Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Unraveled, Week 2/2024

Good morning, friends, though it's not a particularly good one for me as I didn't sleep well last night and am dragging a bit today. It's yet another gloomy morning here in Pittsburgh, though at least today is an improvement over yesterday, when we woke to sleet after some overnight snow. The roads were such a mess that Mo had a two-hour delay (which of course they did not announce until after she was already up, dressed, and eating her breakfast; she'd wanted to sleep more but instead took advantage of the extra time to do some homework). This gloom is pretty typical for this time of year here, so I apologize in general for the dim photos I'm sharing; even taking photos in the middle of the day in January is no guarantee of decent daylight.

But enough whining -- it's Wedneday, which means it's time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers! I am still working on the first sleeve of my Birch Pullover, but the rounds are becoming noticeably faster now.

The pattern calls for doing 11 decreases for my size and then working until the sleeve measures 16 inches (or two inches less than the total desired length). When I tried it on last night, it seemed like I was getting awfully close to the cuff, even though I've only completed seven decreases thus far, so this morning I laid it out on top of my May(be) Queen to compare the sleeves. If I make the sleeves of Birch the same length, I've got about seven more inches left to knit or about five more inches before the cuff. So that means I won't fit in all the decreases specified in the pattern, even if I decrease more frequently, which I will likely do. That's not an issue for me, but I will have to make a note of it so that I make the second sleeve match. Also, even though I didn't have to break into the last skein of yarn for the body, I am going to end up using it for the sleeves; the bigger ball of yarn you see here is the partial skein I'd wound off for the sleeves (one of two), and I doubt that's going to be enough to get me to the end. That means the ends of my sleeves will be a little darker than the bottom of my sweater, but as they'll match, that doesn't bother me too much.

I am getting closer to finishing up the singles on my current spinning project, thanks to spinning through some work meetings.

The fiber draped over the end of the bobbin is all I have left to spin, and that may or may not get done today. It all depends, of course, on work.

While last week didn't provide a ton of time for reading, I did manage to finish my first two books of the year.

My first finish of the new year was one that seemed perfectly suited for when I read it. Winter Solstice is not a new book, and certainly it's been on my radar for several years, so it's not even new to me. I started listening to it on New Year's Day as I was out for a run in the cold with the occasional flurry, and it seemed perfectly suited for the moment. Had I read it at another time, I might not have loved it so much, but this was exactly what I was craving: a feel-good story about found family, set in the UK, with writing that felt typical of an earlier time. And while I didn't love all the voices that the reader did, she did do an excellent job of all the accents, so I felt very much immersed in the story as a result. This was a great palate cleanser that didn't require too much thinking or too many emotions. I gave it 5 stars.

After a busy week, it was a real treat to read a book in a day, which is precisely what I did on Saturday. Despite having two of her novels in my Kindle library, I've never actually read anything by Kate Atkinson before, so reading a collection of interconnected short stories seemed like a good start. Normal Rules Don't Apply is an entertaining and slightly weird collection, with characters that pop in and out, fairy tales that weave in and out of a number of stories, and even some talking animals. I think these stories would be great to discuss, and the collection as a whole still has me thinking and wondering. I'm definitely looking forward to reading her other titles that I own now. I gave this one 4 stars.

I am still reading Doppelganger and have less than 100 pages left, so I'm hoping I can finish it today. I am hoping for a calm work day, especially as tomorrow is that long retreat day (can you tell I'm dreading it?).

What are you making and reading this week?


  1. You are getting so close on that sweater! I really love the faint is beautiful!

    That is an Atkinson book I have not heard of! (and I loved Winter Solstice as well!)

  2. Birch is really lovely and I can't help thinking how your time would be better spent knitting sleeves and spinning than attending that retreat. It's no help, but I'm dreading it for you! I really like Winter Solstice (and agree with you about the narrator) and now I'm off to look for that Kate Atkinson book. Interconnected stories are some of my favorites!

  3. Birch looks like a great "wear everywhere" pattern. Won't be too long until you will be wearing it everywhere.

    I'm knitting on blanket squares right now. Reading: The Comfort of Crows and Not-So-Fancy by Reba McEntire.

  4. So glad you loved Winter Solstice! Like we said in an earlier conversation, I think timing is everything with that book. I could channel it right now, as the snow flies sideways out my window...!
    Coincidentally, I have a Kate Atkinson novel on my nightstand as we speak. Life After Life. I've never read her, either; I picked this up while browsing at my library (waiting for holds to come in). I haven't gotten to it yet--b/c North Woods came in and bumped it! A title from you... Just read the first few pages before conking out last night.
    Sounds like a solid plan for your sleeves. It also looks like it's going to be a perfect fit! Can't wait to see it on you.
    Good luck tomorrow...sigh.

  5. You'll be wearing that sweater in no time! And I adore Winter Solstice, it's such comforting reading. My favorite Kate Atkinson book is Life After Life, I read it ages ago and I still think about it.

  6. Oh man! I feel your dread for tomorrow. I hope the retreat passes quickly for you. Birch is just so pretty. I love the yarn that you are using. I'm another person who has not heard of that Kate Atkinson book...adding it to my list!

  7. Catching up ... Birch is really coming along; clearly all the forethought about yarn management is paying off - the sleeves look so good with the body! and all the smiles for your first Kate Atkinson. I listened to the collection back in November and still think about it. The fairy tale bits were my favorite (especially if we include the creation story as a fairy tale). Have fun at the retreat tomorrow!

  8. You are getting so close to finishing that first sleeve. I rather enjoy knitting sleeves. I really enjoyed Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. It has a bit of magical thinking but once I figured out what was going on, I loved it. Her detective stories weren't as enticing to me but of course this is only my opinion. I bet you will be happy to see Friday come (after an 11 hour retreat.)

  9. You're almost finished with that sleeve! And your Birch is just gorgeous - I can't wait to see the finished product. And your spinning! 🥰

    So glad you enjoyed your first Kate Atkinson. She's one of my favorites and I agree with Jane about Life After Life - it's one I think about a lot. I haven't read her latest collection of short stories but it's on the list!

    I hope you have some sunshine in the forecast at some point!

  10. It’s so awesome that you are getting closer to finishing your Birch sweater and the color is beautiful. Love Winter Solstice, it’s a favorite.

    1. I think I understand why it's a book that many people read again and again in December!