Unraveled Wednesday | 3.16.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.16.22

Greetings Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday! Perhaps you remember that test knit I did last month. Well, I can finally share it with you all!

I present MaryJane Mucklestone’s Lakeway Beret! As always, it is a joy to knit one of MaryJane’s patterns and this one is a color work masterpiece! I felt like I was painting with yarn as I knit away. I simply love the natural colors that MaryJane selected! It has quickly become my favorite hat! Light weight and so warm! In the rush to knit so many other hats, I had forgotten how easy fitting a tam is… and how it does not give you “hat hair”!!

Lakeway Beret in the sunset

All the details are here on my Ravelery project page. (sorry about that… beware the flashing icons as you sign in)

Aside from that, I have picked of Vera’s sock again (as you can see above!) I have the heel turned and am working my way down the foot. A finish is likely this week! Woo! (just in time for it to NOT be sock weather! hahaha)

And over the weekend, I spun up a bit of yarn to finish my Hitchhiker. It works well, I think.

It practically matches my “starting yarn”!

But this week my focus has been on sewing – pajama sewing specifically – Monday I finished started and finished the pants. Tuesday I started the top and will hopefully finish up the top today. I have the hard bits to go… the collar, the facings, and those joyous button holes! Those pajama pants pattern alterations though… perfection! They fit perfectly and I can’t wait to wear them. They are so soft and comfortable… and NO SIDE SEAMS! And that fabric… well those are from a really lovely sheet set that I got more than 20 years ago from Meijer’s in Holland, MI – at the time they carried a line of products from Katie Brown… these sheets were just divine (and I am pretty sure I bought them when they were on clearance) but then I got a different sized bed and they got packed away. I could not get rid of them because they were in such great condition. And I am so glad I did not because they are just the perfect pjs!

All ready for a collar and facings!
Complete with the original tag!

I have enjoyed sitting at my sewing machine this week. (Good thing, because I have lots of sewing still to complete! HA)The reading this week was so delightful! Two brilliant finishes! I have slowed down my reading a bit, and I am honestly enjoying it so much more. I love giving myself a bit of a pause as I read to digest what I am reading. As well as a bit of a pause when I finish a book to savor the joy that the book has brought me.

These Precious Days: EssaysThese Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is only the second book I have read by Ann Patchett, but I think I need to read all of her books!

These Precious Days is a collection of essays… and if a writer can connect with someone talking about something the reader has not done, has not experienced… and make the reader feel like they are there… or even better… makes you think that you might need to try something new, that is truly good writing.

That is exactly how Patchett made me feel… even though I had not done (or had no interest in) some of the things she talked about, she packed my bags and brought me along… and I had so much fun.

I highly recommend this book! Really… you need more Patchett in your life!

Cloud Cuckoo LandCloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! What an incredible story!!

I had my doubts as I started out…it took me a bit to figure out the characters and the times, but once I figured out who was who and when they were. I just followed the trail that Doerr led me on… twists and turns, for sure… so pay attention, but you will not be disappointed in how this ends.

My favorite character… Zeno. Oh my gosh, Zeno! And Omeir… he really worked his way into my heart.

If you want to go on an epic journey with a book, about people who love a book… read this book!

I highly, highly recommend!

And there you have my making. What about you? What is filling your week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Happy Wednesday, Unravelers!

I do not have a whole lot of making to share with you all this week. I do have an almost finished gnome (the hat needs a wee bit of steam.) But my March Never Not Gnoming installment is finished. Oh, Gnome You Didn’t. Meet Gnellie…and my back story for her is that she is the younger sister of Gnutmeg (the family resemblance is amazing!) and her Gnana gnits and spins – thus her darling handspun scarf! Ha! Confession time… I have not had so much fun knitting as I have making these Gnomes. I am contemplating my April installment. (And for those wondering, yes I have knit Gnellie before – for Steve’s mom… I am so happy to have my own Gnellie on my mantle now!)

I have also been slowly adding “teeth” to my Hitchhiker but I have not picked up my second sock at all this week…and that means there have been no mistakes made! haha!

It has been a quiet week of reading here as well (sort of) I somehow forgot to cancel an audiobook hold when the physical book came through… so imagine my surprise when I got the notification that The Sentence audiobook was available! And loving Louise Erdrich as much as I do the opportunity to listen to her read The Sentence was just too great to pass up (perhaps forgetting to cancel that hold was not a mistake at all!) I loved “reading it with my ears” as much as I loved reading it with my eyes. I also spent quite a bit of time immersed in poetry this week… and that, my friends, is never, ever a bad way to spend a week.

UnravelingUnraveling by Brandon Leake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have listened to Unraveling several times now and each time I hear something new…something moving, something sacred, something that causes me to stop and think.

I had no clue who Brandon Leake is (He won America’s Got Talent) but his poetry is moving. Perhaps even more so because Brandon reads his poetry.

My favorite of Unraveling… Breonna. It is such a beautiful tribute.

If you are looking for a fresh new voice in poetry, I think you will enjoy this collection of poems… very much.

I want to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for this ARC of Unraveling.

(P.S. if you want to watch Brandon recite Breonna, you can watch him here starting at 4:15)

What about you? What is keeping you sane this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.2.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.2.22

Greetings Unraveler’s!

I wish I could tell you that there has been *loads* of making this week…but that is not the case. It seems very wrong to indulge in the luxury of knitting, stitching, sewing, or baking when the world is collapsing around us.

I did a bit of stitching, but I need something that I don’t have… maybe a brighter color (yellow?) or a much darker color (black?) or maybe both? So I need to get to the stitching store to see what I might find.

I tried to work on the second sock, but even the simplest pattern was beyond me and after I ripped it back – twice – I put down the knitting.

My night time knitting (which you can see above) is at the long, longer, longest row point. So I am lucky to get a “tooth” repeat done before my eyes are closing. (Although, I am not sure I am going to get 5 more teeth done… boo hoo! I might have to toss the handspun yarn to see if I can find something that might work to finish this off…)

While there has been a lull in making, the reading was just what I needed to take my mind away this week! I had two spectacular finishes. And I picked up a lovely stack of poetry books from the library… I am not at all missing the making this week.

Still LifeStill Life by Sarah Winman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are moments in life, so monumental and still, that the memory can never be retrieved without a catch to the throat or an interruption to the beat of the heart. Can never be retrieved without the rumbling disquiet of how close that moment came to not having happened at all.

Wow. This book. This story. These characters.

Every page was divine… it was a book I never wanted to end. I started reading a hard copy of this book, but I did not finish it before it was due back to the library. So I put myself back on the long waitlist and this time, I expanded my options and also got on queue for the audiobook as well – and that is what came available for me to finish this incredible story. The narrator, by the way, is incredible. It was a joy to listen!

If you are wondering if a book can restore your faith in humanity… this is the book that can. PLUS! Any book that includes Fernet Branca and wool… well, just pour yourself a delicious sip, gather your knitting and let Winman take you far, far away. The writing. My gosh… so so so good.

I highly urge you to get this book and read it! Now! You won’t be sorry!

Young MungoYoung Mungo by Douglas Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is not light reading, but that should not stop you from reading Stuart’s follow up to Shuggie Bain.

Young Mungo is simply brilliant, although it took me a little bit to realize that the story is being told in two different timelines… at the same time. What happened and what is happening…but stay with Mungo… he will show you what a true survivor is.

Thanks to Stuart, I have a clear picture of how incredibly challenging it must have been to grow up in Glasgow… at least how challenging it must have been for poor, struggling single mothers. (Please don’t think I believe that Mo-maw has one redeeming quality, because she absolutely does not!) But still, I cannot imagine the struggle… Her frequent absences might have been a gift… thankfully, Mungo has a barely older sister who tries to fill the shoes of parent. He also has an older brother who, though he is not a sterling character, he inadvertently teaches Mungo the skills he will need to survive.

And despite those struggles, Mungo finds the strength to survive as well as beauty, joy and yes, love.

I highly recommend this book!

I would like to thank Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC of this book!

What about you? What are you doing to take your mind off the catastrophe that the world is right now?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.23.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.23.22

Greetings Unravelers!

We have arrived at the final Wednesday in February with the most un-February-like weather… mild temps, rains that have done an excellent job of washing away the frozen and brought a hint of green…at least to the grass in my back yard! I have done a “mini-shuffle” in my closet – pulling out some warmer weather things and have readied some of my wooliest sweaters for a nice spa treatment before packing them away. I need it to not be raining so they can dry in a reasonable amount of time!

Never fear… I still have some wooly sweaters, but lighter weight ones that are the perfect things for easing into spring. And yes, I am absolutely thinking about spring!

The knitting this week… good times! I have a Finished Gnome! Meet Gnathan! I love his cables, and his beard, and that hat! I learned how to avoid ladders whilst purling in the round. I began to understand “reading your knitting when cabling” better – although I am not perfect, I am better than I was before I knit Gnathan!

AND!! Since this photo was taken, I have begun the toe of Vera’s Sock! I hope to cast on sock two later today!

I have even done a bit of stitching… but I don’t have a photo to show you right now! (you can blame the rain!)

The reading this week… oh my. It was so good! (and it is even better than what is finished, I am finally back to Still Life!) This is the kind of reading that creates the dreaded reading slump… so many good books are a hard act to follow… I have some niggling worry. (But I do have some good things coming in my hold queue… pray they all don’t become available at once! lol)

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across AmericaHow the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to Clint Smith read this powerful history… he takes us on a journey that begins in New Orleans and from there he takes us to places I knew about but never considered those places to be markers on the history of slavery.

This book clearly showed me that I do not know so much.

It was not a book I could listen to in large chunks of time…and I understand the privilege I have in being able to say that. So many Clint talks with in this book are still living what I found necessary to put down… to take a break from their reality.

But in the midst of the nightmare that is this nations fixation with slavery – you cannot listen to the history of Angola Prison and not believe that for some people, slavery is not over – there are people who are trying to make a difference – glimmers of hope in a sea of despair…

I highly recommend this book.

Agatha of Little NeonAgatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It seems unfathomable that this is Claire Luchette’s debut novel. It is truly brilliant. The writing is so spectacular… and as Luchette slowly reveals more and more of the characters, it just gets better.

She draws you in, she makes you comfortable, and then she carefully changes your surroundings and niggles you with some questions that made me stop and think.

I am not Catholic, but I felt this incredible bond between Agatha and her sisters… until it wasn’t, or was it ever? I loved watching Agatha grow… and her concerns are worth noting. Write them down. Memorize them.

I am so eager to discuss a book I profoundly loved with the Read With Us Book Club.

I highly recommend this wonderful story!

That is all that I have going on in my making and reading this week. What about you?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.16.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.16.22

The Test Knit… she is finished! Wooo! I have even weighed my yarn and sent in all the pertinent details. Photos coming soon… I promise!

But today I have an almost finished Gnome… he needs a wee bit of blocking, some stuffing, a beard and some arms!

AND!! I started Vera’s Socks! (Petty Harbor – Ravelry Link) and I am not-quite mindlessly knitting the leg. It is some Rainy Day Yarn from my stash that I got from Wool & Honey… Dyed by Up North Yarns. Colorway: Market Day from Wool & Honey’s August 2020 Sleeping Bear Yarn Club.

I have knit another tooth on my Hitchhiker… but really it does not look much different from the last photo I shared with you all.

I was surprised to get my results on Monday from my mammogram… those results said “no visible malignancies” hmmm… are there invisible ones? It just seemed like strange wording to me… but what do I know. (Said results and those thoughts about invisible malignancies might have made me knit a wee bit faster on that Gnome! A plus, perhaps!)

The reading this week…I listened lots which helped me finish that test knit! I finished listening to Hollow Kingdom and started listening to Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed. (Two books that you would think would be on opposite ends of the spectrum… yet perhaps they are not so far at all!) Anyways, I had 3 finishes this week:

Hollow Kingdom (Hollow Kingdom, #1)Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew… two dystopian novels in two weeks! This one was an entirely different take (and perhaps more believable than Home of the Living God, but a bit more rawly written)

The MoFo’s (humans) have brought about the destruction of life as they knew it. What is left are the Animals. Of course the “narrator” would be a crow named Shit Turd (S.T. for short) and I really loved him! Why? Because he was raised by a human and thinks that he is a human. So we travel through the book with S.T. and see things through his eyes…which is especially wonderful when he starts to realize just how flawed the humans are. Yes, there are some very sad moments…but the ending is quite spectacular.

I had originally given this book 3-stars but has since upgraded it to 4 because I can’t stop thinking about dear S.T.

MeccaMecca by Susan Straight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was grabbed by the opening to this book: “The wind started up at three a.m., the same way it had for hundreds of years, the same way I used to hear it blowing so hard around our little house in the canyon that loose windowsills sounded like harmonicas. The old weather stripping played like the gods pressed their mouths around the screens in the living room, where I slept when I was growing up.”

I want to say I loved this book… but I just liked it. It is a compelling story – or at least that is how it starts. But then it takes some twist and turns, not all of which make sense and still don’t in the finishing of it. This story is one of Southern California… but not one you might expect. It is about people who have been in Southern California for eons and those who are brought by coyotes from Mexico and how the two, though very different, are considered the same. I loved learning about the history that Straight brings to life in the pages… the past sometimes merging with the present in a very compelling way.

Things I struggled with… there is lots of dialog in Spanish – with no translation. I also think that some of this book (about 2/3’s in) could have been edited out.

The ending was not at all what I expected.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for this ARC.

The War of the PoorThe War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t remember what (or who) directed me to this little book.

It is the bits of the story around the Protestant Reformation… or how everything old is new again. Or perhaps even better… how everything old is still here and simmering under the surface. The parallels between then and now are impossible not to draw…the ultra-wealthy, the working poor never getting ahead, and even crazy religious fanatics fanning the flames.

An interesting read and if history does indeed repeat itself….

That is all I have for today. What about you? Is there something you are knitting faster on this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.9.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.9.22

The making this week has been entirely focused on the Super Secret Test Knitting I am doing… In a different world, I would be done already. But instead I am on my third try…yes, you read that right. The third try! First time… I cast on 4 too many stitches. And while I might just do 4 k2tog in real life, in Test Knitting Life that is not what the designer is hoping I will do. So… Ripppppppp! And start again. The second try I entirely effed up the pattern (because… somehow I thought when the designer said to “put markers” between sections… I did not think she meant me! Ha! I think she wrote that direction because of me!) Again… Ripppppppppppppp! (The second time I was a lot farther along… sigh.)

So today I have the exact amount of stitches, markers were placed exactly when the pattern says. And I am past all the previous knitting I did (albeit incorrectly) and, though I hesitate to say it, all is good!

Instead you have a photo of my Base 12 Hitchhiker in the brief but spectacular sunshine we had late yesterday!

I am hoping that I will be back to knitting a Cabled Gnome and that Hitchhiker later on this week! Fingers and toes crossed!

The reading, though sparse, was so very good this week!

The Lost SpellsThe Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book to savor – and I did! I read it slowly in delicious little bites. A book to read over and over – I want to read this book until I have it memorized! A book full of beautiful artwork – oh my gosh, the artwork… it is just perfect.

I loved every minute of this book and I loved it so much I have purchased my own copy. I want to take this book to Presque Isle Park in Erie PA and read it to the birds, the water, the trees, and think about how beautifully written this book is.

I highly recommend!

Future Home of the Living GodFuture Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oof. This was a chilling read… but so brilliantly written!

Enter the world of Cedar Hawk Songmaker (perhaps the best name for a character… ever!) and what a messed up world it is. Some cataclysmic event has happened and the word as we know it is gone. It is both a journey of discovery and a journey of desperation.

For me… listening to Louise read her novel made the journey better for the listener. I might have missed things had I been reading… but listening, I allowed myself to be drawn along in the story as it unfolds.

And the ending… oh my. It was not at all what I expected… and yes, I cried.

I am excited because I have picked up Agatha of Little Neon and if the Knitting Gods keep smiling on me… I might be able to start reading it this week!

That is all that I have for today… what about you? What is on your making or reading radar this week?

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

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