Unraveled Wednesday | 9.23.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.23.20

It has been hard to “get back into reality” even with just a few days away. But going anywhere in these Pandemic Times is a challenge, right? Our trip to Erie was no exception, we both worried about staying *any* place…even with the “enhanced cleaning” Airbnb suggests… So we brought pillows from home, and I “cleaned” the clean house when we arrived. I also got out all the dishes we might use over the weekend and washed them all before we used anything. Silly? Probably, but it allayed the fears a little. I also worried for the cleaning people who would come to clean after we left, so we cleaned the house again before we left on Sunday. The one bonus about going to an Airbnb is that there are no “tchotchke’s” on every flat surface, so it was not such a onerous task! Ha!

Knitting though, took an absolute back seat! I knit a bit in the car going to Erie and coming home but outside of that I did not pick up my knitting once so I don’t have much progress to show for the week! I was going to start a pair of socks for Winston, but I have yet to cast them on and there has been zero sleeve knitting either. My hope is today that I will find some knitting time. Wish me luck!

However, I do have a completed Avery 2.0 Vest… and gosh, it is just so stinking cute! I can hardly wait to see Win in it!

The reading this week included two powerful but unbelievably different books! Each excellent in their own way. The first will not be for everyone, and that is fine. But Hamnet. Yeah… get this book and read it. This book is exactly what your autumn reading list needs!

Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the USDear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US by Lenny Duncan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read several faith-style books this year about how to be a better person/ally, but this is the first book I have read that addresses the “elephant in the room” in a frank, and at times, brutally honest way. Duncan’s perspective might be uncomfortable, but it is so necessary.

The church is political. Feeding the homeless is radical. Marriage is radical when it’s offered to everyone and blessed by clergy. God’s justice is radical. Centering the oppressed is radical. Our task is not so much to reject politicism as it is to reject evil. The message of Jesus is radical and political.

This book will not be for everyone, but if you are looking for someone to tell you hard truths, this is the book for you!

HamnetHamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read rave reviews of this book, and every one of them is absolutely right… this is a phenomenal book! The writing is just so damned excellent! The story is so incredibly engaging! This was a book that was easy to lose myself in and each chapter was better than the one before! The ending though, oh my gosh, wow! This is a book you cannot read without a tissue box near by…trust me on this!

Is this the best book I have read all year? While I absolutely loved this book, it did not unseat Apeirogon for me, but it is a very close second!

I urge you to get this book today and start reading!


On a more urgent note, I got an email from Allegheny County letting me know my ballot is on its way! But, are you registered to vote? Are all your friends and family registered to vote? Have you made your plan to vote? I have! I will be filling out my ballot and hand delivering it to a drop off location! We need to vote like our lives depend on it because, sadly, I think they do! And the clock is ticking, we are just 41 days away!!

That is all I have for this week, as always if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below.


Unraveled Wednesday | 9.16.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.16.20

This week’s knitting was a brief interlude from sleeve knitting, because I finally got some Winston Measurements from my daughter! So before he grows any more, I picked up his Avery 2.0 Vest! The front is done, and the back is almost done! Which means I will just have to join the shoulders, seam the sides, and add a wee bit of sleeve/neck edging and it can be on its way to Michigan so it can get some wear this fall/winter! And once that is done, it will be all sleeves, all the time, promise! Ha!

This week, I am sharing my top five books of the summer… and picking just five has been so.hard! I read so many good books! And although SAH Bingo started way back on April 1st, my time frame starts June 1st and ends August 31st. All books here got a 5-star rating and they are books I have not stopped thinking about since I read them because the best books stay with you…amirite?

I had never read George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss (you can read my review here) and after immersing myself in 19th century life in England, I am so very glad I picked up this book. It is a book that I continue to think about, especially Maggie and her life. And while I do not live in England, nor is it the 19th century…it is easy to draw parallels with life for women today in this book. Also, it was marvelous to “escape” to England and settle in to the community on the Floss for a few hours each day, because this book was a very good reminder of how books can take us on a journey, even when we cannot go anywhere! If you have not read Mill on the Floss, I highly recommend it!

 

 

I simply adore Louise Erdrich, and The Night Watchman (my review here) did not disappoint. It is based on her grandfather’s life and I love, love, love Louise’s characters so much. They are so interesting and memorable! I knew absolutely nothing about the 1953 Indian Emancipation Act, but Louise piqued my curiosity to learn more after reading her book. It is no surprise that, as a nation, we have a long history of taking advantage of just about everyone – including Native Americans. This was a book that I simply could not put down, and loved Louise reading to me! I highly recommend any of Louise’s books, but this one especially!

 

This summer I tried to “read outside of my comfort zone” and pick up books I might normally pass by for a mystery… I had never read anything by Zora Neale Hurston and that is a sad thing to confess. Their Eyes Were Watching God (my review here) was the perfect introduction to this prolific author! This book takes you back to the 30’s and immerses you in the life of Janie Crawford. Hurston does a magnificent job of clearly showing you Janie’s world and all its faults through her eyes. Her writing is lyrical, almost poetic, and listening to Ruby Dee read the story was exactly perfect! I highly recommend this book!

 

What would any summer be without reading any Ian McEwan? Boring, I think… horribly boring! The Innocent (my review here) is a quick read… only 242 pages, but those pages are just packed full of twists, turns, and all the unexpected! And don’t let the title fool you, the characters are absolutely not innocent at all! The story revolves around post-WWII Germany, with Berlin being newly divided. There is a bit of espionage and some highly dysfunctional characters! And the ending… oh boy!

 

 

 

Finally, with a book I just finished under the wire, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (my review here). Another book I am ashamed to admit I had never even considered reading. The nameless narrator – the invisible man – tells a story that could be about life today, although this book was written in the 50’s. It is a compelling story, and it felt so real. I truly could not stop listening – a key factor in my deciding how “good” a book is, well this one was even better. Again, I highly recommend this book… the audio version especially, Joe Morton’s narration is excellent!

 

 


So there you have it, five books you should absolutely consider reading this fall!

And that is all I have for this week! I will be back next week in time for Unraveled Wednesday. As always, if you wrote a post, please leave your link below and thank you!


Unraveled Wednesday | 9.9.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.9.20

In retrospect, Gentle Readers, I should have done 1 more repeat of the patterning. In the end, rather than rip back 10 rows of ribbing, I just forged ahead and did an extra inch of 1×1 ribbing… Sigh. At no point in time did I ever try the body on to see how the length was. Yep, that’s right… not once. I went by the photo images on the pattern, and knit to the specified length from the under arm. Lesson for savvy knitters… always, always, always try the sweater on! Especially when the end result means additional inches of 1×1 ribbing… on US size 4’s with lace weight yarn. Anyways, I think the extra ribbing will be fine and most certainly will not roll or fold up, so there is that benefit. Today, I am working through picking up stitches around the fronts to knit the applied I-cord front/neck bands. Umm, I generally don’t mind picking up stitches. I usually do some knitty math to figure out my pick-up ratio and go. This time, the ratio has been calculated for me, but boy howdy… this fabric is not the easiest for picking up stitches! So I am armed with bright light and a good audiobook to keep me company with the task. I confess, I am a bit nervous about picking up stitches around the arm holes… I don’t know how that will work and in my mind, it has all manners of disaster written all over it. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and I welcome any and all helpful tips, suggestions, and/or knitterly mojo you’d care to send my way!!

But, challenging knitting aside… it was a summer for reading accomplishments and so many good books! Perhaps the best thing that all these books brought me was the expansion of my horizons through my reading. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I finished my second SAH Bingo Coverall! (A reminder of my first SAH Bingo Coverall) I also finished my first “post-bingo” books this week! Yay!

  1. Month or day of the week Season in the title (yes, I swapped this season for “month or day of the week,” but my card – my rules): The Summer Book
  2. Part of a series: The Lewis Man
  3. Told from more than two different points of view: The House of the Spirits
  4. Prize-winning author (but not prize-winner): The Night Watchman
  5. Collection of poetry: The Rain in Portugal
  6. Recommended by a friend: The Things We Cannot Say
  7. By and  author on your current year favorites list: The Chessmen
  8. Historical fiction: The Good Lord Bird
  9. Blurbed by someone you admire: Tightrope
  10. Set in a different season: The Innocent (I loosely translated this to the Cold War season)
  11. Bird or animal on the cover: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
  12. Latest book by an author your love: Afterlife
  13. Any book: Counting Descent
  14. Recommended in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide (any year): The Sweet Life in Paris
  15. Originally published in the 20th century: Invisible Man
  16. Re-read a childhood/YA favorite: Stuart Little
  17. Recommended on a podcast: Intimations: Six Essays
  18. Children’s Classic: Wind in the Willows
  19. On a friend’s favorites shelf: Upstream
  20. Chosen by a celebrity the PBS/NYTimes bookclub (at any time): The Street
  21. About a homecoming: Their Eyes Were Watching God
  22. By a new-to-you author: The Rain in Portugal
  23. Person on the cover: Disappearing Earth
  24. Audiobook with one narrator: Song Yet Sung
  25. About travel: So Brave, So Young, So Handsome

Stuart LittleStuart Little by E.B. White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read this book dozens of times… alone as an early reader and out loud to my children before bed. The escapades of Stuart are simply wonderful. The joy of having it read to me, though was entirely unexpected! I could immerse myself in my inner child and lose my self in Stuart’s story. I highly recommend this audio version!

Breathe: A Letter to My SonsBreathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful companion to Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me. The writing is poetic and haunting. The view into the mother/son relationship is poignant, in a world where black boys are not safe in most places. Perry does a beautiful job of putting the reader in her shoes. I highly recommend this book.

The Wind in the Willows: IllustratedThe Wind in the Willows: Illustrated by Kenneth Grahame
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If it is at all possible, I think re-reading this as an adult made this book better. Or perhaps it is the time we are living in… the concerns of coronavirus, the worry about the political climate, the desire for racial justice. And for a few hours, I was able to escape all that to life with Mole and Ratty. A place where differences are not bad, where everyone is welcome, and where the ability to just head out to no where is absolutely okay. The writing is profound… with lots of adult nuggets tucked away! I highly recommend getting lost in the Willows!

Memorial Drive: A Daughter's MemoirMemorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A painful, yet moving memoir of a daughter trying to make sense of her mother’s life and death. I was left with many questions, as I think Trethewey intended… because she still has questions. The story is chilling and heartbreaking.

 

And that is all I have for today! If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below, and thank you!


Unraveled Wednesday | 9.2.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.2.20

A brief dip into autumnal temperatures were enough to spur me on to pick up my Evening Dew Cardigan and a bit of knitting over the weekend while watching The Peanut Butter Falcon and an episode or two of Silent Witness and I find myself less than one repeat away from the bottom ribbing! I am stunned that it still looks (and feels) like I have barely used any of the Briar Rose Fibers Angel Face! (sadly, this yarn is now discontinued, I think Sea Pearl would work well in this sweater, especially with a strand of mohair!)

I am also ready to start arm decreases on the vest for Winston! But, I am a bit concerned about the size so I am waiting for my daughter to give me a measurement before going further…knitting holding pattern FTW. lol

Fortunately, my reading has not been in a holding pattern at all! This is the week that I achieved a coverall on my first SAH Bingo Card! I listened to a version of The Hobbit earlier this summer, and it was good, but nothing compares to reading Bilbo’s tale. I had previously read the book the summer I was 12 years old… and I fell in love with dear Bilbo and Gandalf. Imagine my delight in discovering that 47 years later The Hobbit was still just as magical!

My 25 books from card one:

  1. Collection of Poetry: Columbarium
  2. Originally published in the 20th century: The Hobbit
  3. Recommended by a friend: 10 Thousand Doors of January
  4. Borrowed: Shadow Pass
  5. Set in the state where you live: An American Childhood
  6. Bird or animal on the cover: Late Migrations
  7. About religion: Entering the Passion of Jesus
  8. Classic: The Mill on the Floss
  9. Collection of essays: New Poets of Native Nations (okay, loosely essays, but absolutely a collection!)
  10. Best-seller: Say Nothing
  11. By a new-to-you author: The Unquiet Dead
  12. Debut: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
  13. Any book (free square): The Spendid and the Vile
  14. Set in a place you’d like to vacation: Mourning in Malmö
  15. Number in the title: Victim 2117
  16. Translation: Smilla’s  Sense of Snow
  17. Originally published in the 19th century: Leaves of Grass
  18. Comfort Read: Tartine Bread (literally, a comfort food read!)
  19. Retelling: The Crane Wife
  20. Memoir or autobiography: Dept. of Speculation (again, loosely, but a memoir was how this read for me)
  21. Audiobook with multiple narrators: The Hobbit, presented by BBC Radio
  22. Sub-title on the cover: Eye of the Red Tsar: A Novel of Suspence
  23. Recommended on a podcast: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
  24. Chosen by a celebrity bookclub (at any time): American Dirt
  25. About a person with a disability: Hot Milk (The main character did not have a disability, but her mother did)

Invisible ManInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a book I could not stop listening to. What astounded me most was how this book written a lifetime ago, was unbelievably relevant today… scarily so. That made me so sad, that nothing has changed. Ellison writes a compelling story that seems so realistic. I highly recommend this audio version, the narrator – Joe Morton – was fantastic. I highly recommend this book!

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious-and Perplexing-CityThe Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious-and Perplexing-City by David Lebovitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In “Pandemic Times” and no traveling, pick up this book an take a journey to Paris. Lebovitz’s Parisian escapades are a balm to a shelter-in-place spirit. From learning French, to visiting a doctor, to discovering the local flavors… it gives the reader a feeling of being there, in the best way!

And with the above two finishes, I am left with just two books to complete my second coverall! Those books? Wind in the Willows, which I am reading at night and am about half way through and Stuart Little, which I should be finished with later today! That will put me at 50 books read since Book Bingo started way back in April!

How about you? Is your project in a holding pattern? Is your reading exceedingly good? What are you excited about for the fall to bring?

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


Unraveled Wednesday | 8.26.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.26.20

Thanks to LONG audiobooks, I have gotten in some good knitting time this week! And voilà, I have a completed Ranunculus! It needs a wash, but I am wearing it today and it is perfect. Shorter sleeves FTW! I also started a new vest for Winston (No page yet, but the pattern is Avery 2.0 by ML Eagan). I did not get gauge, but I liked the fabric I got in my swatch, so I am knitting the smallest size (and will end up with a 12 month sized vest!)

I also began the process of cutting out mask pieces for some “assembly line sewing”

This week’s reading, oh my! I am feeling a sense of urgency about SAH Summer Bingo… I am 5 squares away from two coveralls. 5 squares. I have plotted out my course (Stuart Little, Wind in the Willows, Invisible Man, The Hobbit, and The Sweet Life In Paris) Fingers crossed that the library holds for Stuart Little and Wind in the Willows will come through before Labor Day…and if they do, then I think I can do it! All the others are either in progress or waiting in the wings!

My finishes this week were so, so, so good! And for as long as The House of the Spirits was, the others were short and deliciously sweet!

The House of the SpiritsThe House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book very much. The lyrical writing, the telling from two perspectives, and the story all combined to create an engrossing listen. The ending though… yes, this could absolutely be about what is happening today. (History does repeat itself, sadly.) The two narrators were wonderful! I recommend this book!

Counting DescentCounting Descent by Clint Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This debut book of poetry was absolutely perfect and listening to Clint read his poems made them even more so! There were so many poems I loved, but one that has stuck with me is “What the cicada said to the brown boy” and these words especially:

but every time you swarm they shoot
get you some wings, son
get you some wings

I highly recommend this little book!

Upstream: Selected EssaysUpstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With every Mary Oliver book, I love her more and more and this book is no exception! It is a short book, but it is so full of being aware. It reflects on “great thinkers” and her responsibility. She shares her love of nature, and the wonder of the world around us. I highlighted so many parts! So many incredible words, but these I have written in my journal:

For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.

I highly recommend this book!

Intimations: Six EssaysIntimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do I even begin to explain how deeply these essays moved me. How they made me think. How they made me cringe. How they made me angry.

6 timely, moving, and necessary essays to shake up your world. And, trust me… you need Zadie to shake it up.

Amid the great swath of indiscriminate death, some old American distinctions persist. Black and Latino people are now dying at twice the rate of white and Asian people. More poor people are dying than rich.

Untimely death has rarely been random in these United States. It has usually had a precise physiognomy, location and bottom line. For millions of Americans, it’s always been a war.

JUST BEFORE THE global shit hit the fan, we were in a long, involved cultural conversation about “privilege.”…privilege and suffering have a lot in common. They both manifest as bubbles, containing a person and distorting their vision. But it is possible to penetrate the bubble of privilege and even pop it—whereas the suffering bubble is impermeable….

If this book is not on your “must read” list, it should be. I highly recommend.


That is all I have to unravel for you all! As always, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below.


In a little bit of housekeeping, the last couple of weeks there have been some “spammy” posts linked. I am trying to monitor them and remove them when I see them. Last week there was also some issues with people leaving links, I am not sure why that is happening, but if you can’t leave a link via the link up, please leave your link in your comment. If the problems persist (i.e. the spammy posts, and the issues leaving links) I will look at the future of a link up. I just wanted to make you all aware of whats been going on. 

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.19.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.19.20

Swatching for something new for Winston has begun. ML Egan kindly asked me to test knit Avery, a vest that she published 10 years ago! I will be knitting two of them… one at a fingering weight, and one with DK yarn. A vest should go quickly, as long as I can get gauge! (FYI… I am no longer linking to Ravelry for any patterns I mention here. I will give you the pattern name and if you use Ravelry, you can search it yourself. I will continue to do this until Ravelry is accessible to everyone.)

Yesterday I finished weaving in all these ends of my little Leland and it then got a nice spa treatment. Today I will pick some buttons to stitch in place and then it is off to Michigan! I can’t wait to see Winston modeling it! He is growing like a weed and, I predict, will be wearing this sweater soon!

I also have re-ignited my love for Ranunculus… I am almost done with the body and will soon be on the last sleeve and wearing it shortly! It will be perfect for these waning summer into early fall days. The mornings have had a delicious cool feeling to them, making a sweater the perfect garden/dog walk companion. One thing I did very well in this Ranunculus version… no ends to weave in! Yes, you read that right! Kestrel is a knitted tube, so I have been able to make the most ingenious Russian join, leaving me with no ends to deal with. I am kicking myself that I did not do that on my first one!

This week I read two of the most diametrically opposed books ever, lol! But both were so good! So. Good!

The Good Lord BirdThe Good Lord Bird by James McBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Come and listen to the life of Henry Shackleford. James McBride makes you stop and think… and to question what you believe. I agree with others who said that parts of this book dragged a bit, but the ending… oh my. It is spectacular! I highly recommend this book!

The InnocentThe Innocent by Ian McEwan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The curious mind of Ian McEwan never fails to amaze. This book though… I did not see so much coming! Wow! And the irony of the title was not lost on me! If you are looking for a quick read with lots of unexpected twists and turns… read this book! I have not stopped thinking about it and would love to read this book with a book club!

That is all I have for today, as always if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below!


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