Unraveled Wednesday | 8.25.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.25.21

Greetings Unravelers!

This week I have the big reveal of my summer mystery knit. Let’s face it, sometimes mystery knits sound exciting but the end results…not so much. I have knit many a mystery shawl that are never, ever worn. It is a sad thing to invest time to making something that does not spark much of anything other than a lovely “basket adornment”…amirite?

Well, this is NOT any of that. This is my Bee Hive Shawl and I love every last thing about it! (FYI… it is also known as the Waggle Dance Shawl which I think is possibly the worst name ever for a shawl… lol) This is the first design I have knit of Anne’s in ages and it was a lovely reminder of the joy that knitting one of her patterns is. She is a detailed knitter and her patterns reflect that detail. She charts things *and* includes written instructions. And I loved her tips for making all the cabled stitches easier (and so much faster!) This is the first time I have knit with Anne’s yarn line (Bare Naked Wools) – I used Targhee Tango Sport and I loved it.

This shawl is sort of a scalene triangle shape with a nice, gradual stretch of decreases before binding off. Decreases only happen on one edge of the shawl and as I was knitting, I worried it would be not an easy shape to wear but it blocked out beautifully to Anne’s dimensions and I can tell you that it is infinitely wearable. (Now if only the 90’s with all.the.humidity would depart so I could wear it!) I knit the tall size and I don’t think the petite size would be as wearable for someone my size.

I love the color, the texture, and the wonderful, squishy feel of the fabric. If you are looking for a single color shawl to knit, I highly recommend this pattern. It is knit with a sport weight, woolen spun yarn… which means it is lighter than air and will be a wonderfully warm layer which hopefully I will be utilizing soon at least in the mornings for Sherman’s walk!

All this heat makes working on a woolen sweater seem not the thing to do, but my plans for today include a bit of crochet and then getting acquainted with these as I needle felt the steek on my test sweater.

My stay-cation really amped up my reading in the best possible way! First, I ran across this article about the book club I joined this summer. I am excited to continue on with them as we read and discuss Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent in the fall.

Black Diamond (Bruno, Chief of Police #3)Black Diamond by Martin Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mystery within a mystery, but are they connected?

Again, I learned about Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges and his little corner of the world… which sounds incredible (if you discount the murders, lol) with the local wines, truffles, and simple foods coupled with the lovely inhabitants of St. Denis make it the perfect place to visit through the pages of Walker’s writing.

If you are looking for a semi-cozy read (there are murders after all) in the French countryside… this is a lovely series.

This Tender LandThis Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book really struck out for me. To me, it seemed so trite… too religious… to preachy.

If this had just been a story that one might possibly find believable, it might have worked. Sadly, it was not and I do not recommend this story.

Moscow Rules (Gabriel Allon #8)Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have no idea if “Moscow Rules” are a thing but this book invites you to come along on a mission inside Russia… I am loving how Allon’s team has grown into a family which is perhaps the exact family he needs. I highly recommend this series!


The Heron's Cry (Two Rivers, #2)The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Welcome back to North Devon and book two of the Two Rivers series! Come and spend some more time with Detective Matthew Venn and his team. We get to know them all a bit more…with all their faults and foibles. However, I began to see how the team is gelling together… how each team member has strengths that might just over come their weaknesses!

Of course, there has been a murder… an incredibly well crafted Cleeve’s murder. This book had so many twists and turns as Matthew and his team begin to unravel the case. I changed who I thought “did it” numerous times during the listening and I was shocked at the ending. (But I should not have been… Cleeve’s is an incredible mystery writer!)

I loved this story and highly recommend you read it ASAP!

I was unbelievably fortunate to receive an audio ARC of this book. And I would like to thank NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books for providing this ARC for purposes of review.

No One Is Talking About ThisNo One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow!! Just wow. The first half of this book (re)introduces you to the insanity that is our life with social media. It made me laugh. It made me mad. And it made me very uncomfortable and very unsettled.

And I wondered where Lockwood was going with all this… and then came the second half. So the question forming in my mind was this… what is the life you want to live. What is important. What do I want to spend my time with.

Things that I am going to think about every time I open a social media platform.

If those are questions that have rattled around your brain, this might be the book for you.

The Defector (Gabriel Allon, #9)The Defector by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a continuation of Moscow Rules and we find Allon’s team heading back to Russia to finish what they started.

The continued story is not without its toll though and the big question that lingers throughout the book seems to hang over every page… will this be Gabriel’s last mission. Is he hanging up his spy work and leaving The Office behind? I don’t think so because there are lots more books in this series, but you see the cost that this work brings to the team.

Also… Allon stories are not good for sleep, as in once you start you just cannot stop!

I very much recommend this series!

That is all I have to share for today. What about you? What are you excited about making or reading?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.11.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.11.21

It has been a slow week for making this week. But!! I am on my second sleeve and happy to have this easy to pick up and put down project right now. But it is just all so much of a grey blob, isn’t it? I thought I’d share the ribbon I found to cover the steeks… I love it! Scissors ribbon, FTW! I think I am going to order this contraption and give a needle-felted steek a go. Stay tuned!

The other bits of making I have been doing is a little bit of stitching every day… and I have a couple of snowmen to show for it! I am really enjoying getting back to this craft and I am LOVING my Ottlite! It is exactly what I needed!

It has also been a slow week for reading with just one finish. But I do have one brilliant short audio story to share as well!

First up, my finish this week… so. darned. good!

The SearcherThe Searcher by Tana French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this slowly unfolding story so much! I loved Cal (and I hope this is the not the last we will hear of him) I loved Trey and ‘his’ determination to find the truth. This is a “settle in” novel that you might feel has a slow pace, but that pace is vital to allowing us to get to know the *all* the characters, including the setting itself. I did not know what a rook was, thank you Google for the assistance! The character development is just brilliant and the ending was so unexpected. If you are looking for an engaging story, this is it! I highly recommend!

The other very good “finish” this week was this week’s episode of LeVar Burton Reads… it was a riveting listen of a brilliant and moving short story by Louise Erdrich. It was so good! If you don’t normally get LeVar’s weekly podcast… this is an episode you might want to tune into! (4-stars, and the narrator is the best!)

Finally, thank you for all your input into Pressed Flowers (and for remembering that Kym had knit one!) I am pondering colors  and will be adding this to my fall knitting list! Yay!

That is all I have for today! What about you? What is capturing your attention this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.4.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.4.21

Greetings dear Unravelers!

How on earth is it possibly August???

I have a finish this week, yes Shakerag is done! And I love it very much and am contemplating making another one! Shoulder seaming woes and all! Yes… it was a bitch and a half to seam… somehow the fronts and backs were not.the.same.width. I was NOT ripping back again to try and figure out what was the problem (I should have noted this in the pattern, but did not. I have not looked for errata, but I feel certain there must be because the fronts have 10 stitches more than the backs…ugh) Anyway, I managed to “ease” them together. I then decided not to do the “pick up and bind off” neck and arm finish and instead did a single crochet edge, which I like very much. It helps the neckline lay flat and once I re-block the sweater, I don’t think the arm holes will curl under. I LOVE the yarn I picked for this and will absolutely be using it again. It washed up and blocked beautifully! And the feel… it almost has a suede-like texture. It is really quite lovely. My next version will have a split hemline, I think…

And as for the transparency of this sweater… well, it is barely, which I think is just perfect!

I have the body of my second Test Knit done and have departed for Sleeve Island… I wish I could share more, but soon!

Oh this week’s reading! Wonderful!! Plus!! I have my Summer Book Bingo Coverall with the finish of McEwan’s Saturday! A brilliant finish for my card!

Letters to a Young PoetLetters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”

Imagine wanting to be something… anything… and writing a letter to someone who does what you want to do and he responds to the letter – sharing wisdom, insights, encouragement, and friendship.

This book is the story of that journey… Rilke’s letters to the young friend are beautiful. Gracious. Full of encouragement and hope. The tenderness and beauty of these letters is really quite incredible. The reader only sees Rilke’s responses and I spent a great deal of time pondering what it would have been like to have a mentor like this. But most of all, the wisdom Rilke shares are things you should store away… and you should remind yourself of that wisdom frequently. I highly recommend this book!

SaturdaySaturday by Ian McEwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“When anything can happen, everything matters.”

My goodness can McEwan take you on an incredible journey… this is one of those journeys. Buckle in though… it’s going to be a bumpy ride! Fast-paced and fascinating, this story pulled me in from the beginning and about midway though the day, I remember thinking… boy, if ever the thought of it being a “good day to just stay in bed” this was it! What I really loved was how things eventually are all interconnected. Brilliant writing and McEwan never disappoints! I very much recommend this story!

Summer Book Bingo Square: Month or day of the week in the title

Unsettled GroundUnsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Just wow. This title is pure perfection for the story that unfolds. I could not put it down… and I tried to go slowly to savor it but 24 hours later it was done. This is a story that will stay with me for a very, very, very long time though. I want to say I loved this story… but while I loved the characters, I did not love the story… until it grew on me, or perhaps it is better to say that as this story unfurled it began to envelop me… and as I settled in, I saw things differently.

This will absolutely be one of the best books I have read this year and I highly recommend it!

That is all I have for today but what about you? What does August hold for you?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.28.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.28.21

This week you have a nicely folded dark square of knitting paired with a lovely start of a new project… not what I expected but it is what it is….

I know I said last week that I would have my Shakerag Top finished and while the *knitting* is done… it still needs seaming and edge finishing. My hurdle??? Doing *this* while also doing *that*… sigh. Apparently I cannot count or walk and chew gum at the same.time! So having to rip back the back and front to correct the *this* and *that* bits meant that I do not have it finished. (Can I blame this on The Olympics… not really… this was 100% Knitter Error!!) But…before seaming (and because of the likelihood of errors) I really need to block out the shoulders before I seam them…bringing this to the “finish soon” category! However, since I got the knitting portion done I did cast on for my second test knit cardigan… GUILT FREE! Bonus in that this is the PERFECT Olympics watching knit! (big hint… it is a lot further than this picture shows!)

Now… how about a little reading update! Only one bingo book this week…BUT!!! I have just one square to go to a completed bingo card! Whew!

The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Is this book a literary masterpiece? Hardly, but it is so comfortable… it is just the most wonderful “feel good” novel. Light, cozy, and thoroughly enjoyable.


Summer Book Bingo Square: Debut

The Sisters SweetThe Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A curious, twisting tale of two twin sisters who’s lives are overtaken by the machinations of their parents. This book starts out brilliantly… but the middle section of the book needs some heavy editing. It drags quite a bit… it was so slow going that I almost bailed on it. And suddenly the pace picks up and WHAM… it is finished and you are back where you started… sort of. I think there could have been less of the slog-ish middle and more of a transition to the ending. I did enjoy the peek into life post-WWI in America leading up to the Depression.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

That is all I have for today… I hope your recent making had no unraveling!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.21.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.21.21

Summer making is just so good!

I have two “Moon Rise” coasters completed… and they are perfect! A combination of hand stitching and machine stitching… I appliqued the moons on, then I sat at the machine for less than 15 minutes to sew them together. Then I spent an afternoon reacquainting myself with hand quilting. I have one more pair to complete… but maybe not. These would be a wonderful gift to send… so there might be more of these in my future!

On the knitting front…. I have achieved the Great Sleeve Divide and I am motoring along on the back as I make my way to the shoulder decreases. Gosh is this a fun little knit! At the rate I am progressing, I predict it will be finished for next week’s update! (then I will be guilt free to start a second Test Knit!)

I do have a reading update this week (and just two squares left on my bingo card!!)

I finished my ‘re-listen’ of Pat Conroy’s Beach Music. If it is at all possible, it was even better than the first time I listened. I cleared my “book shelf” and just immersed myself in the story. I did not do any “power listening” where I listen for 6+ hours in a sitting… but rather I listened over the course of twelve-ish days… so about 2.5 hours of listening a day. This slower pace allowed me to catch more nuances of the brilliant story. I am including my review from my “first read” of this brilliant book. No Bingo Square, but just pure reading enjoyment.

Beach MusicBeach Music by Pat Conroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did not think it was possible that I could like a book more than I did South of Broad, but then I read Beach Music. This book made me laugh out loud and also brought tears to my eyes as Jack collected the stories of family members and shared them so incredibly beautifully. Long live Chippy the Dog stories, GRRRRR! GRRRRRR! The tender brilliance of Pat Conroy’s writing has left an indelible mark on my heart with this story.

GreenlightsGreenlights by Matthew McConaughey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Read for Summer Book Bingo… or I likely would not have picked this book. It is humorous… but a bit much at times. Moral of the story… don’t be too stuck on your own greatness…and I still think McConaughey is a good actor, however his writing skills leave much to be desired.

Summer Book Bingo Square: (Auto) Biography

Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book stopped me in my tracks….so.many.times. I listened to several chapters more than once. Wilkerson completely unravels how society is built… its biased construction… and yes, that we in the US are large participants in the caste system. It is painful to take in most of what she shares… but it has invigorated me in finding a way to actively work towards equality for all. This is a must read book!

Summer Book Bingo Square: Chosen by a celebrity bookclub (at any time)

And that is all for me today… what about you? What are you happy about this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.14.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.14.21

Greetings Unravelers!

Happy (almost) mid-July! (a statement that does not even seem remotely possible!)

Despite that fact…my world of the Great Summer Slow Down is full of so many good things!

I have a finish that I, sadly, cannot yet share. But I wanted to talk a bit about what I learned knitting this sweater… and I learned so much!! In my Knitting Life I have knit 3 sweaters that were steeked but it turns out that not once did I do the steek “correctly” until this sweater. And wow, what a difference correctly setting up the steek makes! The key tip for me was knowing which “leg” of which stitch to use. Also, picking up the button bands while the sweater is still un-steeked is the loveliest thing ever! And it has an added bonus of allowing you to match exactly when you pick up the second band! I have pulled together the yarn to knit a second sweater, but I have not yet cast on. Maybe later today… maybe.

But I have not been idle…not at all! I have been engrossed in a bit of drawing, some knitting on my mystery shawl, lots of reading, and the start of some hand stitching!

The last mystery clue came out yesterday but have not started that clue…yet. I am really not in a rush to finish though because I am thoroughly enjoying this pattern! It is nice working on it a few minutes each day and it will be finished long before I need to use it! Ha!

What I have been doing has been pulling some “scraps” of fabric together for some sewing! I cut out and have begun stitching (appliquéing?) the “moons” on my first make from Dawn. An easy start for the #DawnMakeAlong that I am doing just a bit differently… I am hand stitching versus using my sewing machine. It makes the project entirely portable… and stitching with Jack McCall might be my favorite thing ever! As you can see, I have one moon completed and a second one has begun. (Good thing I am liking this handwork… I have fallen in love with this project from the issue and think that it could be the perfect late summer project!)

And as for some “next season” inspiration, some months ago I pre-ordered Kaffe Fassett’s new quilt book and it arrived on Monday! Oh.My.Gosh! The quilts are just beautiful and though they look complicated, after reading some of the instructions…well, they seem quite easy – or at least not as challenging as they look! I really love how Kaffe helps you with “lights and darks” so it looks like it will be a bit easier to pick fabrics – which is my challenge! But perhaps the best part is how he uses his stunning fabrics to create works of art.

I know I said I would not have a Bingo update, but the next Gabriel Allon book came through from the library and there were a good number of people behind me on the waitlist so I read it over the course of a couple of nights. Honestly, I could barely put it down!

The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon, #7)The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fast-paced, can’t-put-it-down book! I love Allon’s team… especially, the return of Sarah! And the ending was just so perfect (okay, both endings, lol!)

I highly recommend this series! The writing is good.

Summer Book Bingo Square: An author you love

And I continue to be immersed in Beach Music… I expect I will finish it tomorrow. It is the perfect companion to stitching on the porch!

That is all I have for today. What about you? What are you loving right now?

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

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