Unraveled Wednesday | 12.20.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.20.23

Greetings Dearest Unravelers!

Christmas is now Looming Large… I hope that means that you have all the things you wanted to complete… completed. We got a bit of snow here in the ‘Burgh and I love it! YAY! I am feeling all the Christmas Feels with a spot of snow on the ground, a chill in the air, and a nice queue of Christmas movies to amuse me! (Thanks to all of you, by the way, for all your fun suggestions! I added several to my list!)

I am plugging away at my sweater… with my MacGyver Fixes…sigh. When one pays for a pattern one always hopes that it is error free… I realize no one is perfect and I do not expect perfection but what I do expect is some measure of responsiveness. However, here we are on Wednesday and the designer has still not contacted me regarding my question/the error. I could not see any close ups on the button holes (or the pockets) so I did what any knitter would do… I tried figured out what the designer might have wanted and then did what made sense with the pattern I was knitting and the functionality of the garment. However, if you decide to knit this sweater, please note that in size 7 there are some significant errors in the button hole construction and the rejoining of the held stitches to the pocket flap you made. (There are also errors in the sleeve transition from ribbing to the sleeve…but that one was easier to figure out.) Frustrating… yes but none of the mistakes have delayed the knitting… much.

I also figured out… successfully… the perfect necklace for Fancy Gnancy. (who is now hanging on Vivi’s Christmas Tree so I can share with you all!) I used Perle cotton and some “turquoise” beads I had and it worked perfectly. I then tacked the “necklace” down under the brim!

Fancy Gnancy with her pearls!

I am at a bit of a pause on my Mystery Gnome-man… waiting for the arrival of some florists wire to help his arms… well…. be arms! Still no picture… suffice it to say that he has sad, pitiful arms currently but once those arms have some wire threaded through… well, he will be putting Frosty to shame!

What I really should be working on are Temperature Circles… and I will be catch-up-stitching this week and next to get myself close to the finish! (I have much of November and all of December to go… so a good bit of stitching!)

The reading this week has been brilliant… just brilliant! I was lucky to get an email from Netgalley for Tommy Orange’s new book, Wandering Stars. I downloaded it and started reading and really had a very difficult time putting it down! It is beautifully written, heart-breaking at times… and very heart-warming at other times. I highly recommend it!

I also finished the third installment in the Max Tudor series… and delightfully the author led me down a bit of a rabbit hole with this week’s read… I was lucky my library had A Train in Winter available so I began listening to it yesterday.

I also read my last “week” in Poetry Unbound… drawing to close my almost year of Poetry as Meditation. This is a habit I am carrying to 2024 and Bonny asked what I might be selecting as for the year. After some consideration, I have chosen Poetry of Presence II: More Mindfulness Poems for next year. If any of you want to join me, I’d love the company!

AND!! Tomorrow I am ever so excited for Winter Solstice! Why? Well… that is the day I begin reading (again) The Comfort of Crows.…  I will spend the year with Margaret… reading each week and adding my own reflections about my Backyard Year!

Now, a bit of Blog Housekeeping to bring us to the end of the year. I will be here tomorrow with my contribution to A Gathering of Poetry… and I will have a final update for my word on the 26th but there won’t be any Unraveled post next week. The next Unraveled link up will be January 3rd, 2024!

I will spend the first couple of weeks in January doing a bit of a 2023 review… best knits, best reads, etc.

Finally, I wish you and your families a very happy Christmas! I want you all to know how much I appreciate your willingness to share what you are making and reading each week… you all inspire me with your making as well as keeping my reading list full!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.29.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.29.23

Greetings Unravelers!

It felt so odd to type the November date because my brain is firmly in December already! But it is still November and I still have a bit of holiday making to do… so I should be glad for these November days!

It has been a banner week of making… really!!

Sorry for the Dark-Thirty photo… but the levain did not mind the light!

Carole kindly reminded me about Tartine Bread, a copy of which I purchased back when Carole started baking sourdough. So last Friday, I made my levain and set it aside thinking that it would take some time. Silly me, it was ready and raring to go very early Saturday morning, and so I began my sourdough baking journey! The “Basic Country Bread” recipe is for two loaves of bread… this worried me a bit but I jumped in the sourdough pool with both feet and started. I did not plan well because I was baking bread until 11PM Saturday night (with lots of complaints from Steve about the hunger pangs the smell of baking bread was giving him! lol) Two very edible loaves were the result of my efforts because more carbs was just what Thanksgiving week needs, right? I feel a bit more confident about the process… and more importantly the timing of the process having one batch under my belt. Next time, I am going to halve the recipe… one loaf is a LOT of bread… two loaves feels a bit over indulgent! My starter is perking along in the refrigerator… as is some sourdough discard which I will be putting to use this week in a batch of soft pretzels!

It seems entirely miraculous to me that this bread did its bread-y thing with no added yeast!

As you can see above, I departed Cable Sleeve Island and immediately set off for the Back Seas… so I am making good progress on my Sweater!

I also reminded myself that Gnomes do not knit themselves! And so I have one more to add to the Ornament Brigade. The first girl joined the ranks… with a slight adjustment to the pattern. I bound off upon finishing the hat and picked up stitches under the brim to begin the body. I did a simple nose for her… and she has two pigtails!

Fancy Gnancy!

Meet Fancy Gnancy… who is not fancy currently. I need to figure out a beaded necklace for her so yesterday I googled crocheting with beads… stay tuned!

The reading last week had some highs… and lows. I finished Black AF History… and loved it! I think Michael Harriot would be the BEST history teacher… ever. He combines history, wit, and a good measure of sarcasm in a brilliant look at the history of America. And that reading low… well, evidently I am just not smart enough to “get” Daniel Mason’s North Woods. Bonny’s review of it being a bit “impenetrable” was spot on. It all sort of lost me in the Bug Procreation Portion. A collection of short stories that are interconnected seems like it should work, but for me in this setting… it all just did not. (However, ymmv – especially if you are smarter than me!)

I did hit the Wait List Jackpot yesterday when The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store came up for me! Woo! (I have started it but have no thoughts yet!) I also have Katherine May’s Wintering waiting in the wings!

And there you have my end of November making and reading! What about you? What are you trying to finish November with?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.22.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.22.23

Greetings Fellow Unravelers!

If your house is like mine this week… well, our making might be of the food-to-eat variety. I have a pie to make today and I have a tiny bit of prep work for the “feast” tomorrow. I hope your “making list” is manageable and that you will have time to knit tomorrow!

I did have one very fun finish this week… some weeks ago I got a little kit from Stitched Modern. It was so fun to put together to sit and stitch! I had such fun putting my own spin on each coaster. These will be a delightful fall staple on my table for years to come!

Since I completed the coasters I have been very monogamously knitting my second sleeve. I did have about 12 rows of unraveling to do… sigh. I skipped over the instruction that reminded me to change needle size after I knit the ribbing. So I ripped back and started the first chart again… a wise decision in a sweater that I am very much loving the process of knitting! I have made good progress since that bit of unraveling… I am over halfway through sleeve two and if I get all my things done today, I will have the evening free to knit a bit! My hope is that I will be starting THE BACK over the long weekend!

It has been a slow reading week. I bailed on Straight Man and started and finished a Netgalley book, Held by Anne Michaels. I was generous with my rating of 3-stars, but the writing was beautiful… sadly the story fell flat for me. And it seems my disjointed reading has not finished… I have started Daniel Mason’s North Woods… I am not far in, but I am not sure I will finish this one either. Good thing I have Michael Harriot’s Black AF History to keep me company… I am enjoying it so much!

That is all I have for today… I will be back on Friday! I hope you all have the best Thanksgiving… whether you have a full table, or it is just a few!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.8.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.8.23

Greetings Unravelers!

On Monday, I promised a tale of some swatches… and a tale it is! I have four different swatches and all tell an entirely different story. (because, of course they do… right? LOL)

Swatch One

Swatch One… my plain old stockinette swatch…. I am off on stitch gauge by 1/2 a stitch and row gauge by 1 row. I might be worried about this except for I am *between sizes* and suggested ease – which means that I should knit the next size up…but more on this in the next swatch.

Swatch Two

Swatch Two… my first cable swatch. I knit one entire repeat of the chart and I am off significantly. Like an inch and a half off… as in my swatch is 1.5 inches larger than hers. This kind of horrified me. I washed the swatch and did not stretch it, I did not push it together, I just laid it flat and let it dry.

But… I think my problem is that I knit some garter rows to start, on each side, and before I bound off. I wondered if those garter stitches were preventing the purl stitches from snugging up nicely with their neighboring knits… as Swatch Three did (see below). So I spent Monday afternoon knitting another cable swatch, gave it a good soak, and let it try to measure again on Tuesday.

Swatch Three

Swatch Three… my ribbing swatch. I matched the pattern gauge PERFECTLY. (Okay, this is good because gaping ribbing is not what I am hoping for!) Note that I knit no garter borders… Yeah. My thought process on this was that ribbing won’t curl and likes to lay flat.

Swatch Four… on the bottom!

Swatch Four… Houston, we almost have lift off! I never imagined that some plain old garter could *eff* things up so drastically! As you can see… one of these things is not like the other! But my all important measurement tells me that I am closer to Emily’s gauge of 6.5 inches, but not exact. My swatch measures 6.75 inches. Sigh.

So after doing some monumental amounts of Knitty Maths on Tuesday… I have picked my cast on size… and with a good bit of trepidation, I cast on. I wish I felt more confident, but there you have it… I don’t think you are ever completely confident knitting a sweater in pieces that you hope will fit! I started a sleeve and will be verifying measurements as I go… fingers crossed!

Gnoah, on the right and Gnicodemus on the left!

But… despite all this Sweater Angst… I do have a wee little Gnoah, who similar to another Noah of Biblical fame, will be gathering up a few more wee little gnomes this month. Gnoah has been pestering me for a friend, so I present Gnicodemus! And not to worry, there will be some wee little girl gnomes as well… I have some brilliant ideas for new hair styles! Thankfully, I have this glorious pile of “yarn crayons” that I am going to use. And… there is no angst in gnome knitting ever!

The Choir can sing all the Christmas Gnome Songs around their Gnome Tree!

Also… The Choir has a TREE! Woo! I love it so much that I think I need a couple of smaller trees adorned with the same bright garland! FYI… Gnome Trees are also Angst-Free Knitting!

The reading this week has been so very good. I finished Horse and Téa Obreht’s new book, The Morningside. Two very different novels, each of which I really enjoyed! I have been listening to the next book in the Max Tudor Mystery series while I plant bulbs… it is a nice gardening companion! And at night I am settling in with Richard Russo’s Straight Man.

But! What about you all? What are you making and reading?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.20.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.20.23

Greetings Unravelers and Happy Wednesday!

I have a trio of wee gnomes in my gnome choir! I will get the alto started soon, rounding out my quartet! Ha!

But my bass is finished.. meet Gnolan! He is Gnola’s twin and they have been singing in harmony for eons! Or at least since their cast on! Ha! (if you are wondering which pattern I used, it is this one!)

But for all the joy of Gnome Finishes… I did have a bit of unraveling this week. Sigh. I discovered an error that once I noticed it, I could not stop seeing it. Tinking back 6-ish inches was not happening so I ripped it back to the end of the ribbing and began again. A word of warning… that first chart is not one that is easy to memorize, lol. (or my feeble brain just can’t get it!) But I am now on to the second *memorized* chart and the knitting moves so much quicker. I should be back to my rip back point soon!

Mistake-free knitting… thus far!

I also have my painting place *all ready to go*… now I just need to … well… pick up a paintbrush and begin!

It has been another slow reading week. I have just one finish… Invisible Women which Bonny put on my radar recently. I would challenge men listen to this…really. Listen and learn.

I have also been reading poems from Naomi Shihab Nye and Lucille Clifton… so so good! These ladies have been perking up my afternoon time considerably!

I am roughly halfway through The Bee Sting and almost finished with my nighttime read, My Friends. I have been savoring My Friends… the writing is so beautiful. The story is moving. And I am learning something about Libya and the Libyan people and while the story is based on characters that lived in Benghazi, I have much been thinking about Derna. A timely read, to be sure!

Whew… for not much making or reading, this was a rather wordy post! What about you? What are you focused on this week?

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

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