Unraveled Wednesday, August 9

Unraveled Wednesday, August 9

Oh my! The reading has been so very good! So very, very, very good! Really, this might be the second-best summer of reading ever! (What was first? Well, nothing can quite compete with the summer I discovered The Little House books…)

This week I finished 3 books:

  1. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. LOVED! Through and through! I listened to this (excellent narration, btw) and I am so glad I did. The book contains so much detail that I would have skimmed over if reading, but listening – oh my. What an amazing picture Ondaatje paints in this post-WWII story. It is a 5-star book, all the way, filled with the incredible story of Caravaggio, Kip, The English Patient, and Hana – they are all damaged by the war – in visible and invisible ways. If you love WWII history, you will also love this book!
  2. Nutshell: A Novel by Ian McEwan. Fascinating concept and very well written. I gave this book 4-stars.
  3. Dawn by Elie Wiesel. While the writing is excellent, this book was incredibly sad. I was left with one overwhelming thought: Man’s inhumanity to man seems to be a vicious circle. Are we doomed to keep making the same mistakes over and over? I gave this book 4-stars.

I am 3 squares away from a cover all – and it is only August 9!! This makes me insanely happy!!

My current reads are as follows:

  1. I am about halfway through reading Viveca Sten’s Still Waters. So far, so good. And, no…I don’t have a clue who “did it” yet.
  2. In my ears, I began listening to Michael Chabon’s The Adventures of Cavalier and Clay. I am about 2 hours into the 26 hour listen.
  3. Also, a library hold came through so I am also listening to Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings.

Really… so much good reading this summer!

Now, how about a knitting update?

  1. I started Bateau and much to my chagrin the yarn was pooling most impressively. Sooo…. I ripped back to my cast on (thankfully I had only knit about an inch and a half…) and now I am cruising along helical striping. Is the yarn still pooling? Yes, but not so impressively. And, being a bit “blendy” with these skeins is necessary as they are quite different!
  2. I am also working on fingerless mitt #2 – I did manage to get quite a bit done at knitting last night (but the darkness of the mornings now makes early photos a challenge!

What are you reading and making?

 

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Unraveled Wednesday, August 2

Unraveled Wednesday, August 2

Is it just me, or does it seem like the summer is just flying by? I mean really, how on earth is it August already?!?

My Instagram feed this week was full of fall sweater knitting plans…ummm, yeah. That was my reaction too, until I reminded myself that I knit not one but two fall sweaters this summer! But then again, I am so not ready for summer to be over so to counteract this madness – I have begun the cast on for Bateau. I have roughly 100 stitches to finish casting on. Summer sweaters FTW! And, no sleeves…ahhhh!

I do have a couple of finished objects this week! I finished the bind off yesterday afternoon for Kirsten Kapur’s MKAL shawl!! It is headed for a nice spa treatment and a good blocking. I will share the beauty shots next week!

I also finished Stillwater #1 (which took me WAY longer than 4 days, lol) This sweater had more than its share of unraveling. The front collar band was ripped back once to adjust stitches and I also ripped back a sleeve with some adjustments for fit. It also needs a good soak but my washer died on Monday so that will wait until the new washer arrives. However, I do really like how it turned out. I used Sheepspot CVM which is a new yarn they are carrying – and I have some mixed feelings about the yarn. I think the yarn will be wonderfully durable and very pill resistant, however, everyone who has touched the sweater has said it is scratchy. Now, this does not bother me at all and really it does not feel scratchy to me, but be warned – this is a sturdy yarn. I also had one skein that had lots of knots in one strand of the plies. I debated as to whether to just leave them (they were small) or to remove them. I decided to remove them because the yarn easily fulled back together (so I did not have any ends to weave in). The skeins have about 280 yards in them, so they are big skeins and they are not dyed but come in natural sheep colors. I also think they are a bit pricey at $26.00 per skein. The yarn weight is between a light worsted and DK weight and it blooms a bit in the bath. I knit this sweater on a size 6 needle which is not the recommended needle size, but I liked the fabric that I got on a 6 the most. You might recall that I originally planned on knitting Daelyn from this yarn, but, this yarn did not play well with that pattern (otherwise known as what happens when you ignore row gauge in a top down sweater).

Now, how about a book report? I have finished 2 more books this week!

I listened to Claire Danes read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and it was excellent listening! I gave this book 4 stars.

I also finished reading The Children Act by Ian McEwan – this was my first Ian McEwan novel and I really enjoyed it and I also gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

I started another Ian McEwan novel last night – I am reading Nutshell: A Novel. And, while I have just started I can tell you that it is a very curious start! I think this will be another quick read! Up next after that is Elie Wiesel’s Dawn.

I am listening to The English Patient as well and I am really loving it!

As you can see from my Bingo Card I have some open spaces yet and still all of August to fill them.

What about you? What are you excited about this week?

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Unraveled Wednesday, July 26

Unraveled Wednesday, July 26

Just when you think there will be no unraveling – there is.

This week’s queue to finish:

  • Iced Coffee Stillwater, which is the recipient of the frogging. I have about 3″ to go on Sleeve #2 until I get to the 50-stitch mark, then…Sleeve #1 is being ripped back to 50 stitches and then I will determine how much if any to knit further before beginning the ribbing. Sometimes when you are knitting a smaller size based on your gauge – sleeve diameter needs some reworking and that is absolutely the case here!

  • TTL MKAL shawl, I am in the home stretch and have a bit more of the lace done since I took photos yesterday!

On the reading front, I managed to finish 3 books this week and I got my second BINGO:

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: I gave this book 5 stars…I was not sure I would like this book, but I loved it! The narration was excellent. I laughed so many times at the “ba-billion” funny things. I also cried a time or two. A great look into how life was and a powerful reminder of what should never have happened.
  2. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: I gave this book 4 stars…The quintessential book for summer reading and,  stunningly, a book I had not previously read! I loved it and found myself immersed in the writing as well as my own childhood memories of new sneakers. I also loved the memories of each jar of dandelion wine. Beautiful writing.
  3. Beartown: A Novel by Frederik Backman. I gave this book 5 stars…While I am not a fan of hockey, this book makes you realize how intricately tied together a town can be and how easy it is to pick sides. You would think reading about hockey would be quite boring, but it is not. It is the characters in the town that Backman writes about – and the decisions they make that are interesting.  They are people who you know – or perhaps the person you are – in the pages of Beartown. And, it is masterfully written!

So, what is up next for me?

Reading: I have begun listening to A Handmaid’s Tale narrated by Claire Danes. And I have begun reading The Children Act by Ian McEwan. I also have Nutshell and Dawn in the queue from the library. So, lots of reading!!

Knitting: I think I will begin Bateau as soon as I have Stillwater and the MKAL shawl done…

What about you? What are you knitting and reading this week?

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Unraveled Wednesday, July 19

Unraveled Wednesday, July 19

This week seems to be flying by, doesn’t it?

My bingo card is looking pretty good and I have my first Bingo of the summer!

I finished Spycatcher by Peter Wright for my “banned in a country outside the US” square. I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads, I enjoyed the book but it rambled a bit and was a book I had to read in spurts. I kept having to go back and re-read parts to figure out how some people fit.

I also finished Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. This book fills my “set in a state where you live” square. I like Michael Chabon’s writing and Wonder Boys did not disappoint. It is both funny and at times a bit sad – the characters are entirely dysfunctional, but that makes them more enjoyable IMO. And, there is so much Pittsburgh in this book! A great read if you live here! I gave it 4 stars.

I listened to Pat Conroy’s South of Broad and wow! This is my first Pat Conroy novel and I loved it cover to cover. The ending was completely unexpected. The writing is spectacular. I laughed, I cried more than once, and I simply adore Leo. This book might be the best book I will read all summer – and perhaps all year. I want to read it again and gave it 5 stars!

Yesterday, I finished Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney. I gave it 4 stars and honestly – I want to be Lillian when I am 85 years old and the writing is wonderful.

I also started and stopped Anthropology of an American Girl. I listened for about 2.5 hours and just could not go any further. Yeah, it was that bad. This goes in the “could not finish” category. I laughed when I saw someone on Goodreads called this a “time suck” – yes, indeed and frankly, I’d like those 2.5 hours back! I do not recommend.

I have been listening to The Help (which I love!) and I just started reading Beartown. So, much good!

The knitting has not been quite as productive as the reading, but good none the less.

I have been working on catching up with the MKAL. I am not through clue #3 yet (maybe today?) However, slow I am going, it is not because I do not like the pattern – it is awesome and I have tried to avoid seeing what the next clues are. I love that the lace work is such an easy to memorize yet beautiful pattern. I am half way done with the first a pair of mitts out of the really yummy organic Rambouillet.

I also finished some gift knitting that I will blog about once the recipient has received it!

What are you reading and knitting today?

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Unraveled Wednesday, July 12

Unraveled Wednesday, July 12

Ohai, Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday to you!

I am working on getting back on track with my mystery shawl – slowly, getting back on track! I am almost done with Clue #2, which puts me only 3 weeks behind!

However, I did get a lovely distraction in the mail this week from Shepherd’s Lamb! They sent me 2 skeins of their new Organic Rambouillet yarn! Oh, my it is lovely! I especially love the natural dye colors! I have yarn from 2 different sheep – Rusty Nails and Acorns! The yarn is DK weight and has 180 yards per 2-ounce skein. I am thinking that this pattern might be the perfect thing for this yarn! The yarn has been minimally processed and has a lovely, but faint, sheepy smell! Stay tuned for the FO’s next week!

Now, on to reading – no finishes this week, but hopefully next week I will have a flurry of them! And, really – I need to kick it into high gear because I had a bunch of things come off hold at the library (of course!)

What about you? Any good knits and reads this week?

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Unraveled Wednesday, July 5

Unraveled Wednesday, July 5

Greetings Unravelers! Yay for short weeks smack dab in the middle of summer, amirite?

Lots of knitting is happening and lots of reading!

My Bingo Card continues to look good!

I finished 2 books this week:

On the Road by Jack Kerouac: I gave this book 5 stars. I listened to it and it was fantastic! How had I never read this book is amazing to me, and I am so glad I can say I have! And, this won’t be the last book of his I read because I found him to be an amazing writer; his way with words is phenomenal. I felt as if I was a passenger along for the ride, and what a ride it was! If you need a Memoir or autobiography for your bingo card this summer, read this! It will not disappoint!

The Zookeeper’s Wife: I gave this book 4 stars. This book takes you to Warsaw in the days leading up to WWII and then through the occupation and into the end of the war. It is beautifully written and powerful. There is much sadness in this beautiful tale though, yet during the horror – goodness happens. A great story!

I had a conversation with Mary last week and made a few changes to my Bingo Card choices. I started listening to South of Broad by Pat Conroy this week and began reading Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Both are getting high marks in the starting pages. Wonder Boys is short and I hope to have it done this week!

I am also about half way through Spycatcher and while I’d like to have it done this week, that is doubtful.

A cover all is well in sight!

Now, how about some knitting?

Last Friday, I started my “4 day Stillwater” KAL and I have not touched it since! But, tomorrow that will all change as Steve is heading off to a work event and I will be alone for the weekend. Well, Sherman and I will be on our own might be a better way to put that! So, knitting will kick into high gear and I will have a completed sweater by Saturday, or at least that is the plan! There is an awful lot of knitting to do!

In the meantime, I did knit a bit on the MKAL shawl, but I am still not though Clue #2, so once all the knitting insanity is over, I need to be more diligent with that! And, I have also been slowly plugging away at Stillwater #1, but I really did not do much knitting this weekend. The point of the weekend was not to knit, but rather to enjoy the holiday. And, enjoy we did – lots of good food, a few drinks, and lots of outdoor time! It was the perfect long summer weekend!

How about you? Any good knits or reads this week?

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