine and you might have a different count of stitches. You should be OK. Just remember an even number of stitches, divisible by 4 will begin and end with K2, P2, which I prefer. The whole process of the cast on is so you start at the beginning of a color sequence. The pulling off stitches is so you have a color shift.  

Remaining Rows - Just continuing to do K2, P2 and enjoy watching the argyle plaid unfold before your eyes!

Cast Off - Cast off when you reached your desired length. For a loose cast off use a size larger needle such as #9 or #10.

Optional Fringe - How To Add A Fringe

Watch this video first before you start and remember I halved the color sequence for a thinner scarf.  You might want a wide scarf and then cast on the entire sequence of color for a thick scarf, play with it. The video is a big help -  Knit Argyle Color Pooling.

Different Color-
If you use a different color combination than Haute in Super Saving Pooling yarn the yarn might have a different number of colors but this should help you figure out a scarf in any color combination.  Just do either a wide scarf with all the colors and use the technique described above for how to set up the cast on but use the entire first set of colors to make your cast on to give you room (also this video is helpful - Knit Argyle Color Pooling).  Or experiment with halving your colors like I did.

     After reading "Still Me" I had to start the series with "Me Before You".  I'm totally not disappointed!  I love Jojo Moyes writing style.  But from trying to describe the story to my husband, there's no way to do it without making it sound depressing.  But her writing style is funny, endearing and engaging.  It's also a tearful read.  Here's another blog's summary (longer, more detailed) - "Amy's Bookshelf".  Goodreads - "Me Before You".

      I finished "Me Before You" this morning.  Leaving the last chapter for my cup of tea.  Immediately I downloaded the next book.  I want to own the books but I was too impatient to wait till Friday when I can get to my second-hand bookshop.  The third book "Still Me" I got with my BOTM and I still want to buy the first two.  I just love owning books that I've really enjoyed, not to just revisit someday but also that feeling you get when you look at your bookcase and see your books, like old friends.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Yarns: Knitting This and That and "Still Me"

     For my knitting, I've got a few things going and I'd like to clear some of them out honestly by finishing them.  Just too much.  I get carried away with ideas of what I want to do and impetuously grab some yarn and start.  And yet part of the fun is that burst of inspiration that just propels me to start something new.  I also find I love to rotate and keep my interest up.  Or sometimes one knit is easier than another.  A plain stockinette in worsted calling to me to disappear into rugged wool (that's a Shrug I haven't featured yet).  Or the soft blue TGV shawl that is so comforting and a mindless knit.  But my hands are cramping a bit, especially when I work on my sock with tiny needles, a Christmas gift.  But I work a bit on it every day and it's slowly getting there.  My favorite is the TGV shawl I started.  Simple garter, of course.  I love it because it's so soft and I can read while I knit.  Pattern - TGV Shawl and project page with notes - TGV Shawl.

     My Beach Hair Don't Care hairband has really grown, but that's after repeated rip outs.  I finally saw someone on the Facebook group site Nomadic Knits Beach Hair Don't Care KAL do a "lifeline".  I never heard of that before, but now I've got one in to mark the start of a lace set.  I really haven't done lace before.  This is good practice and I love the hairband, but lace, I've discovered, is not my thing.  I'm so thankful the thing is narrow enough for me to try lace, but a huge project, I just can't imagine.  Project page with details - Beach Hairband.

     And the reading gets better and better.  The downside is finding another great read when I'm done.  I just finished "Still Me" by Jojo Mojos and I absolutely loved it.  Perfect. Perfect ending. Endearing, funny and inspirational at times (Goodreads synopsis and review).  I was unaware it was the third book of a series and I'll have to get into the previous ones.  But meanwhile searching my bookcases (and kindle) and I'm stumped where to go on to.  I have a Book of The Month selection due to arrive any second - "The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock" and I'm trying to wait for that since my previous books from them have been awesome (Book of the Month).

     In the meantime, I've been listening to one of my favorite books I read years ago on Audible - "Into The Wilderness" by Sara Donati.  It takes place in the 1790's in Upstate New York in a fictional town that would be in The Adirondack preserve if it existed.  A romance between a newly arrived English schoolmarm from the upper crust.  She is immediately drawn to a woodsman who grew up in the wilds, had previously married a Mohawk woman and lost her in childbirth. He raises their daughter, as he straddles the worlds of the whites and the American Indian.  Lovely book and the start of a generational series.

      And lastly, to keep me busy until my book arrives I started reading "Fear" by Bob Woodward, sure to be a great hit and wake-up call.  I can't wait for this new book "The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock", it sounds like a cross between fantasy and historical fiction and after reading just a bit of "Fear" I can tell I'm going to need some real lets-get-lost fiction to read in-between the stark reality found in "Fear".    

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