Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Unraveled, Week 4/2023

Good morning, friends! I had to wake up a very grumpy teen this morning who was hoping for a 2-hour delay due to a snow storm -- but when we got up, it hadn't yet started snowing, so no delay. It has since started, though, so I'm going to keep this quick so I can get out for my run early before it gets really messy (though I expect to get wet).

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for my weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers. There has been a lot of crafting and reading here this past week. Let's start with the knitting -- it's all about the charity hats!

I finished this beauty up on Sunday evening, though I haven't yet blocked it, as you can probably tell. The pattern is Fox Gap (Ravelry link) by my friend Kristen Jancuk. I once again used Fibernymph Dye Works Confetti Tweed DK, this time in the colorway Electric Purple, which looks purple in some lights and pink in others. This was a very engaging knit that I would absolutely make again, though if I'm honest, I am not wild about the pointy top (but I'm fairly confident I could block that out).

I've got another charity hat going, though it's significantly less interesting:

I'm using FDW yarn again, this time Bona Fide DK in a self-striping colorway called Margarita Swirl that I won in Lisa's makealong last year (if you were wondering because you thought these weren't really my colors). I'm making this one top down, using a cast-on method I've "unvented" and used in my double-ended double-thickness hat pattern (which, I should mention, I finally wrote up this weekend and sent off to my tech editor). I am contemplating using it for a general top-down hat pattern as well that would be designed for any yarn and any gauge, so this is a bit of a test run for that. I've completed the crown increases and now just have to knit until I decide it's long enough. I'm hoping to get this done this week so I can send off a stack of hats by the end of the month.

After two busy weeks at work, things have finally calmed down to a more manageable pace, and that has meant more time for reading -- hooray! I've finished three books since this time last week.

After a long wait at the library, my hold finally came up on Babel, or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution. This was a very buzzy new release in the fall that I was very much looking forward to reading, and it did not disappoint. This is historical fiction with a dash of magic that I'd put firmly in the category of Dark Academia. Even leaving the magical aspects out, it raises some very big questions about colonialism and the ethical issues surrounding translation, the latter of which I'd never before contemplated. This is definitely not a book for everyone, but if the idea of a combination of, say, Harry Potter and The Secret History appeals to you, you'll enjoy it. My only criticism is that the characters didn't talk the way I'd imagine people actually talked in the time in which it was set, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. I gave it 4 stars.

I needed a new audiobook to listen to over the weekend, and on Mary's recommendation, I picked up Becoming Duchess Goldblatt. If you aren't on Twitter, then the name of Duchess Goldblatt might be unfamiliar to you, but essentially she's a much-loved fictional character created by an anonymous woman, and this book is her memoir. I was only marginally aware of the character, but I still very much enjoyed this book, especially the exchanges between the author and Lyle Lovett (who actually reads his parts in the book). You don't have to know anything about DG to enjoy this book, and it was an easy two-day listen for me that I'd recommend. I gave it 4 stars.

Finally, I read a quick YA novel this week. I Must Betray You is set in Communist Romania in 1989, starting shortly before the revolution that would topple the notorious dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. The narrator is 17-year-old Cristian, who has recently been force to become an informer at a time when everyone is fearful of everyone else and can trust no one. The book is a heartbreaking look at a time and place where everyone lived in fear, and Sepetys includes an extensive resource list at the end for additional sources for learning more about the repressive regime at the time. I'm probably not the target audience for this book, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot about what it might have been like to live in Communist Romania. I gave it 3 stars.

I'm still reading The Transit of Venus but have less than 100 pages to go, so here's hoping I can finish it up this week!

What are you making and reading this week?


  1. You are on a roll with charity hats!! That is so nice. I love the look of Fox Gap (but agree on the pointy-ness of the top). I've added "Becoming Duchess" to my TBR list - but I also see it is available as an audio book on Hoopla, so I may go that route.

  2. The purple tweed is so pretty.

    Making: Socks for Steve
    Reading: Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

  3. I do like the cables in that hat and your idea for a top-down hat pattern for any yarn and any gauge is an intriguing one. I really enjoyed Harry Potter and The Secret History, but I'm not sure how I might feel about a mash-up. I guess the only way to tell is to give Babel a try!

  4. Oooh, thank you for the YA title! Linc is stuck in a rereading loop -- this might be a good fresh read for him. I'm slowly reading Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Solstice at bedtime and enjoying everything about it. I whizzed through The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly last evening--an embraceable read in so many ways (most of all because of the wisdom of a book written by a woman when she was 86--and who is now 89!). Stitching my second small asymetrical shawl of the winter. They're proving to be the perfect high school basketball knit for me!
    Hope you beat that weather and had a safe run this morning.

  5. I love both of those hats and the recipients will be so fortunate to have them!

  6. My hat is off to you (see what I did there?) for knitting such a complicated cabled hat for charity. My charity hats' only distinction is the occasional stripe; I need to up my game. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is one of my favorite books. I used to follow her on Twitter (until it became such a seething pit of hat after the 2016 election), and listened to the awesome audiobook. Then I picked it for my book club, a little warily because I wasn't sure it could lead to a good discussion. But it did -- one of our better discussions, in fact.

    1. I found it really amazing how the author managed to create such a wonderful, full-of-life-and-joy character when her own life was in such shambles. It was pure delight.

  7. oh I LOVE the spiral increases in your hat! and a recipe that works for any yarn/any gauge is one this knitter would happily add to her library!

  8. Nice hats and like Mary, I like the spiral increases in the top of that hat. It's kind of you to put so much detail in hats for charity.

  9. That tweedy yarn is really lovely, Sarah! But I think that intermittent stripey yarn will make a fun hat to help keep someone's head warm!

  10. Such great hats, Sarah. (And so much more fun than most hats I see people knitting for charity. You inspire!) I just started Babel yesterday (finding it immediately captivating), and I LOVED Duchess Goldblatt. I recommended it to everyone I met last year after I read it (actually, listented to it). Such a great little book. XO

  11. dang - I'm sorry that Rainbow didn't get her 2 hour delay! And I'm sorry that you had to be the bearer of such bad news!! So glad to hear that work is settling for you and that you're finding a little time to read. I read that Duchess Goldblatt book a few years ago and it wasn't what I was expecting at all -- but I loved it. DG was my favorite person to follow on Twitter and I used to die of the giggles anytime I read her tweets, much to my husband's dismay. So it was nice (and surprising) to read a little bit of what was happening behind the scenes for her.

    And yay for Babel! So glad you enjoyed it. It was another fun and thoughtful book!