Unraveled Wednesday | 2.23.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.23.22

Greetings Unravelers!

We have arrived at the final Wednesday in February with the most un-February-like weather… mild temps, rains that have done an excellent job of washing away the frozen and brought a hint of green…at least to the grass in my back yard! I have done a “mini-shuffle” in my closet – pulling out some warmer weather things and have readied some of my wooliest sweaters for a nice spa treatment before packing them away. I need it to not be raining so they can dry in a reasonable amount of time!

Never fear… I still have some wooly sweaters, but lighter weight ones that are the perfect things for easing into spring. And yes, I am absolutely thinking about spring!

The knitting this week… good times! I have a Finished Gnome! Meet Gnathan! I love his cables, and his beard, and that hat! I learned how to avoid ladders whilst purling in the round. I began to understand “reading your knitting when cabling” better – although I am not perfect, I am better than I was before I knit Gnathan!

AND!! Since this photo was taken, I have begun the toe of Vera’s Sock! I hope to cast on sock two later today!

I have even done a bit of stitching… but I don’t have a photo to show you right now! (you can blame the rain!)

The reading this week… oh my. It was so good! (and it is even better than what is finished, I am finally back to Still Life!) This is the kind of reading that creates the dreaded reading slump… so many good books are a hard act to follow… I have some niggling worry. (But I do have some good things coming in my hold queue… pray they all don’t become available at once! lol)

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across AmericaHow the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to Clint Smith read this powerful history… he takes us on a journey that begins in New Orleans and from there he takes us to places I knew about but never considered those places to be markers on the history of slavery.

This book clearly showed me that I do not know so much.

It was not a book I could listen to in large chunks of time…and I understand the privilege I have in being able to say that. So many Clint talks with in this book are still living what I found necessary to put down… to take a break from their reality.

But in the midst of the nightmare that is this nations fixation with slavery – you cannot listen to the history of Angola Prison and not believe that for some people, slavery is not over – there are people who are trying to make a difference – glimmers of hope in a sea of despair…

I highly recommend this book.

Agatha of Little NeonAgatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It seems unfathomable that this is Claire Luchette’s debut novel. It is truly brilliant. The writing is so spectacular… and as Luchette slowly reveals more and more of the characters, it just gets better.

She draws you in, she makes you comfortable, and then she carefully changes your surroundings and niggles you with some questions that made me stop and think.

I am not Catholic, but I felt this incredible bond between Agatha and her sisters… until it wasn’t, or was it ever? I loved watching Agatha grow… and her concerns are worth noting. Write them down. Memorize them.

I am so eager to discuss a book I profoundly loved with the Read With Us Book Club.

I highly recommend this wonderful story!

That is all that I have going on in my making and reading this week. What about you?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.16.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.16.22

The Test Knit… she is finished! Wooo! I have even weighed my yarn and sent in all the pertinent details. Photos coming soon… I promise!

But today I have an almost finished Gnome… he needs a wee bit of blocking, some stuffing, a beard and some arms!

AND!! I started Vera’s Socks! (Petty Harbor – Ravelry Link) and I am not-quite mindlessly knitting the leg. It is some Rainy Day Yarn from my stash that I got from Wool & Honey… Dyed by Up North Yarns. Colorway: Market Day from Wool & Honey’s August 2020 Sleeping Bear Yarn Club.

I have knit another tooth on my Hitchhiker… but really it does not look much different from the last photo I shared with you all.

I was surprised to get my results on Monday from my mammogram… those results said “no visible malignancies” hmmm… are there invisible ones? It just seemed like strange wording to me… but what do I know. (Said results and those thoughts about invisible malignancies might have made me knit a wee bit faster on that Gnome! A plus, perhaps!)

The reading this week…I listened lots which helped me finish that test knit! I finished listening to Hollow Kingdom and started listening to Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed. (Two books that you would think would be on opposite ends of the spectrum… yet perhaps they are not so far at all!) Anyways, I had 3 finishes this week:

Hollow Kingdom (Hollow Kingdom, #1)Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew… two dystopian novels in two weeks! This one was an entirely different take (and perhaps more believable than Home of the Living God, but a bit more rawly written)

The MoFo’s (humans) have brought about the destruction of life as they knew it. What is left are the Animals. Of course the “narrator” would be a crow named Shit Turd (S.T. for short) and I really loved him! Why? Because he was raised by a human and thinks that he is a human. So we travel through the book with S.T. and see things through his eyes…which is especially wonderful when he starts to realize just how flawed the humans are. Yes, there are some very sad moments…but the ending is quite spectacular.

I had originally given this book 3-stars but has since upgraded it to 4 because I can’t stop thinking about dear S.T.

MeccaMecca by Susan Straight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was grabbed by the opening to this book: “The wind started up at three a.m., the same way it had for hundreds of years, the same way I used to hear it blowing so hard around our little house in the canyon that loose windowsills sounded like harmonicas. The old weather stripping played like the gods pressed their mouths around the screens in the living room, where I slept when I was growing up.”

I want to say I loved this book… but I just liked it. It is a compelling story – or at least that is how it starts. But then it takes some twist and turns, not all of which make sense and still don’t in the finishing of it. This story is one of Southern California… but not one you might expect. It is about people who have been in Southern California for eons and those who are brought by coyotes from Mexico and how the two, though very different, are considered the same. I loved learning about the history that Straight brings to life in the pages… the past sometimes merging with the present in a very compelling way.

Things I struggled with… there is lots of dialog in Spanish – with no translation. I also think that some of this book (about 2/3’s in) could have been edited out.

The ending was not at all what I expected.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for this ARC.

The War of the PoorThe War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t remember what (or who) directed me to this little book.

It is the bits of the story around the Protestant Reformation… or how everything old is new again. Or perhaps even better… how everything old is still here and simmering under the surface. The parallels between then and now are impossible not to draw…the ultra-wealthy, the working poor never getting ahead, and even crazy religious fanatics fanning the flames.

An interesting read and if history does indeed repeat itself….

That is all I have for today. What about you? Is there something you are knitting faster on this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.9.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.9.22

The making this week has been entirely focused on the Super Secret Test Knitting I am doing… In a different world, I would be done already. But instead I am on my third try…yes, you read that right. The third try! First time… I cast on 4 too many stitches. And while I might just do 4 k2tog in real life, in Test Knitting Life that is not what the designer is hoping I will do. So… Ripppppppp! And start again. The second try I entirely effed up the pattern (because… somehow I thought when the designer said to “put markers” between sections… I did not think she meant me! Ha! I think she wrote that direction because of me!) Again… Ripppppppppppppp! (The second time I was a lot farther along… sigh.)

So today I have the exact amount of stitches, markers were placed exactly when the pattern says. And I am past all the previous knitting I did (albeit incorrectly) and, though I hesitate to say it, all is good!

Instead you have a photo of my Base 12 Hitchhiker in the brief but spectacular sunshine we had late yesterday!

I am hoping that I will be back to knitting a Cabled Gnome and that Hitchhiker later on this week! Fingers and toes crossed!

The reading, though sparse, was so very good this week!

The Lost SpellsThe Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book to savor – and I did! I read it slowly in delicious little bites. A book to read over and over – I want to read this book until I have it memorized! A book full of beautiful artwork – oh my gosh, the artwork… it is just perfect.

I loved every minute of this book and I loved it so much I have purchased my own copy. I want to take this book to Presque Isle Park in Erie PA and read it to the birds, the water, the trees, and think about how beautifully written this book is.

I highly recommend!

Future Home of the Living GodFuture Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oof. This was a chilling read… but so brilliantly written!

Enter the world of Cedar Hawk Songmaker (perhaps the best name for a character… ever!) and what a messed up world it is. Some cataclysmic event has happened and the word as we know it is gone. It is both a journey of discovery and a journey of desperation.

For me… listening to Louise read her novel made the journey better for the listener. I might have missed things had I been reading… but listening, I allowed myself to be drawn along in the story as it unfolds.

And the ending… oh my. It was not at all what I expected… and yes, I cried.

I am excited because I have picked up Agatha of Little Neon and if the Knitting Gods keep smiling on me… I might be able to start reading it this week!

That is all that I have for today… what about you? What is on your making or reading radar this week?

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

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!

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