Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Unraveled, Week 5/2024

We have finally made it to the end of January, which feels as though it's lasted a year. I'm not all that excited for February, but at least it's shorter and brings chocolate! It's Wednesday, which means it's time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers, and this week I have two finishes to share.

On Sunday I finished up my first pair of socks for the year, and they're for me! I used my usual top-down heel-flap-and-gusset recipe and the custom-dyed yarn from Lisa that I won last year. The tweed base was a bit of a change for me, but I like it! I haven't worn them yet, as they went right into a load of socks I had ready to wash (mainly because the blue was crocking a bit on my fingers as I was knitting them, so I wanted to wash out any excess dye), but they'll be going into my regular rotation.

I also finished up my second spin of the year:

This colorway is called Bloom, and it's even more saturated in real life than it appears here -- my camera just would not do the colors justice no matter how many adjustments I tried. This is a 70% superfine merino/30% silk blend, so it's unbelievably soft. I ended up with approximately 386 yards of chain-plied fingering that just screams "Mardi Gras" to me. This was last July's club shipment, so I'm getting closer to being caught up!

In the "getting closer to being done" category, I'm quickly approaching the end of my Mas Vida shawl:

I've folded it in half here so you can see how much (or, rather, how little) I have left to knit. The rows are much shorter and thus are taking much less time, so I expect this will be done very soon.

Reading has been quite good this past week. I've finished three books.

By now you all know that the next Read With Us selection is The Poisonwood Bible, but I was actually already reading it as the final book in the Kingsolver-along that Mary has been hosting. Unfortunately I'm going to miss the discussion this Saturday (Mo and I have tickets to see My Fair Lady), but that wasn't going to stop me from reading the book, which I first read more than two decades ago, probably around 2000, based on the fact that I had a paperback. I remembered loving it when I read it but very few details, so it was almost like a new book to me on this reread. Of course, now I'm in a very different place of life and am a mother, so this hit me in very different ways this time around, though I was surprised that was affected me the most was not the big family tragedy (no spoilers; if you've read it, you'll know what I'm referring to) but the tragedy of what happened to the new democracy of the Congo and, more generally, to African nations in their efforts to throw off the shackles of colonial rule. I still loved it this time around, and I once again gave it 5 stars.

My next finish was a little more academic in nature. Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma is nonfiction, a combination of memoir, essay, and art criticism in which the author wrestles with how to deal with art (be it literature, film, fine art, or anything else) when the creator behind it proves to be problematic. Think of the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling or the films of Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. Is it possible to divorce the art from the artist? Is it okay to still enjoy the art when we don't like its creator? The book doesn't really answer the questions but explores them in depth, with specific examples of so-called monsters and the works they've created. This is a book I would have liked to have read with my eyes, but it was only available on audio from my library. It's a book that I think would be really great to read and discuss in a class. I gave it 4 stars.

My final finish for the week was The Wren, the Wren, which was a buzzy book from last fall. At its center are a mother and daughter whose lives are still bearing the scars left by their father and grandfather, respectively, a famous poet who walked out on his family when the mother was still a young teenager and whose poetry pops up throughout their lives. I liked the writing, but throughout this book I felt like there was something I just wasn't getting, and it didn't feel like a cohesive story to me. That may have been the point, for all I know. I gave it 3 stars.

I am currently reading an old book from high school (that was already an older book at the time), July's People, which feels like a good pairing for The Poisonwood Bible, and I also finally got Absolution from the library yesterday and am hoping work cooperates to allow me to finish it today -- so good!

What are you making and reading this week?


  1. I'm never quite sure if I like tweed yarns or not but your socks are lovely! That handspun is simply gorgeous and you'll soon have a new shawl around your neck. I hope you enjoy Absolution!

  2. What fun socks and you are right, your latest spin screams Mardi Gras (perfect timing for that too!!). I'm looking forward to diving into The Poisonwood Bible since I loved it when I read it decades ago. I may listen this time!

  3. I just picked up a copy of The Poisonwood Bible... your review was just what I need to begin!

    (I love those tweedy socks!)

  4. I love those socks! The colors on that new handspun look incredible, I can't imagine how luscious they are in real life!

  5. Congrats on the finished pair. They are pretty.

    Not reading anything right now. I just finished Mitch Albom's newest. Started out really strong, but slid into the unrealistic pretty quickly. I did finish it, but it was pretty much a disappointment.

    I'm reading a Comfort of Crows, but I'm reading it one chapter a week like it is written.

  6. Oh my gosh, I haven't read a Nadine Gordimer book in years!! That gave me a moment's jog doing memory lane...
    Such fun striped socks (always love stripes) -- and a gorgeous first spin! It DOES scream Mardi Gras, doesn't it?
    Enjoy My Fair Lady!

  7. When I read the Poisonwood Bible back in the dim dark past, it was the tragedy of the African nations and how they were exploited that stuck with me. America is not as moral as we like to think.

    1. This is so true and really what stood out to me this time around.

  8. Love those socks Sarah and beautiful handspun too.

  9. Yes that yarn does scream Mardi Gras - perfect timing! I thought Monsters was a great pairing with Wren - pondering if the poet's genius was "worth it"?! and I loved the poetry (that Enright wrote!). and wow, you tore through Absolution! I have it on hold (on paper) and should be able to read it this month. Thank you for the recommendation.

  10. Your knitting looks great. I am anxious to see the finished shawl and hear about it's size. I have looked at that pattern. Monsters sounds like a thought provoking book. Eventually I hope to get The Wren The Wren from my library.

  11. That "mardi gras" yarn is just gorgeous, Sarah. Perfect colors anytime -- but especially in the middle of winter. And I really like the tweedy socks. (I'm kind of a sucker for the tweedy. . . ) I loved Absolution! And I've always liked Anne Enright -- although she has a different style of writing. I always feel like there is something going on "underneath" it all. (I haven't read Wren Wren yet, but I have it checked out from the library right now.)

  12. That is super lovely yarn and I love the colours of your handspun yarn! Are you putting all of your handspun in your stash for the time being or will you make One Big Thing with it later?

    "Monsters. A Fan's Dilemma" sounds very, very interesting - I'm afraid I won't be able to get my hands on it, but who knows! Maybe I get lucky!