Unraveled Wednesday | 4.6.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.6.22

I did not plan on being ‘absent’ on Monday… but the news out of Ukraine put a damper on my planned post for the day. For me, it seemed that sharing something in light of the news out of Bucha just seemed… wrong. And while it does not seem any better to share such trivial things as making and reading today… here I am.

The making this week has sort of been over-taken by the news and my “escape reality reading.” I am only listening to one book… and so I managed… at least… to get through the lace work on my Summer Tegna. Evening socks have been slow going, but I think I have a plan in my mind’s eye that I think will be interesting. Onward to the heel turn we go!

Some weeks are for reading finishes and some weeks are for reading-in-progress and this week is all about that! I only have one  finish… though it was lovely. However, in the ‘reading in progress‘ list… there are so many amazing books. Books so good I want to prolong the reading of them…. and luckily there are some very lengthy books! So there is lots of time to enjoy them. Imagine my surprise when I was contemplating having to return The Books of Jacob on Friday…and I am only half way through… only to find somehow, miraculously, was automatically renewed for another 21 days. The Library Gods are so good! I am dividing my day into three time frames… mornings with Cutting for Stone, afternoons with The Books of Jacob, and night-time reading of a lighter variety… I started Chouette… a very curious tale indeed!

But my finish for the week was a lovely eye-opener… and one I recommend if you are like nature, or want to be a better ally. This one checks both boxes… in the most beautiful way.

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with NatureThe Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Never before did I ever think about racism being a deterrent to appreciating nature. Thank you, Drew Lanham for showing me the foolish errors of my ways. And as I read this book… and eased into Lanham’s love of nature… I realized that what is an activity that is not harmful to me… is not that for everyone.

There are preconceived notions – of where I should go, of what I should do, and even of who I should do it with – of who I am supposed to be as a black man. But my choice of career and my passion for wildness means that I will forever be the odd bird, the raven in a horde of white doves, the blackbird in a flock of snow buntings.

And yet… Lanham shares some of the most beautiful things I have ever read about nature… and especially about birds.

If you want to see things from a new perspective, this book is an excellent place to start.

And that is all I have for today. What about you… what is helping you be distracted this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.30.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.30.22

Greetings Unraveler’s and Happy Wednesday!

I have been very productive since we last talked! I spent some time going through my stash… and I culled quite a few things. So now when I look in my “Yarn Cupboard” I can clearly see what is there, and it has been separated (once again) into categories… sock, not sock, and lace weight… and in the sorting I had unearthed some yarns I completely forgot I had! Which was perfect because I needed to cast on something that would qualify as a “mindless knit” … and what is more mindless than a sock (at least before the heel flap portion! Ha!) Enter this discontinued Meilenweit Mega Boots yarn and I have started a sock for Steve. I cast on last night…I am using my own sock recipe, but have changed up the ribbing a bit. Hopefully it works! Ha! Anyways, I am still working my way through the cuff… so yes, I have miles to go.

I have a Tegna that I knit some years ago out of mohair-silk. I love the sweater and it is the perfect layering sweater. I can wear it over a tunic or with pants. It is just such a versatile sweater I wanted another one that I could wear in the warm weather months… and had been looking at yarns for it when I unearthed 11 skeins of Elsbeth Lavold Hempathy. I swatched… and got gauge! I know! I love Hempathy… it is the easiest care yarn for summer. It does not stretch out when you wear it, and it washes up beautifully in the washing machine. And, I test drove my swatch in the dryer and my gauge did not change! So I cast on a new Tegna as well. (This is currently not a mindless knit thanks to the tricky but oh so lovely lace edging at the bottom.)

Finally, I have a successful finish to my Agnes Pajamas… yes, the button holes are done! I watched several videos and made some good notes. I have a Bernina machine that is 30+ years old…. and it still is going strong. I have long since lost the manual, so button holes are kind of a nebulous thing. They are not entirely automatic, but they are semi-automatic… sort of… anyways, I did several test button holes to get the size right and, more importantly, to get all the steps that I needed to do coordinated. And then I did the button holes on my pjs and they were a success! Wooo! All I needed to add were 5 vintage buttons from my Nana’s button box and Voilà! My new favorite PJ’s!

On my agenda today is to get another set of pjs pinned out and cut so they are ready for me to sew… yes, they are that good!

The reading this week was a mixed bag. But they can’t all be 5-star books, right?

House of Spies (Gabriel Allon #17)House of Spies by Daniel Silva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had originally marked this a 4-star read, but since have backed it down to 3… this was not my favorite Allon story and I am wondering if this series has outlived its life.

Gabriel is now “The Chief” of The Office… and I am not sure if this is a good fit for him. Gabriel is not even in the story until almost a third of the way into the book.

In previous books, the stories seemed to have a “reality” thread that ran through them… but this book just seemed to have ditched any thread of reality and headed off into the “this can never, ever happen” waters… and I had a hard time with that…so many things seemed so far fetched.

I will give this series another shot… but if that is more of this, then I am likely done with this series. Your milage may vary though!

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of MossesGathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read and loved Braiding Sweetgrass and could not imagine anything topping that, much less an entire book devoted to mosses… yet here I am telling you now that I am fascinated by mosses, I am suddenly seeing them everywhere I go, and I am wondering what else I can learn about them!

Yet, this book is not just a scientific tome about mosses… nope. RWK, in her amazing way, shares the story of mosses in a way that is so interesting. I feel like she has woven a little moss basket, tucked me in and carried me to a magical place. She is an amazing story teller, she brings the reader into her magical world… and honestly, I never want to leave that place.

If you want to learn about mosses, this book is a great place to start, but if you really just want to experience a(nother) slice of RWK’s life… read this book. She is a master. I highly recommend!

I Love You But I've Chosen DarknessI Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oof, this book! A friend described it as a mindf*ck, and is it ever. After reading it, I am not sure what is real and what is not… and I think that was Watkins intention.

I have one great take away though… she left me questioning if the better mother is the one who thinks she is failing… or the one who is the “perfect mother”… my gosh, it made me stop and think (for days now) and my feeling…well of course it is the mother who thinks she is a failure. Every.single.time.

The stories about her dad though… oh my, they made me wildly uncomfortable.

Sometimes though… you just have to read the wildly uncomfortable… (still, I could only give this 2-stars because of that wildly uncomfortable-ness… it was almost too much)

And that is all I have for today! As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.23.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.23.22

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. — George Bernard Shaw

I have a completed pair of socks! Yay! Thanks to Vera for clueing me in to this sock pattern. It is free, well written, and a joy to knit! (Bonus… the fit is fab!)

I am contemplating my next pair of socks… and I saw these socks (Ravelry link) and have been thinking about them… lots. I have lots of sock yarn left overs, but I have not yet  considered how many I have that will work well together.

I also have been doing some creative playing! Kym sent me an email for Sketchbook Revival… two weeks of inspiration (and it is free!) It started on Monday, I had time to sit down and watch the first video on Tuesday… and so I started. I have not painted anything creatively in eons… and I know next to nothing about watercolors… but gosh was Day One fun! I plan to doodle a bit more today and then settle in and watch Day Two’s video.

A quiet reading week for me… just one finish:

FlightsFlights by Olga Tokarczuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t in a hurry. I never have to be in any particular place at any particular time. Let time watch me, not me it.

Whew! This is a book in which you must pay attention… closely. The subtleties are extraordinary, and they are a very important undercurrent of this book.

The story felt very disjointed to me, at times, abrupt endings. Moving on to abrupt topics. Abruptly leaving those topics… and yet… Tokarczuk returned to each thing that felt disjointed… eventually. But once I really started actively listening, I began to notice the subtleties that changed my understanding of what was going on.

All that being said, this is not an easy listen… because you have to really think… hard… often. That makes it not a “calgon take me away read”… but all that aside… The writing is really beautiful. The translation is excellent. And stepping outside of my “reading comfort zone” to consider a challenging read is a very, very good thing.

I heartily recommend… but your milage may vary.

That is all for me today… I am off to do some watercolor doodling! What fun thing are you going to do today?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.16.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.16.22

Greetings Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday! Perhaps you remember that test knit I did last month. Well, I can finally share it with you all!

I present MaryJane Mucklestone’s Lakeway Beret! As always, it is a joy to knit one of MaryJane’s patterns and this one is a color work masterpiece! I felt like I was painting with yarn as I knit away. I simply love the natural colors that MaryJane selected! It has quickly become my favorite hat! Light weight and so warm! In the rush to knit so many other hats, I had forgotten how easy fitting a tam is… and how it does not give you “hat hair”!!

Lakeway Beret in the sunset

All the details are here on my Ravelery project page. (sorry about that… beware the flashing icons as you sign in)

Aside from that, I have picked of Vera’s sock again (as you can see above!) I have the heel turned and am working my way down the foot. A finish is likely this week! Woo! (just in time for it to NOT be sock weather! hahaha)

And over the weekend, I spun up a bit of yarn to finish my Hitchhiker. It works well, I think.

It practically matches my “starting yarn”!

But this week my focus has been on sewing – pajama sewing specifically – Monday I finished started and finished the pants. Tuesday I started the top and will hopefully finish up the top today. I have the hard bits to go… the collar, the facings, and those joyous button holes! Those pajama pants pattern alterations though… perfection! They fit perfectly and I can’t wait to wear them. They are so soft and comfortable… and NO SIDE SEAMS! And that fabric… well those are from a really lovely sheet set that I got more than 20 years ago from Meijer’s in Holland, MI – at the time they carried a line of products from Katie Brown… these sheets were just divine (and I am pretty sure I bought them when they were on clearance) but then I got a different sized bed and they got packed away. I could not get rid of them because they were in such great condition. And I am so glad I did not because they are just the perfect pjs!

All ready for a collar and facings!
Complete with the original tag!

I have enjoyed sitting at my sewing machine this week. (Good thing, because I have lots of sewing still to complete! HA)The reading this week was so delightful! Two brilliant finishes! I have slowed down my reading a bit, and I am honestly enjoying it so much more. I love giving myself a bit of a pause as I read to digest what I am reading. As well as a bit of a pause when I finish a book to savor the joy that the book has brought me.

These Precious Days: EssaysThese Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is only the second book I have read by Ann Patchett, but I think I need to read all of her books!

These Precious Days is a collection of essays… and if a writer can connect with someone talking about something the reader has not done, has not experienced… and make the reader feel like they are there… or even better… makes you think that you might need to try something new, that is truly good writing.

That is exactly how Patchett made me feel… even though I had not done (or had no interest in) some of the things she talked about, she packed my bags and brought me along… and I had so much fun.

I highly recommend this book! Really… you need more Patchett in your life!

Cloud Cuckoo LandCloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! What an incredible story!!

I had my doubts as I started out…it took me a bit to figure out the characters and the times, but once I figured out who was who and when they were. I just followed the trail that Doerr led me on… twists and turns, for sure… so pay attention, but you will not be disappointed in how this ends.

My favorite character… Zeno. Oh my gosh, Zeno! And Omeir… he really worked his way into my heart.

If you want to go on an epic journey with a book, about people who love a book… read this book!

I highly, highly recommend!

And there you have my making. What about you? What is filling your week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Happy Wednesday, Unravelers!

I do not have a whole lot of making to share with you all this week. I do have an almost finished gnome (the hat needs a wee bit of steam.) But my March Never Not Gnoming installment is finished. Oh, Gnome You Didn’t. Meet Gnellie…and my back story for her is that she is the younger sister of Gnutmeg (the family resemblance is amazing!) and her Gnana gnits and spins – thus her darling handspun scarf! Ha! Confession time… I have not had so much fun knitting as I have making these Gnomes. I am contemplating my April installment. (And for those wondering, yes I have knit Gnellie before – for Steve’s mom… I am so happy to have my own Gnellie on my mantle now!)

I have also been slowly adding “teeth” to my Hitchhiker but I have not picked up my second sock at all this week…and that means there have been no mistakes made! haha!

It has been a quiet week of reading here as well (sort of) I somehow forgot to cancel an audiobook hold when the physical book came through… so imagine my surprise when I got the notification that The Sentence audiobook was available! And loving Louise Erdrich as much as I do the opportunity to listen to her read The Sentence was just too great to pass up (perhaps forgetting to cancel that hold was not a mistake at all!) I loved “reading it with my ears” as much as I loved reading it with my eyes. I also spent quite a bit of time immersed in poetry this week… and that, my friends, is never, ever a bad way to spend a week.

UnravelingUnraveling by Brandon Leake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have listened to Unraveling several times now and each time I hear something new…something moving, something sacred, something that causes me to stop and think.

I had no clue who Brandon Leake is (He won America’s Got Talent) but his poetry is moving. Perhaps even more so because Brandon reads his poetry.

My favorite of Unraveling… Breonna. It is such a beautiful tribute.

If you are looking for a fresh new voice in poetry, I think you will enjoy this collection of poems… very much.

I want to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for this ARC of Unraveling.

(P.S. if you want to watch Brandon recite Breonna, you can watch him here starting at 4:15)

What about you? What is keeping you sane this week?

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

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