Unraveled Wednesday | 7.13.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.13.22

Greetings, Unravelers!

The making this week feels slow… just lots of round and round and round knitting. But all that round and round knitting means that there have been inches added! Yet I happily remind myself that I am not a “finished project every week kind of knitter” and that is exactly how it should be, amirite?

I have roughly 3 inches to go on my sweater and perhaps a bit less on Sock Number One. I need to try it on Steve and see how much more is needed…but I have been avoiding doing that because I know I still have miles to go! lol

The Grey’s of Summer Knitting

I also began my July Gnome… I have a hat completed, washed and blocked. My July Gnome has a “leafy” theme… which I thought was perfect for the height of summer! He is currently nameless, but rest assured, he will have an appropriate name!

As you can see above, I have spent a good bit of time sitting outside painting. Gosh, I am really loving it! so much! I love sitting outside, under the pergola, and I had a lovely little treat this week. “Our” bunnies made a nest very near the table and she gave birth on Tuesday… and yes, I unexpectedly witnessed this bit of wonder! So I have painting buddies, lol! Mom and Dad are hovering nearby and I love watching them from my seat!

And we have a week with no reading finishes! I know. But that is okay, I am have about 8 hours to go in The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois… I am enjoying it, but gosh is it long and it has so many really difficult bits.

I am almost finished with a book I got from Netgalley. Blaze Me a Sun: A Novel by Christoffer Carlsson is a mystery and it is so so so good! Carlsson is a new to me author and this book, which was a best seller in Sweden, is being released soon here in the US. If you liked Henning Mankell’s writing, I think you’d like Blaze Me a Sun very much.

What about you? What is in process for you?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.6.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.6.22

Greetings Unravelers!

(I am not mentioning any of the shootings that happened over the holiday weekend but that does not mean they are not on my mind. They are. I just don’t have any words to express my thoughts how is it possible that we are on the 187th day of 2022 and there have been 300+ shootings nationwide. I do know that I think about public spaces differently these days… and that makes me so very sad.)

Meanwhile, of course there is knitting…I am making slow progress on the socks for Big Foot. And honestly, I do not know who I am knitting by the seat of my pants with these socks! No pattern… making it up as I go! What?? I am not quite to the halfway point of the foot but I am through the toe increases. I am going to do another short-row gusset after thought heel… that will have planned placement! I am making good notes, which if I got by Sam’s socks… the second went much faster than the first! So I knit on!

And I pulled out that sweater and managed a few dozen more mindless rounds. It is good TV knitting.

The reading this week was a rather mixed bag…one book was rather meh and the other a huge hit for me at least. Your mileage for either book may vary!

CrossroadsCrossroads by Jonathan Franzen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It took me several days post finish to rate this book. First, this book is a commitment, it is long and that does not mean it was good. It is wordy in a way that was unnecessary, imo.

Next, the cast of characters are utterly unlikable… Russ, Marion, Clem, Becky, and Perry are seriously the family you hope you never meet. They are off the charts dysfunctional…really, not quite believable dysfunctional. There is an abundance of religiosity that, to me, seemed stereotypical of non-denominational churches of the time that this was written. Much of this book missed the mark for me and several times I considered not finishing…but I held out hope for an ending that gave me some hope.

My rating… 1.5 stars rounded up to 2 stars. I do not recommend.

Remarkably Bright CreaturesRemarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are looking to add a bit of whimsy to your summer reading, look no further than this whimsical tale! It is heartwarming. It will lift your spirits. It will pique your interest in the Giant Pacific Octopus! And this book does an excellent job of reminding me that I do so love an octopus who can tell his story… who is smarter than humans… and who loves a happy ending.

I loved Tova and Marcellus so much! I confess that I cried…lots. And I gasped a few times!

I highly recommend this fabulously whimsical tale!

That is all I have for today. What about you? What are you making this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.29.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.29.22

Ooo, the making this week! I have one finished pair of Anakin Skywalk!)er socks for Sam! I finished the second sock up yesterday. The heel… oh my! I like it! I did some short rows before knitting the heel decreases. It worked so well! (and I hope it will fit Sam perfectly!) They are drying from their little spa treatment and will be in the mail tomorrow heading to Wisconsin!

Anakin Socks for Sam!

I cast on a pair of Chewbacca Socks for Steve yesterday afternoon… J6 Hearings are the perfect thing to knit to! Haha! (Although I had several WTF moments… I mean throwing dishes? Really?) I am cruising through the toe increases and will do a 3×1 rib for the body of the sock. I am hoping heel placement will be easier toe up… I will let you know how it goes!

A slow reading week… just one finish. A book that is coming out in September by Ian McEwan – Lessons. It is full of everything one loves about McEwan novels… discomfort – check, compelling story – check, thought-provoking – check! If you like McEwan, you will thoroughly enjoy this book but you will have to wait until September for it! Sorry about that!

LessonsLessons by Ian McEwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love McEwan’s writing and his latest book does not disappoint. I was drawn into the at times uncomfortable story from the opening pages. Okay, maybe it is more than at times uncomfortable… I was uncomfortable for Roland for much of the story.

Dear Roland.

We meet Roland in an awkward moment, his wife has abruptly left him and their child – Lawrence, who is a frequently crying baby. And the story then goes back a decade or so to an 11 year old Roland heading to boarding school. And the story progresses from Roland’s memories. The memories are what provide the most discomfort, as Roland is sexually abused by a teacher at the boarding school. This abuse happens over a long period of time. There is no way this abuse would not have an impact on a person, and this baggage Roland carries with him for the remainder of his life.

McEwan anchors us into the story with the historical timeline. We experience the Bay of Pigs, a divided Germany, Thatcher policies, Brexit, and yes, even COVID. The story is well written and so engaging. I cheered for Roland… I wanted him to step away from his baggage. And when he begins to see what effect it has had on his life and make a new path forward… it is exhilarating!

If you likeMcEwan, you will love Lessons! I highly recommend!

I am grateful for the digital ARC of this book that I received from Knopf and NetGalley in return for my honest review.

That is all I have for today… what making is inspiring you this week?

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

See you all back here with some whimsy on Friday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.22.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.22.22

Someone needs your actions to inspire [their] actions. Never forget, your little broken cake is someone’s daily meal! Care to share you[r] little cake! ― Israelmore Ayivor

One thing that I truly love about this blogging community is how we inspire each other… sometimes in totally unexpected ways. Recently Kym has provided such inspiration for me and boy did I need that inspiration! Recently she has shared the stories of three different knitting projects….The Problem Child, The Poor Relations, and The Prodigal Son. Boy could I relate to what she shared… I have a problem child, a poor relation, and a prodigal child!

My problem child was a much simpler project than Kym’s…those twisty cables are gorgeous and I applaud her for moving that problem child back into the knitting rotation. Worthwhile knitting most certainly. My problem child however did not fare so well… sigh.

Awaiting a new life…

Yes, this was once my Problem Child… a now frogged Vanilla Sweater. It was one of those “impulse” purchases… I mean what is not to love about Rauma Finull Garn? It is great yarn! The Vanilla Sweater though…. umm… not so much.    This sweater began languishing early on as I began to have serious concerns about having enough yarn to finish the blasted thing. And in the uncertainty of that problem, I headed to Ravelry to see if anyone had a skein or two of the Rauma yarn in the same color and dye lot of my yarn…while I was on Ravelry, I took a gander at finished Vanilla Sweaters… and oof. Suffice it to say that this is not a good look for errr, women like me…a woman a certain age, with a certain physique…

Now, I believe that a person can wear what they like. Truly. But I also believe that women (especially me) are expert at deceiving ourselves…you know what I mean? Like me thinking that a shapeless sack will cover a multitude of my perceived issues and really, a shapeless sack just looks like a shapeless sack.

And so the Big Rip happened. I need to wash the yarn to un-kink-ify it. But once that is done, I will have a SQ of yarn to knit something new with! Problem Child is no more! Haha!

A couple of weeks ago I went through my yarn stash and found a container with a couple of projects inside it. I set it aside until I could determine what to do with those projects. Thanks to Kym, that happened last week because it contained a Prodigal Child *and* that Poor Relation!

POP circle-squares… yet to be blocked!

First up, that Prodigal Child… Meet POP! I don’t know how this fell of the knitting radar, but it did… for a long-ass time. More than 10 years of time! When I unboxed POP I had 13.5 squares completed… and I only need 20 squares to put the damned thing together! And so I began by finishing that in-process square…sigh. However, 10+ years ago Kat and Today’s Kat do not knit even remotely close to the same gauge. At. All. So after ripping out that in process square four or five times to find that old gauge. But once I figured it out, those squares… they are Potato Chip Knitting at its finest….15 squares and counting! That Prodigal Child is feeling the love!

A rather bland Spectra…

Next, those Poor Relations. I honestly don’t know what to do with this thing. It is a Stephen West knit… and I think I just ran out of steam on the knitting of all.those.wedges. And, in looking at the photo, perhaps my color choices were not the best. This is also eons ago old (even older than those poor POP squares) so I have some serious concerns about that gauge issue. This will probably be frogged and repurposed.. soon. In all of this look back, it is interesting to see what I thought looked good together then… lol. Oy. Sign that girl up for a color theory class, pronto!

And there you have the knitting that Kym Inspired! A huge thanks to Kym for providing that inspiration!

Now, how about a bit of a reading update. (And thanks Carole for the Perfect Summer Reading Inspiration this year!)

I have just two books to share this week. Both curious stories, both I enjoyed and yet… disliked. I know. Curious stories!

MonogamyMonogamy by Sue Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that made me think… and I have – lots – since finishing it. I found the adult characters to all be very problematic. I am trying to figure out if Sue Miller’s title selection is sarcasm or a hoped for ideal.

There is no monogamy in this book. Graham is a serial cheater but tells himself that because he loved Annie last, that makes it okay. Annie flirts with cheating early in their married life, but not having sex does not mean not cheating, imo.

And yet, with that backdrop, Miller weaves a fascinating story. The characters are flawed, but that makes them seem so believable to me. She writes richly about those flawed characters… so richly I felt like I could see and feel the things she describes. And then there is all the food! Gah! This book will make you hungry… and I love how she pairs comforting food with uncomfortable scenes.

I originally rated this book 3-stars but my prolonged thinking about it has caused me to raise my rating to 4-stars. I very much recommend this book!

The Known WorldThe Known World by Edward P. Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a hard book to read… there were a good number of moments of discomfort during my reading. I listened, and I am glad I did because if I had been reading with my eyes, I might have skipped over some those discomforting bits.

But my entire thought process about this novel changed in listening to a short interview with the author, Edward P. Jones at the end of the book. Before I listened to Jones, I was just going to give this book 2-stars but instead this for me is a very solid 4-star book and one that I will be thinking about for a very, very long time!

This is a painful story about slavery… and specifically how a black man became a slave owner.

My review will reflect my changed perspective after listening to Jones. The story starts out in the Land of Hunky-dory… William Robbins, saintly slave owner, tutors Henry Townsend – a free black man – in how to run his own plantation. In William’s Hunky-dory Land… every one is happy, the slaves love being slaves! I know… except this is something that I think white people do all the time… perpetrating the idea that “status quo” is best for all.

And then reality rears her ugly head… which is what happens in this book. Henry cannot understand why the slaves are unhappy. And that story of reality, is painful to hear… but thinking about it with a changed perspective has so many correlations to today. An eye opening novel that is incredibly timely today.

I highly recommend it!

And there you have a bit of a making update from me this week. I have more to share, stay tuned for a fun update on Friday!

But what about you? Who inspires your knitting this week?

If you wrote a post to share today please leave your link below and thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.8.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.8.22

Not much making progress this week… a messenger bag strap, a beard, and an arm completed.

I also spent some brain bandwidth on a sock. I could find no clear directions on how to determine how long to continue knitting the foot of a sock with a “planned” afterthought heel. So I picked out those stitches (which was a giant pain in the arse… seriously a giant pain, ugh) and then tried the sock on. I have about an inch and a half to go before toe decreases. (Socks on Zero’s take me a long time… sigh.) But on the bright side, once I have that bit done I will do the heel on this sock. I am doing a combination of some short rows at each side and then some toe-ish decreases. I am thinking every third round, but that plan might change as the heel progresses…and I will take the Most Excellent of Notes so I can match the second sock exactly, lol.

Raspberry Honey, from la Bien Aimée

But!!! Perhaps the best? (Most fun?) thing I did recently was the purchase of these lovely skeins to celebrate Wool and Honey’s Anniversary…their 22nd anniversary of being in business! Melissa and Liz are two of my favorite people! I love their shop in Cedar Michigan…it is just perfection! I love their IG posts deeply, I mean… poetry and knitting are simply the best companions and they show how to pair them perfectly! Anyways, I purchased two skeins of La Bien Aimée’s Super Sock in the special Raspberry Honey color way. When I saw it, I knew it was destined to become the most extraordinary Parisian Hitchhiker! I think they still have some Super Sock available, just sayin…

The reading this week was soooooo good though! Two lovely finishes…

The Cellist (Gabriel Allon, #21)The Cellist by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This latest book in the Allon series strikes very hard at some very current real life issues… outside influences on politics. The suggestions to solve this problem that Silva makes via Allon’s Office Team are something to ponder and while many, many, many Allon fans absolutely did not like this book at all… I did. I found it to be very relevant and thought provoking.

Aside from that, we see Gabriel making his exit from The Office and beginning a new chapter in his life… perhaps? I found the time gaps a bit off-putting, but I understand that editing sometimes makes for a somewhat jagged story. I think that while Allon was an excellent leader… trained very well by his mentor Ari Sharon, he really loved the field work best. And what he loves even better than that is turning on an opera and settling in to begin to repair a masterpiece in need of some TLC. So… is retirement in Gabriel’s future? Will he be happy wandering the streets of Venice with Chiara and the children? Inquiring minds want to know…

I am eagerly awaiting the next novel in this series.

The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club, #2)The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the Thursday Murder Club series has so very much to love about it! And love it, I did!

The dialog is just so witty… so engaging… so real! I felt like I was eaves dropping on actual conversations! And I loved feeling like I was working right along with everyone as they unraveled this mystery! No spoiler’s here… but I will tell you that you should absolutely read this book!

I listened, and the narration was absolutely excellent!

What about you? What was good for you this week?

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

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