Unraveled Wednesday | 2.2.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.2.22

This is what a ball of yarn looks like after you have cast on, knit a bit and ripped out every stitch… not once but twice.

Confession time: I put the ball of yarn in a bag with the pattern and needles and have not looked at it since last weekend – save to take the photo for my blog – then it went right back into the bag. One of us is in time out or perhaps we all are! Ha!

Frustration, Thy Name is Feather!

Yes, there is a very, very steep learning curve that was beyond my brain bandwidth last weekend. I need to do some practice… okay, who am I kidding. I need LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of practice with yarn that I may or may not knit into a hat, lol. In other words, some yarn from my stash.

And speaking of the yarn… can I confess that I do not like how the yarn for the hat feels… it feels somehow sinful to say this, but there you have it. I do not like the hand of the yarn at all. I am afraid that I will be knitting worsted weight yarn on US3 needles and that is a daunting prospect.

So… I did a good bit of Happy Knitting on my Base 12 Hitchhiker… Bonny… I got to the color change! I will be in the Land of Minty Green and Purple for a bit and it is a very happy place to be!

I also started my February Gnome! A wee cabled hat is in the works!

And there you have my making since we last talked!

The reading this week has been fun! And sometimes you just need to read for fun… right? I have The Lost Words from the library for 21 days… and I have read it every day since I picked it up. I think The Lost Words as meditation is quite perfect and it certainly goes extraordinarily well with my morning coffee!

The Lost WordsThe Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enter Macfarlane’s magical world of words and you will want to stay there!

This book is gorgeous. The artwork is stunning, but the poetry is simply perfect. Each acrostic poem succinctly describes the subject.

I happily dove into The Lost Spells… I think February should always have some time spent in Macfarlane’s magical world.

I loved this book so much that it will be my Valentine’s gift to my grandkids! I highly recommend!

While Justice SleepsWhile Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good, not great. Fast paced until it drags a bit towards the middle. Plausible until the ending… when all plausibility departs.

However, it was a fun read – I listened but I might have liked it more if I physically read it because I could “speed up” the slow bits.

If you are looking for a legal escape that includes a side of science on the side… this might be your book!

That is all I have for today… what about you? Did you have any struggles or successes last week? Please share!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.26.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.26.22


That, my. friends, is the sound of January racing out the door! Who besides me is shocked at how rapidly the “longest month of winter” raced by?

And we are on the cusp of the shortest month of winter, so my expectation is that in… oh, 5 minutes or so we will be welcoming March.

Meanwhile, in my corner… trying to savor this wintering season… I am sooo close to a finish of my first Year of the Gnome-Gnome! That’s right… Almost Never Not Gnoming is the motto in my house and it is just so much fun! I like it because it is “bite sized” knitting. My goal is to knit one gnome a month and in December I will have a little Gnome Family! That is, if Steve’s mom does not come and take them! Haha! She just loves gnomes and all the gnomes I have made… to date… have gone to her!

That beard though…

I had planned on casting on THIS yesterday, but the Voices of Reason (Carole, Bonny, and Kym) spoke and I actually listened. Now my desire to begin Feather Hat Knitting has put some urgency into finishing my Gnome before I cast on!

Yes… there is a third color. Yes… it is on order! LOL

Sometimes Adulting just sucks! LOL

My end of the day knitting is reserved for my Base 12 Hitchhiker… I have *almost* made it through the first color change…as you can see above! This project is exactly what I need at the end of the day… semi-mindless knitting!

Side A…

I also began the process of tackling the Mountain of Mending (trust me… after sock one… it now very much feels like a mountain!) This was about 2 hours of mending. Yes… I am not kidding. (Start, take out, start, take out)I briefly entertained investing in a different mode of mending (i.e. this) but I am not sure how I would do a 3-dimensional heel flat and have it turn out. This is actually 4 different bits of darning… joined to make a curved heel. I think I will eventually get more proficient, but this is truly a labor of love.

Side B…

The reading this week has been just grand. I am listening to Stacy Abrams While Justice Sleeps and am not quite halfway through and I finished an ARC of The Fell by Sarah Moss. If you like Sarah Moss books, you will like The Fell… and despite it being about COVID lockdown… it is really quite thought provoking!

The FellThe Fell by Sarah Moss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not spent much time reading about the pandemic, a couple of books… but not one struck me like this one did. It takes place over the course of a few hours on a day after UK lockdown had been in effect for two weeks.

There are just four characters (plus The Raven, can’t forget The Raven!) and those four characters each bring something different to these few hours.

It made me stop and think about isolation, fear of coming in contact with other people who might be “contagious” and breaking the rules… and which rules are okay to break?

I wish I could say I connected with Kate… but I don’t break the rules, so I struggled a bit with Kate. However, her conversations with The Raven are quite simply, brilliant!

I really connected with Alice…very much. She broke my heart and my hope is that out of these few hours… a new family might be born!

Moss has broken down the essence of Pandemic Living perfectly. You will find yourself nodding with much of what is “talked about.” Moss also tickles your brain and makes you think… in very good ways.

I highly recommend this book!

I want to thank Netgalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the ARC of this book!

That is all I have for today… I need to get going on Gnome Arms and Legs! Ha!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.19.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.19.22

Greetings from the Great White (not so) North!

Yes, we got a good bit of snow over the long weekend and there is more in the forecast. I am my most happiest wintery self! I just love the snow (must be that December birthday!) and I am thrilled that more is on the way.

As you can see I finished the Heartnut Cowl and I love it. I knit 12 full repeats of the super easy to memorize pattern which was a few rounds more than the “short cowl” (9 repeats) and a good bit less than the “long cowl” (20 repeats) however, I’d say that 12 repeats are just the perfect height! And it is so cozy… there is just enough drape for it not to feel like a “turtleneck” and just enough body to not be a “necklace” so I think my yarn choices were spot on!

(That adorable Sheepy notions bag is from the über-talented Stitched by JessaLu)

I also finished my “Base 12 Advent” spin and loved every single second of it! I tried to show you a good representation of all the colors and how wonderfully they go together, but I think my photo leaves much to be desired! Sorry. Anyways, I got so much yardage! (almost 700 yds… what???) I think that this will make the perfect Hitchhiker. I hope to wind the yarn up and cast on this week! If you are curious about the fibers, and the order which I spun them in I think you can see the image I snagged of the card:

  • Bobbin One:  5, B, A, 8, 5, and 2
  • Bobbin Two:  1, 7, 9, 4, 6, and 3

My plan… start with the ending colors and knit to the beginning color (on bobbin one) because, of course, the bobbins did not exactly match up, lol. So there is a good bit of 5 that is only plied with itself… perfect for the ending of a Hitchhiker!

The reading is absolutely going much slower this month! I am not racing through books, but rather savoring them. It feels good, so I plan on keeping this pace!

One excellent finish this week, but I realize it will not be a book for everyone. Your mileage may vary!

Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the ConstitutionAllow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution by Elie Mystal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to preface my review by stating that this will not be a book for everyone.

However, that being said… I think this is absolutely a book that all of America should read. I think this should be required reading for all high school civics classes. (Oh how I wish that civics classes were still taught!)

I read this book twice and in the second read through, I noted things I did not the first time through. And yes, I am contemplating reading it a third time!

The writing is compelling, frank, and yes, Elie speaks plainly – even bluntly – from his unbelievable well of knowledge.

Elie shares things that I did not know. Things I was never, ever taught in school (and I am old enough that I had a Civics class!) He made me see our constitution in a new light… and I am in agreement with him, that if we just applied the constitution equally for ALL people, life would be better for those who today, find that it means everyone but them.

I highly recommend this book!

I would like to thank Netgalley and The New Press for this ARC.

And that is all I have for today! What about you? What are you excited about this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.12.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.12.22

January is somehow just racing on and honestly, I am shocked today is the 12th! How is that possible?

I have been doing lots of spinning and loving every single second of it! I have just two bits of fiber to spin from my Base12 Advent Spin. Seriously, this is absolutely the best purchase I made in 2021 and will absolutely be participating again this year! I am so excited to ply all these fibers/colors together that I spent a couple of days spinning two packages so I can begin the final plying. Well…I am happy to say that Final Plying will happen on Friday… and I can hardly wait!

I did get those black corduroy pants cut out, but have done ZERO sewing. Sigh. My plan is that this will “occupy” my time tomorrow to stave off any idea of “too soon” plying that might take root in my brain! Ha!

The reading has been light this week… just one finish. But it is a heavy finish… 18 + hours of listening to the very well told tale of the Sackler family.

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler DynastyEmpire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An eye opening story… you think you have “heard” of the Sackler’s? Keefe has volumes of information to expand on what you think you might have heard and shows you how little you really know.

In reality, this is a tale of how the drug industry became the organization that drives how drugs are prescribed, how drugs are marketed, and how the the easy it was to find doctors that were ready and willing to jump on the Drug Profit Bandwagon.

It is such a sad story and one that makes me happy there are attorneys… a thing that I am rarely happy about.

This is not a story for everyone… it was a very hard listen. I took many breaks, but it tells a story that goes beyond the surface news bits you might have heard. I highly recommend.

What about you? What is keeping your attention this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.5.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.5.22

Happy New Year, Dear Unravelers!

In the “Dead Zone” that is the week between Christmas and New Years I did some “retail therapy” with Miss Babs. Why, you ask, could I need more yarn?!? Well, suffice it that it felt right and so I did it! My year of making is going to include a bit of a Gnome-a-thon! Yes, I am joining Imagine Landscapes for her Year of Gnomes! There might have also been a few things that “fell” into my cart from the MDK sale as well. I got notification yesterday that my yarn from Miss Babs is on its way but have heard nothing yet about the MDK extravaganza heading my way! I am hoping that soon every.single.field.guide. will be here. If nothing else, it will be some excellent reading! Ha!

Meanwhile… I did begin the Base12 Advent Spin. Oh my, is this going to be fun. My plan is that I will spin half of the twelve packages on one bobbin, the other half on another bobbin and I will ply them together. I have no clue what is in any of the little packages but the first package (Number Five thanks to the roll of the cute little die) spun up beautifully. I don’t know the exact content of the wee little batt but there is silk… gosh it is lovely! And the tiniest bit of something shiny! (And that color! Yes, I am liking it!)

I also cast on a new knit! Remember that mohair silk from the hat I knit for myself last year? Well… I started a cowl (Thanks to Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise!) So far, so good… sort of. If I look closely at the fabric under very bright lights the pooling is quite horrid, imo. (It’s the mohair that is causing the problem… grrrr!) However, I am telling myself that I don’t think any of the pooling will be at all noticeable when it is around my neck and that is working… kinda, lol. Further, I am reminding myself that when I am wearing it I won’t be looking at it. Anyways, I am loving that the mohair seems much fluffier when paired with the handspun yarn that it did with the Weld. I would kind of like to have this done soonish, as we are finally supposed to get some actual winter-type weather in these parts!

Whew!! That is all the making that I got done since we last spoke!

The reading had highs and lows last week and I have NO finishes at all this week, thus far. I started Still Life but could not get it finished before it was due (yeah I did not start it when I got it… and silly me thought that I would be able to read it in a day or two which was not the case. So I am back on the holds list… sigh.)

In my ears is the very compelling tale about the Sackler’s – Empire of Pain… I might be finished with it next week, but maybe not… it is not a story that I can just “sit and get lost in” kind of book.

I did get one more book finished last year… it was a book from Netgalley and boy was it good! As for the other finish…well you can read below!

State of TerrorState of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh my… I really, really, really wanted to love this book but boy did it fall flat.

I have read every Louise Penny book and a good number written by Secretary Clinton and separately, I love their voices… together…not so much.

I hated, hated, hated the “Three Pines” mentions… really… they did not work at all for me. I don’t like an abbreviated Gamache.

If you love Three Pines writing, and you love the things Secretary Clinton has written… you probably won’t like this book.

2.5 stars rounded up to three.

An Abolitionist's Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the WorldAn Abolitionist’s Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was the perfect way to end 2021… and I believe this brilliant little book is “must reading” for every single person in America. Really.

Patrisse Cullors gives the reader a road map to be a catalyst for change in the world… and I am not talking radical change (although I think if one applies all of her 12-steps it would radical!) This book seemed to me a series of love letters to yourself and to the people around you that you might interact with every single day.

The only reason I am giving this book 4-stars is because I truly wished it was longer… gosh, it was so good I did not want it to end.

If you want to be a better ally… read this book. But realize that if you do read this book, you will be setting yourself on the path to becoming a better human. And wouldn’t it be a wonder if everyone who reads this book suddenly finds themselves on the same path as everyone else!

I would like to thank Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for the ARC of this audiobook. I highly recommend!

And that is all I have for today! What about you… any New Year Cast On’s? Any new books? Do tell!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.29.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.29.21

First… my final finish for 2021… Leave Gnome Stone Unturned… aka Gnombleberry and baby Gnewt!

Baby Gnewt is to die for!

That pocket tho’ and even though my duplicate stitched tree does not look like a tree far away… it sorta does close up!

Now onto my Year in Review Post! Ha!

It has been a much calmer year for making. I did not feel any compelling urge to knit.all.the.things. And although I do still have some UFO’s that I had hoped to complete… I didn’t. More on those UFO’s shortly but what I did finish does make quite a nice list:

  • I knit 3 pairs of socks, 2 hats, 2 and a half gnomes (the latest of which are Gnombleberry and baby Gnewt – who counts for the half a gnome), 7 sweaters (of which 2 were test knits), 3 shawls (1 of which was a mystery shawl!), and 1 cowl.
  • I did some sewing in 2021 as well. I sewed 2 pairs of pants, 1 Esme Tunic, 1 set of coasters, and I did some repair work on existing things in my wardrobe. I also made 7 hats for Winston. AND!! There was One Awesome Advent Calendar for Vivi and Winston!
  • 2021 found me to be a sporadic spinner but!! Some of the things I knit this year were made with yarn I spun during the year… which was a first for me. I have quite a stash of handspun but I rarely knit with it. I would like to increase this sort of making in 2022… and I am looking forward to a January Base12 spin (yes it is a month late, but my finger is almost healed and I am planning some spinning time each week in 2022 and that “Advent spin” will be the perfect thing to kickstart a new habit!)

So The Grand Totals: 18 knit items, 13 sewn things, some sewing repairs, and a handful of spinning.

Now for the important bit… what did I learn?

I learned that if I do not have a “need” for an item… it loses its shine. Next year I am committed to not doing any “Ooo, its shiny and everyone is doing it” making. (These account for each and every one of the UFO’s that I have hanging around… I will finish them…hopefully!) The “Ooo, its shiny and everyone is doing making does not fit well with where I want to go next year. I have a closet full of sweaters that I don’t wear. I have more shawls than I can ever wear… even if I wore a different one every day for the remainder of the winter season I don’t think I would exhaust my stash of shawls. I have written a reminder quarterly on my calendar… no new sweaters or shawls…PERIOD!

Socks, though, are a different story… hopefully 2022 is going to find me upping my mending game. I have several pairs that have worn-out heels and I really like the socks so I’d like to find a way to repair them that keeps them wearable (not with a weird looking and highly uncomfortable mended patch.) But if that does not work, then I am not going to feel guilty about tossing them… it will make room for me to make another pair.

The big take away from 2021 is that it is challenging to be a maker with a full closet… so my goal for next year is to expand on my making. Some months ago, I signed up for a series of composition art classes (thanks, Kym!) but to date, I have not done one single thing in any class in the series. However, I have been working on preparing a place to do those classes as well as gathering supplies and I am eager to get started…so you will absolutely see a change in in what is made here at AsKatKnits in 2022.

I hope that whatever you are making in 2022, you will continue to share here with us all… because I think that no matter what you are making sometimes you just need to unravel it a bit… and this is the space for that!

My reading update is a bit more of a challenge, but I think I have figured out the best way to share it all with you.

I set a reading goal at 125 books and I did not make that goal (and I am unlikely to make the goal in the time I have left in 2021) But… I am not upset in the least at only reading 119 books this year because I set the goal to challenge myself… and it was a challenge! However, I think I read better books this year… I gave myself permission to “quit” a book that was just not working for me. This year I added 5 books to the “not for me” category on Goodreads and I experienced not one moment of guilt over any of them.

This year I found 45 books to be worthy of a 5-star rating… so almost 38% of the books I did read this year were very worth reading. And of those 45… here are my favorites:

  • Most Memorable: A Swim in the Pond in the Rain, Braiding Sweetgrass, and Finding the Mother Tree
  • Life Changing/Mind Opening: Wintering, Four Hundred Souls, The Sum of Us, Good Talk, and What Strange Paradise
  • Incredibly Beautiful Writing: Almost anything by Niall Williams, almost anything by Elizabeth Strout, almost anything by Isabel Allende, and everything by Louise Erdrich.
  • A Discovery of Poets: Margaret Noodin, Sharon Olds, Elizabeth Alexander, Pádraig Ó Tuama, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Calgon Take Me Away Books: The Gabriel Allon Series
  • Read With Us because without them I’d never have read: Shuggie Bain, Unsettled Ground, or Matrix. (and for me, 2021 was the year of discovering how much better a book can be when discussed with friends!)

You can see all my 2021 books here. Aside from the Read With Us category, I limited my highlighting books that got a 5-star rating but as you can see there were a good number (49) of 4-star books as well!

The good thing about so many of these books was that they were suggestions that I got from all of you! And I really hope that we continue to inspire each other with good books to read in 2022.

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

I will be back with you all next year! I wish you all a very safe and Happy New Year!

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