Unraveled Wednesday | 10.5.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.5.22

Greetings Unravelers!

It has been a good week for making in my house!

I have a finished, blocked, and all ends-woven-in sweater! In January of 2020, I started Amy Christoffers’ Pheasant Sweater (Ravelry Link). I started out like wildfire knitting all that fun color work fairly quickly and I got past the sleeve divide… and then it languished for a long, long time. I picked it back up in August and, as in all things, a little time and attention and before you know it… there is a finished sweater!

I used the colors Amy used in her version and I could not be happier! They are such perfect autumnal colors! It is light, yet so warm and cozy. I can wear it with a camisole underneath… the Shetland wool is soft. I love the subtle color shifts in the color work and I will be living in this sweater this fall!

Tight, close colors…such perfection!

The other making success I had this week involved baking! I have been trying to make pita bread but have had mixed success… the pouffing of the pitas was hit or miss for me. So I did some research and made some tweaks to my oven temperature, and amount of preheating of my baking steel… and those tweaks… worked!

From the first two…

I baked Pillowy, Puffy Pitas! And they were so delicious! I used Food52’s recipe. My recipe tweaks: After the dough has proofed, I refrigerate the dough and I used it within 36 hours (although I think 48 hours of refrigerator time would be fine.) I take it out about 45 minutes before I want to bake… and upon taking the dough out of the refrigerator, immediately divide the dough as the recipe calls for. I let the divided dough rest on a baking sheet, covered, for 35-40 minutes. I preheat my oven before I divide the dough and put the baking steel (this is the baking steel we have) in about 30 minutes before I am going to bake… so a short preheat for the steel. Once you are ready to bake, things go quickly, I roll out all the pitas on squares of parchment paper (like Erin did here) and I stack them and keep them covered until I begin the baking process which is so incredibly easy. You just drop the parchment squares on the steel and set your timer! It is almost too easy for something so incredibly delicious! Homemade pitas are so much better tasting than any store-bought pitas I have ever tried! I hope I have inspired you to make your own pitas soon!

To the last two…

The reading was a bit slower than last week… I am finding that I need a few days after finishing a book to “digest” it. Which makes what I have just finished more memorable. But I did have one finish this week!

Gold Boy, Emerald GirlGold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As in most collections of short stories, I liked some more than others in this collection of stories.

But even the ones I did not like as much as others, were still good.

This is my second “book” by Li and I am enamored of her writing style. She makes me think. She puts me in the shoes of the subject. She changes my focus and my pre-conceived notions.

I am left feeling an urge to read more of Li’s writing. And I very much recommend this collection of short, but so thoughtful, stories.

And that, gentle unravelers, is a very good making week! What is good for you this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.28.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.28.22

Greetings dear Unravelers!

I have a confession for you all… September has been a month of me living my very best life (sadly, my house is complaining of neglect…loudly! lol) But for me, it was a great month!

I am on still on Sleeve Island…BUT! One sleeve is done! I still have one to go but I also have two more episodes of The U.S. and the Holocaust to watch, so I feel like that sleeve just needs a bit of Sit and Watch time and it will be done! This sweater is very much nearing completion… and good thing because Mother Nature flipped off the summer switch last Thursday… it has been chilly and perfect sweater weather. And this sweater will be a welcome addition to my fall wardrobe!

Knit six rows, decrease, move a stitch marker from the finished sleeve to the one in process…

I also finished a gnome… as you all may have seen on social media. Dear Gnorton. He was The Gnome of All The Options. There were multiple hat choices, body choices, beard choices. And even a couple of nose and hand options! And so I listened to Gnorton as I knit away… what did he want to be… And the thing that came through loud and clear was he was a thinker… who enjoyed a pipe. He now sits on the mantle next to Gnombleberry who occasionally reads poetry…providing lots to think about! A broken DPN was just the perfect “pipe stem” and I even managed a bit of “embers” in his pipe bowl. Nine months in and my mantle of gnomes makes me smile. three more to go… and a new Mystery Gnome arrives for December! FYI… The latest Mystery Gnome pattern will be on sale in November… you do not need to buy the kit! And the December Gnome Story is so much fun!

Gnorton the Gninth

And I am back to “daily painting” as well. Most days, just practicing all the techniques… there are so many things to learn! But the first class of the Changing Seasons Class I am currently taking is done! I shared my painting on IG… and as I said there, some things I feel good about, others need some more practice… good thing I like practicing! Ha!

Really… my.best.life.

The reading this week also fit the My Best Life category! AND, I started another book by Yiyun Li yesterday, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl… and I was quickly drawn in! It makes me realize that there are so.many.authors and so little time. And, for those interested, The Book of Goose is now available… it is so good!

Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For all the struggles I had with Olive in Olive Kitteridge, the Olive from the end of that book grew and flourished in Olive, Again.

Simply put. I loved every single word. And, more importantly, I fell in love with Olive.

Strout’s writing feels so very much like she is sitting at the table sharing stories over coffee. It is real, personal, and so engaging. I was lost in the book in the first chapter. The narrator, Kimberly Farr, was excellent.

If you wonder if change is possible… read this book. If you need a renewed hope in humanity…read this book. If you don’t know what to read next… read this book.

Oh, Godfrey, just read this book! You won’t be disappointed at all!

The Book of GooseThe Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One afternoon, I was scrolling through the “available titles” on Netgalley, and this cover caught my eye. I knew nothing of the author, Yiyun Li, but I loved the cover and the title. So I made my request… and fortune smiled on me with the audio-version of this compelling little story.

The story opens in America, where Agnés is reading a letter from her mother about the death of her friend, Fabienne.

And from there a story of memory, the deep bonds of friendship, art, writing, exploitation, and life in the countryside of Saint Remy France after the war unfolds.

The memories flow from Agnés and it feels a bit like a dam has broken… things she had kept bottled inside could no longer be contained. It was a book I could not set down, even though parts were uncomfortable…

Li’s writing is really incredible. And the narration… it was perfect! This won’t be the last of Li’s books I read. If you are looking for a beautifully told story, this is exactly the book you need! I highly recommend. I had originally given this book 4-stars, but I have not stopped thinking about Agnés and Fabienne and realized that this is absolutely a 5-star book!

I would like to thank Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for the audio-copy of this book.

That is all I have for today… I am off to queue up some Ken Burns and get back to Sleeve Island!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.21.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.21.22

Greetings Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday… or Happy Autumnal Equinox Eve Day! Haha!

Yes, it’s the time of year when a knitters heart begins to think Winter Is Coming… and the urge to cast on all the woolly things takes over!

Or, in my case… the urge to get a woolly thing off my needles so I can cast on something new! Haha! But I have departed for sleeve island and it is smooth sailing! Decreases for a bit then on to the Sleeve Straits before I reach the 2×2 Ribbed Shores and then begin again to complete the second sleeve! We are heading to Erie the end of October and this sweater will be a welcome addition on all the walks around Presque Isle! So it needs to be done!

The next sweater I am tumbling about in my mind… well, it will be one that I knit from my handspun! Yes, I am making headway on the spinning portion and in a couple more weeks (maybe??) it will be a Plying Fest! Then I can swatch and see what my gauge is (which will absolutely have an impact on what sweater I pick!) I’d like to knit DRK’s Everyday Sweater…so keep your fingers crossed I get gauge! If not, then perhaps a Weekender might be the one – since she has 2 versions in 2 different yarn weights… that gives me some wiggle room! Ha!

The reading this week was stellar. A new Keven Wilson book (coming out in November) and another Strout… Olive finally settled in for me! And!! I am listening to the most incredible book…I am almost done and but it was released yesterday! The Book of Goose by Yiyum Li is something you should put on your radar. I am listening to the audio version and the narrator (Caroline Hewitt) is excellent.

Now Is Not the Time to PanicNow Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first encountered Kevin Wilson’s writing in Nothing to See Here, which was a curious tale of children that catch fire. The writing was fun and engaging and the story made me think… lots.

So when I saw that he had a new book coming out, I requested it from Netgalley and was happy that I was given the opportunity to read more of Wilson’s work.

This story is just as engaging and I have thought lots about it since I finished the book this week. It is a bit of a coming of age story… and while that is generally not my first choice in reading, this coming of age story pulled me in. It is also about not fitting in… feeling different than everyone around you. It touches on divorce, single parenting, and more.

I loved Frankie… so very much. She is a tester of the waters, a try-er of new things, and yes… a budding writer! So Frankie and Zach (the other odd boy out in the town their mothers returned to after leaving their husbands) spend a summer by creating what turns out to be a very controversial bit of art… art they reproduce and post anonymously all over town. And they keep the fact that they were the artists for 20 years.

“The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.”

I wish I could have seen the artwork, although I have a picture of it in my mind, I am left wondering if the book will have an image of it.

This story also touches on what happens when people don’t understand something… and the way that people can cause each other to panic. (The title is just so brilliant!) I truly appreciated Wilson’s forward to the book, which explained why he wrote it. He had my attention from the first page!

I highly recommend this story!

I would like to thank Ecco and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

Olive Kitteridge (Olive Kitteridge, #1)Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had originally tried to read this with my eyes… and gave up quickly. I then went on to discover my joy of Strout’s writing by listening and so I thought I’d give Olive another chance in my ears and am I glad I did!

Confession… I really found lots to like and and even more to hate in Olive. She has the biggest chip on her shoulder (perhaps I could recognize that because I do as well?) and *everything* wrong is never her fault. But the story draws you along, and I ached for Olive… her frustration with herself that she takes out on everyone else. But when Henry has a stroke, I began to cheer for her… her humanity begins to shine through. I had thought this was a solid 4-star book… and then the ending just blew me away. There was no way that ending could not bump this up to 5-stars.

If you have tried reading Olive and gave up… I’d suggest you give her a listen.

I highly recommend!

There you have what is on my radar this week! What about you?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.14.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.14.22

Greetings Gentle Unravelers!

Yesterday, a momentous occasion occurred here in the ‘Burgh… Sweater Weather arrived and it is a thing of beauty! I basked all day in wearing a sweater because of the weather! Please note… this is entirely different than wearing a sweater because the AC is set at 40° below zero, just saying.

It was perfect weather to do some knitting… and yes, even some unraveling! Gah! I had boasted that I was making headway on my sweater…open mouth, drop stitch… in the lace portion…which required me to rip back 10-ish rows. Sigh. So really no headway made… but at least I am back on track however, no knitting has been done because this was not the knit for the Read With Us discussion last night!

I do have some finished/almost finished sewing projects! I have 2 finished sweatshirts or one will be done later today when I get the Steam-a-Seam tape that I need to finish the funnel neck version. But, it is done but for that and a bit of hand sewing! Both are made from a lovely French Terry fabric that I got some time ago from Blackbird Fabrics. The fabric was fiddly in the cutting out portion of the process. It required extra care to make sure it was not stretched anywhere. But once it was cut out assembling it was super easy once I figured out the tension on my serger.

Funnel-neck with normal cuffed sleeve version.

The pattern for these beauties is the Cosmos Sweatshirt from Sew House Seven and it is a great “starter project” if you are new to sewing with knits! The instructions are clear. There are loads of tips for success in the actual sewing of knits.

These cuffs are perfect… not too tight at all.

And the end result is a nicely fitting sweatshirt that does not look very sweatshirt-ish at all. I did one small alteration on the sleeves for the Indigo crew-neck version. I shortened them an inch and a half and used my double needle to hem the sleeves!

Crew-neck with un-cuffed sleeves.

I really love Sew House Seven patterns… their Free Range Slacks pattern is my go to for pants. I have a couple more patterns in the queue from them, so look for some new additions to my wardrobe this fall!

The reading this week has been a bit of a mixed bag. I started The People in the Trees several weeks ago… and I really tried (I read half of the book) but it was just not A Little Life… at all. While A Little Life is about a group of friends and their lives together – one of whom had some truly horrific things happen to him – The People in the Trees was more about a person doing the horrific things to others… and justifying it all to himself. It was not a book for me but your mileage might vary.

I did finish a new children’s book this week… and I highly recommend it!

Magnolia FlowerMagnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got this book because I heard Ibram X. Kendi talk about it and I thought it would be a lovely book to send to my granddaughter.

It is a beautiful story with beautiful illustrations. This is a book that you will need to read with your child to answer the questions that will arise in the reading.

If you have children in your life and you want a book to help them grow in awareness that all things are not equal, this is a beautiful start!

I highly recommend!

And with that, I am off to do a bit of practice painting (my new painting class starts next week) and then I am going to work on that sweater and see if I can’t catch myself back up and *not drop any stitches* this time!

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

Oh… and I will be back tomorrow with a bit of a surprise posting!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.7.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.7.22

Greetings, dear Unravelers!

Welcome to the first Unraveled Wednesday of September!

It has been a slim making week… too much Holiday Weekending which left me with lots of catch up things to do on Tuesday! But!! There is a new Mystery Gnome… and I have Clue One done! Woot! Clue Two comes out tomorrow and I am planning that for my evening knitting!

Sadly, no sewing… which I hope to remedy today. Really! Ha!

I did however manage a few minutes each day for spinning… thanks to my trusty pop-up reminder! It is a thing I look forward to each afternoon. I have spun about a third of this “braid” and enjoying it tremendously! It is really such a lovely mix of fibers…BFL, Shetland, and Manx Loaghtan – a signature blend from Hipstrings. It is lovely to spin – not to slippery, not to sticky… just right!

The reading this week though… oh my. Excellent books, each and every one. And all so incredibly different from one another and all new-to-me authors!

Did you hear mammy died?Did you hear mammy died? by Seamus O’Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not quite certain how this brilliant memoir came across my radar, but I am so very glad it did!

A peek inside a family living in Northern Ireland… a family of larger proportions…so buckle in and enjoy the ride.

Seven would have been considered crisply eccentric, and nine plainly mad. To be one of eleven was singularly demented.

O’Reilly tells a poignant tale… life after his mother died… poignantly, beautifully, and with a healthy dose of gallows-ish humor. The writing is pure and so spot on… at times it made me chuckle and at times it took my breath away. I finished it and wanted so much more…

I think you will too… I highly recommend!

The Shell SeekersThe Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Pilcher book and I am left wondering why on earth that is!

This was a beautifully written story of the very well lived life of Penelope Keeling and her entirely imperfect children… and some “children” who were not really her children, but she loved them profoundly.

At times I worried this story would fall into the “romantic novel” category and while it veered close, it never quite crossed the line into that territory. The characters are richly developed… the story is beautiful and it quite made me want to say YES, I will go with Penelope to Cornwall with you! I confess… I shed a few tears through the journey and this is a book I won’t soon forget!

Dead-End Memories: StoriesDead-End Memories: Stories by Banana Yoshimoto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew nothing about this author or this book, but the cover called to me and so I requested the audio version of this book from Netgalley. And then, I was simply blown away…

This is a collection of 5 short stories with a common theme… they are all lonely women. The stories at times discomforting… and more than a bit strange… but despite that, I could not stop listening. I needed to know where the stories would go… and they left me with a bit of hope and the promise of something better. They are stories that require some work for you to get through… you must listen carefully and sadly, I found the audiobook narration, by Kathleen Li, a bit stilted at times – making it difficult to pay attention. I had to go back and listen to bits several times. Thus, I think this book would be better read with your eyes… and that was the reason this book did not get 5-stars from me.

I would like to thank Netgalley and HighBridge Audio for the copy of the audiobook.

And there you have my update on what I am making and what I have read… what about you? What are you beginning September with?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.31.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.31.22

The making this week… so very good! I have a finished sweater! Woo hoo! And I love it. The fit, the details, the yarn, the marl-y-ness! It is just the Perfect Sweater! This is the pattern. This is the yarn (my colors are Escoria and Nightshade) I apologize for Porch Pictures… but it rained all day yesterday so there was no chance of getting any photos of me wearing the sweater… but I promise you that I have barely taken it off since finishing it!

I told myself that when I finished Calamus, I would pick up – in earnest – my Pheasant Pullover and I have. I have made some serious headway on the body and have about an inch to go… then I will try it on and see how the length is. If it is okay, a couple of inches of ribbing and then I will set off for Sleeve Island! Or maybe I will put the body on pause and knit the sleeves and then use the remainder of the yarn to knit a tunic-y sweater. Really, I am seriously considering it! But either way with just a bit of focused knitting and this will be a finished sweater with plenty of time for lots of fall wearing!

I also did a bit of sweater swatching….for a warm fall days sweater and a warmer sweater for cooler days…yes two sweaters from the same pattern! I started the warm fall days version… and yes, it is the remainder of my cone of Tides in the Escoria color way, but no marling this time! The warmer sweater will be knit from HolstGarn Supersoft which will create the loveliest warm layer! I love the puzzle-y start to this sweater… and soon I will be picking up and knitting the front shoulders! I think the lace panel makes it so pretty and breaks up the miles of stockinette knitting a bit!

The reading this week… so stinking good! Any week with More Lucy Barton is a good week! If you have sworn off Pandemic Books or if you have said I won’t read any Pandemic Books… you might want to reconsider and settle in with Lucy by the Sea!

Lucy by the Sea (Amgash, #4)Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had sworn off any more Pandemic Novels… but perhaps this is the ONLY Pandemic Novel one should read. Honestly, skip all the others and settle in with Lucy as together, you begin to make sense of what we have/are living through.

We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don’t know it, that’s all. But we do the best we can. Most of us are just trying to get through.

This story begins at the very beginning of the pandemic when William whisks Lucy away from NYC to settle into a home on the coast of Maine. I found myself at times in agreement with William and at other times in sync with Lucy. But really, what this story all boils down to is how people deal with isolation, loneliness, the uncertainty of an illness that has killed far too many people… and in those trying circumstances… how can we maintain our humanity? It is also about relationships… especially how the bonds of friendship are exactly what we need to get through challenging days/weeks/months/years.

To say I loved this book is an understatement… I highly recommend!

I would like to thank Netgalley and the Random House Publishing Group for the ARC of this e-book.

There you have my making and reading for the week. What is filling your days?

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

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