Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Unraveled, Week 19/2023

Happy Wednesday, friends! Full disclosure to start things off: I'm actually writing this post on Tuesday and setting it to publish Wednesday morning because our internet provider has notified us of "improvements" they'll be making in our neighborhood that will cause internet outages starting as early as 6 a.m. (If they can start that early, why don't they just do the work overnight when not as many people are relying on the internet for work?) In any case, rather than keeping my fingers crossed and hoping I can manage to hit publish when I'm still connected, I decided to put this post together ahead of time and take one thing off my to-do list early.

Because it's Wednesday, that means it's time for my weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers and an update on my projects and reading.

Today finds me with my sister-in-law's socks still on the needles but cued up for play performance knitting tonight (Rainbow specifically told me to bring my knitting with me; the play is apparently rather strange). I did some work on them yesterday to get them through the heel flap and gusset so I could cruise down the foot in the dark. I expect they will be finished up by tomorrow at the latest, giving me plenty of time to wash them and wrap them up for Sunday.

Meanwhile, I cast on a new project on Monday, a Newborn Vertebrae (Ravelry link) that's a baby gift for a coworker and her husband (my former boss), who will be welcoming their first grandchild next month. This pattern is always an easy knit that looks super cute, and I've been waiting for a girl to be born so I could use this pink-heavy colorway of Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce -- it's from the Tea for Two club from several years ago and is called Fabulous Fruits (it came with a fruity herbal tea, something like strawberry pomegranate).

I'm sensing a theme in the colors in this week's post, because I also finished a skein of handspun on Monday (though I don't have final specs on it because it was still damp when I took this photo):

It's a two ply that looks to be in the realm of sport to DK, but it may very well poof up when it dries. I'll share most photos and final specs once it's dry.

As to reading, after last week's small report, I have a bumper crop of finished books to share this week!

The new nonfiction work Master Slave Husband Wife came up in conversation in a Sunday Zoom a couple of months ago, shortly after I heard part of an NPR story about it. I had to wait a bit to get it from the library, but it was well worth the wait. This book tells the story of William and Ellen Craft, an enslaved couple who escaped the South by disguising themselves as a sickly white man (Ellen, who was biracial and especially light-skinned, dressed in men's clothing) and his servant. The book details their escape and what they did with their lives afterwards, and it provides excellent historical context about the politics of the time, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the complicated intertwined lives of enslaved people and the people who enslaved them. I found it to be well written and well paced. I gave it 4 stars.

Next was a book off the Women's Prize longlist. Though at the moment I'm focused on the shortlight, Margene was kind enough to send me a hard copy, and I'd been wanting to read Natalie Haynes' Stone Blind for a long time anyway. You might remember that I adored her previous book, A Thousand Ships, and this novel similarly is set among the ancient Greek gods. The focus this time around is the story of Medusa, though to be completely honest, she really doesn't appear on the page as much as you'd expect. There's a much greater focus on Perseus and on the general pantheon of gods fighting and arguing amongst themselves. There are some truly funny moments in this book, and I love how contemporary Haynes makes her characters feel, but I didn't love it. I gave it 3 stars.

I was in need of an audiobook over the weekend, so I went back to Hoopla and its selection of Ann Patchett's work (I'm trying to read them all). I decided to listen to her very first book, The Patron Saint of Liars. This novel, told in three sections by three of the main characters, is centered on a home for unwed mothers run by a group of nuns in a tiny Kentucky town appropriately named Habit. Given the setting, it's no surprise that secrets and lies run through the narrative, but there's also a lot of reflection about motherhood. The nuns brought to mind "Call the Midwife" to me; there's even a very old nun who ends up sitting around much of the time who made me think of Sister Monica Joan. I gave it 4 stars.

Finally, after another long library wait, I got my turn with Unraveling: What I Learned About Life while Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World's Ugliest Sweater. You've probably heard about this book from a hundred different sources already if you're already hooked up to the online knitting world. I devoured it in two days. While I did spot a few errors in spinning terminology, I give the author a pass because she's still learning this stuff, and what she may have gotten wrong she more than makes up for with the additional information she offers about the history of fiber craft, the impact of the garment industry on the environment, and the connection that knitting (and related crafts) creates between people. This is a quick, easy, and highly enjoyable read, and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you haven't read it yet. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm currently reading two titles from the Women's Prize shortlist -- Trespasses on paper and Fire Rush on Kindle.

How about you -- what are you making and reading this week?


  1. Oh, that yarn is perfect for a baby girl! I heard about Master Slave Husband Wife on NPR as well and I had put it on my TBR List. Thanks for your great review!

  2. Doesn't your internet provider know it's Wednesday and you need working internet for Unraveled Wednesday (and it might be nice for work, too)! I am glad you wrote this on Tuesday and I hope the improvements really are that. That Newborn Vertebrae is looking good along with your handspun. I can't wait to hear about the "strange play" but you will have knitting with you!

  3. What sweet yarn for the baby sweater. That is such a nice pattern too. I enjoyed the Peggy Orenstein book too. Now I'm finishing up "Shrines of Gaiety" and enjoying it. And, knitting on socks. The play may be weird, but I hope it's enjoyable!!

  4. I am on the list for Unraveling and have socks on my needles. Also just ordered some yarn to make wash clothes, inspired by you 😉

  5. I love that yarn you're using for the baby sweater. And great reading this week, too!

  6. The pink yarn is just so lovely.

    1. I was tempted to keep it for myself for socks, but my sock drawer is too full already!

  7. So many pinks and reds!

  8. Lovely reds there, Sarah! It's always nice to have a fiber-y theme playing out! XO

  9. How do you not drop a stitch when knitting in the dark?! (Asks she who drops stitches when knitting in bright light.)

    Patron Saint of Liars is one of my favorite A.P. novels... Master Slave Husband Wife is definitely going on my list..thanks for sharing that! I'm nearing the end of my Demon Copperhead listen (whoa, wow, and so hard)...and really enjoying Trespasses on paper at bedtime. (Hoping I can make the discussion for that one--but funny enough, it was easier for me to get there on Mtn time!)
    Can't wait to hear what you think of the play! (Rainbow's suggestion made me chuckle.)

  10. The handspun with the little pops of green is so bright and cheerful. The baby sweater will be adorable. I'm wondering why I have never read The Patron Saint of Liars. Your other book reviews are so helpful. Happy Mother's Day.

  11. I am loving all of the red and pink in this post! What a wonderful week of reading. I still cannot find my reading groove but posts like these help!

  12. So much making AND reading, especially when you have a kid and a day job! Love the pinks and reds and look forward to your thoughts on Fire Rush - it's currently my #1 for the prize.