A Year of Unraveling | 2023

A Year of Unraveling | 2023

…To not be making things is to be dead. — Donna Druchunas, comment from Melanie Falick’s blog.

Greetings dear Unravelers and Happy New Year!

Welcome to a new year of unraveling… one which I plan to continue exactly as we have been… sharing peeks into our making and what we are reading (or have read!) I look forward to our posts… our community of making is the best part of my week! I love to see what you are making (you all inspire me!) and what you are reading (you all help me add to my TBR list as well!)

This week, I will be sharing some stats of my year of making! Some might say it was not the most productive year… but I am happy with my time spent making and I am excited to see what I will make this year! Right now, I don’t have much on my radar… I want to finish the Great Cabled Sweater that I started last November… I am close, I have begun the second “front” and after that I just have the collars to knit. Happily, I took excellent notes on how I accomplished Pocket #1 so Pocket #2 has been a breeze! Once that is completed (and it is!) the knitting is a breeze of ever shortening rows… the right front should be done SOON! Then the Great Seaming can begin… which I am a bit nervous about, to be honest! I don’t seam much… but I do know how and I know how to “set a sleeve” in for sewing… it can’t be that much different in knitting… right?

My first “finish” of 2024… the last circle was completed on the 1st!

I did some swatching in December… a bit of “gift” swatching! LOL Steve picked his favorite and I will soon cast on a vest for him! It is a vest with some new techniques as well. Learning something new is always a good thing!

Swatch #3 was the winner… a marled mix of the two above!

But my year of making was very good! And like my Best of Reading, this list will work up to my favorite make of the year! So let’s get started!

  • I finally finished a crochet scarf (and have not used it once.) This speaks volumes about crochet in my life.
  • I crocheted one Bucket Hat… I wore it once. I think that it is safe to say that I have moved beyond my crochet fad.
  • I did some sewing this year… I made 3 sweatshirts. I love them. They are in the rotation on the regular. I also sewed a “pencil’ skirt… it got some wear in the warmer months but I don’t think the skirt is a “good” style for my “bottom heavy” body type.
  • I took classes for painting… and I painted some. But this last class confirmed for me that I need to go in a different direction than classes. I am not sure if the path forward includes painting… maybe it does, I do not know. I do know that I need to jumpstart my own creativity…. find my inner artist and give her permission to fail… or succeed…
  • I did some “improv” quilting and sewed some Heart Coasters for us to use in February.
  • I knit 5 pairs of socks… not a great number, but perhaps just enough. Although, I am contemplating knitting 6 pairs this year (heaven knows I have MORE than enough sock yarn to easily accomplish this! And I might have even stumbled upon some inspiration to make it fun!)
  • I managed to do some spinning last year… and I KNIT with what I spun multiple times! I confess that my favorite handspun knit might just be a Hitchhiker! Or my Hitch On The Move knit with handspun *and* commercial yarn. I want to spin more this year but something might need to shift off my list to accomplish that with any regularity.
  • I did have an epic spinning/knitting project last year… I knit a Saglan with handspun yarn. I love this sweater so much. I wear it All.The.Time! It fits well! My yarn is wearing well! And it just makes me so happy to wear it!
  • There was LOTS of hand stitching last year as well! One Temperature Project and one set of hand stitched autumnal coasters. Honestly, the Temperature Project became a bit of a drag… There was no impromptu sitting and stitching with this thing. I needed to have written down the highs and lows for the day… iNotes FTW here! I am NOT doing another temperature project this year… but I really love the result I got after stitching diligently all year! My favorite stitching time though was the “do my own thing” stitching.
  • As the year began to wind down, I gave in to the lure of sourdough with success this time! (For me, the third time was the charm… as well as the sourdough “house” to regulate temperature!) Since my success, I have been baking weekly loaves and I love it! I love every part of it… the process is slow… and  I like that slowness. It has become a mindful practice… I love the intervals of being alone with the dough and the quiet!
  • Gnomes… there were so many gnomes this year! I also knit some trees for those gnomes, some birds, and a rabbit! The gnome count for the year ended in the double digits! I love the December Mystery Gnomes, yes plural! They are perfect additions to Gnome-Land! I sent a good number of gnomes out into the world (one for each of my grands!) And, then came Mean Gnome Greene! Knitting gnomes brings such delight… I expect there will be more gnomes this year.
  • My best knit of the year however, is a simple skirt (but such a smart pattern!) I wanted to knit another, but the yarn gods did not smile on my second attempt. I plan to rectify that this year… I need another in my wardrobe!

And there you have my year of making and here I am in a New Year… New Opportunities… and I am so excited!

Lord Gnapier, on the right, with his dear friend Mr. Gnettles. The 2023 Mystery Gnomes!

Mean Gnome Greene, with his trusty Terrible Towel, sporting his favorite jersey… #55! He is now living on Steve’s mom’s mantle!

What about you? What are you excited about as we begin a New Year?

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

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 | 12.13.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.13.23

Greetings Dear Unravelers!

Despite us being at the midpoint of December… there is lots of joy to be found. Yesterday was all day sunshine and it was glorious!! And yes… I have, of course, added to my list… but I should have those few things finished soon and my list finally complete!

I have done some Mystery Gnome Knitting this week… but I will share no spoilers until after the end of the knit-along. However, I do confess that I love the direction that this gnome is going! He is SO CUTE!!

Sadly, this week, there was some unraveling again… because of course there was. Rather than *look* at the pattern closely at the beginning of the “parting of the back” cables… I just assumed and knit along. I guess I am glad that I only had to rip back 12 rows and I am even more glad that I managed to get all the stitches BACK on my needle with no mis-crossed cables! A knitter warning… you might want to knit something entirely uncomplicated if you are going to watch Leave the World Behind… just saying. I am almost back to where I had to rip back… with the correct patterning in the “parting” section! Woo! (and I know this week’s photo does not look much different from last week’s photo… but that perfectly placed cable needle is pointing to the change!)

The reading this week has been so so good! I finished my second read though of Katherine May’s Wintering… and I loved it even more than I did the first time! Or maybe I just “got” different things listening to her. I finished a new mystery from Viveca Sten (of the Sandhamn Murder fame) and it was just okay.

As I finished the “just okay” book, a timely email offer me the opportunity to read Tommy Orange’s follow up to There, ThereWandering Stars. I jumped at the offer and this book has grabbed me from the opening sentences and I likely will finish it later today… some reading time with it will be my reward for doing a spot of housework.

What about you all… what has rewards await you this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.6.23

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.6.23

Greetings Dear Unravelers!

December is almost a week old and I have the decorating done. I have one mystery gnome in process and one ornament gnome almost done (no image because I think the recipient checks in here occasionally!)

But I do have some Back Seas that are flowing along beautifully, as you can see above! With each row, I am more in love with this knit! The pattern is just so brilliant!

This week’s painting class dropped yesterday… so that is on my list for today. Thank you all for your kind comments about my painting from Monday! You are all so sweet!

The reading this week… brilliant! I finished The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store and a new mystery from Tess Gerritsen, The Spy Coast. Both were winners, for sure! Currently in my ears is Katherine May’s Wintering (which is the perfect listen right now) and at night I am reading a new series by Viveca Sten (of the Sandhamn Murder Mystery Series.)

What about you this week? What are you consumed with?

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!

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