Sometimes Monday | 9.20.21

Sometimes Monday | 9.20.21

…brings a return to ‘normalcy’ with the end of a brief, but spectacular, vacation.

Normalcy… what a word, huh? Perhaps not the best since I have been feeling anything but normal these days! I confess that I have been struggling a bit recently… Feeling off-kilter. Unsettled. Unfocused. Just going through the motions. (and yes, likely a bit depressed…which don’t think I would have recognized without having read these wise words)

But I have had some amazing lifelines this week (besides all the fresh air and hiking!) I don’t know who said they had read Braiding Sweetgrass (Jane maybe?) This book has been a balm to my day. The stolen moments I spent listening to Robin Wall Kimmerer were so amazing… it almost feels like I am sitting down with a cuppa to listen to a dear friend share stories, wisdom, and anecdotes. I have about 4 more hours of listening along with my ‘normal’ Monday List (although, perhaps not so normal with what feels like a metric ton of laundry!!)… but listening to Robin will make all of that much more palatable! Ha!

I brought my laptop for the sole purpose of joining the Read With Me discussion of Unsettled Ground… I can’t express how much more a good discussion lends to the enjoyment of a book, and Bonnie, Carole, and Kym have cultivated a very good group of ladies! That discussion had me thinking about Unsettled Ground again in some surprising new ways! Thank you all for making reading so much better!

Another good thing was all that fresh air and hiking! As I shared in my IG postcards last week, we had spectacular weather – yes, we had some occasional rain during the day but it was never enough to deter us and the couple of times it rained harder at night made sleeping in an unfamiliar bed easier! We saw so many birds, which I love! I also saw a few we had not seen before, thanks to a pair of binoculars! (A Green Heron across the bay, a pair of Gray Catbirds splashing in a puddle, and two shorebirds – a Solitary Sandpiper and a Semipalmated Plover!) We perfected our “quiet walking” and came upon a deer visiting a pond. I loved how she did not bolt, but rather just eased away into the forest.

And finally, coming back home! After more than a year of Pandemic Living one might think you get sick of being home and while it was good to be away, it is even better being back home… especially back to my own bed. A good nights sleep also helps combat the off kilter feelings, for sure! (as does the return of a “normal” routine!)

And with that, I am off to get going on that Normal Routine! See you all back here on Wednesday!



Unraveled Wednesday | 9.15.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.15.21

Dear Unravelers…I have barely knit an inch of the Vanilla Sweater since we last talked, but I have spent endless hours walking in, listening to, and soaking up the beauty that is Presque Isle. I have been trying to share a few “postcards” of my day on IG, if you are interested!

One thing I did listen to this week that really made an impact on me was the On Being episode with Suzanne Simard. I wholeheartedly concur with her theory that trees communicate (and I am now on the waitlist for her new book!) There is no way to stand in the midst of a forest and not believe it. Perhaps my favorite moment this week thus far has been the wind encouraging the poplars to sing. Their wind-inspired chorus was just magnificent!

The other highpoint was watching a bald eagle effortlessly soaring over the lake… I could watch them make lazy circles in the sky for hours on end.

Steve is not a reader… at all, so I have done little to no reading this week. Sigh. But, I do have one finish to share. It is the new MED book, Entertaining Race. It was wonderful and if you have previously read any Dyson, you will enjoy enjoy his latest book. If you have not read any Dyson… this is a lovely introduction to his brilliant writing.

Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in AmericaEntertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America by Michael Eric Dyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“…a teacher who preaches, a preacher who teaches and an activist who cannot rest until all are set free.”―Senator Raphael Warnock

It is impossible to read this book and not hear Dyson speaking in your ear. This book is a collection of essays and letters, or perhaps a better description would be sermons. They are powerful, moving, and thought-provoking. Dyson doing what he does best… preaching, teaching, and putting the reader firmly on the path of activism, because you cannot read and not be motivated to do something. I simply loved the essays on Rev Al Sharpton and Dr Kendi… they filled me with such joy and my love for these two amazing gentlemen grew significantly. Dyson also introduced me to some voices that were lesser known to me – a white woman who is a bit clueless – to the phenomena that is Beyoncé.

If you desire to challenge yourself to view the world from a different perspective, this is an excellent starting point. If you feel like you have a broader perspective… this book will widen that perspective in a profound way. I highly recommend Entertaining Race.

I would like to thank Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for this ARC.

That is it for me this week… short and sweet! I will be back next Monday! Have a great week everyone!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.8.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.8.21

The making this week had a bit of “unraveling” of the sewing version… perhaps “ripping out” is a better term. I removed the waistband and removed a bit of fabric, but I could not remove as much as I needed to… so a good wash helped tremendously! Hot water and a tumble dry have made these pants a wearable muslin (albeit I still have to roll the front band a bit! lol)

I have made some adjustments to the pattern and have cut out another pair of pants… stay tuned! Things I love about the pattern... the details (the pockets, side panels, and waistband are just genius), the fit (outside of the rise, I love the wide legs… they are unbelievably comfortable… it’s like wearing pj’s!), and the fabric… (who knew that IKEA linen would be so yummy? It is a heavier weight, but perfect for pants!)

On the knitting front… no unraveling, but it does not look much changed from last week… I am still just going round and round. Thank goodness for meditative knitting!

Roughly 3-ish inches to go on the body…

I kind of fell off the ‘art wagon’ but I have not put it out of my mind. I have a picture of one of my favorite spots on Lake Erie that I have been working on. I am happy with it… my colors especially!

My inspiration…

My interpretation…

Oh… and a special someone started FIRST grade yesterday! (and I don’t think the cats went with her to school…but she tried!! lol)

Vivi… expert cat wrangler! lol

The reading this week… I bailed on a book that just was not working at all for me…The Illness Lesson. Try as I might, I could just not get into the story. Oh well, it was an easy pass as Braiding Sweet Grass became available at the library! However, the finishes I had were amazing!

The Vanishing HalfThe Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an incredible – emotional – story. I have not been able to stop thinking about it. The writing is just fantastic!

What happens when the lie becomes your reality? That is the crux of this story. Two sisters, two very separate paths, two very different outcomes.

But what about the other people living in your distorted reality?

And that is where this story leads us. I highly recommend this book!

The Rembrandt Affair (Gabriel Allon, #10)The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just when you think you know where every Allon story is going, Silva throws the most marvelous loop!

Artwork, WWII, and Swiss Banking… a painfully entwined business. But a story emerges… can the wrong be repaired?

Maybe, but not on the way you might imagine. This series is just incredible!

That is all I am going to have for this week. I am taking a little “vacation” from blogging but I will have a post next Wednesday! See you all next week!

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Friday FO(s) | 9.3.21

Friday FO(s) | 9.3.21

I am scraping the bottom of the barrel on finding anything good to post about today. Each week ends and I think how can it possibly get worse… and then it does. I am worried about where we go from here. NPR summed it up rather succinctly with these handy memes:

I think there is some significance to the number of laws that just took effect in Texas…I wonder if any of them will note the same? Also… if a Judge can give a more than 6 hour dissertation on the effing Sackler family and then agree to give them blanket immunity from future lawsuits… I mean, why even say anything? Much less the 6+ hour diatribe?

But, perhaps my most grating, irritating thing of this entire week of nonsense is the BS that Texas with the support of the SC (although my new girl crush… Sonia Sotomayor and you can read her glorious dissent in full here) pulled this week. So let me get this straight… these are the same people who want NO ONE to control what they do… i.e. no mask mandates, no vaccine mandates… you know, the “we know where we are going when we die crowd” of pro-life lunatics… yes… those same people want to control the very difficult and very personal decision a woman makes for her body. My rage level: off the freaking charts. And if you think this is just a Texas anomaly… well, this very legislation is most likely coming to your state next.

America… the Shit Show that is never-ending.

But on a mildly brighter note….I have not one but TWO finished objects to share with you!

The one bright spot this week was this… MaryJane Mucklestone’s new pattern dropped this week. And here is my duo of  Stopover Cardigans! I posted a few more photos on IG yesterday. This pattern is very detailed and well written… and it is very size inclusive! MaryJane’s genius at knitting this sweater at a much looser gauge than the yarn is typically knit creates a light, but warm fabric and, miraculously, the weather has changed dramatically and I have been wearing one of the sweaters non-stop since yesterday! I knit mine with plötulopi and lettlopi yarns, but this would be wonderful knit in a non-super wash, woolen spun yarn if you are a person who can’t abide the itchiness of the Icelandic wools. Oh… and that needle-felted steek? Brilliant times 1,000! Yes it was easy. Yes it was quick! And I love how it sort of just melds the stitches together into a nice “solid” fabric that made cutting super easy and I loved it for kind of meshing together all the floats in the color work section of the steek!

That is all I have for this week. Be kind to yourself, remember to breathe, and I will see you back here next week Wednesday  for some unraveling! (Yay for a long weekend!)

I found today’s header photo hilarious… I searched for “shit show” in Pexels and voila! Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.1.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.1.21

Greetings Unravelers and Welcome September where I am waiting for the weather to flip the switch from heat and humidity to something a few degrees cooler and less moist!

**I apologize for the poor photo quality, but I tried multiple times on Tuesday to get “natural light” photos but all the spillover rain from Ida tossed a monkey wrench in that plan.**

Sometimes the “unraveling” means cutting off a waistband from a muslin I made this week to adjust the fit. It is my first Sew House 7 pattern and while the directions provided incredible detail for adjusting fit, the rise in the front is just too long…even with the adjustments I made. I can wear them with the band rolled over, but that really only works around the house, lol. So I am going to see if removing the waistband and removing just a bit of fabric from the front of the pants will make it a muslin I can wear out of the house! Plus, it will help me with the fit on the next pair of pants I make (and I do have plans for another pair!) I hope to have images to share once I have reworked the waist. Stay tuned!

One other fun thing happened in knitting this week. I got gauge for a sweater... with both commercial yarn (I am using Rauma Finull P2) and handspun! I am in shock… honestly. In. Shock! I started the sweater with the commercial yarn and that will tell me exactly how much yarn I will use to knit… so I can determine how long my sleeves will be on the handspun version! lol. This sweater if fairly flying off the needles… I have divided the sleeves already (and knit a couple of inches of the body post photograph!)

It was a banner week for reading this week! My best read… Isabel Allende’s soon to be published book, Violeta. I was fortunate to get and ARC from Netgalley and this book will absolutely be in the top five for best reads of the year! If your library has a copy on order… get on the list to read it! It is so good!

AtonementAtonement by Ian McEwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes I just need some Ian McEwan writing in my day… this book filled that void for me – perfectly. I have not seen the movie (but after reading this book, I am not sure I want to… nothing could beat this writing…this story…and how McEwan masterfully unravels it for us)

McEwan always makes me think, and Atonement sure did. Can you ever make up for things you did…knowingly or unknowingly? It is a question that I will ponder for a long time. If you think McEwan is hit or miss… this is a hit. I listened to the audible version and the narration was excellent.

I very much recommend this book!

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her HouseHow the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a very hard read, but it is just so beautifully written. The stories are not easy to take in (and this book has triggers for rape, incest, domestic abuse/violence, prostitution, and drug use to name a few… )

The writing is what really drew me in… the stories are so compelling. I did feel that there are some superfluous characters that I did not find a connection to the stories… they could have been edited out. But it also made me think of life… we have superfluous people in our lives that do not know what is really going on in our lives… they just see the snapshot that we share.

VioletaVioleta by Isabel Allende
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Epic. Spectacular. Compelling. Allende at her best!

From the first pages, Violeta drew me in. The writing is captivating and the story is so engaging. I wanted to know ‘what’s next’ and had trouble putting it down!

This is a story of Violeta’s life… it is one very long and loving letter written to someone she deeply loves. The story includes Chilean history (which I knew very little about) and bookends the life of Violeta tucked between two pandemics. It is brilliant and I found that bit of irony so perfect and gave an incredible glimpse into the unique life Violeta lived. If you think a person cannot change, this book will show you that change is absolutely possible… you just have to want it with everything in your being.

I want to thank NetGalley, Ballantine, and Random House for this ARC and this is my unbiased review of this book.

I highly recommend it! Really… this is a must read book!

As always, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you! I will be back on Friday!

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