Unraveled Wednesday | 6.29.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.29.22

Ooo, the making this week! I have one finished pair of Anakin Skywalk!)er socks for Sam! I finished the second sock up yesterday. The heel… oh my! I like it! I did some short rows before knitting the heel decreases. It worked so well! (and I hope it will fit Sam perfectly!) They are drying from their little spa treatment and will be in the mail tomorrow heading to Wisconsin!

Anakin Socks for Sam!

I cast on a pair of Chewbacca Socks for Steve yesterday afternoon… J6 Hearings are the perfect thing to knit to! Haha! (Although I had several WTF moments… I mean throwing dishes? Really?) I am cruising through the toe increases and will do a 3×1 rib for the body of the sock. I am hoping heel placement will be easier toe up… I will let you know how it goes!

A slow reading week… just one finish. A book that is coming out in September by Ian McEwan – Lessons. It is full of everything one loves about McEwan novels… discomfort – check, compelling story – check, thought-provoking – check! If you like McEwan, you will thoroughly enjoy this book but you will have to wait until September for it! Sorry about that!

LessonsLessons by Ian McEwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love McEwan’s writing and his latest book does not disappoint. I was drawn into the at times uncomfortable story from the opening pages. Okay, maybe it is more than at times uncomfortable… I was uncomfortable for Roland for much of the story.

Dear Roland.

We meet Roland in an awkward moment, his wife has abruptly left him and their child – Lawrence, who is a frequently crying baby. And the story then goes back a decade or so to an 11 year old Roland heading to boarding school. And the story progresses from Roland’s memories. The memories are what provide the most discomfort, as Roland is sexually abused by a teacher at the boarding school. This abuse happens over a long period of time. There is no way this abuse would not have an impact on a person, and this baggage Roland carries with him for the remainder of his life.

McEwan anchors us into the story with the historical timeline. We experience the Bay of Pigs, a divided Germany, Thatcher policies, Brexit, and yes, even COVID. The story is well written and so engaging. I cheered for Roland… I wanted him to step away from his baggage. And when he begins to see what effect it has had on his life and make a new path forward… it is exhilarating!

If you likeMcEwan, you will love Lessons! I highly recommend!

I am grateful for the digital ARC of this book that I received from Knopf and NetGalley in return for my honest review.

That is all I have for today… what making is inspiring you this week?

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

See you all back here with some whimsy on Friday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.22.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.22.22

Someone needs your actions to inspire [their] actions. Never forget, your little broken cake is someone’s daily meal! Care to share you[r] little cake! ― Israelmore Ayivor

One thing that I truly love about this blogging community is how we inspire each other… sometimes in totally unexpected ways. Recently Kym has provided such inspiration for me and boy did I need that inspiration! Recently she has shared the stories of three different knitting projects….The Problem Child, The Poor Relations, and The Prodigal Son. Boy could I relate to what she shared… I have a problem child, a poor relation, and a prodigal child!

My problem child was a much simpler project than Kym’s…those twisty cables are gorgeous and I applaud her for moving that problem child back into the knitting rotation. Worthwhile knitting most certainly. My problem child however did not fare so well… sigh.

Awaiting a new life…

Yes, this was once my Problem Child… a now frogged Vanilla Sweater. It was one of those “impulse” purchases… I mean what is not to love about Rauma Finull Garn? It is great yarn! The Vanilla Sweater though…. umm… not so much.    This sweater began languishing early on as I began to have serious concerns about having enough yarn to finish the blasted thing. And in the uncertainty of that problem, I headed to Ravelry to see if anyone had a skein or two of the Rauma yarn in the same color and dye lot of my yarn…while I was on Ravelry, I took a gander at finished Vanilla Sweaters… and oof. Suffice it to say that this is not a good look for errr, women like me…a woman a certain age, with a certain physique…

Now, I believe that a person can wear what they like. Truly. But I also believe that women (especially me) are expert at deceiving ourselves…you know what I mean? Like me thinking that a shapeless sack will cover a multitude of my perceived issues and really, a shapeless sack just looks like a shapeless sack.

And so the Big Rip happened. I need to wash the yarn to un-kink-ify it. But once that is done, I will have a SQ of yarn to knit something new with! Problem Child is no more! Haha!

A couple of weeks ago I went through my yarn stash and found a container with a couple of projects inside it. I set it aside until I could determine what to do with those projects. Thanks to Kym, that happened last week because it contained a Prodigal Child *and* that Poor Relation!

POP circle-squares… yet to be blocked!

First up, that Prodigal Child… Meet POP! I don’t know how this fell of the knitting radar, but it did… for a long-ass time. More than 10 years of time! When I unboxed POP I had 13.5 squares completed… and I only need 20 squares to put the damned thing together! And so I began by finishing that in-process square…sigh. However, 10+ years ago Kat and Today’s Kat do not knit even remotely close to the same gauge. At. All. So after ripping out that in process square four or five times to find that old gauge. But once I figured it out, those squares… they are Potato Chip Knitting at its finest….15 squares and counting! That Prodigal Child is feeling the love!

A rather bland Spectra…

Next, those Poor Relations. I honestly don’t know what to do with this thing. It is a Stephen West knit… and I think I just ran out of steam on the knitting of all.those.wedges. And, in looking at the photo, perhaps my color choices were not the best. This is also eons ago old (even older than those poor POP squares) so I have some serious concerns about that gauge issue. This will probably be frogged and repurposed.. soon. In all of this look back, it is interesting to see what I thought looked good together then… lol. Oy. Sign that girl up for a color theory class, pronto!

And there you have the knitting that Kym Inspired! A huge thanks to Kym for providing that inspiration!

Now, how about a bit of a reading update. (And thanks Carole for the Perfect Summer Reading Inspiration this year!)

I have just two books to share this week. Both curious stories, both I enjoyed and yet… disliked. I know. Curious stories!

MonogamyMonogamy by Sue Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that made me think… and I have – lots – since finishing it. I found the adult characters to all be very problematic. I am trying to figure out if Sue Miller’s title selection is sarcasm or a hoped for ideal.

There is no monogamy in this book. Graham is a serial cheater but tells himself that because he loved Annie last, that makes it okay. Annie flirts with cheating early in their married life, but not having sex does not mean not cheating, imo.

And yet, with that backdrop, Miller weaves a fascinating story. The characters are flawed, but that makes them seem so believable to me. She writes richly about those flawed characters… so richly I felt like I could see and feel the things she describes. And then there is all the food! Gah! This book will make you hungry… and I love how she pairs comforting food with uncomfortable scenes.

I originally rated this book 3-stars but my prolonged thinking about it has caused me to raise my rating to 4-stars. I very much recommend this book!

The Known WorldThe Known World by Edward P. Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a hard book to read… there were a good number of moments of discomfort during my reading. I listened, and I am glad I did because if I had been reading with my eyes, I might have skipped over some those discomforting bits.

But my entire thought process about this novel changed in listening to a short interview with the author, Edward P. Jones at the end of the book. Before I listened to Jones, I was just going to give this book 2-stars but instead this for me is a very solid 4-star book and one that I will be thinking about for a very, very long time!

This is a painful story about slavery… and specifically how a black man became a slave owner.

My review will reflect my changed perspective after listening to Jones. The story starts out in the Land of Hunky-dory… William Robbins, saintly slave owner, tutors Henry Townsend – a free black man – in how to run his own plantation. In William’s Hunky-dory Land… every one is happy, the slaves love being slaves! I know… except this is something that I think white people do all the time… perpetrating the idea that “status quo” is best for all.

And then reality rears her ugly head… which is what happens in this book. Henry cannot understand why the slaves are unhappy. And that story of reality, is painful to hear… but thinking about it with a changed perspective has so many correlations to today. An eye opening novel that is incredibly timely today.

I highly recommend it!

And there you have a bit of a making update from me this week. I have more to share, stay tuned for a fun update on Friday!

But what about you? Who inspires your knitting this week?

If you wrote a post to share today please leave your link below and thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.8.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.8.22

Not much making progress this week… a messenger bag strap, a beard, and an arm completed.

I also spent some brain bandwidth on a sock. I could find no clear directions on how to determine how long to continue knitting the foot of a sock with a “planned” afterthought heel. So I picked out those stitches (which was a giant pain in the arse… seriously a giant pain, ugh) and then tried the sock on. I have about an inch and a half to go before toe decreases. (Socks on Zero’s take me a long time… sigh.) But on the bright side, once I have that bit done I will do the heel on this sock. I am doing a combination of some short rows at each side and then some toe-ish decreases. I am thinking every third round, but that plan might change as the heel progresses…and I will take the Most Excellent of Notes so I can match the second sock exactly, lol.

Raspberry Honey, from la Bien Aimée

But!!! Perhaps the best? (Most fun?) thing I did recently was the purchase of these lovely skeins to celebrate Wool and Honey’s Anniversary…their 22nd anniversary of being in business! Melissa and Liz are two of my favorite people! I love their shop in Cedar Michigan…it is just perfection! I love their IG posts deeply, I mean… poetry and knitting are simply the best companions and they show how to pair them perfectly! Anyways, I purchased two skeins of La Bien Aimée’s Super Sock in the special Raspberry Honey color way. When I saw it, I knew it was destined to become the most extraordinary Parisian Hitchhiker! I think they still have some Super Sock available, just sayin…

The reading this week was soooooo good though! Two lovely finishes…

The Cellist (Gabriel Allon, #21)The Cellist by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This latest book in the Allon series strikes very hard at some very current real life issues… outside influences on politics. The suggestions to solve this problem that Silva makes via Allon’s Office Team are something to ponder and while many, many, many Allon fans absolutely did not like this book at all… I did. I found it to be very relevant and thought provoking.

Aside from that, we see Gabriel making his exit from The Office and beginning a new chapter in his life… perhaps? I found the time gaps a bit off-putting, but I understand that editing sometimes makes for a somewhat jagged story. I think that while Allon was an excellent leader… trained very well by his mentor Ari Sharon, he really loved the field work best. And what he loves even better than that is turning on an opera and settling in to begin to repair a masterpiece in need of some TLC. So… is retirement in Gabriel’s future? Will he be happy wandering the streets of Venice with Chiara and the children? Inquiring minds want to know…

I am eagerly awaiting the next novel in this series.

The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club, #2)The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the Thursday Murder Club series has so very much to love about it! And love it, I did!

The dialog is just so witty… so engaging… so real! I felt like I was eaves dropping on actual conversations! And I loved feeling like I was working right along with everyone as they unraveled this mystery! No spoiler’s here… but I will tell you that you should absolutely read this book!

I listened, and the narration was absolutely excellent!

What about you? What was good for you this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.1.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.1.22

The making over the past two weeks has been varied! Some Gnome Knitting means that I have finished my May Mystery Gnome and I love him! I also added some inches to the Sock for Sam.

First Finish is Gnocchi! And I have some Gnome deets to share with you all: 1. The Third Beard was the charm! I used low twist handspun singles and they did exactly what I hoped they would do after a little soak. 2. The Gnocchi pattern is written sans arms. However, I thought he needed them so I cast on for a six stitch I-cord, knit for 1.25″ and then added “hands”… I increased 3 stitches, knit four rounds and decreased over 2 rows to 3 stitches. To give the arms some “body” I added a bit of paper clip wire inside the I-cord tube. Voila!

I now have 5 Mantle Gnomes, and soon to begin my June Gnome. Year of Gnomes is going incredibly! Haha!

Second finish was my Out of Sight, Out of Mind Hitchhiker. Yes, I finished my Base 12 Handspun Hitchhiker and I love it! No really… I absolutely love it! It will be the perfect companion once summer is over…a bit of sparkle, the perfect blend of colors, and the perfect size at 45 “teeth” and the add in handspun to get to 45 teeth worked perfectly.

One other thing I did over the past couple of weeks was a bit of a “look back” on some knitting photos from previous May projects. May seems to be the month that I knit Close To You shawls… I have knit 4 of them that were either slated for a fundraiser or as a gift for someone.And, however improbable this seems, I do not have one for my own wardrobe. I know!! I began remedying that last week. I had a special skein of Miss Bab’s Shaken, Not Stirred in my stash and so I cast on! Selfish knitting for the win, right? (see it way up top with Sam’s Sock!)

The reading has been so good over the past couple of weeks… despite a couple of books not quite living up to the hype.

WeatherWeather by Jenny Offill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a very short book, there is a lot of meat… err, meaty topics? Perhaps stormy is the better analogy, lol.

Anyways, part of the time I was wondering if all accidental librarians are also pseudo-shrinks. I mean it fits… ask your librarian to recommend a book for you and you will be incredibly surprised at how well they know you!

But back to this story… yes, it is stream of consciousness and sometimes hard to stay with Offill, but do, because it’s worth it. This book made me think about so many things… some I have thought of before, some I have never thought of… but all in a very good way. All in all, I really enjoyed this journey.

Recommend. Absolutely!

The Order (Gabriel Allon, #20)The Order by Daniel Silva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Order really missed the mark for me… yes, I know. I thought the same thing…how is that possible.

Well it’s entirely possible when a writer brings in an entirely implausible story line… like Silva does in this book. Yes he brought back characters I enjoy, but not one part of this story is believable… sadly. And part of that… that what Silva is writing about could happen…. is what makes these stories so good… at least for me. Or maybe this series has met it’s ending because I have just started #21 and it is not grabbing me like previous books have…

If you are an Allon fan, I’d say skip this one.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for MortalsFour Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a recommendation from a friend… and what a perfect recommendation it was! It fit in so well with my One Little Word (Full) and I really enjoyed the bits of insight that I gleaned from it!

I listened to Burkeman read it to me… and I found that helpful… it felt very conversational, and I wrote down so many little things.

My main take away is that this book has something for everyone and it is not a huge time commitment to get to the nuggets! (and curiously, I thought this book fit very well with Offill’s Weather… this book made me think of so many things Offill talked about there!)

If nothing else, this book gives you permission to step away from that which you don’t like and lean into the things you do love… because if we get four thousand weeks… we are so fortunate. Time is a treasure, fill it with all that you love!

Highly recommend!

The Fire Next TimeThe Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate.”

This book begins with a letter from an uncle to his nephew… and continues with a letter from Baldwin to the reader. Tough love comes to mind, but perhaps total honesty is more accurate. That which is hard to hear… yet Baldwin holds your attention and states it clearly… as only he can do.

These words will be ringing in my head for a long time: “We cannot be free until they are free.”

Amen, Mr. Baldwin. Amen!

Highly recommend.

The Island of Missing TreesThe Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a book that did not live up to the hype… at least not for me. IMO, the book could have been infinitely improved if the Fig Tree had told all of the story…I completely agree with a friend who felt the same way.

I did not connect with the other characters and really struggled to stay focused on the story when the Fig Tree was not narrating.

Shafak talks a bit about the partition of Cyprus… but she barely scratches the surface. I think a bit more could have been included about that that might have piqued my interest more.

I cannot give a rousing recommendation on this one… but others have enjoyed it tremendously so YMMV.

That is all I have for today! What about you? What are you making today?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.18.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.18.22

The making this week has been of the “small” variety but I wanted to take a moment to identify the photos for you all from Monday’s post:

  • 1. A chive blossom
  • 2. an African violet
  • 3. Bee balm and
  • 4. the Tri-colored birch beech (thank you, Kym) in my back yard.

Monday the most strenuous thing I did was that blog post, lol. The rest of the day I napped on the sofa and it was early to bed for me as well! However, I woke yesterday free of all effects from my COVID booster and I spent the day catching up on all I did not get done on Monday as well as the usual Tuesday things I do, some of which included some knitting time!

The first clue of Imagined Landscape’s Mystery Gnome came out last Friday and I did cast on over the weekend. Clue Two came out on Monday and I managed to get myself all caught up yesterday. Clue Three drops tomorrow and I am all ready for it! (and no spoilers here… yes, it is inside out!)

I also have been knitting Sam’s sock… I am contemplating an “afterthought heel” but I have never done one of those before. (Or is it a fore-thought heel… I want to do the one with the row of waste yarn…) If any of you have done that heel I’d love your input. My reasoning behind this is that I feel like the striping will be more uniform without the heel flap. Anyways, I look forward to all your knitting insights!

The reading this week… well it is just epic. I finally finished The Books of Jacob, which I deemed to be a 4-star read. I now have a bunch of much, much, much shorter books in my queue and so I think by this time next week I might have 3 books completed, lol.

However, I loved the 2 months I spent with Jacob Frank… it was truly an amazing book!

The Books of JacobThe Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not sure where to begin with this incredible story, there is just so much to digest and all of it fascinating. If I had read this book in my 20’s I would not have liked it, or even finished it. My much younger self was not as comfortable with thinking about things from all opinions… but at 61, this epic work has much that inspired me. First… by how similar all things are (i.e. religions… Christian, Jewish, Muslim)… much more than I think I realized. I loved how this story of Jacob Frank was true but Tokarczuk took that story and wrapped it in a bit of mystical wonder, as only she can do. I really loved the time I spent in Jacob’s world.

But all that said, this book is long and it dragged a bit for me at about the beginning of the last quarter of the book, however, I am not sure how it could be edited to avoid that as there were important bits in that part, however, all at once the dragging feeling stopped and the ending just flowed beautifully. I loved, loved, loved the page numbering… my gosh that was so fun!

The translation to English by Jennifer Croft is excellent and I am profoundly grateful for her work in bring this book to an English speaking audience.

If you are a Tokarczuk fan, you will love this book!

That is all I have for today… and I am eagerly awaiting your thoughts on afterthought heels!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.11.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.11.22

Tegna!! She is finished. She just needs a bit of a spa treatment and a quick tumble in the dryer and she will be camera ready!

I spent some time earlier this year contemplating my wardrobe needs… and I have one sweater I really like to wear but the neckline bothers me. It is Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Lucinda, which I knit for myself some years ago… I love the sweater, but the unstructured neckline is not my favorite, nor has it (the neckline) worn well over the years. So when I saw Calamus in a Quince email, I thought that might be the perfect replacement for Lucinda. I had some Holst Tides in my stash and I got gauge… on.the.first.try!  In my book this is a sign from the Knitting Gods that you must cast on…immediately…and so I did! I am almost done with the ribbing and I am very much liking this marled fabric!

I also had a bit of a May the Forth incident…an incident of Galactic Battle proportions most certainly… anyway, somehow four perfectly matched sets of yarn fell into my cart and soon after were winging their way to my mailbox. I have plans for two of them… and perhaps some selfish knitting with the other two skeins…we shall see.

Left to right: Laugh it up Fuzzball (aka Chewie), Princess General (aka Leia), The Dark Father (aka Anakin), and Old Ben (as in Obi-Wan Kenobi)

A slow reading week with just one finish. I listened to Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You and as you can see from my review below, it was a book with good parts and some not so good parts, but YMMV.

Beautiful World, Where Are YouBeautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For parts of this book I felt like I was listening to actual conversations, had by real people. The dialog between characters is witty, relevant, and engaging. I listened and the narrator, Aoife McMahon, was excellent. I liked all the characters… they were wonderful!

So if I liked all of that, why did I not rate the book higher? Honestly, I could not get past the endless email bits… those did not at all feel real…nor did the text messages. Had I been reading the book with my eyes instead of my ears, I would have skipped those parts. I tried to think about how those parts might have worked for me and for the emails… those might have been better as “journal” entries because I don’t know anyone who writes a tome in an email. It just does not happen. And those text bits… gah. They should have been edited out as well, imo.

What about you? Did you have any knitting incidents this week? Do share!!

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

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