Unraveled Wednesday | 1.2.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.2.19

Happy New Year Unravelers! I hope that 2019 is off to a very good start for you all!

We had a quiet New Years celebration at home and knitting was the highlight! I have made some progress on my ADVENTurer wrap and the weekend saw my first repeat color as well as the passing of the halfway point of the knitting! I am hopeful that this will be finished in time for Valentine’s Day!

I should have resurrected Blaer from the basket by my bed and knit a bit on it as well, but instead I cast on a new sweater. I know. What the heck! Day Two and my focus is faltering! Haha!

My only saving grace is that I am using yarn from a failed sweater. It has been on my radar for some time now and the color is really calling to me! I don’t have any deep red sweaters in my closet at all and I simply love the fabric I got! I am the tiniest bit leery about the yarn quantity I have, but I think I have done the math correctly and if I only do the cable pattern on the front and not the back, I should have enough yarn. Because, nothing says Happy New Year like a new knitting project and especially one that you have a niggling fear that you might not have enough yarn for, amirite?

However, the reading is always good, and I have set my reading goal for 2019 at 150 books, which I feel is realistic as I ended 2018 with 154 books. It is a goal that will keep me focused every day.

Finishes in the last week of December:

Meet Behind Mars is a book I discovered on one of the many end-of-year lists that I read. I was surprised that my library had it available, so I jumped at the opportunity to read it. It is Renee Simms’ debut book of short stories (and part of the Made in Michigan Writers Series). I always thought that I did not like short stories but Meet Behind Mars proved me wrong! It is a lovely little book and the writing is wonderful! This got 4 stars and I recommend it if you can get your hands on a copy of it!

The Alice Network goes on my failure read list of the year and only got 2-stars.

God is in the Manger was my Advent devotion and I loved it. If you have never read any Bonhoeffer, I recommend you start with The Cost of Discipleship and move on from there. He is a brilliant writer and reading his words, you can hear him speaking!

That is all I have this week! But what I want to know is what do you want to make in this New Year! As always, if you wrote a post please leave your link below!

And, thank you so much for your participation!

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.26.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.26.18

I am happy to say that the Gnomes were a huge hit as was the Half-Beekeeper Cowl – so much so, there was a request for another one!

However, now begins the days of selfish knitting! I am back at my ADVENTurer wrap! I am also happy to report that I got gauge with for the January Gansey with my failed Tegna yarn. It seems much happier to be knit at this gauge – so a good match of pattern and yarn! I will be working slowly on this over the winter – but my priority is to finish my ADVENTurer wrap and hopefully next week I have made some significant progress! My goal today is to finish “days 9 and 10”.

This week, however, is really all about the books and I am sharing with you My 2018 Best Reads! To date, I have read 151 books, I think that number will end at 153 – I have a few days left and I am almost done with Tenth of December and I also would like to finish Meet Behind Mars which is due back to the library on Saturday, so I need to get reading! Of those 151 books, however, I rated 57 of them as 5-star reads! That means that almost 38% of the books I read this year I thought were exceedingly excellent! But, out of those 57 what were the best of the best?

It was very hard, but I have winnowed the list down to 10 that were simply spectacular, with 4 runners’ up that deserve some recognition. These books were ones that moved me deeply, stayed with me, spurred interesting conversation, and made me stop and think.

Runner’s up:

If you are looking for a book to take you into the New Year, I highly recommend any of the books on this list.

That is all I have this week, but I want to know what you are making and reading! If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below, and thank you!

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Unraveled Wednesday | 12.19.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.19.18

Greetings Unravelers!

After a l-o-n-g night and full day of knitting, the mitts just need the ends woven in and they will be done and in the mail shortly! Success is sweet but tiring! Ha! The pattern is Anne Hanson’s Fallberry Mitts from Knitty.com. Sadly, I do not remember what the yarn is – but I love the color! Luckily, this was a quickly memorized pattern which was a very good thing!

I do have one or two other bits of holiday knitting I would still like to get done and somehow I imagined I would finish the mitts as well as the last 10-ish rows done on another gift…silly me! At least these final tiny projects don’t need to meet a mail deadline – so I am not yet without hope!

All this knitting time means I have moved through another audio book – I finished My Antonia! and thoroughly enjoyed it! Cather’s writing is warm and inviting as she describes life on the Nebraska prairie. 4-Stars and I highly recommend!

I also finished Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. I was not wowed by this book, but still – I think it was a book I should have read. It got 3 stars.

There are several more books I would like to finish yet this year – we shall see if I can accomplish that and next week, I will share my Best Of 2018 Books!

There are still a few knitting days before Christmas, but I have begun to think about some selfish knitting – eagerly, in fact! Haha! And, my failed Tegna yarn will be swatched again to see if it might work for a new sweater that Marie Greene is releasing on December 31 – she will be leading an 8-week knit along around her new sweater! If you have never knit a sweater but want to, I highly recommend Marie’s patterns – they are easy to follow, and her tips and tricks have proven most useful in my sweater journey! PLUS!! This sweater pattern can be adapted for several gauges! So, if you (like me) struggle with gauge – do not fear! Marie has done the knitty math for us, so we can knit a sweater that fits!

That is all I have for this week! Are you still trying to finish some Christmas knits? As always, If you wrote a post to share today – please leave your link below!

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Thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.12.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.12.18

Greetings dear Unravelers!

Another Wednesday means updates on knitting and reading! This week one is sorely lacking, but the other is overflowing!

Such is life, amirite?

I have been doing bits of knitting here and there – I am about to start Day 8 of my ADVENTurer wrap (so yes, I am 4-days behind). But really, I have been knitting on more portable, less pattern intensive knitting over the past week – I have had some meetings and holiday-ish things to do where a more portable and conversation friendly project is better suited. Enter one Sockhead Hat. I almost have 4 inches of ribbing knit!

But, really… it is all about the books this week! I have so much fun to share with you all!

First up, I this article in The Guardian caught my attention. First because I have not read Fifty Shades – and really, I have zero desire to do so. I found Jeanette Winterson’s comment perfect: “Are straight women really having such terrible sex and terrible lives?” Ummm… exactly. But then as I read about the other books – my reading list grew in a most wonderful way! I have added Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino to my read list. Italo first came on my radar thanks to Michael Ondaatje who wrote that The Baron in the Trees was a book he read more than once! I loved The Baron in the Trees and I am looking forward to Invisible Cities soon! I have added a book or two of Janet’s to my read list as well!

I finished several books this week… several really good books!

I am on a bit of a George Saunder’s kick! I read Pastoralia and was rather amazed at this little collection of stories. I generally don’t like collections of stories, but this little book wowed me! The writing is brilliant! I stayed with Saunder’s and read Fox 8 and fell utterly in love with it! These books got 4 and 5-stars respectively! I highly recommend both of them! (My Saunder’s kick is not over yet as I am reading 10th of December currently!)

I simply devoured Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser. Delightful. Moving. Thought-provoking. 5-stars!

In case you need more to worry about, pick up Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk. He lays out the massive ineptitude of the Trump administration in regards to the things that run our country and keep us safe. It is the stuff of nightmares, honestly. 3-stars.

I listened to Stay with Me by Ayobamy Adebayo and it was the most moving book this week! This story is not linear but as the story unfurled, I was wowed, floored, shocked… and the writing – beautiful! This was not what I expected, it was so much more! 5-stars – I highly recommend!

I also listened to Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time. What a fascinating idea… a person who ages s-l-o-w-l-y. Lots of food for thought in this tale about aging, life, relationships, and self-preservation. I enjoyed it tremendously and it got 4-stars.

Finally, I finished listening to the first book of The Dresden Files – Storm Front by Jim Butcher. This was recommended by my neighbor and I loved it! I am on the wait list for the second book in the series – and I think this series will carry me through a good bit of 2019! If you liked The Magician series, I highly recommend this series and I gave it 4-stars!

That is all I have for this week – what about you? What are you making and reading this week?

If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below!

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Unraveled Wednesday | 12.5.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.5.18

Happy Wednesday everyone! It is snowing in Pittsburgh this morning and my little birdhouse votive candle holders on the Pergola are getting a dusting of snow! Light, fluffy flakes are falling and it is quite lovely outside!

However, if you are not in the midst of holiday making, perhaps you can come over to my house to help me with a few things I foolishly imagine I am going to get done between now and Christmas! Haha!

The Carseat Poncho is almost competed… almost. The hood is giving me some challenges. To line, or not to line… that is the questions! And I think I have them figured out… hopefully the solution in my brain is easy to translate to some fleece!

I also cut out 100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 2 yesterday. And, I have the body together, complete with in-seam pockets! Once that hood is done, I will get the sleeves in and make some flannel bias tape!

I even managed to knit a few rows on my ADVENTurer shawl yesterday as well as some rounds of Peace Knitting!

In the reading department…

I finished the very emotional We Were the Lucky Ones. I simply loved it – it is beautifully written story of the Kurc family that survived the holocaust. They are Polish, and the story is fascinating. This was easily a 5-star book and I highly recommend it!

I also finished The Folded Clock: A Diary and it gets 4-stars. This is a curious read… the writer reads her decades of diaries she finds from her childhood and she is disappointed at how lacking she finds them to be. And, so she decides to begin chronicling her daily life as an adult to see if she can’t improve on the mendacity of daily life. It is a lovely collection of mediations – especially the E.B. White chapter! Oh, and the chapter on rearranging furniture! Her way of writing about “today I” is simple, but brilliant.

And, I re-read Warlight. I listened to the book this time and my love for this book has deepened. I know Bonny shared some of her recent favorites, and I agree with her – it is early to make best book of the year decisions… but Warlight is perhaps my favorite this year! It is a story that lingers in your mind. And, the writing…spectacular!

That is all I have for today… what about you? What are you making and reading this week?

And, as always, if you have written a post to share, please leave the link below!

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Unraveled Wednesday | 11.28.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.28.18

The making this week has been varied! Some sewing, some knitting – and all of it good!

I have worked through 2 clues on the first mitten. I have been practicing holding both yarns in one hand and it is working well and might be a bit easier to maintain even tension as I knit, but as with all new things – the knitting is slow-going, but I managed to start the cuff of the second mitten yesterday afternoon!

The big project has been the sewing of the Car Seat Poncho! I am adding arm openings in the front and a pocket! I hopefully I can figure out some “bear ears” to attach to the hood at my daughter’s request! For a simple looking project, there is lots of bits of detailed sewing!

Reading:

I finished Dispatches from Pluto and really loved it! It gives a wonderful and realistic look into life in the Mississippi Delta through the eyes of an  outsider. I highly recommend, and I gave it 4-stars.

I also finished re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship. It has been almost 25 years since I had first read it and Bonhoeffer’s words were the best balm for a weary spirit – 4-stars!

Squirrel Hill has filled my thoughts since the horrific tragedy at the Tree of Life and this beautiful essay in The New Yorker describes life in Squirrel Hill – yes it is an idyllic place – but it is also the best reflection of how life for anyone should be in America – open, welcoming, and most importantly – without fear.

Oh, and just in case your book list is in need of a boost…NPR’s Book Concierge has published their guide to 2018’s great reads!

That is all I have for today! If you wrote a post to share – please leave your link below!

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**We have entered the most dreaded days for photograph taking. It becomes a challenge to get a photo when light is at a premium. I apologize for the miserable excuse of a photo in today’s post!

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