Unraveled Wednesday | 9.14.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.14.22

Greetings Gentle Unravelers!

Yesterday, a momentous occasion occurred here in the ‘Burgh… Sweater Weather arrived and it is a thing of beauty! I basked all day in wearing a sweater because of the weather! Please note… this is entirely different than wearing a sweater because the AC is set at 40° below zero, just saying.

It was perfect weather to do some knitting… and yes, even some unraveling! Gah! I had boasted that I was making headway on my sweater…open mouth, drop stitch… in the lace portion…which required me to rip back 10-ish rows. Sigh. So really no headway made… but at least I am back on track however, no knitting has been done because this was not the knit for the Read With Us discussion last night!

I do have some finished/almost finished sewing projects! I have 2 finished sweatshirts or one will be done later today when I get the Steam-a-Seam tape that I need to finish the funnel neck version. But, it is done but for that and a bit of hand sewing! Both are made from a lovely French Terry fabric that I got some time ago from Blackbird Fabrics. The fabric was fiddly in the cutting out portion of the process. It required extra care to make sure it was not stretched anywhere. But once it was cut out assembling it was super easy once I figured out the tension on my serger.

Funnel-neck with normal cuffed sleeve version.

The pattern for these beauties is the Cosmos Sweatshirt from Sew House Seven and it is a great “starter project” if you are new to sewing with knits! The instructions are clear. There are loads of tips for success in the actual sewing of knits.

These cuffs are perfect… not too tight at all.

And the end result is a nicely fitting sweatshirt that does not look very sweatshirt-ish at all. I did one small alteration on the sleeves for the Indigo crew-neck version. I shortened them an inch and a half and used my double needle to hem the sleeves!

Crew-neck with un-cuffed sleeves.

I really love Sew House Seven patterns… their Free Range Slacks pattern is my go to for pants. I have a couple more patterns in the queue from them, so look for some new additions to my wardrobe this fall!

The reading this week has been a bit of a mixed bag. I started The People in the Trees several weeks ago… and I really tried (I read half of the book) but it was just not A Little Life… at all. While A Little Life is about a group of friends and their lives together – one of whom had some truly horrific things happen to him – The People in the Trees was more about a person doing the horrific things to others… and justifying it all to himself. It was not a book for me but your mileage might vary.

I did finish a new children’s book this week… and I highly recommend it!

Magnolia FlowerMagnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got this book because I heard Ibram X. Kendi talk about it and I thought it would be a lovely book to send to my granddaughter.

It is a beautiful story with beautiful illustrations. This is a book that you will need to read with your child to answer the questions that will arise in the reading.

If you have children in your life and you want a book to help them grow in awareness that all things are not equal, this is a beautiful start!

I highly recommend!

And with that, I am off to do a bit of practice painting (my new painting class starts next week) and then I am going to work on that sweater and see if I can’t catch myself back up and *not drop any stitches* this time!

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

Oh… and I will be back tomorrow with a bit of a surprise posting!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.7.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.7.22

Greetings, dear Unravelers!

Welcome to the first Unraveled Wednesday of September!

It has been a slim making week… too much Holiday Weekending which left me with lots of catch up things to do on Tuesday! But!! There is a new Mystery Gnome… and I have Clue One done! Woot! Clue Two comes out tomorrow and I am planning that for my evening knitting!

Sadly, no sewing… which I hope to remedy today. Really! Ha!

I did however manage a few minutes each day for spinning… thanks to my trusty pop-up reminder! It is a thing I look forward to each afternoon. I have spun about a third of this “braid” and enjoying it tremendously! It is really such a lovely mix of fibers…BFL, Shetland, and Manx Loaghtan – a signature blend from Hipstrings. It is lovely to spin – not to slippery, not to sticky… just right!

The reading this week though… oh my. Excellent books, each and every one. And all so incredibly different from one another and all new-to-me authors!

Did you hear mammy died?Did you hear mammy died? by Seamus O’Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not quite certain how this brilliant memoir came across my radar, but I am so very glad it did!

A peek inside a family living in Northern Ireland… a family of larger proportions…so buckle in and enjoy the ride.

Seven would have been considered crisply eccentric, and nine plainly mad. To be one of eleven was singularly demented.

O’Reilly tells a poignant tale… life after his mother died… poignantly, beautifully, and with a healthy dose of gallows-ish humor. The writing is pure and so spot on… at times it made me chuckle and at times it took my breath away. I finished it and wanted so much more…

I think you will too… I highly recommend!

The Shell SeekersThe Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Pilcher book and I am left wondering why on earth that is!

This was a beautifully written story of the very well lived life of Penelope Keeling and her entirely imperfect children… and some “children” who were not really her children, but she loved them profoundly.

At times I worried this story would fall into the “romantic novel” category and while it veered close, it never quite crossed the line into that territory. The characters are richly developed… the story is beautiful and it quite made me want to say YES, I will go with Penelope to Cornwall with you! I confess… I shed a few tears through the journey and this is a book I won’t soon forget!

Dead-End Memories: StoriesDead-End Memories: Stories by Banana Yoshimoto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew nothing about this author or this book, but the cover called to me and so I requested the audio version of this book from Netgalley. And then, I was simply blown away…

This is a collection of 5 short stories with a common theme… they are all lonely women. The stories at times discomforting… and more than a bit strange… but despite that, I could not stop listening. I needed to know where the stories would go… and they left me with a bit of hope and the promise of something better. They are stories that require some work for you to get through… you must listen carefully and sadly, I found the audiobook narration, by Kathleen Li, a bit stilted at times – making it difficult to pay attention. I had to go back and listen to bits several times. Thus, I think this book would be better read with your eyes… and that was the reason this book did not get 5-stars from me.

I would like to thank Netgalley and HighBridge Audio for the copy of the audiobook.

And there you have my update on what I am making and what I have read… what about you? What are you beginning September with?

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.31.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.31.22

The making this week… so very good! I have a finished sweater! Woo hoo! And I love it. The fit, the details, the yarn, the marl-y-ness! It is just the Perfect Sweater! This is the pattern. This is the yarn (my colors are Escoria and Nightshade) I apologize for Porch Pictures… but it rained all day yesterday so there was no chance of getting any photos of me wearing the sweater… but I promise you that I have barely taken it off since finishing it!

I told myself that when I finished Calamus, I would pick up – in earnest – my Pheasant Pullover and I have. I have made some serious headway on the body and have about an inch to go… then I will try it on and see how the length is. If it is okay, a couple of inches of ribbing and then I will set off for Sleeve Island! Or maybe I will put the body on pause and knit the sleeves and then use the remainder of the yarn to knit a tunic-y sweater. Really, I am seriously considering it! But either way with just a bit of focused knitting and this will be a finished sweater with plenty of time for lots of fall wearing!

I also did a bit of sweater swatching….for a warm fall days sweater and a warmer sweater for cooler days…yes two sweaters from the same pattern! I started the warm fall days version… and yes, it is the remainder of my cone of Tides in the Escoria color way, but no marling this time! The warmer sweater will be knit from HolstGarn Supersoft which will create the loveliest warm layer! I love the puzzle-y start to this sweater… and soon I will be picking up and knitting the front shoulders! I think the lace panel makes it so pretty and breaks up the miles of stockinette knitting a bit!

The reading this week… so stinking good! Any week with More Lucy Barton is a good week! If you have sworn off Pandemic Books or if you have said I won’t read any Pandemic Books… you might want to reconsider and settle in with Lucy by the Sea!

Lucy by the Sea (Amgash, #4)Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had sworn off any more Pandemic Novels… but perhaps this is the ONLY Pandemic Novel one should read. Honestly, skip all the others and settle in with Lucy as together, you begin to make sense of what we have/are living through.

We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don’t know it, that’s all. But we do the best we can. Most of us are just trying to get through.

This story begins at the very beginning of the pandemic when William whisks Lucy away from NYC to settle into a home on the coast of Maine. I found myself at times in agreement with William and at other times in sync with Lucy. But really, what this story all boils down to is how people deal with isolation, loneliness, the uncertainty of an illness that has killed far too many people… and in those trying circumstances… how can we maintain our humanity? It is also about relationships… especially how the bonds of friendship are exactly what we need to get through challenging days/weeks/months/years.

To say I loved this book is an understatement… I highly recommend!

I would like to thank Netgalley and the Random House Publishing Group for the ARC of this e-book.

There you have my making and reading for the week. What is filling your days?

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

Unraveled Wednesday…plus | 8.24.22

Unraveled Wednesday…plus | 8.24.22

Greetings Dearest Unravelers!

Welcome to the last Wednesday in August… I know. How on earth is that possible?!

I am sure you are all asking about the PLUS portion of the title… yes, you will get a bit more than making and reading today as I will give you all a small update on my Grand Procedure from yesterday! (so skip ahead to the ** if you are so inclined!)

The Grand Procedure is absolutely not on anyone’s list of things they love to do, but the actual procedure is not the hardest bit IMO… the Prep is the most odious bit! It seems each time I do a colonoscopy the prep work is always tweaked a bit from the previous time but this time… massive tweaks. The consumption of the Jug of Delight was broken into two parts. So Sunday night I began… half of the jug taken in 8 oz portions at 10 minute intervals beginning at 6PM… and repeat again at 11PM to finish the second half of the jug. Sleep much? Nope, nary a wink! But I did have a morning appointment (albeit the last one of the morning) because if not… I would have had to consume the second half Monday morning, oy!

When I moved to Pittsburgh, I was fortunate to get a female gastroenterologist, I really like her. But you get the “next in line” for anesthesiologist…which is kind of important because they are the one that sends you to the land of sweetest dreams. This time my anesthesiologist was a woman as well… who listened! My outcome post-procedure was much improved thanks to an anesthesiologist who listened and made adjustments. I had two sessile polyps removed… and I am waiting on the results… and I am not thinking about them… much but I will absolutely update you all when I know my results.

And for the nappers out there… Me nap? Really, never, unless I am sick but I did take a lovely little nap yesterday afternoon and, post nap, managed to make dinner for Steve and I last evening! Good things indeed!

**Now how about a tiny bit of a making update. I managed to finish a sleeve and get the second sleeve started on Sunday before I was preoccupied with the Jug of Delight, lol.

I did not do a lick of knitting on Monday because I figured if I could not drive a vehicle, how safe was it to knit where I had to keep track of rows for decreases. LOL

And Tuesday the Great Fall Clean Up in the house began… a precursor to the Greater Fall Clean Up outdoors… so not much no knitting yesterday either… nor was there much spinning but there was some!

However, there was some very good reading this week! And I will close out August listening to Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers!

TrustTrust by Hernan Diaz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A tale told by multiple narrators… each revealing more of the story.

Fascinating. Curious. And yes, it makes you wonder about truth and ultimately trust. (And it gives the reader an insight to the Stock Market Crash of 1920’s)

I listened to this story and the narrators were all excellent. My opinion of the characters changed many times through the course of the unraveling of the story.

I highly recommend!

A Little LifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book… oh, this book. A friend called it a “gut-punch” and it is certainly that. It is also a story that is revealed slowly, over time… and done so incredibly perfectly.

I cried, lots. But by the time I had roughly 200 pages to go… I was numbed to it all. My heart flipped from Jude to Harold, Andy, Willem, JB, Julia, Malcolm, etc. And still… I could not stop.

So how do you help someone who does not believe they are worthy of your help? Your love? Your kindness? Your friendship?

And how much sadness can one group of friends survive? This group had more than their fair share… too much.

The ending did not surprise me… but Howard’s conversation with Willem broke me.

This was my first dip into Yanagihara’s writing and it won’t be my last… I find myself wanting to devour all her books. She is a masterful writer!

I recommend… with caution… it is a hard read but so worth it!

And that is all I have for today! I hope your making was more productive than mine!

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

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.17.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.17.22

Greetings, Gentle Unravelers!

I have so much to share with you today… good things, NEW techniques. And a reinforcement that sometimes you just need to try more than once to achieve success!

First… I am happy to report that the 3-needle bind off I wanted to achieve (with purls showing on the front and the back) WORKED! Woot! Look at that! It is a thing of beauty!

Just a beautiful chain…

I have settled in for Sleeve Island and have gotten through some very smart short rows and am now at cruising speed with some interspersed decreases. These sleeves will have deep cuffs… the pattern calls for 3-inches… and I am making no adjustments, it just has all been so smartly designed! My only alteration is in the number of stitches picked up – I never seem to match what the designer suggests and that means I will do a few more decreases to get to the cuff stitch count.

The details are just so excellent like the line of chain stitches where the sleeve meets the body.

Next up… my non-flaring toe-up sock bind off win! This socks has no pattern, I am knitting to fit Big Foot’s foot, lol. I tried several stretchy bind offs and none of them liked the 3×1 rib pattern I am using. I think Genevieve would love Lettuce Edged Socks, but Steve… not so much, lol. Anyways, I finally gave the suspended bind off a try… in pattern… and it is a thing of beauty! Flaring… none. Stretchiness… the perfect amount! It took me several tries to find the Suspended Bind Off, but I am so glad I did not give up and kept searching for a solution! Now I am on to the heel with it’s short row bits for heel/ankle fit! I feel like I have finally become a knitter… one that can take all I have learned and apply those techniques to a thing I want to make! I am so proud of ME! LOL

Flutter-free bind off, FTW!

And… my daily spinning reminder has produced another full bobbin plus another well on the way!

A slower reading week with a book that I have not stopped thinking about since I finished it. Sorrow and Bliss for Read With Us (reviewed below) and oh my, I can hardly wait for the discussion on this one.

At night I am settled in to Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life… I have 11 days to finish it so I might have to put down the knitting and do some reading a couple of afternoons to get it done in that timeframe!

Sorrow and BlissSorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very “on the fence” about this book after reading the “about” of it. Skeptical…sure I would not like it (because, I am the Queen of Preconceived Notions!) and I started it only to have a mini-avalanche of library holds come through. So I stopped listening and came back to it this month. This time with perhaps a bit more focus on my part.

And so I settled in with Martha and with those around her and Mason begins to paint a clear picture of what life is like for both a person with mental health issues and the people who interact with a person with mental health issues… in a very real and compelling way. Mason shows us how hard it is for the people around Martha so incredibly well.

I found myself, like her family members and Patrick… loving her and hating her… so much. Feeling guilty with I was angry with her, wanting to love her more and beyond that… helping her find a fix to make everything better. I did not cry as the book progresses, but boy… I truly felt all the emotions.

This is a book for the Read With Us Book Club and I cannot wait to talk about this book!

If you have not read it… my goodness, do! I highly recommend!

There you have my making good things this week… what about you, is there something you are proud of this week? Do share!

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

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