Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday WIPs

Good morning and welcome to the last full day of Thanksgiving prep! Rainbow and I have just prepped two loaves of challah for the stuffing (which translates to cutting off all the crust, cubing the insides, and leaving it to dry out a bit). Yesterday we baked three dozen pumpkin cranberry muffins and made fresh cranberry sauce. Today, in addition to mixing up the stuffing (my great-grandmother's recipe, which is really more of a savory bread pudding), we'll mix up the mashed sweet potatoes, leaving only the turkey, gravy, and apple pie for tomorrow. I honestly thought that I'd spend most of this week crafting, but cooking for Thanksgiving, even when it's a smaller-than-normal dinner, takes a lot of time!

Today I'm joining Kat and the Unravelers to chat about my knitting and my reading.

After I finished my Hitchhiker, I realized that other than a shawl that's in hibernation, I had nothing on the needles! There's still a fair amount of holiday knitting to do, though, so I wasted no time in casting on the first pair of man socks. These are for my father; I figured I'd do his first because they're in the darker (and therefore harder to see) yarn and also because I will want to mail my parents gifts early in December.

I know the yarn looks like a plain-old navy here, but it's actually a pretty complex shade of Knit Picks Stroll called Midnight Heather that has some green and teal shades in it.

Neither of the dads is very adventurous in his clothing choices, so this is about as wild as I could get for my father. I've picked an equally sedate color for my father-in-law, a color called Jack Rabbit Heather that I'd describe as a warm brown-gray:

Both guys are getting plain stockinette socks, worked over 70 stitches, with a heel flap and gusset and wedge toe. I started the first sock on Monday and worked on it through a (Zoom) board meeting, and I already have nearly 5 inches complete on the leg. If I can manage to find time to knit (perhaps while the turkey is in the oven tomorrow?), I think the socks will go quickly. It's really all about prioritization.

Meanwhile, the Giftalong started at 8 last night, so once I got Rainbow into bed, I cast on a gift for her. Last year she saw and fell in love with the Fantastical Fox Mitts (Ravelry link), and while I got the pattern, I didn't have the time or the right yarn to make them for her. So I'm making them now and keeping my fingers crossed that she still likes them!

I'm using Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Allspice and White and knitting the smallest size, though I think there will still be a bit of room for Rainbow to grow. As nice as it is to have her home -- and we've just learned that there are three diagnosed cases of COVID among staff at her school, so I expect she'll be home longer -- it does make it difficult to knit for her in secret! I can only work on presents for her when she's asleep, and this week she's been going to bed later.

Since my last Unraveled Wednesday post, I have finished three books:


Jew(ish) was an Amazon First Reads freebie, and it was a quick, easy read. It was interesting and gave me some food for thought, but as the writer is British and a lot of the book deals with British politics, I felt that there were large chunks of the book that I didn't understand and didn't really apply to me. I guess you get what you pay for, right? I gave it 3 stars.

I think I mentioned before that I wanted to read Bridge to Terabithia because Rainbow was reading it in school and I couldn't remember if I'd actually read it when I was her age. I have since determined that I never actually did read it, so it was worthwhile to pick it up now. While I can see why it's been so praised as a classic, I also found it really dated, so I do wonder how much kids today will relate to it. The edition I got from the library was a special 40th anniversary edition, and I appreciated the addition of a special reflection from the author on the occasion and the text of her Newberry Medal acceptance speech. I gave it 3 stars.

I'd had a long wait from the library for The Vanishing Half and was delighted to get it a week or so before I expected -- and frankly once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. It's a really beautifully written story of two light-skinned Black twin sisters, one of whom decides to "pass" as white and live her life as something she is not. Aside from the fact that Brit Bennett tells a really interesting story, I think the questions of race and identity that it poses are quite timely given current events and active efforts to understand and undermine racism. I gave it an enthusiastic 5 stars.

Today, in between all the cooking, I'm hoping to finish my current book, The Great Believers, and move on to the next Gamache book that I have on loan from the library. I hope that your WIPs and your books are entertaining you and that your house is filled with good smells today!


  1. I wish I could trade a pumpkin pie for a loaf of your challah! Your food preparations all sound quite delicious, and I think you will have an easy day tomorrow with plenty of time to knit on gift socks. I loved The Great Believers and am now off to check my libraries for The Vanishing Half. Happy cooking and happier eating!

  2. I, too, LOVED The Vanishing Half. It's the book that got me back in my groove this fall. (Always thankful for those reads!) Your Stroll socks are a gorgeous--so glad you included the close-up of the color. So sorry to hear about the 3 cases... our K-8 school just closed up til Jan. 19, because they couldn't figure out a way to manage the potential holiday cases. Crossing our fingers for a full run when they go back, but who knows. So--ANYTHING in secret is a challenge this year! Enjoy your Thanksgiving together... xo

    1. Frankly I am amazed that we made it this far through the school year before having any cases -- I really have to give the school credit for how safe they've been. Happily kiddo seems to be okay with the prospect of staying online for a while; I guess she's now had her fill of being in person and is a little tired of wearing a mask all day and keeping her distance from all her friends.

  3. That midnight heather stroll is so pretty - nice work getting all of your holiday gifts going! I also loved The Vanishing Half - such a well told story full of interesting characters.

    And I’m with you - I was looking forward to some free time this week with no school, but I’m so busy prepping for tomorrow. Boo!

    I hope you enjoy your next Gamache and that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. I did some Thanksgiving prep myself today - rolls, a do ahead dish of potatoes, and cranberry relish. That leaves turkey breast, salad, green beans, and a galette for tomorrow. I'm thinking that food should last us most of the weekend. I really enjoy knitting with Swish for kids. I'm glad to read your review of The Vanishing Half.I've seen it on several lists and am looking for a suggestion or two for my book group for 2021.

  5. I was eager for the Vanishing Half to come available and my desire for it has grown with your review! :) Thank you!

  6. Oh those fox mitts are adorable! I knitted Charlie a Fox Hat for his second Halloween and I remember intarsia in the round was a pretty cool technique.

    I finally found momentum in The Vanishing Half when I a) got to Stella's story; and b) brought the book downstairs to read during the day. I finished it in almost one sitting ... and loved it! Bennett's writing is so good and this story ... wow.

  7. This is so incredibly - I'm a real slow knitter, so I totally take my hat off to your sock progress!!! The mittens are so cute - everything with foxes is wonderful, and I hope you can find enough pockets of knitting time so you won't have to stress out in the end! Good luck!!

    If I may ask - when do you exchange the gifts? Is there a certain day for Chanukka that is reserved for it?

    1. Technically Chanukah is a minor holiday, but over the years it's gotten blown up to be sort of a Jewish version of Christmas. Traditionally children are given gifts of money for the holiday, but most people will give gifts of toys and clothes and things like that. I try to have something small for my daughter to open each of the eight nights, with maybe one larger gift for one night. This year it's a bit more complicated because her birthday falls right in the middle of the eight nights!

    2. Ohhh, I didn't know that, thank you so much! Yeah, I can imagine that this makes it a little tricky ... Especially since she can't have a big party with her friends ...
      I think it's super interesting that it developed into a Christmas-sy feast over time! A lot of Muslim families here put up a tree up as well by now, and I think some families give gifts to their kids, too, just so they won't be sad that everyone else got something. I think it's kinda cool. :)