Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Unraveled, Week 48/2023

It's Wednesday already? Time to check in with Kat and the Unravelers!

My primary focus this week has been my current spinning project, which I'm trying to finish up before the end of the month (for no particular reason other than having a deadline). As of yesterday morning, I had two bobbins of singles complete and a third started:

My final piece of fiber to be spun is currently in progress, and on today's to-do list is finishing it so I can start plying. Aside from wanting to finish up this project, I also have another one I'd like to get to before we leave for vacation:

This is my Holiday Countdown set from Fibernymph Dye Works. Each of those little bags holds 10 g of fiber. It's a Lord of the Rings theme this year (the tag reads "Samwise Gamgee's Po-tay-toes!"), and I'm still deciding how to spin it. One big skein that's chain-plied? Two bobbins plied together? Three bobbins plied together? 24 mini skeins? I'll decide in the next couple of days, but if you feel strongly about any particular option, let me know.

I've not been doing very much knitting or crochet recently, but I did start a new project because I needed something to take to Thanksgiving dinner that wasn't one of the gifts I'm working on (both recipients were there), so I started a charity hat using some leftovers and mini skeins:

This is the start of L'Indispensable (Ravelry link), which has a very clever double-knit brim. I'm planning to add this to the charity hat pile, so I'm knitting the second-largest size. It looks rather small at the moment, but I think that's because it starts with a tubular cast-on and I haven't yet removed the waste yarn.

Reading has been very good this past week, though I've only finished one book -- but it was a 5-star read!

I bought Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted several weeks ago when it was Kindle deal because it had been on my TBR list for a while. I won't say this is an easy book to read because it's a memoir of a rather harrowing cancer diagnosis and treatment, but the writing is absolutely beautiful. Suleika Jaoud was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after graduating from college, just when she thought her adult life was starting, and this memoir deals both with her treatment and with her struggle to figure out how to live in the aftermath of it. What she captures so well in her story is the beauty of the friendships she formed with other patients, the kindness of strangers, and the way our stories can connect us with others. This book is brutally honest about what it's like to have cancer, but it was a very worthwhile read for me and I highly recommend it.

Today I'm hoping to finish listening to The Nix (I've got about 2 hours and 45 minutes left!), and I've also dragged out Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, which I started way back in March and haven't picked up in months but which I'd like to finish before the end of the year if I can.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, November 27, 2023

Embrace in 2023: November

 "Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last."

- Simon and Garfunkel

As yet another month is about to fly by us and we find ourselves hurtling toward the end of the year, what I've found myself embracing lately is slowing down. That's been a bit of a challenge this month, as it's been a very busy one, but I've found that I have never regretted stopping to appreciate the moment.

In a very literal way, slowing down has proved to be beneficial. I had been struggling to get back to being able to run more than a mile and a half without having to stop to catch my breath, and I realized that if I slowed down my pace just a bit, I could probably increase my endurance -- and that's just what happened. On Friday, I was able to run more than three miles before I pause to walk and catch my breath, and I found that in general I needed less recovery time. My speed was slower, but I was able to run more because I needed shorter walking times, and so I managed to cover six miles in less than an hour (usually it takes me a few minutes more than an hour to cover the same distance). My goal in running has always been to be able to run longer rather than faster, so this makes me very happy.

Slowing down this month has also meant really appreciating the moments that can go by so quickly: Mo's musical performances, Thanksgiving with the whole family, and get-togethers with family and friends. This is especially the case when it comes to my nephews, who are growing so quickly. Mo and I were talking last night and realized that we'd spent some of five consecutive days with my youngest nephew after not seeing him for a couple of weeks due to illness (he had croup, she had a cold).

And we got to celebrate my middle nephew's first birthday yesterday and appreciate the fact that he's only crawling and doesn't move too fast (in comparison to my oldest nephew, who spent much of the party running around the house).

There will be a lot going on between now and the end of the year -- work deadlines, synagogue meetings, holidays, a 14th birthday, and a trip to Florida -- but I'm determined not to rush it.

Thanks to Carolyn for hosting these monthly One Little Word check-ins. I can't believe there's only one more month in 2023 and it will soon be time to choose a new word!

Friday, November 24, 2023


Just a short post from me today to say how thankful I am for all of you, dear readers, and for my family.  Yesterday we started the day with the YMCA Turkey Trot for the first time as a family. I have a feeling this will become a tradition.

We had a wonderful dinner last night with our parents, our siblings, our nephews, my uncle, and my brother's in-laws. And I think we cleaned up pretty well.

Today we'll be avoiding the stores and enjoying the day off. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Unraveled, Week 47/2023

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, friends! I'm currently (as far as I know) the only one awake in my house as I type this; Mo is off school and the Mister may or may not work from home today but decided to sleep in. We got word late yesterday afternoon that the office will be closing at 2 this afternoon, so at least I don't have to work a full day -- but I did have a bit of a work emergency pop up yesterday afternoon, so I'll be wrapping that up today.

As it is Wednesday, that means it's time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers. I have not done any knitting at all since I last posted, but I have done some more spinning -- I've now got one finished bobbin of singles and a second started:

If you can't tell, it's still dark and gloomy here!

And there has been some good reading since last week, with three books finished!

A friend had recommended Stealing a couple of months ago, so I bought it when it was a Kindle deal recently. The story is told by Kit, a young Indigenous girl who, we learn, is living in a Christian boarding school in the 1950s after the death of her mother and the imprisonment of her father. Over the course of the book, we learn how she ended up there and about many of the injustices experienced by Indigenous children taken from their families and placed in residential schools. There are some pretty hard things to read in this book, including sexual abuse, so it won't be for everyone. I found it really interesting that the author noted that she wrote this book years ago, but it was only published this year, in the wake of many horrifying revelations about what happened at residential schools here and in Canada. I gave this one 4 stars.

Mary recommended the audio version of Lost Children Archive, a title that was given as a pairing for The Lacuna. This is a really difficult book to describe, as it has an unusual structure, especially on audio. It follows a blended family as they drive across the country for the parents' separate work projects, the father seeking to record the echoes of the Apaches and the mother the sounds of children being deported by border patrol. Their marriage is starting to fall apart, something sensed by the children. Over the course of the novel, the stories of the family, a book the mother brings with them, and two of the children who may be among those being deported start to intertwine, making it murky what is actually happening and what is imagined. The audio was interesting because there are sound recordings interspersed (both parents work as audio documentarians, and they met working on a project recording the sounds of life in New York) as well as inventories of the boxes of work materials they bring with them on the trip. I think this is one of those books I'll have to read again with my eyes to fully appreciate, but I found it to be inventive and smart, even if I don't feel like I got the full impact of it on a first read. I gave it 4 stars.

Finally, yesterday afternoon, in a break between work emergency-related tasks, I finished The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. I spent most of this book wondering where James McBride was taking me, but I had faith he'd bring it all together in the end as he does in his other books -- and he did. I found myself smiling at the end, especially after reading the author's note. My initial reaction to this book is that I don't think the writing was as strong as some of his other books, but the story is great. This is the next book we'll be discussing in the Read With Us group, and I know that my appreciation for the book will grow the more I talk about it. So my initial rating for this is 4 stars, but it's possible that will get upgraded in the future!

Last night I started a new book, Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted, which I also got a Kindle deal on.

Today, after work is put to bed, Mo and I will be baking dozens of pumpkin muffins, and then we're having dinner this evening with some family friends with whom we used to get together for dinner and the latest Disney movie the night before Thanksgiving every year when my brother and I were growing up. Now there will be a third generation participating!

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I hope it's a wonderful day full of good food! See you back here on Friday!

Monday, November 20, 2023

Kicking Off the Short Week

Good morning and happy Monday! I'm finding starting off the week is a lot easier knowing that it's a short week. Mo only has two days of school this week, and though I'm working through Wednesday (the university is closed Thursday and Friday), I expect a lot of people in my office will be off more days and we'll likely have an earlier closure on Wednesday, so it feels a bit like I get some extra vacation time.

The second and third performances of Mo's musical went very well, despite a few technical difficulties with the lighting. My parents went with us on Friday and my in-laws and brother-in-law were with us on Saturday (my sister-in-law was supposed to join us but came down with strep throat, poor thing). There was a reception after the final performance on Saturday, complete with sparkling cider in champagne flutes for the cast, and it was a complete delight to see how pleased they all were with how hard they had worked and what amazing shows they'd put on. Here's a bonus Cogsworth photo for you:

I did indeed knit my way through all three performances, and in case you were wondering, that translated to about four and a half inches of hat knit:

There is still quite a lot of hat to knit (the ball of yarn weighs about 65 g still, and I won't start the crown decreases until I have 10 g left), but I feel like I've at least made good progress.

Also seeing good progress is my latest spinning project - I'm almost finished with the first bobbin of singles!

Getting this skein done this week might be a bit ambitious, but it's not totally out of the realm of possibility. It all depends on how busy work is.

Speaking of busy, tomorrow evening the Indie Designer Giftalong kicks off on Ravelry, and as I'm a member of the mod team, that means it's the start of six busy weeks outside work for me. I'm sure many if not all of you know about this event, but I thought I'd mention it because it starts with a weeklong pattern sale by participating designers, and that includes yours truly -- you know, just in case you want to treat yourself to a pattern or two.

Have a good Monday, all!

Friday, November 17, 2023

A Friday FO

It's been a very long week and I am very happy to see Friday come -- though I have to admit I think I'll be a little happier for Saturday to come so I don't have to wake up to an alarm in the dark. I'm also very happy to have an FO to share this Friday!

I've carefully hidden the ends that still need to be woven in

As predicted, I did finish the shawl up on Wednesday evening. And I did it in grand fashion: by winning a game of yarn chicken. I'd been weighing my main color after each pattern repeat to try to determine how many more I could do. As each one had more stitches and thus used more yarn, that wasn't as easy as it sounds. The first repeat whose MC usage I'd recorded used 7 g; the next one used 8 g. I was down to what I hoped was the penultimate repeat and hoping I had enough for one more. I was very excited when that second-to-last repeat used 8 g and left me with 10 g remaining. I figured the last repeat would use 9 g and leave me with just a little wiggle room, and I was spot on:

I blocked the shawl yesterday morning and started to weave in the ends last night (I'll finish that up later today).

Because I finished the knitting portion of the shawl, I allowed myself to start a new spinning project yesterday. I'd had this one planned for a while. I'm using up two semisolid colors of Southern Cross Fibre South African Superfine Merino that I won as prizes earlier this year. Rather than doing something simple like spinning each onto its own bobbin and plying them together, I'm doing a gradual transition from one to the other in a three-ply yarn. The colors are both soft pastels, so it will be very subtle. This is the photo I took of the fiber after I split it up to give you a sense of how it will be spun:

Each column here represents one bobbin of singles. I'm starting with the left column and have already started the second ball of green. Unless the yarn poofs up significantly when I wash it, I should get a fingering weight in the end, and I'm hoping I can fit the whole skein onto one of my WooLee Winder bobbins (though if it looks like it might be close, I'll get out my miniSpinner and its giant bobbin capacity).

I'm happy to report that opening night of Beauty and the Beast Jr. went very well and had an enthusiastic audience, including, I was happy to see, a lot of students. Mo gave me permission to share a photo of her on stage in full costume, which I think explains very well why she's come home complaining that her whole body is sore:

That's a lot of costume to wear! The Mister and I will be going to tonight's performance with my parents, and then we'll go again tomorrow for closing night with my in-laws and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

We've got a much-needed quiet weekend planned ahead of a short holiday week next week. I'm working through Wednesday (with the hope that the office will close early), and I expect many of my coworkers will be taking some extra time off, making it quiet -- back when I went into the office, I used to enjoy working the Wednesday before Thanksgiving because there were usually so few people actually there! We're supposed to get rain coming through this afternoon and tonight and then chilly weather over the weekend, which is just perfect for putting on sweaters and socks and getting cozy. Hope it's a good weekend for you -- see you back here on Monday!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Unraveled, Week 46/2023

We are halfway through November -- how did that happen? Obviously the days are going faster as they are getting shorter. It is Wednesday again, which means it's time to check in with Kat and the Unravelers.

What I'm working on should come as no surprise; I've been entirely monogamous with my shawl. But I am also hopeful that I will finish it today, even if it means playing a game of yarn chicken.

I started weighing my main color yarn after each pattern repeat to get a sense of how many more I can fit in. I'm hoping I'll just manage two more after this current repeat (and I'll be switching to the final mini skein of the gradient after this repeat). I've got two work meetings and a board meeting to knit through today, so we'll see how much I'll manage to get done. Even if I don't finish today, I'm confident this will be off the needles before the end of the week.

I haven't touched the hat I shared last week since then, though I did knit through a workshop last Wednesday afternoon and got a couple of inches of the body knit. I plan to take it with me to the performances of Mo's school musical (I have promised to attend all three).

While my knitting hasn't been too exciting, my reading probably makes up for it, with four books finished since this time last week.

I mentioned last week that I was rereading The Night Circus because Mo is reading it for English class and I have enjoyed reading what she's reading in more recent years. I also adored the book on my first read but found I didn't remember a lot of the details. While I don't think this reading experience was as magical for me as the initial reading was (I remembered just enough that each reveal wasn't that surprising), I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Mo seems to be liking it, too, though we've had several conversations about how much more enjoyable it could be for her if she wasn't forced to read it for school and how having to do assignments related to the book takes some of the joy out of it. I bought a Kindle version of the book some time ago when it was on sale and also bought The Starless Sea, which I hope to reread soon as well.

I stayed up late on Saturday night to finish The House of Doors, the very last title I had left to read from the Booker Prize longlist. This novel is based on real events and features some real-life characters, including Willie Maugham (aka W. Somerset Maugham), who visits an old friend in Penang in the early 1920s as part of a trip in Southeast Asia to search for stories to inspire his writing. In his friend's wife, Lesley, he finds a source of inspiration as she shares her stories from a decade earlier, when she became acquainted with Sun Yat Sen and attended the shocking murder trial of a female friend. This book was a bit of a slow burn, and I didn't really get hooked until after the halfway mark. But the writing is beautiful and the history fascinating. I preferred The Garden of Evening Mists to this work but still very much enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars. I'm also excited to have read all of the Booker-nominated titles this year -- ahead of the prize announcement to boot!

With the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and my conflicted feelings about it, I've been seeking more perspectives, and so I was very interested when Sara Hildreth of Fiction Matters mentioned in one of her newsletters that Minor Detail was available for free from She listed it as a work that gave a Palestinian perspective, so I signed up and downloaded it and listened to it over the course of Saturday (it's a short book, only about 4 hours). Unfortunately, I didn't much care for it. I was prepared for the difficulty of the material, but what didn't work for me more specifically was that I didn't see the point of it other than to paint Israelis as cruel. I also thought the writing was unnecessarily repetitive. I'm not sorry I read it, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. I gave it 2 stars.

In need of another audiobook, I went in search of something relatively short that was available from the library and ended up with the memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died. Those of you without current teenage daughters probably have no idea who Jennette McCurdy is, but I was familiar with her because Mo has watched the two Nickelodeon shows she appeared in quite a lot. I also knew she declined to be in the iCarly reboot, but I didn't really know why. This memoir is heartbreakingly honest about it; in short, she was forced into acting by her mother, who also physically, emotionally, and sexually abused her for years, though McCurdy was completely unaware of those facts until much later in her life because she was so sheltered by the outside world. This is a hard book to read and one I would not necessarily recommended to most readers, but I certainly appreciate the strength and bravery it took to write it and to reveal very, very personal details. I can say it made me feel much better about my own parenting! I gave it 3 stars.

I'm currently reading The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store (my magical free copy!) and Stealing, which was a Kindle deal a couple of weeks ago that I was excited to see after Margene recommended it in one of our Sunday Zooms.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, November 13, 2023

It's Monday Again

I don't know about you, but just about every weekend, I have a secret hope for a Groundhog Day-type occurrence in which I wake up on Monday but it's not Monday yet. That didn't happen this morning, sorry to say. I'm sure the day will come when I don't dread the start of the week, but today is not that day. That's okay -- I've had my coffee and will deal with this day as it unfolds.

I was very monogamous with my knitting this weekend and focused on my shawl. It's hard to really see the progress, but I have used more than half of my main color, so I know I'm getting there. You can see the shift in the gradient of my contrast colors now:

I joined in the third of the five mini skeins yesterday; I'm not doing a certain number of stripes with each one but rather trying to use about the same amount of yarn from each. Obviously because the rows get longer with each repeat, that means fewer total stripes in each as I get further into the shawl, but that's just fine with me. I'm happy with the way this is knitting up, I've got the pattern rows memorized, and I even came up with a good name for the pattern over the weekend. So now I'll just have to finish the sample and formally write up the instructions from my scribbled notes.

Though Friday ended up being a long day (my boss sent me a load of work in the afternoon that I was not expecting), I did not mind because I had an amazing stroke of luck in the morning. I think I have mentioned that there are several Free Little Libraries in my neighborhood that I pass in my exercise route every day. I always peek in them as I pass, even though most of the time what's in them are the same books that have been there for a while. Occasionally there's something new to see, and I've been lucky enough to find some good books from time to time. On Friday, though, I hit the jackpot:

Take a close look at that -- click the photo if you need to in order to read what that gold sticker says. I've had this book on hold at the library since it came out and had a long wait, to the point where I was just about ready to buy a copy. Now, I don't need to -- and I've got a collector's edition to boot! Whoever put it there appeared to have only read a little of it before giving up (the front flap of the dust jacket was marking a spot only a handful of pages in); their loss is my gain! I did thoroughly confuse my next-door neighbor, who saw me leaving on my run only to come back a couple of minutes later. But when I spotted this in the LFF closest to my house at the beginning of my run, I wasn't about to leave anything up to chance and risk it not being there when I got to the end of my run.

This week is going to be another long one. The production of Beauty and the Beast Jr. that Mo is in will be performed this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so rehearsals go until 6:30 the next three days. I also have a board meeting this Wednesday evening. My boss and several other members of my team are away at a conference the next three days, but based upon her record of sending me work while she's on vacation, that doesn't necessarily mean work will be quiet for me. At least I know there's a short week coming up next week.

I hope your Monday is off to a decent start!

Friday, November 10, 2023

TGIF Indeed!

It's been a week, and I'm quite happy to see Friday come. The Mister was traveling at the beginning of the week, Mo's been at school late every evening for play rehearsal, and I've had an endless parade of meetings -- five of them just yesterday! The other two members of my family both have the sniffles, and we're all tired, so I think we will have a very low-key weekend.

Thankfully all of my meetings yesterday were on Teams or Zoom, so I was able to craft my way through them. I was able to finish plying the singles I spun earlier in the week, and the skein was all dry this morning.

This was April's Southern Cross Fibre club shipment, a colorway called Bali on Merino X Corriedale top. I split the fiber in half lengthwise and then split each half in half again so I had four long, narrow strips. I plied from both ends of the skein with only one mishap: Some of the singles being pulled from the inside got so tangled that I just broke off the problem area and discarded it. I don't think it was more than a couple of yards' worth of singles, so I'm not too concerned about it. The finished yarn did not really bloom at all when I washed it, and it's mostly fingering weight, though there are some spots that are closer to sport and some that are closer to lace. It's not particularly soft and in fact is rather crunchy, but I do like the colors.

Because there were really only three colors in the fiber -- a royal blue, a light blue, and a silvery gray -- there's a mix of solid sections and barber-poled sections in the finished yarn. I don't have anything in particular in mind for this skein, so it'll just get stored away for the time being.

I'm itching to start another skein (particularly as my most recent club shipment just showed up this week), but I'm really trying to focus on my shawl sample. I've just added in the second contrast color, which is ever so slightly darker:

The two most recent contrast stripes are with the second color in the gradient -- see how the pink is just a little more intense? I'm hoping I can really focus on this shawl over the next couple of days and make some considerable progress.

Mo is off from school today (it's the end of the trimester, so it's an in-service day for teachers to wrap up their grading), but she has a work session for her Future City team this morning, so I've got to run shortly to drop her off. The Mister has also decided to work from home. I will be encouraging them both to rest and drink plenty of fluids so we can get these sniffles out of the house. Mo has a long day of play rehearsal tomorrow (the performances are at the end of next week), but we otherwise have nothing planned this weekend, and that's just fine with me!

I hope you have something enjoyable planned for the next couple of days, whether that's going out and doing stuff or just staying in and relaxing!

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Unraveled, Week 45/2023

Good morning, friends! I am feeling much better about the state of the world (or at least the United States) after waking up to good election news and seeing some pretty incredible numbers about turnout among young voters in particular. There's still a lot of work to do, of course, but here in my home county we just elected our first woman county executive, and in the other city where I spent five years of my life, Philadelphia just elected its first woman to serve as mayor.

It's Wednesday, so that means it's time to check in with Kat and the Unravelers. I've got two knitting WIPs at the moment, the shawl that you've already seen (and which is ready for the next mini skein to be introduced) and a new cast-on, a hat for my sister-in-law:


I'm just about done with the increases on the crown of the hat, and my goal is to get those done during my team meeting this morning so I will be ready to work the long, mindless stockinette in the round section when I need it this week.

I also started another spinning project on Sunday and managed to finish the singles yesterday, which I wound into a center-pull ball so I can ply from both ends. Even though the lighting was terrible at the time, I had to snap a photo of the cake on the ball winder because it was so pretty:

This is a Merino/Corriedale cross from Southern Cross Fibre in the colorway Bali (April's club). I split the fiber into four long strips and spun them one after another. The fiber was pretty much two shades of blue and a silvery gray, so I think it's going to make a lovely two-ply. I hope to get started on plying today.

Reading has been good this past week, with two finished books.

After starting it way back at the end of August, I was finally able to finish An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us. It took me so long to finish not because it wasn't a good read but because I kept getting interrupted by library holds and book club reads. This is a really fascinating and thoroughly researched work of nonfiction that gives some amazing perspectives on the world that most humans would never even think to consider. I learned about animals I'd never heard of and also about those I thought I knew well. Ed Yong is part of my local speaker series this year, and I'm really looking forward to his talk now that I've read the book. I was also tickled to learn that he has a Corgi named Typo -- such a great name for a dog belonging to a writer! I gave it 4 stars.
I also finished a big book (literally) in In Ascension. This was my penultimate read from the Booker Prize longlist, and it was one I was saving for the end because readers whose opinion I often agree with really enjoyed it. This is technically a work of science fiction, set in the near future when technological advances make space travel to the edge of the Solar System possible and when it appears that Earth has received a message from the outer reaches of space. But it also deals a lot with family relationships and childhood trauma. There's a lot of science, and I have no idea if it's accurate or not because I didn't understand most of it, but that didn't really seem to matter. This isn't going to be a book for everyone (most of the reviewers seem to love it or hate it), but I think it's a book that would be great for a class or a book group because there's a lot in it to discuss and a lot that isn't explained in a really clear-cut way. I gave it 4 stars.

I am currently reading two books: The House of Doors, my very last Booker title, and The Night Circus, which I am rereading because Mo is currently reading it for English class. Though I'm only about two or three chapters into the former, I'm more than halfway done with the latter and expect to finish it up by the end of the week, unless work explodes.

Today is going to be a long day. I have a professional development workshop this afternoon (hence the need to get to the straight knitting part of the hat), which will be held in my office building, and then after I pick Mo up from play practice at 6, I'll have to get her dinner and go back to her school at 7 for a parent preview of high school(!). I am thankful I got a good night's sleep last night and the sun is out today!

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, November 06, 2023

The Dreamtime

I don't know about you, but I was not happy to greet this Monday morning. The title of this post is a bit ironic because I did not sleep well Saturday night, despite the extra hour, or last night. We really need to stop this clock-changing business (and if we could stop the Mister's snoring as well, that would be great). While it wasn't the most restful weekend, it was good in many other ways. We had a lovely family dinner on Friday night and got to see my nephew (who is now 6 months old) starting to crawl! He also has a couple of teeth coming in, so he's drooling up a storm and sticking everything, including his entire fist, in his mouth.

Mo had a very busy weekend. She had a play rehearsal on Saturday morning and then went to see The Wiz with the Mister Saturday afternoon. Normally I would take her, but I wanted to be home for the Kingsolver-along meeting on The Lacuna. That meant I was able to finish plying my latest skein of handspun, which I'd started on Friday but was unable to finish because a bunch of work came in.

This spin was from the March Southern Cross Fibre club shipment, a colorway called The Dreamtime. I really loved the colors in this one, but I was also really interested in the story behind it. This is the inspiration photo David shared:

He also gave an explanation of the name:

The Dreamtime is the foundation of Aboriginal religion and culture and dates back some 65,000 years. It is the story of events that have happened, how the universe came to be, how human beings were created, and how their Creator intended for humans to function within the world as they knew it.

I chose to return to my default yarn with this one -- three-ply fingering. I simply split the fiber into three pieces, width-wise, and spun each onto its own bobbin. I was apparently pretty consistent in spinning my singles because two of the three bobbins ran out at almost exactly the same time, so I didn't have to do any faffing around with the last bits of singles to use as much as possible (I did have some remaining on the third bobbin, so I just added them to my "bits and bobs" bobbin). I'm very happy with the finished yarn, even if my camera refuses to accurately capture the richness of the colors.

You can see some of the subtlety of the colors, but if you look at the skein from farther away, it looks like part of the skein is mostly red with the blue/purple highlight and part is the reverse.

I ended up with about 385 yards -- a little less than I was hoping for but still respectable. More impressive is that this is the 30th bag of SCF fiber I've spun this year! I'm going to continue to see how much I can spin up this year, though I doubt I will get completely caught up (I have nine more bags in the stash and another on the way). I did start a new spin yesterday that seems to be going pretty quickly, so I'll share progress on that on Wednesday.

Okay, time to get started on my day! Here's hoping your Monday is off to a decent start.

Friday, November 03, 2023

It's Friday -- Right?

It has been one of those weeks in which the schedule has been atypical and thus I've been struggling to keep track of what day it is, but I have double-checked and it is, indeed, Friday -- thank goodness! Work hasn't been too busy this week, but in addition to the daily work meetings I've had three Zoom rabbi interviews, and I really need some time away from screens.

A plus side of the meetings is that I've been able to craft through them (a definite plus of working from home!), and yesterday I finished up the singles for my current spin, so I'm all ready to ply today.

I'm really excited to see how this looks plied up, so keep your fingers crossed that work is calm enough today to allow me to get it done!

I promised I would share a photo of the yarn Mo picked out for her sweater last weekend, so I snapped one when the sun was out yesterday:

This is Shirsty Cat Designs Just DK, an uber-soft superwash Merino, in the colorway Antique Gown. I am hoping that Mo will be able to get started on this project the week of Thanksgiving; the school musical she is in (she is Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast Jr.) will wrap up the week before, and she is off Wednesday through Friday that week.

Finally, I cast on a new design sample, a shawl I've been thinking about for several months now and for which I picked out yarn several weeks ago. While it's not quite exactly like what I was picturing in my head, I'm very happy with how it's knitting up.

This is a Hitchhiker-esque shawl, meaning it will be a long asymmetrical triangle, and the stripes will be made using a gradient set of mini skeins. So far, so good! Ideally I'd like to finish this up this month and, provided my tech editor has the time to edit it, publish it next month. I'm self-publishing, so it doesn't really matter when I do it, but I think I'm more likely to focus on it if I give myself a deadline.

Okay, time to hit publish and get ready for my work meeting. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend, friends!

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Unraveled, Week 44/2023

Yes, I'm posting again -- third day in a row! But you know that I would never willingly miss posting on an Unraveled Wednesday! Today, as per usual, I'm linking up with Kat and the Unravelers while I give you and update on my crafting and my reading.

First, I finished a charity hat over the weekend. I used my top-down any-gauge hat pattern and knit the biggest size I could and used up just about all of my yarn. It's big on me, but it looks better on a head than flat.

The skein was the odd man out from a six-skein set from Fibernymph Dye Works; the other five were a gradient and were used in my COVID blanket. This skein technically had the same colors but looked a little too much like camouflage for me. I'm sure someone will like it, though, and that's all that really matters.

I've started a new crochet project, and the yarn might look familiar:

Originally I had four skeins of this Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles that I got from Bonny, and I used most of two of them in my Love Note. These colors are so gorgeous and saturated that I had to find another use for the skeins that remained. Rather than another pair of socks, I decided to make my mother-in-law a scarf for a holiday gift this year, and because I've enjoyed crochet so much recently, I decided to do it as a corner-to-corner. This is very simple and easy and should come together quickly. It's about eight inches wide, and I'll make it as long as I can with my two skeins.

I've also started another spinning project (I know you're all shocked!). I'm doing my usual three-ply fingering weight, or at least I hope so, using Comeback wool from the Southern Cross Fibre. This Australian breed was created from mating British longwool sheep crossed with Merinos back with Merinos. The wool is fairly soft but has some body and toothiness to it, and it's a favorite of mine. I'm also loving these saturated colors:

I'm on the second bobbin of singles at the moment and hope to finish that one up today, so it's entirely possible I'll be plying by this weekend.

Reading has been good this past week, even though I have only finished one book since this time last week.

The Barbara Kingsolver book group hosted by Mary will be meeting this weekend to discuss The Lacuna. I have a hard copy of the book but decided to listen to the audio, primarily because it's read by the author. I'd missed this book entirely when it it came out, I think because it was published the year Mo was born and I was a little preoccupied, so I'm really happy to have had an excuse to read it now. It follows the story of a fictional writer, Harrison Shepherd, who lives an usual childhood thanks to his American father and Mexican mother. He encounters real-life figures in Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo, and Leon Trotsky and even comes under the scrutiny of HUAC. It's a really wide-ranging novel with a lot of history, but at its heart, this is the story of a man struggling to find a sense of home. The writing is, as you'd expect, quite beautiful, and I really enjoyed it. I gave it 4 stars.

Currently I'm trying to finish up An Immense World, and I'm pretty much exactly halfway through In Ascension, which has really been tempting me to stay up late reading. I hope to have both of these done by this time next week.

What are you making and reading this week?