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Friday, April 21, 2023


Grandmother's Green Sweater
DK Coutant was a Cross-Cultural Psychologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo studying people and their cultural differences. But after many happy years, she wanted a challenge and made the move out of academics to write mysteries and forecast geopolitical events. Evil Alice and the Borzoi is her first published work of fiction. Learn more about DK at her website

My protagonist, Cleo Cooper hasn’t discovered the joy of fiber crafts yet. She is more of an outdoorsy type. So today, I’m going to grab the spotlight and write about my love of fiber crafts.


My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a little girl. She was a dedicated knitter, and I still wear sweaters she made for me. But back then, I only knitted when I visited her, to bond with her. When she died while I was in graduate school, I put my knitting away for twenty years.  

But once my career was established and our kids left for college, I picked knitting up again. I’d forgotten most of what my grandmother had taught me, but thanks to Google, I managed long rectangles of beautiful wool yarn, otherwise known as scarves. I lived in Hawaii at the time, so unfortunately, we didn’t have much use for wool scarves. After a couple for me and my husband, I sent them off to our kids. Only one of our  daughters lived in cold weather, and our family soon hit scarf-fatigue. But I found I was semi-addicted to the scarf-knitting. I would get restless watching TV and needed something to do with my hands while I relaxed in the evening. 

Luckily a couple of the girls got married. Yay! Husbands I could foist a scarf upon!


Then babies, more Yays! I could knit my rectangles and crochet them together along the sides and… Voila! Baby blankets. That was fun and kept me busy for months instead of weeks.


The first 3 grandchildren were boys, and wow, I quickly learned those adorable little urchins could be destructive!

As much as I loved my knitting, it seemed wasteful to use all that beautiful yarn for projects that were no longer useful to me or the people I loved. Fortunately, one day I visited a friend with a lovely needlepoint cushion. I asked her about it, and she said her grandmother had made it. That brought back memories of my grandmother. I didn’t think she would mind if I moved from knitting to a different fiber craft. A little more Google-sleuthing and I found wonderful kits with all the yarn and color-coded backing I’d need to complete a project. They were not cheap, but when I compared them to what I used to spend on my luxurious yarn, it wasn’t THAT much more expensive. 

Well, yes, actually it was.


For a week I dithered over whether to spend the money on a needlepoint project. Fortunately (for my crafting project), that same week, I had a mishap on a ski slope and (unfortunately for my ankle), broke a bone. It wasn’t a bad break, but I was told to stay off it for a few months. That night I bought two needlepoint projects. It was a great investment. With all that time on my hands and frustrated with not being able to walk, I slowly but surely put together a lovely needlepoint that could be turned into a pillow. 


Work in Progress
To my delight, needlepoint takes me MUCH longer than knitting, so the floral needle point kept me busy while my broken ankle healed and for almost a year after that. I found a lovely person who would turn it into a pillow for me (Contact me at my website if you want her name) So when I calculated the extra expense for needle point supplies and pillow- assembly- assistance, and divided it by the long, long, loooong time it keeps be busy, and contentedly occupied, it is a bargain.


So I now have a completed pillow to commemorate my broken ankle, and I am still working on the pillow I started at the beginning of Covid (so I guess on the third year now?)

These pillows may make an appearance in a future Cleo Cooper mystery, so keep your eyes out for it!


Evil Alice and the Borzoi

A Cleo Cooper Mystery, Book 1


Evil Alice and the Borzoi is a not-too-dark, but not-too-light mystery set in Hawaii. Cleo Cooper, a cross-cultural psychology professor, is living the dream on the Big Island of Hawaii. With ocean-dipping weekends, she enjoys her dog, her job, and her boyfriend Ben - until the day she’s on a research vessel and a dead body is caught in the dragline. The police determine it is murder and set their sights on a gentle former student, Kai. It doesn’t take much urging from Kai’s auntie for Cleo to investigate.  But Ben grows distant, and Cleo’s dog grows ill. A couple of accidental deaths later and someone makes an attempt on her life. What happened to Cleo’s life in paradise? Can she discover the true killer? Can she stop the killer before the killer stops her?

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DK Coutant said...

Thanks for having me. It was fun to walk down the memory lane of my craft projects!

Carolyn Meinel said...

I read Evil Alice and loved it. Warning: be prepared to stay up almost all night with it because I tried going to bed without finishing it but couldn't stand the suspense. I finally got to sleep around dawn, but only after finishing it. Also, I read it twice because of its luscious and humorous scenes.

Unknown said...

I loved Evil Alice. It was a great read.

I used to make baby sweaters for my niece and also made one for a boyfriend. I used to love to knit. I've done needlepoint too, but I prefer knitting.

DK Coutant said...

Aww, thanks Carolyn Meinel, I'm so glad you liked Evil Alice and the Borzoi.

DK Coutant said...

Dear Unknown, I'm so glad you like Evil Alice and the Borzoi! And kudos to you for the skills to make a baby sweater. I could never manage something that complicated. Good for you:)

Unknown said...


Lois Winston said...

You're welcome, DK! Come back any time.