Unraveled Wednesday | 10.27.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.27.21

Greetings Unravelers!

Though it pains me to say it, welcome to the final Wednesday in October. I am in a bit of shock that the month raced by as rapidly as it did.

This week, I have practically nothing on the knitting front to share… nary a stitch was knit on that sweater but I did start a pair of Socks for Big Foot… from handspun… and I am loving the start! (Big Foot has seen them and so I can share a photo here! lol) I am not using a pattern…I started out by casting on 72 stitches, but that was too big so I ripped it out and tried 68 stitches which was still too big… rippppp again! I settled on 64 stitches and that was just right! Who knew Big Foot and Goldilocks were related! LOL

The other thing I did was some spinning this weekend… it was rainy, dark, and cold. So I queued up Granchester on my PBS app and started the “engine” on my Daedalus Sparrow. I finished As Natural as Aspartame and while I waited for that last bobbin to rest, I started spinning this! Oh man, is it lovely fiber…Buoy in Seafoam from Hipstrings. I am stunned that I got an entire 4 ounces on one bobbin. I have not started this next braid, but I am eager to get going on it!

On Monday afternoon, my treat for finishing my “list” was to ply the pinkish-purplish yarn. It was the first time I plied anything on my Sparrow and I am in love! Once I got the hang of it, the ONLY thing I had to think about was how much twist was going into the yarn. No treadles to count, no concerns about treadle speed changing… I set the speed and plied. I need more practice on starting and stoping while plying, and evenly filling the bobbin but I am a convert to an electric spinner! I got some excellent yardage as well… 376 yards of 3-ply yarn! I see a pair of socks for me in my future!

A slow reading week…but some very good reads! And I am *almost* done with Suzanne Simard’s book, Finding the Mother Tree. I am not rushing through it… it is just so fascinating!

The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police, #5)The Devil’s Cave by Martin Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bruno is back with the perfect mystery for October! There are some mysterious goings on in St. Denis and fortunately, Bruno is there to gather clues. He has a new pup, which makes me happy… and he is trying to figure out his personal life.

I love solving these crimes with Bruno… Walker unveils them bit by bit. And, the ambiance of St. Denis with it’s quirky inhabitants, and delicious food and wine… it is the most lovely place to settle into for a bit!

Three Sisters (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #3)Three Sisters by Heather Morris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in The Tattooist of Auschwitz story, and while there is a brief interlude with Lale, the book is really about three sisters – Cibi, Magda, and Livia – and their lives. It is a compelling story and while the horrors of Nazi Germany are part of the story, but really the story is about the relationships of these sisters and the promise they made to their father.

The story is beautifully told, poignant, and a compelling listen. (Excellent narration by Finty Williams, by the way!)

I loved how this story went far beyond the concentration camps to their immigration to Israel and their lives there. I highly recommend this story!

I want to thank NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

What about you? What has captured your attention this week? A good book? A great pattern? Please share!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.20.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.20.21

Autumn has been teasing us this week with cooler mornings that give way to mild afternoons. I am soaking up each and every moment of these most welcome days!

Has my Knitting Mojo returned? Well… there is a finished Gnorwen (who has been delivered to Steve’s mom already!) But knit a sweater mojo? I am still waiting for that to show up!

In the mean time…there is a thing I simply cannot get out of my head! A variation on this theme (Ravelry link) but a rectangular variation… knit from plötulopi yarn. I need to do some swatching to see how this will all work out but luckily I have some yarn in my stash I can do some swatching with! I need to determine a width and how many flowers might fit. I am thinking about two options:

  1. Option one: Three full flowers on one “row” and two full flowers with a half on each edge of the alternating “row” or
  2. Option two: Knit the “border” pattern… as an all over pattern.

Stay tuned for some swatching to see what I like best!

And I have begun some super secret Advent Calendar sewing… When I think of the whole thing together, it seems a bit overwhelming, so I have broken it down into parts to work on over the next three weeks. I will share photos once the it has been delivered to the recipients!

Now how about a long overdue book update?!

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper TogetherThe Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What to read when you think you are a “good ally” but in reading you discover that you still have a long way to go to even get to being a good ally.

This is a hard book to listen to (and I listened to Heather read it to me) it is full of gut-punches. To think about the phrase “cut your nose off to spite your face” is the reality of this book. Rather than do the right thing… the moral thing… we as a nation have chosen to do the wrong thing too many times to count… and have chosen to do it almost always to our own detriment.

Heather lays out a very clear roadmap of the systemic racism that has long been the foundation of this nation (and, sadly, is still its guiding principle today.)

I highly recommend this as must read material!

The Crowded Grave (Bruno, Chief of Police #4)The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had originally given this book 3-stars, but my disappointment in it is great. I have been scratching my head wondering how this pleasant little novel, set in the loveliest setting, could jump the shark so badly. I have since downgraded it to 2-stars but with a huge caution… the dog dies.

I do not recommend this installment in the Bruno series for that reason.

The English Girl (Gabriel Allon, #13)The English Girl by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you ask me which story from the Allon series did Gabriel hit is stride… it will be this book. Gosh, it was just so good seeing the culmination of all the work from the previous novels finally settle into place… and finally for Gabriel to be comfortable with that culmination.

As always, Allon’s wisdom and smarts are the best bits of the writing. And coming closely behind that are the relationships he builds with those around him and how he never, ever holds a grudge.

The Narrowboat SummerThe Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an entirely charming and completely unexpected little book. The characters are lovely, the relationships they form are touching, and where they each start is not where they finish.

The power of friendship is an incredible thing!

I highly recommend this book!

What about you? What is calling you this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.13.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.13.21

There was barely a stitch knit during my time away. It is the longest I have gone without knitting that I can remember… well, since before I became a knitter!

I attempted to remedy that knitting void upon my return but things like laundry and groceries jumped to the top of the list… however, I did manage to get a wee start on All Work, Gnome Play (which seems like the most appropriate name for a Gnome-Along and I finagled an afternoon for some Gnome Play yesterday and managed to get to “clue 4” and a million miles of I-cord!)

Despite the lack of knitting there was LOTS and LOTS of making in my time away! Making of the most marvelous sort… memory making! My brain and my heart are just so full of all that happened. I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite memories from our visit to Michigan!

  1. Knock-knock jokes with Vivi… I need to find a Christmas Joke book for her. I am happy to report she is a voracious reader!
  2. Learning that there was Nana Egg Pricing… $1 for a dozen eggs from Vivi’s chickens. (Price for all others… at least $175 a dozen…LOL)
  3. That first moment that Winston first put his arms up to get some Nana Snuggles… it took 2 days, but once the dam broke it was such a sweet joy!
  4. Wrangling Kitties with Vivi… what fun! (This was a daily occurrence that happened before dinner!)
  5. Answering all the “wats’at’s” from Winston! (I think Heidi especially liked that he found a new person to ask! lol)
  6. Checking on Vivi’s wiggly tooth each day… boy that sucker just is hanging on for dear life!
  7. Playing games… practically, non-stop… with Vivi. Whew, each night I’d practically collapse into bed!
  8. My daughters very finicky 15 year old cat, Hippo, falling in love with Steve shocked us all… Hippo does not like anyone but Heidi (and now Steve, lol)

It was just an amazing time away… I did not look at my laptop, my calendar… anything! It was great but I am desperately trying to “get back to real life” this week. I am doing okay at the laptop reintroduction… but the calendar? Hoo boy… the struggle is real, but I am trying!

I know I have a little bit of a book update to give you all but I just have not been able to organize my thoughts (past doing this blog post that is! lol) to write a review of the few things I have finished reading… they are coming! I promise!

That is all I have for today! What about you? How have you all been?

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

See you all back here on Friday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.29.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.29.21

Hello, Unravelers!

Last week there was little to no making because we were gone for 10-ish days. (There was some sewing and the elastic waist band insertion and hemming of said sewing is on my list for today!)

This week there has been little to no making because we leave Friday for Michigan for 10-ish days. So there are all the things to get ready to go again… plus some extras for the grands!

So what do I have to share with you all this week? Just a passel of freshly laundered hand-knits! Monday was just glorious here in Pittsburgh and I took full advantage of the day. I washed 10 sweaters and one Clapotis and the best part… I dried them all outside. The winds really helped and by the time I was ready to cook dinner, they were all dried!

Maintaining making is more important than the making, right? This week that’s my story! LOL

The reading this week was just so good!

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #17)The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone is back in Three Pines and life could not be better! Or can it? This installment takes us places Gamache and crew have never gone. It was fascinating watching everyone work out the moral dilemma…for some it seemed easy, for others… well, it was some work.

Timely (although I wish we, like Three Pines, were done with COVID!) and thought provoking.

The Fallen Angel (Gabriel Allon, #12)The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was much happier with this installment of the Allon escapades! He is working on restoring some artwork for The Vatican… and of course someone dies. And that leads Gabriel and his team on a twisting, turning mission. But are they all connected? You must read to find out.

I liked the ending very much and it appears that Gabriel and Chiara are heading back to Israel for good!

I highly recommend this series!

That is all I have for this week… and sadly next week there will be no Unraveled Wednesday. I will be in Michigan making up for lost time with my family.

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave you link below and thank you! See you all back here on  Wednesday, October 13th!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.22.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.22.21

Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. — George Eliot

Greetings AUTUMN!! (And, Greetings, Unravelers!) My most favorite season officially arrives this afternoon… despite the plethora of pumpkin spice things that have been in coffee shops near us all. I love fall and I am hoping that its arrival brings my Knitting Mojo with it.

Yes, my Knitting Mojo seems to have up and departed and I am a trifle worried about how long it has been gone! I did not do much knitting in the week before we headed to Erie because I had a long-assed list of “to-do’s” that needed to be “all-done” before we left. I did bring knitting on the trip, but the only knitting I did was a few rounds on Sunday when Steve watched the Steeler’s game. Other than that, I did not pick up any knitting at all during vacation.

Yesterday afternoon, when the last load of laundry was in the washer I made myself a nice cuppa and got my knitting…. and nothing. I struggled to settle in with the rhythm of the mindless stockinette and I started to have some worries about having enough yarn…so I started a sleeve to see how much yarn that would take but I only lasted until my coffee was done and I have not picked up my knitting since. I am not sure what the issue is because I have no burning desire to cast on a new project, which is curious because FALL! It is Knitting Season… right? Anyways, if you have any spare Knitting Mojo you can send my way… I’ll gladly take it! (so you get another golden blob photo, yet again!) And today I am chaining myself to my sewing machine to do some mending that desperately needs to be done. And if I can convince myself to stay put, I hope to sew another pair of pants, which hopefully will be wildly successful because of the alterations I made! It should be a much faster sew this time as I have the pattern all cut out and ready to go and I think I will be more familiar with the pattern directions this time around!

It was a slower reading week as well (as I explained last week…vacationing with a non-reader, sigh):

Portrait Of A Spy (Gabriel Allon, #11)Portrait Of A Spy by Daniel Silva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had originally given this 5-stars, but in contemplating the book over several days… I down graded my rating to 3-stars. Book 11 in the ongoing saga of Gabriel Allon seemed to hit a bit of a hurdle (or maybe it is more like a distance runner slowing the pace a bit to be able to finish the race).

I think this book kind of “jumped the shark” a bit… Allon has been taking more of a leadership role… directing from a somewhat safe(r) place, but then suddenly… he ditches all that and the book ends up in a bit of a jumble. Previous books felt more realistic than this one did. If you are reading the Allon series… I think you could safely skip this one and move on to #12.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of PlantsBraiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this book slowly… over the course of almost 3 weeks… and still, I wished it had not ended. It is, hands-down, the best book I have had the privilege of reading this year. I listened to Kimmerer read it to me and it was excellent! I very much felt like I was listening to a dear friend share her wisdom, history, stories, and yes, her sacred world.

This book tugged at my heartstrings. It made me gasp with wonder and joy, and groan in frustration. As I listened, I could not help but be more in awe of my surroundings (I highly recommend listening to this while hiking in Presque Isle State Park… it really deepens the experience!) I have not been able to stop thinking about her writing and the things she magnificently shared.

If you read nothing else this year, read this book. If you want to better understand our relationship with the world around us, read this book. If you want to set your feet on a path to being a better steward of this world, read this book. I highly recommend it, even if you do not think you need any of those things!

What about you? How’s your Making Mojo doing these days?

That’s all I have for today, I will see you all back here on Friday!

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

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!

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