Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Unraveled, Week 14, 2021

Wednesday again, eh? Time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers and give an update on my knitting and reading.

The knitting hasn't been hugely productive (mainly because work has been busy), but I did manage to finish up my scrappy socks yesterday:

I followed my basic sock recipe for these -- 64 stitches on size 1/2.25 needles, cuff down with a flap and gusset -- and used scraps of sturdier wool/nylon sock yarn from my giant Bag 'o Scraps. I pulled out a bunch of options and then selected five that seemed like they wouldn't look too horrible together. I knew there was no way I was going to get the two socks to match each other, but I figured I could at least have them look like they went together by using the same yarn for the same section of both socks. That meant weighing out each scrap and only using half (or less) of each for the first sock so I'd have enough for the second. I played a little bit of yarn chicken as I approached the toe for the second sock, but I finished with 2 grams of yarn left. The yarns used in these are, from the top down, Trekking XXL, Knit Picks Simple Stripes (discontinued), ONline Supersocke, Austermann Step, and Regia Design Line by Arne and Carlos. I used a total of 71 grams and 326 yards of yarn.

Reading has been very good the past week. I've finished another three books since last Wednesday.

I seem to be on a short story collection kick lately; Sabrina & Corina was my third in the past month or so. Carolyn recommended it, after having discovered that the author is local to her and the stories are all set in her area, and I decided to give it a try when I found that it was available from my library with no wait. All the stories in the collection focus on Indigenous and Latina women in and around Denver, Colorado. There is a heavy sadness to all the stories -- missing family members, addiction, a yearning for love -- and I can't say that there are happy endings. I also think I probably missed something in not being familiar with the setting, but overall I did enjoy reading these stories. I gave the collection 3 stars.

Speaking of short stories, I recommend you see if your library has the audiobook of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies available. That was the only option for me, and while usually I prefer to read with my eyes, listening to these stories being performed was a real treat (and, at only 4 hours long, it was the perfectly length for two long walks). I didn't love every single story in this collection, but I really liked the vast majority of them, and the writing in all of them is excellent. I had to look up the author as I was listening when there was a mention of Wholey's in an unnamed northern city, and sure enough, she lived here at some point in her career (I'm not sure if she still does). In any case, this book is a quick, intriguing read that is well worth your time -- even if, like me, you are neither a Black woman nor a church lady. I gave it 4 stars.

In a fantastic coincidence, I finished the Booker Prize-winning Shuggie Bain just yesterday -- and then today it was announced as the next Read With Us selection! I am extremely pleased with that choice, because this is a difficult book that really begs for discussion. It's tricky to read because nearly all the talking is written in dialect and there's a fair amount of slang used, but it's also emotionally taxing. And did I mention it's long (nearly 600 pages in the digital copy I borrowed)? I'm sure my thoughts on it will continue to evolve as I reflect on it, and I'm very much looking forward to the discussion to come. I gave it 4 stars.

As to what I'm currently reading, I finally got Summerwater from the library after a long wait. I am hoping for a quiet day at work today so I can read more. One of my 21 in 2021 goals is to read a book that Rainbow is reading for school, and her class started reading The Giver yesterday, so I have pulled out my copy to read along. I have read it before -- I've read the whole series, actually, and think they're all amazing -- but it's been several years and because I know it's a tricky book in terms of the serious questions it raises, I want to read along with her to help her with her homework and discuss it with her.

That's it for me for today. What's on your needles and your book stack?


  1. oooh, I need to up my self-patterning sock game - thank you for listing the yarns! and whoa, I didn't realize Shuggie Bain was that long. I hope I can find it on audio :-)

    1. I did! and Libby says "7 weeks", which probably means I'll have it before April is over!

    2. Does your library offer Hoopla? It is an "always available" listen on Hoopla for me.

  2. For scrappy socks, you did a pretty darn good job of matching that pair! Sadly, none of my libraries have Secret Lives of Church Ladies, but I've recommended it for purchase in audio format. I hope you enjoy Summerwater, and I think it's an excellent idea to read The Giver with Rainbow. Some books need to be discussed, and The Giver and Shuggie Bain are two on the top of my list!

  3. The Giver is such an interesting book. It is a good idea to read the same book now and then. The socks look like they go together well. I am adding The Secret Lives of Church Ladies to my reading list. Short stories are not my favorite but this collection seems like one I should read.

  4. Okay, those socks ROCK! And I am off to find The Secret Lives of Church Ladies! Thank you!

  5. Hooray for the socks! They look so pretty, and I think you did a great job in making them as matchy as possible!! Congratulations on your reading, too, I have been lacking a bit in that department.

  6. Those socks are very fun. I am currently knitting a pair and using the “recipe” method to see if I have really memorized the basic sock pattern. I found a row counter that is helping me out. Next pair I want to try some sort of design or a bit of lace - I think