Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Unraveled, Week 1/2024

It's the first Wednesday of the new year and I've started the count over again! Thanks to Kat for hosting our weekly link-ups. Now let's check in on the making ...

Vacation is truly over, so progress on my Birch Pullover has slowed. That was not helped by doing a poor job of picking up stitches in the underarm on my first attempt. Last night I ripped it out and started over again, and this attempt looks much better (though I'll still have to close up some holes when I weave in ends, as it always the case). You'll have to excuse the darkness of my photos today; we're in the midst of the typical January gloom here in Western Pennsylvania.

After two weeks away from wheel and fiber, I was of course anxious to start a new spinning project when we got back, so what is now the oldest Southern Cross Fibre shipment in my stash (from last June) is now on the wheel. The singles are very dark at the moment, so I'll share a photo of the fiber instead. This is Lake Tekapō on Bond wool. I've split it in two lengthwise and will be chain-plying the singles.

I expect less reading time this week (because I'll be reading copy for work), but I did manage to finish two more books before the end of the year, taking my total for 2023 to 130 books -- not too shabby!

If you follow Parnassus Books on social media, then you've likely heard a lot about Do Tell by Lindsay Lynch, who is their buyer. I wasn't rushing to read it, but when it was a Kindle daily deal a few weeks back, I thought I'd give it a try. And it ended up being a light palate cleanser after some harder books. This novel is set in the golden age of Hollywood, the late 1930s and early 1940s, when actors were under contract to studios and gossip could make or break a career. The narrator is an actress whose contract is just about to expire who finds herself in the middle of a scandal. I found this to be an entertaining book and an easy read; the editor in me found the frequent breaks to be annoying, especially when they weren't needed, but I suppose that was a stylistic choice. I gave it 3 stars.

I'd heard about The Frozen River on the What Should I Read Next Podcast, when Anne Bogel interviewed the author, and I was able to put it on hold right when my library got it. This is a work of historical fiction set in New England in the late 1700s and centers on Martha Ballard, a real-life midwife who left behind a record of her life in a daybook. Amid the daily activities of being a wife and mother and delivering babies, there is a rape, a murder, and a lot of intrigue. I found it to be a good read, though I would not necessarily recommend it as a truly accurate representation of the time. The author has (admittedly) taken some liberties and updated the dialogue for a more modern audience, though I appreciate that she has based it on some real people and real events. I think it does have some powerful things to say about the role and voices of women in society. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm currently listening to Winter Solstice, a book that many of you have read and that has long been on my TBR list; it feels appropriate now that I'm listening while running and walking in the cold and snow. I've also started Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World, which I'd picked up at Barnes & Noble in Florida and then snagged in a Kindle deal. It's a fascinating book, but I haven't had too much time to get into it just yet (see earlier comment about work).

What are you making and reading this week?


  1. Your picked-up stitches look good to me and I hope you'll be able to finish and wear the sweater soon(ish). That fiber looks interesting with the pop of yellow and I'm sure you'll be able to show us the handspun in the near future. Doppelganger does sound intriguing; I thought it was fiction but was surprised when I realized it's non-fiction!

  2. Welcome home! I'm sure you'd rather be in FL with no snow though....your new spinning project looks so pretty - I'm looking forward to seeing the final product. Birch is just so lovely. I'm sure you will manage to finish it soon (isn't work annoying? LOL). The Doppelganger book looks interesting and I think Bonny read the Frozen River book.

  3. You are the third person to mention Frozen River - I love it when that happens. Hope the rest of your week treats you well.

  4. It does, indeed, look like the second time's a charm there! And I am one of the readers who loved Winter Solstice. I read it over the holidays as my bedtime book last year; it went into early January for me. And I found myself pining for it this season! A sign of a good read, for me. (I do think timing had something to do with my great enjoyment of it.)

  5. Your picked up stitches look perfect and that yarn is truly gorgeous! Winter Solstice is a favorite book, and like all of Rosamunde Pilcher’s books one I have re-read often. Frozen River sounds like an interesting book, it’s been added to my list to read.

    1. Would you believe this is my first-ever Pilcher?! I've seen her novels around plenty for years but never picked one up. I'm so enjoying Winter Solstice now that I'm sure I'll read others when I'm done.

  6. Wishing you a good knitting, spinning, and reading year.

  7. Winter Solstice is such a comforting story and book, especially for this time of year. I have Do Tell from the library right now and I will be starting it soon.

  8. I enjoyed Do Tell, also - I was pleasantly surprised with the way some of the stories wrapped up ... more complicated situations/themes than I expected. She said she's started researching mid-century ART for her next book and that sounds fascinating.

  9. Your picked up stitches look very nice. I wonder what that fiber will look like when spun into yarn. It reminds me of a tropical bird. I'm rereading Winter Solstice as I am in between library holds. Scotland is a place I'd love to visit and the book is comfort reading for me. I'm working on a shawl and mitts but itching to cast on a sweater - yarn in the FDW pool and pattern printed. It won't be long.

  10. I'm so glad you're enjoying the Pilcher. I will say that Winter Solstice wasn't my favorite - I abandoned it about 2/3 through! I think Coming Home might actually be my favorite, but The Shell Seekers was also very good. I started Frozen River a few weeks ago and started it - so good! - but I've had a hard time reading lately so I returned it to the library for someone else to pick up for the time being. I'm planning to try again in a few weeks!

    Your sweater looks great - I'm glad you're happy with the new sleeves. And now that I'm ready to start spinning, I'm reading your spinning updates with a careful eye. So much to learn!

  11. Ooo! Sleeves mean progress, I am sorry there was some unraveling though. Sigh. I really enjoyed Winter Solstice! I think it is the perfect companion for a walk/run!