Unraveled Wednesday | 10.19.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.19.22

Greetings Gentle Unravelers!

This week I am profoundly grateful for the diversions that making brings… I needed diversions this week! And so I am sharing the plethora of them that have been entertaining me! Buckle in!

The sewing. Oh my. Well, there is a very good reason I keep sewing the same things over and over again… I have made the muslin… done the adjustments… and all future garments fit absolutely perfectly – no guessing – no hoping – no worries. Thus was the story for my 4th pair of Free Range Slacks. They are glorious and I have fabric coming to make one more pair for the winter! (No images here, but you will absolutely see me modeling them in Erie… I plan on posting some #PostcardsFromPresqueIsle on IG while we are away!)

Now comes the story of sewing a new-to-me pattern. With sketchy measurements (because deep arm scythes) here is my first try. It needed several adjustments. Sigh. While it is a wearable muslin, it feels very awkward on top… too loose… too much movement because it is so loose. (Good thing I have no shortage of sweaters to wear with it! Haha) I have made several adjustments to the pattern and think that my next attempt with corduroy will go much better. It calls for French Seams (which I did on the denim muslin) but I think that will be too bulky with the corduroy so I am going to give flat-felled seams a try and I think they should look and feel nice. AND!! I have plans for a fun little flannel inner pocket on the corduroy ones! The pluses though… I love the pockets, the details, and the style. Oh my are they all awesome! Stay tuned for the second go at this pattern.

Because packing my knitting is the first thing on my list for vacation…I pulled out the knitting bag that I used last year, and inside was a project I started on vacation in Erie and had not touched since! (Ravelry link) It looked easy but once I got through the “easy” lace portion and started on the “challenging” lace it became very clear that this was not vacation knitting. But I got it out and started again and made progress! I have completed the challenging lace and have started on the second (of 5) pattern repeat and things are going well. I am bringing this back to Erie and along with my in-process (but also forgotten) Close To You shawl. One of these projects is more likely to be finished than the other… if I do any knitting on vacation! Ha!

One would think a still life would be easy, but giving those stationary objects form and life is tricky!

Finally… there has been painting my friends! Pumpkins! Water! And FALL leaves! (I am also working on some grapes that Kym has challenged me with… stay tuned!) On Monday I bought a “travel palette” and yes… I am going to paint on vacation! Haha! (Honestly, my fear is falling behind in painting class and I won’t be able to get two paintings done in 2.5 days to meet the final class deadline for homework.) I am thinking about painting all.the.time. I am looking on YouTube at painting videos. I am looking on Pinterest at painting ideas. It has become a bit of an obsession and I am having so much fun!

I definitely think landscapes are my “sweet spot” and I so enjoyed painting this fall scene!

Whew… that’s a LOT of making! Hahaha!

How about a cool down with some reading?

I am currently still happily immersed in life with Ruth Galloway and I am loving it. So. Much. I also started Setsuko’s Secret and it is the perfect companion to the Sharon Says So podcast on the same topic. So much too unpack. These books are diversely different and that is a very good thing!

I had just one reading finish this week… and it left a very sour taste in my mouth. I should have listened to my inner voice that urged me to bail on this book early on in the listening. I know many of you loved Ozeki’s Book of Form and Emptiness… but me…not so much. I had hopes the Book Story would take over and I liked those parts of the book but ultimately it was an epic failure for me. But this is what makes reading so incredible… what I don’t care for, you might love! And there are so.many.books to read!

And there you have my very busy making week! As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

See you back here tomorrow with A Gathering of Poetry!

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.12.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.12.22

Greetings Unravelers!

Welcome to the weekly making/reading check-in!

October has a Gnome… and what a Gnome she is! Meet Gnutkin! She is all in for fall! She is based on this pattern from Imagined Landscapes… sans beard, but I made some Pippi Longstocking-esque Leicester Longwool braids… and these sweet acorns were the perfect adornment for her!

However… there has been some sewing! I have an almost completed pair of pants – they just need a waistband and hemming! Up next is a fill in denim tunic (thanks Kym for suggesting this one!) and one more Sew House Seven pattern made out of some challenging (slippery) fabric. I am still waiting on my corduroy from Blackbird Fabrics… sigh.

Several of you asked why all the procrastination on sewing. And honestly, it is 100% the set up of my sewing that is causing all the procrastination. Any amount of time sewing be it 5 minutes or an hour and I get a back ache. I have tried different chairs and nothing really works. I think the issue is the height of the table I sew on… so it is what it is. Anyways, that is the sticky-wicket in my sewing and the thing that causes all the procrastination. But I am gritting my teeth and powering through.

On the reading reviews… I am changing things up a bit here. Rather than posting the full review here (you can find the link to the review in the side bar to the right) I am just going to high-light my finishes and talk more about my current read. If you’d rather I’d go back to the “old way” of posting the full review here… please let me know in the comments!

It has been a very blah reading week for me. I have one finish: John Banville’s Ancient Light. I did not love it.

And my current read is not much better… I am listening to Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness. The narration is so incredibly horrible… this might be the most impossible narration ever. The contrived voices for so many of the characters in the book are so off-putting to me. My advice… read this one with your eyes because the story is fascinating. I am just half way through and should finish it up today, I hope!

With my eyes, I am reading The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths. It is the second book in the Ruth Galloway series… and I am loving it. I am reading this at night and I am about a quarter of the way in and so far… so very good! I needed a mystery and this one is a mystery and a bit of fascinating history!

I picked up a book from the library this week but I have not cracked it. I stumbled across it on Twitter of all places… Setsuko’s Secret by Shirley Ann Higuchi. It is her parents story of Heart Mountain and their experiences with Japanese American Incarceration during WWII. I am eager to sink into this book but I am waiting until I have all my sewing done! Ha!

And that is all I have for this week… as always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below!

Thank you and I will see you all back here on Friday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.5.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 10.5.22

Greetings Unravelers!

It has been a good week for making in my house!

I have a finished, blocked, and all ends-woven-in sweater! In January of 2020, I started Amy Christoffers’ Pheasant Sweater (Ravelry Link). I started out like wildfire knitting all that fun color work fairly quickly and I got past the sleeve divide… and then it languished for a long, long time. I picked it back up in August and, as in all things, a little time and attention and before you know it… there is a finished sweater!

I used the colors Amy used in her version and I could not be happier! They are such perfect autumnal colors! It is light, yet so warm and cozy. I can wear it with a camisole underneath… the Shetland wool is soft. I love the subtle color shifts in the color work and I will be living in this sweater this fall!

Tight, close colors…such perfection!

The other making success I had this week involved baking! I have been trying to make pita bread but have had mixed success… the pouffing of the pitas was hit or miss for me. So I did some research and made some tweaks to my oven temperature, and amount of preheating of my baking steel… and those tweaks… worked!

From the first two…

I baked Pillowy, Puffy Pitas! And they were so delicious! I used Food52’s recipe. My recipe tweaks: After the dough has proofed, I refrigerate the dough and I used it within 36 hours (although I think 48 hours of refrigerator time would be fine.) I take it out about 45 minutes before I want to bake… and upon taking the dough out of the refrigerator, immediately divide the dough as the recipe calls for. I let the divided dough rest on a baking sheet, covered, for 35-40 minutes. I preheat my oven before I divide the dough and put the baking steel (this is the baking steel we have) in about 30 minutes before I am going to bake… so a short preheat for the steel. Once you are ready to bake, things go quickly, I roll out all the pitas on squares of parchment paper (like Erin did here) and I stack them and keep them covered until I begin the baking process which is so incredibly easy. You just drop the parchment squares on the steel and set your timer! It is almost too easy for something so incredibly delicious! Homemade pitas are so much better tasting than any store-bought pitas I have ever tried! I hope I have inspired you to make your own pitas soon!

To the last two…

The reading was a bit slower than last week… I am finding that I need a few days after finishing a book to “digest” it. Which makes what I have just finished more memorable. But I did have one finish this week!

Gold Boy, Emerald GirlGold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As in most collections of short stories, I liked some more than others in this collection of stories.

But even the ones I did not like as much as others, were still good.

This is my second “book” by Li and I am enamored of her writing style. She makes me think. She puts me in the shoes of the subject. She changes my focus and my pre-conceived notions.

I am left feeling an urge to read more of Li’s writing. And I very much recommend this collection of short, but so thoughtful, stories.

And that, gentle unravelers, is a very good making week! What is good for you this week?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.28.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.28.22

Greetings dear Unravelers!

I have a confession for you all… September has been a month of me living my very best life (sadly, my house is complaining of neglect…loudly! lol) But for me, it was a great month!

I am on still on Sleeve Island…BUT! One sleeve is done! I still have one to go but I also have two more episodes of The U.S. and the Holocaust to watch, so I feel like that sleeve just needs a bit of Sit and Watch time and it will be done! This sweater is very much nearing completion… and good thing because Mother Nature flipped off the summer switch last Thursday… it has been chilly and perfect sweater weather. And this sweater will be a welcome addition to my fall wardrobe!

Knit six rows, decrease, move a stitch marker from the finished sleeve to the one in process…

I also finished a gnome… as you all may have seen on social media. Dear Gnorton. He was The Gnome of All The Options. There were multiple hat choices, body choices, beard choices. And even a couple of nose and hand options! And so I listened to Gnorton as I knit away… what did he want to be… And the thing that came through loud and clear was he was a thinker… who enjoyed a pipe. He now sits on the mantle next to Gnombleberry who occasionally reads poetry…providing lots to think about! A broken DPN was just the perfect “pipe stem” and I even managed a bit of “embers” in his pipe bowl. Nine months in and my mantle of gnomes makes me smile. three more to go… and a new Mystery Gnome arrives for December! FYI… The latest Mystery Gnome pattern will be on sale in November… you do not need to buy the kit! And the December Gnome Story is so much fun!

Gnorton the Gninth

And I am back to “daily painting” as well. Most days, just practicing all the techniques… there are so many things to learn! But the first class of the Changing Seasons Class I am currently taking is done! I shared my painting on IG… and as I said there, some things I feel good about, others need some more practice… good thing I like practicing! Ha!

Really… my.best.life.

The reading this week also fit the My Best Life category! AND, I started another book by Yiyun Li yesterday, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl… and I was quickly drawn in! It makes me realize that there are so.many.authors and so little time. And, for those interested, The Book of Goose is now available… it is so good!

Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For all the struggles I had with Olive in Olive Kitteridge, the Olive from the end of that book grew and flourished in Olive, Again.

Simply put. I loved every single word. And, more importantly, I fell in love with Olive.

Strout’s writing feels so very much like she is sitting at the table sharing stories over coffee. It is real, personal, and so engaging. I was lost in the book in the first chapter. The narrator, Kimberly Farr, was excellent.

If you wonder if change is possible… read this book. If you need a renewed hope in humanity…read this book. If you don’t know what to read next… read this book.

Oh, Godfrey, just read this book! You won’t be disappointed at all!

The Book of GooseThe Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One afternoon, I was scrolling through the “available titles” on Netgalley, and this cover caught my eye. I knew nothing of the author, Yiyun Li, but I loved the cover and the title. So I made my request… and fortune smiled on me with the audio-version of this compelling little story.

The story opens in America, where Agnés is reading a letter from her mother about the death of her friend, Fabienne.

And from there a story of memory, the deep bonds of friendship, art, writing, exploitation, and life in the countryside of Saint Remy France after the war unfolds.

The memories flow from Agnés and it feels a bit like a dam has broken… things she had kept bottled inside could no longer be contained. It was a book I could not set down, even though parts were uncomfortable…

Li’s writing is really incredible. And the narration… it was perfect! This won’t be the last of Li’s books I read. If you are looking for a beautifully told story, this is exactly the book you need! I highly recommend. I had originally given this book 4-stars, but I have not stopped thinking about Agnés and Fabienne and realized that this is absolutely a 5-star book!

I would like to thank Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for the audio-copy of this book.

That is all I have for today… I am off to queue up some Ken Burns and get back to Sleeve Island!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.21.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.21.22

Greetings Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday… or Happy Autumnal Equinox Eve Day! Haha!

Yes, it’s the time of year when a knitters heart begins to think Winter Is Coming… and the urge to cast on all the woolly things takes over!

Or, in my case… the urge to get a woolly thing off my needles so I can cast on something new! Haha! But I have departed for sleeve island and it is smooth sailing! Decreases for a bit then on to the Sleeve Straits before I reach the 2×2 Ribbed Shores and then begin again to complete the second sleeve! We are heading to Erie the end of October and this sweater will be a welcome addition on all the walks around Presque Isle! So it needs to be done!

The next sweater I am tumbling about in my mind… well, it will be one that I knit from my handspun! Yes, I am making headway on the spinning portion and in a couple more weeks (maybe??) it will be a Plying Fest! Then I can swatch and see what my gauge is (which will absolutely have an impact on what sweater I pick!) I’d like to knit DRK’s Everyday Sweater…so keep your fingers crossed I get gauge! If not, then perhaps a Weekender might be the one – since she has 2 versions in 2 different yarn weights… that gives me some wiggle room! Ha!

The reading this week was stellar. A new Keven Wilson book (coming out in November) and another Strout… Olive finally settled in for me! And!! I am listening to the most incredible book…I am almost done and but it was released yesterday! The Book of Goose by Yiyum Li is something you should put on your radar. I am listening to the audio version and the narrator (Caroline Hewitt) is excellent.

Now Is Not the Time to PanicNow Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first encountered Kevin Wilson’s writing in Nothing to See Here, which was a curious tale of children that catch fire. The writing was fun and engaging and the story made me think… lots.

So when I saw that he had a new book coming out, I requested it from Netgalley and was happy that I was given the opportunity to read more of Wilson’s work.

This story is just as engaging and I have thought lots about it since I finished the book this week. It is a bit of a coming of age story… and while that is generally not my first choice in reading, this coming of age story pulled me in. It is also about not fitting in… feeling different than everyone around you. It touches on divorce, single parenting, and more.

I loved Frankie… so very much. She is a tester of the waters, a try-er of new things, and yes… a budding writer! So Frankie and Zach (the other odd boy out in the town their mothers returned to after leaving their husbands) spend a summer by creating what turns out to be a very controversial bit of art… art they reproduce and post anonymously all over town. And they keep the fact that they were the artists for 20 years.

“The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.”

I wish I could have seen the artwork, although I have a picture of it in my mind, I am left wondering if the book will have an image of it.

This story also touches on what happens when people don’t understand something… and the way that people can cause each other to panic. (The title is just so brilliant!) I truly appreciated Wilson’s forward to the book, which explained why he wrote it. He had my attention from the first page!

I highly recommend this story!

I would like to thank Ecco and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

Olive Kitteridge (Olive Kitteridge, #1)Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had originally tried to read this with my eyes… and gave up quickly. I then went on to discover my joy of Strout’s writing by listening and so I thought I’d give Olive another chance in my ears and am I glad I did!

Confession… I really found lots to like and and even more to hate in Olive. She has the biggest chip on her shoulder (perhaps I could recognize that because I do as well?) and *everything* wrong is never her fault. But the story draws you along, and I ached for Olive… her frustration with herself that she takes out on everyone else. But when Henry has a stroke, I began to cheer for her… her humanity begins to shine through. I had thought this was a solid 4-star book… and then the ending just blew me away. There was no way that ending could not bump this up to 5-stars.

If you have tried reading Olive and gave up… I’d suggest you give her a listen.

I highly recommend!

There you have what is on my radar this week! What about you?

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

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