Unraveled Wednesday | 11.17.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.17.21

Cooking and baking is both physical and mental therapy.  — Mary Berry

It seems that those points in time in my life when I have been the most stressed, the making relief that I turn to is cooking. So we have an enormous pot of chili that will be something easy to pull out for many meals. I also pulled out my tried and true bread recipe and it’s yeast-y goodness filled my kitchen with the best smells yesterday. And kneading bread is the absolute best frustration releaser on earth!

I have barely knit a stitch… I cannot settle my mind or my hands to do that… it is better to read something that encompasses my mind. Thus… Big Foot Sock #1 is still not done. (Although the fit thus far is very good!)

I did sit down at my sewing machine on Friday, turned on an audio book, and quilted The Advent Calendar. AND!! I love how it turned out. (full beauty shot coming soon!) The final steps are hand-sewing the binding, then attaching twenty-four buttons… and, yes, I am struck by the irony of binding a quilt (which I can do) and binding up the (self-made/inflicted) hell-scape that is my sister’s life (which I can’t do). All that aside… my goal is to have this in the mail by Friday!

The reading this week was so good:

O BeautifulO Beautiful by Jung Yun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can you leave your hometown and leave behind all the problems that it holds? That is what Elinor Hanson finds out as she takes a job that brings her back to the North Dakota town where she grew up.

There is intrigue. There are fascinating characters. There is racism. And there is greed… all simmering under the surface.

Yun’s prosaic writing is what drew me in and her story kept me. O Beautiful is not what I expected… it is so much more. And the best part? It did not have a tidy ending… and the wondering about that is perhaps the best lingering thing about this book! I highly recommend it!

I would like to thank Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for this ARC.

What Strange ParadiseWhat Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Just wow.

This might be a small book but it is not a light read. El Akkad takes us to the world of the refugee from a unique perspective… from the eyes of a child. The writing is almost like El Akkad had a quiver of arrows… and when they were gone – his story must be done. Those arrows absolutely pierced my heart and my mind. This is a book that I will not soon forget… this is an absolute must read!

That is all I have for today… what about you? What are you making and reading this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.10.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.10.21

This week the making is beginning to feel like it needs to be at a “fevered pitch” but its is not. I wanted to have the “calendar”  portion of the Advent Calendar in process… but it is not! I want to thank you all for your tips and encouragement… I am experiencing a great deal of FOMU (fear of messing up) but I think I have a plan mapped out both in my head and on the fabric… invisible mapping, but I think it will work… now I just need to take the bold words that Carole shared to heart and just “drop those feed dogs” and give it a go!

Thankfully, every ornament is done…all 4 layers of them! Whew!

Instead of overcoming my FOMU of quilting, I knit a hat that is all ready for a little soak, which is a good thing because we have a four-letter word weekend forecast! Gah!

The reading this week… there are a couple of excellent books and one that very much fell flat for me. If you are looking for a good book recommendation… I strongly recommend Oh William! My goodness, it was just so brilliant!

Oh William!Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the way of life: the many things we do not know until it is too late.

Elizabeth Strout absolutely saved the best for last with Oh William! I loved the 2 previous books, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible – they were really a wonderfully told story, but Oh William! takes that story to a new level. At times it very much felt like I was sitting and listening to Strout… rather than reading it. Her prose is really brilliant, and she manages to insert an aside exactly as one would if you were sharing a cuppa and talking.

I wanted to “ration” my reading so this book would not end. And I highly recommend this entire series… and save the best for last!

I want to thank Random House and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this book!

How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and HopeHow to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope by James Crews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this beautiful little book of poems from a friend (Thanks, Kym!) and I have been reading a poem or two a day, each morning to either begin or end my meditation time. I have probably read through all the poems at least twice… and just because I am marking this book “finished” here does not mean I am done with it.

These poems of hope and gratitude have been the most perfect way to start the day. I find myself wondering if I just keep reading one or two each morning… how long will it take for me to memorize them? Because they are all memorize-worthy!

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the state of the world… pick up this book and let the poet’s speak to you, fill you, move you to a better place, and perhaps even become a sharer of gratitude and hope in the world! I highly recommend this book!

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've LovedEverything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not sure what I imagined this book was going to be, but it was not that… and not in a good way. At times, I felt much of what Kate is trying to share came across as trite, and frankly, she has profound luck… which I could not stop thinking about as I listened to her talk.

And while I have heard “everything happens for a reason” with sickening frequency in a faith setting (exactly where it should never happen), I don’t think I ever felt as she did when she heard it. I felt like she really believed that she should have had a “lucky” life because of her faith… except that is not how it works. And she did have incredible luck to be working in a place that moved mountains to get her an experimental cancer treatment. (I found it incredibly ironic that she gave God none of the benefit for that…)

I had originally given this book 3 stars, but since have downgraded it to 2 stars.

And, that is it for me this week… Steve is taking a longer weekend (thanks to Veteran’s Day) so I will see you all back here on Monday!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.3.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.3.21

Greetings Unravelers!!

First, I’d like to thank you all for weighing in on cardboard recycling! It is a challenge to be an avid recycler living with a rather lackadaisical recycler… and while I am all for compromise on many things – this is not one of them. Now to get that certain someone on the bandwagon with me! LOL

I have made great progress on super secret sewing project that is consuming my making minutes! I think next week I will be able to share a tiny glimpse of the fiddly bits I have been working on. I will have the “ornaments” all finished this week. Then on to the calendar portion of the making… I have some ideas of I’d like to do, but having never done any “free motion quilting” I am more than a bit nervous. Perhaps the smart thing to do is to just mark a “grid pattern” on the diagonal and put the walking foot on my machine and just sew straight lines. In all honestly, I doubt my grandkids will even notice the difference… but a part of me wants this to be the best it could possibly be… and I think this would lend it self perfectly to some free motion quilting!

So… for the quilter’s out there… is there a YouTube video on free motion quilting you’d recommend?

I have been doing the tiniest bit of knitting at night… enough to realize I am not going to have enough yarn for the Socks for Big Foot. But, I found something in my stash (this might be the best reason of all to have a stash, imo) that I will use on the “straight away” knitting to the toes. It is also handspun yarn and while it is not a three-ply (nor is it plied perfectly) I think it will work because it is the same thickness as the yarn I am using. I have 4 more rounds of gusset decreases at which time I will begin knitting the the “new” yarn. I am telling myself it will be alright… they are just “house socks” after all…

But!!! I am happy to report that the Knitting Mojo has returned… have you seen the latest Making? (The knitting patterns are amazing but there is so.much.more in the latest issue!) I really want to just stop everything and cast on all the things! (but especially the Jasper Cardigan!)

Reading this week has found me with a bit of a “reading hangover” from Finding the Mother Tree. I am listening to The Rose Code but I am really struggling to get into the story so I am not sure it will be a book I finish. (BUT!! I just started reading Oh, William! and I really want to slow down and savor Strout’s incredible writing! I will try… but gosh she is hard to put down!)

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the ForestFinding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you think this book is just about trees, you would be wrong. It is so much more than that. It is part memoir, part discovery, part aggravation at trying to be successful in a male dominated industry, part history, part recovery… or quite simply, the best book I have read all year. Perhaps the best book I have ever read!

Simard opens the door for you to step into your world and look around you and realize that those things around you are doing the exact things she talks about in her book. She ignites a spark or fans the embers of readers wanting to know more about the world around them through the simple and complex lives of trees.

I have not stopped thinking about all that Simard shares. I need a physical copy of this book to turn back to again and again… although listening to Suzanne read me her story was so powerful! I highly recommend!

The Heist (Gabriel Allon #14)The Heist by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Silva finally gives us a taste of what The Office will be under Allon’s leadership. And yet, as Allon has been all along – a quiet, very unassuming man – he is bring a dynamic new twist to the leadership. One that is not surprising and really shows the depth of Allon’s good qualities (that make him such an incredible character!)

This book starts with one thing that is, of course, curiously connected to something much larger.

Each book gets better and better! I highly recommend this series!

That is all I have for this week… what about you? What is making you excited this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.27.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.27.21

Greetings Unravelers!

Though it pains me to say it, welcome to the final Wednesday in October. I am in a bit of shock that the month raced by as rapidly as it did.

This week, I have practically nothing on the knitting front to share… nary a stitch was knit on that sweater but I did start a pair of Socks for Big Foot… from handspun… and I am loving the start! (Big Foot has seen them and so I can share a photo here! lol) I am not using a pattern…I started out by casting on 72 stitches, but that was too big so I ripped it out and tried 68 stitches which was still too big… rippppp again! I settled on 64 stitches and that was just right! Who knew Big Foot and Goldilocks were related! LOL

The other thing I did was some spinning this weekend… it was rainy, dark, and cold. So I queued up Granchester on my PBS app and started the “engine” on my Daedalus Sparrow. I finished As Natural as Aspartame and while I waited for that last bobbin to rest, I started spinning this! Oh man, is it lovely fiber…Buoy in Seafoam from Hipstrings. I am stunned that I got an entire 4 ounces on one bobbin. I have not started this next braid, but I am eager to get going on it!

On Monday afternoon, my treat for finishing my “list” was to ply the pinkish-purplish yarn. It was the first time I plied anything on my Sparrow and I am in love! Once I got the hang of it, the ONLY thing I had to think about was how much twist was going into the yarn. No treadles to count, no concerns about treadle speed changing… I set the speed and plied. I need more practice on starting and stoping while plying, and evenly filling the bobbin but I am a convert to an electric spinner! I got some excellent yardage as well… 376 yards of 3-ply yarn! I see a pair of socks for me in my future!

A slow reading week…but some very good reads! And I am *almost* done with Suzanne Simard’s book, Finding the Mother Tree. I am not rushing through it… it is just so fascinating!

The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police, #5)The Devil’s Cave by Martin Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bruno is back with the perfect mystery for October! There are some mysterious goings on in St. Denis and fortunately, Bruno is there to gather clues. He has a new pup, which makes me happy… and he is trying to figure out his personal life.

I love solving these crimes with Bruno… Walker unveils them bit by bit. And, the ambiance of St. Denis with it’s quirky inhabitants, and delicious food and wine… it is the most lovely place to settle into for a bit!

Three Sisters (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #3)Three Sisters by Heather Morris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in The Tattooist of Auschwitz story, and while there is a brief interlude with Lale, the book is really about three sisters – Cibi, Magda, and Livia – and their lives. It is a compelling story and while the horrors of Nazi Germany are part of the story, but really the story is about the relationships of these sisters and the promise they made to their father.

The story is beautifully told, poignant, and a compelling listen. (Excellent narration by Finty Williams, by the way!)

I loved how this story went far beyond the concentration camps to their immigration to Israel and their lives there. I highly recommend this story!

I want to thank NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

What about you? What has captured your attention this week? A good book? A great pattern? Please share!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.20.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.20.21

Autumn has been teasing us this week with cooler mornings that give way to mild afternoons. I am soaking up each and every moment of these most welcome days!

Has my Knitting Mojo returned? Well… there is a finished Gnorwen (who has been delivered to Steve’s mom already!) But knit a sweater mojo? I am still waiting for that to show up!

In the mean time…there is a thing I simply cannot get out of my head! A variation on this theme (Ravelry link) but a rectangular variation… knit from plötulopi yarn. I need to do some swatching to see how this will all work out but luckily I have some yarn in my stash I can do some swatching with! I need to determine a width and how many flowers might fit. I am thinking about two options:

  1. Option one: Three full flowers on one “row” and two full flowers with a half on each edge of the alternating “row” or
  2. Option two: Knit the “border” pattern… as an all over pattern.

Stay tuned for some swatching to see what I like best!

And I have begun some super secret Advent Calendar sewing… When I think of the whole thing together, it seems a bit overwhelming, so I have broken it down into parts to work on over the next three weeks. I will share photos once the it has been delivered to the recipients!

Now how about a long overdue book update?!

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper TogetherThe Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What to read when you think you are a “good ally” but in reading you discover that you still have a long way to go to even get to being a good ally.

This is a hard book to listen to (and I listened to Heather read it to me) it is full of gut-punches. To think about the phrase “cut your nose off to spite your face” is the reality of this book. Rather than do the right thing… the moral thing… we as a nation have chosen to do the wrong thing too many times to count… and have chosen to do it almost always to our own detriment.

Heather lays out a very clear roadmap of the systemic racism that has long been the foundation of this nation (and, sadly, is still its guiding principle today.)

I highly recommend this as must read material!

The Crowded Grave (Bruno, Chief of Police #4)The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had originally given this book 3-stars, but my disappointment in it is great. I have been scratching my head wondering how this pleasant little novel, set in the loveliest setting, could jump the shark so badly. I have since downgraded it to 2-stars but with a huge caution… the dog dies.

I do not recommend this installment in the Bruno series for that reason.

The English Girl (Gabriel Allon, #13)The English Girl by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you ask me which story from the Allon series did Gabriel hit is stride… it will be this book. Gosh, it was just so good seeing the culmination of all the work from the previous novels finally settle into place… and finally for Gabriel to be comfortable with that culmination.

As always, Allon’s wisdom and smarts are the best bits of the writing. And coming closely behind that are the relationships he builds with those around him and how he never, ever holds a grudge.

The Narrowboat SummerThe Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an entirely charming and completely unexpected little book. The characters are lovely, the relationships they form are touching, and where they each start is not where they finish.

The power of friendship is an incredible thing!

I highly recommend this book!

What about you? What is calling you this week?

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

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