My Unraveled Mess

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The photo may show a little bit of over-committing. Ever since I finished my last sweater I have had delusions of grandeur, as I once again feel as if I can be called a real knitter again! Fugue in Mosiac Miner is buried by the swatch for Sunday Morning, by the Electric sock, and by my stitching (almost too dark to see). AND there are three books; Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ties, by Domenico Starnone (husband of Elena Ferrrante), plus under all that, is A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucy Berlin. I've already read it once, loved it, but my book group picked Lucy's book to read in February and I am happy to reread. 

I guess it's no wonder I'm feeling like I have a lot on my plate even without my watercolour class or a Month of Letters, which starts Thursday. How lucky I am that it's all stuff I WANT to do, love to do, and can do two at a time. I love to read (audio format) and knit. I love to socialize and knit (easy knits like socks). And I love to just sit and read, book (or Kindle) in hand, quietly turning the pages, totally absorb by a story I can only imagine. And, I like to sit and knit, quietly watching as the stitches form, and relax into the rhythms of the movement. 

I wonder if I should go tackle the dusting or vacuum the floor? NOT REALLY! 

Do you over commit to projects (not WIPs) and books? I have a feeling I know the answer to that question! 

As always, I am Unraveling with Kat and friends. 


Imagining Unraveled

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A couple of years ago I bought an Alabama Chanin Lata T-shirt, which has languished off and on. The last few months I have stitched the outlines of each leaf on all four pieces; front, back and both sleeves. That adds up to A LOT of leaves. When Vicki and Kym took their epic journey to Florence  Alabama for a an AC workshop I found myself inspired by their posts. Vicki showed several pictures of the sample books she found exciting and Kym's post here had a picture of a stitched leaf that sent off all sorts of ideas in my head. The possibilities of what I could do to embellish all those leaves was suddenly endless. I have all the AC books and they are also full of inspiration. It may take me the whole year, but I would like to have a finished T-shirt on December 31st. My T may well have to be a project on which I stitch on every day of the year. 

After finishing my last book, Nutshell, it took me a few days to decide on the next book to read. In the end, it was  an audio I'd purchased a long time ago, but that had not read made it to the top of the pile. Half of a Yellow Sun has been on my TBR list for too long, so it was time to dive in. 

I am all but Unraveled with Kat and friends


Unraveled - As Usual

Dear Friends- 

Unraveled Wednesday is one of my favorite meme days, as I not only get to see your beautiful knitting projects, but also, hear about  the books you're reading, which introduces me to many new books and grows my TBR list. As we prove every week, reading is knittings greatest companion. All around the world I connect with knitters through Postcrossing and we are all readers. This is one thing I know for sure. 

As with any good letter, let me tell you about the weather. Yesterday the sky was clear blue! The temperature was in the low 50s and I think we could be in the high 50s by Friday. After that, they say winter will return. With snow. Inches of snow, which would be amazing. I don't even mind, as one cannot complain much when there really hasn't been much of the white stuff in January. 

So, let me talk about knitting and reading, two of our shared passions. Here it is a year later and I am finally working on Fugue in Mosaic Miner, which was Kirsten Kapur's latest TTL Mystery Shawl. I find I am a monogamous knitter, and when I have a large project, like Brickyard, I must be true. The yarn for Fugue is Kim's Opal in two colors, Blossom and Blush (I think). In any case, I'm moving right along while I contemplate my next sweater. Also on the needles, is a self-striping sock, because that just seems the right thing to do. I rather love Carole's Picot Sock pattern and the way it pairs so nicely with a yarn that does all the work. The yarn is White Birch Fiber Arts color Electric Slide. Electric it is! 

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So far this year I've read some really fantastic books. I'm still blown away by The Power by Naomi Alderman and was disturbed by the crux of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.  I just listened to Winter by Ali Smith, which comes on the heels of her first in a quartet of seasons, Autumn. I can tell it would be best to read each book as close together as possible and they will be worth rereading when all have been published. However, they do stand very well on their own. I found Winter hit close to home, as I am an older woman and could empathize with Sophia, who is struggling through her own later years. Ali Smith demands you read every word, slowly and with intent.  

On my iPod I'm enjoying, Nutshell by Ian McEwan, one of my favorite authors. This is a very witty story written in the style of Shakespeare. I'm enjoying its humor laced drama very much. On a serious note, I'm also reading a book my niece gave to me, A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming. I am learning how the civil war in Syria began and the story of one of its many refugees, a young woman named Doaa Al Zamel, survived. I am only a few chapters in and I feel the story is very important for me to know and understand.  

So tell me, friends, what are you reading and knitting this week? 


Brickyard and Books

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Brickyard is only a couple of inches from the finish line. I've enjoyed knitting this pattern and have high hopes of having a beautiful sweater in the near future. Kim's yarn is has been a joy (as usual), plus I don't remember ever knitting a pattern that was so well written. 

I've been reading well outside my usual genre, as the last few books would be classified as sci-fi or dystopian. I went right through the His Dark Material's series lickity-split! I LOVE The Golden Compass, but think it's worth reading all three books (back to back). Then I read Ready Player One which was just a kick as it took me back through the 1980s via 2045. I didn't understand some of the gaming references, but who doesn't remember Pac-Man?

Then on a whim, I listened to The Power by Naomi Alderman. I was BLOWN away! I couldn't stop listening it was, well, SO powerful! I highly recommend this book even if you think you don't like sci-fi, because it isn't aliens or UFOs, it's current day problems and politics, but with a big twist. This book had as much impact on me as Handmaid's Tale did when I read it in the 80s. And, just to push my case, President Obama picked it as one of his Top Books of 2017. (I also like many of his Song of the Year choices.)

My book group pick of the month is Never Let Me Go, which I read when it was first published. I don't remember the ending well, but it's another disturbing dystopian tale. After this, I think I'll read a classic. 

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Sadly, I missed capturing a screen shot of My Books of 2017 from Goodreads, but here's a shot of some of my favorites from the year. I'd recommend any and all of the books you see here. I'm joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. Tell me what are your favorite books of 2017 is and if you've made a reading goal for 2018. 


Why I'm Unraveled

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Monday, around 11:30, filtered by dense air, the sun peeked through the branches of the pine  outside my office window.  Usually the sun comes in and warms my room all day. I knew this could be the last day our mountain was visible. As I turn away a shadow flickered in the corner of my eye and I turn back to see a siskins, or a nuthatches, dancing through the limbs. Every surface was covered with frost and the air around me was chilly. 

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That night, as we drove to dinner, it was foggy, as the cold thick air was filled with humidity. By morning many trees were covered with hoar frost, the sky was steel gray, and the mountain completely obscured. The inversion had clamped down over our valley. The temperature stays between 25 (for a low) and 30 (for a high) during inversion periods. 

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No one enjoys inversion season, that is unless you head up to mountains, which are bereft of snow, but are a balmy 55+ degrees! That's why it's called an inversion. (get it?}  Smith and I spent part of his day off looking for furniture (gifts to ourselves) and as we were driving home (sans furniture) the sun decided to break through for awhile. This picture may give you some idea of what we're dealing with. The air is worse than the picture shows. The weather peoples tell us a storm could be coming through this weekend (maybe) and the winds could stir the air (big maybe) and bring some relief (maybe). They do not want to get our hopes up, but we have our fingers crossed. Today, we are socked in, again. 

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But, in my other world, knitting and reading, things are going really well. I put the body on hold and have started a sleeve. The color in the photo is far from true. The actual color is deeper, more berry and red. I'm reading Eva Trout and while I had trouble getting used to the language, and the seemingly choppy style of her writing, I've grown used to the rhythm. I enjoyed Elizabeth Bowen's other books more, but I think I'll end up liking the story. I wouldn't stick with it otherwise. Life is too short to read bad books. I am also listening to the last in the series of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. I have had more fun reading this series than anything I've read in a long time. I heartily recommend all three. 

I'm joining Kat and gang for Unraveled Wednesday


Tis Wednesday and I am Unraveled

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Unexpectedly, my sweater growth! I am nearing the end of the body, about 5" more, then I'll put the body on waste yarn and knit the sleeves. Checking the fit and length will be more accurately figured if all pieces are as they should be. Monogamy has paid off and I expect to stick with this sweater (Brickyard) until it's finished. I am so very excited to be knitting a sweater and telling you about it, as well!

Also, I readeth. The book group I belong to, Roz Reads, has posted books for the first few months of 2018. I've read them all, but will reread, as I want to be ready for a discussion of each. In the meantime, I am reading my own choices, the first being Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen.  I read To the North a few months ago and just loved it. Eva Trout has been a little more difficult to get into, but about 4 chapters in (they're short) and I'm hooked. In my ear I have The God of Small Things, which is a reread, but since I read it in 2005, or so, I hardly remember a thing.

Two books the group discussed the last two weeks were, Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson and Hunger by Roxanne Gay. Hunger was an add-on group, as Roz thought it an important book. We all agreed and discussed it in depth for 2 hours. Both books come highly recommend by our whole group. I also read We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. You can read his essays in The Atlantic, but his commentary about each essay is well worth the time. All three authors are award winners and all three authors will make you think outside of your own world perspective. 

Two books I read for fun were Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (of Jessica Jones fame) and The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. Bonfire was okay, if you like whodunits, but The Golden Compass was marvelous. I will continue on with the series as I loved Lyra. 

Today I'm going to run by the library and pick up a copy of Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. I've heard good things about the story and I'll let you know how it goes. 

I'm Unraveling along with Kat today. 


November 15 - Plugging Along

Patty reminds me there are 15 days left of NaBlo.  I am trying to summon my inner blogging spirit to help me through. I am losing steam. Have I blogged every day? I wonder. Check to make sure. See I have and know I must go on! I can do this (can't I?)! 

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I heard a movie is coming out next year based on A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and I thought reading the book might be a good idea. Then I heard there was a version in graphic novel form, so I bought it just for the fun of it. My enjoyment of manga/graphic form books came about a couple of years ago. A graphic AWiT will be a kick! 

Perhaps the main reason I wonder if I can make it though this blogging challenge is my enjoyment of Brickyard and my TTL shawl has waned. I've made errors on both and lost momentum trying to get back on track. It's the process, but my thoughts (due to Kym and Vicki's most excellent adventure) have been turned to my AC project and I've another in the wings that I'm excited about, too. 

I truly feel unraveled, but tomorrow is another day and we'll see where that takes me. Check out Kat's blog for more Unraveled feelings. 


November 8 - To Knit is to Be

With a bum knee keeping me down, I've been able to spend a little more time knitting. I am no longer a fast knitter, but with the advent of leisurely time, I'm getting back into the swing of a regular knitting routine. Over the last 3-4 years my knitting production has consisted of one or two shawls per year, plus a few small projects to fill in the gaps. I feel as if my real knitting mojo has returned and I am fully involved in the process. 

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Sweaters have not been of interest, as nothing in recent years caught my eye, but then, I wasn't really looking. I have been uninspired and not drawn to sweater knitting, but, when Kim of The Woolen Rabbit and Elizabeth of  Blue Bee Studio decided to co-host a KAL the right sweater materialized. Brickyard had a gauge that my hands could handle, a construction process that looked doable, and Kim had a beautiful DK weight yarn. Everything came together in a way I could envision and I jumped in. 

Elizabeth writes very clear instructions, with creative and easy to follow techniques. The sweater has come together in a unique and interesting way. When I first read through the pattern I felt a little daunted and worried about its difficulty, but that has not the case. Step by step I've knit each section and kept the faith through each stitch. The yoke came together like magic in my hands. I have been pleasantly surprised over and over again at the ease and I became completely enchanted in the process of knitting this yoke.

That isn't to say I haven't had to reknit sections, that's just part of knitting, but I've always realized MY errors and been able to backtrack and fix the problem easily. I am now into the smooth sailing zone of a stockinette body. Round and round I go. Happy as a clam. 

The real book in my hands is Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. Last year I read Another Brooklyn when it was first published and I'm rereading because it's the book groups choice for November. Woodson is an excellent author with a rhythm to her writing and a realness to her story that grab the readers emotions. The book in my ears is two-fold, We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehsi Coates and Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. If you haven't read one of Ta-Nehsi's books I highly recommend every one of them. He is a brilliant writer, who will make you think about who you really are. Kristin Lavransdatter has been on my bookshelf for years and, finally, I bought the Audible edition with all three books in the series. I have enjoyed a look into life in the Middle Ages Norway. 

Take a wander over to Kat's and see what other Unravelers are upto today. 


November 1 - Will She or Won't She?

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Since I've retired a few things about my crafting time and place have changed. We bought new furniture, the lighting changed, and the number of projects begging for time grew. I worried about not being able to fill a day with meaningful tasks, ideas, and goals, but that has proved to be a silly worry. There has been no problem filling the hours of the day. I don't know when I had time to work, which is not something I thought I would ever say. I LOVE being retired.

Back to the subject at hand. I've taken over one end of the new couch where I can spread out my projects and all can be within view. I bought a new light with multiple bulbs, which lights the room to varied degrees based on need, and I've given myself permission to sew, knit, and/or read based on my desire. Sometimes I do both as I listen to so many books. I've got 2 projects on the needles, plus an Alabama Chanin T in progress. You may have noticed they are all in the same color family. Truly, I'm not sure why I get myself into such ruts, but I need to shake up my world of color. 

Today is Unraveled day with Kat and gang. Head on over and see what everyone else is doing, too. 


Not (Yet) Unraveled

Last February (I think it was), I took my first stitches on this eternally long project. Spice Market has been a little more than I bargained for, but I have been slowly moving forward. There were times I thought On the Spice Market not to my fancy, but as I worked I grew more fond of her colors, patterns, and overall design. As she nears the end of the line, we have made friends and I expect we'll have a very happy winter together. 

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On the reading front I've been doing quite well in the Bingo department. Over the next week I should have my fourth Bingo. Only a few of the books I read were out of my comfort zone, or not to my liking. I know what I like and what I can get through and, while I didn't pick books just to get a Bingo, I read what I liked and found places for them.  

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I've listed favorites at the bottom of my page. I would also add the last book I read, All the Pretty Horses to that list. The plan is to read Pride and Prejudice in order to finish up my card. Four Bingos will do it for me, which is more than I thought I'd have in the end. No "Coverall" for me and I'm good with that. 

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I made a trip to my favorite local book seller and picked up a small stack of books for future reading. (In the foreground you can see a few postcards that arrived that same day.)  I've started Celine (the green cover) and I'm hook on the story and the character.  

I don't read as much as I thought I would (winter will change that-methinks) nor do I knit as much as I'd like. Life has a way of keeping one busy and the calendar I thought would be empty day after day has not proved so. As I said yesterday, I am very grateful life can be this way.