Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Unraveled, Week 20/2024

Happy Wednesday, friends! Well, I'm not quite sure how happy it will be, as I have to go into work for a staff meeting (boo), but at least it's some time away from a computer screen. On the plus side, it is time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers for our weekly check-in. And I have an FO to share!

I've been working on these socks on and off for about a month, and it was starting to annoy me that they were still on the needles, so I was really focused on finishing them this past weekend and Monday. I used the skein of yarn that was in my goodie bag at SSK last summer, a 90% superwash Targhee/10% nylon fingering from String Theory Colorworks in the colorway Convergent Evolution. Because of the long color repeat and the varying width of the stripes, I didn't bother to try to get my socks to match but instead tried to get the stripes to align on the two socks, and I think I managed that pretty well. I used my typical 68-stitch vanilla recipe with two main changes: I used forethought afterthought heels (meaning I put waste yarn in for the heels rather than just snipping a stitch and unraveling) and I slipped every other stitch for a round when the color changed. They haven't yet been washed or worn, which is why the toes and heels look a little pointy; I expect they will relax a bit once they're worn.

After finishing up my bobbin of Björn singles on Friday, I got out the next blue (Agnetha) and started my second bobbin yesterday:

The blue is looking just a tad brighter in the photo than it is in real life, but I'd call it a sapphire blue. And of course it's delightful to spin.

It has been an excellent week of reading for me, with three more finishes!

I knew that the sequel to The Guncle was coming out soon because it kept getting advertised to me, so on a whim, I decided to see if it was on NetGalley -- and it was, and amazingly I got approved for it almost right away! The first book was one of my favorite books of 2021, one that I recommended to many people and even gave as a gift. When I heard there was a sequel, I was a bit wary -- how could it possibly measure up to the delight and the warmth of the original?

While I'll concede that The Guncle Abroad doesn't quite have the magic of the first book (because, really, nothing can match the experience of reading a beloved book for the first time), it has the same overwhelming sense of delight. The problems facing Maisie and Grant in this installment are less dire; five years have passed since the original, and while they are still grieving the loss of their mother, the pain is not as acute. Now their father is getting remarried, and they're not so sure about their future step-mother. Enter GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick), whose mission is to teach them the many forms of love through a trip across Europe, even as he is facing a recent breakup and anxiety about gettin older. It all culminates in a wedding celebration at luxury hotel on Lake Como in Italy with emotions running high. I didn't cry as much in this installment, but I still laughed out loud frequently, and I loved spending more time with these characters I have come to love. I gave it 5 stars.

Thank you to Penguin Group/Putnam and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review. This book will be published May 21, 2024.

While I'm not trying to read all of the Women's Prize nominees this year, or even the entire short list, I have already read two of the titles and have a third on hold, and when Mary let me know that Restless Dolly Maunder was available on Hoopla and was relatively short, I figured why not? This novel is a fictionalized account of the life of the author's grandmother, though I did not realize that until the very end. Really, although that fact is interesting, in the end it doesn't really matter because the story of Dolly -- who was born at the end of the 19th century and lived well into the 20th -- is one that is ubiquitous: that of a woman who has ambition and dreams but whose life is circumscribed by the decisions of men. I found her to be feisty and determined but also a bit of a tragic figure; I wonder what she might have been able to accomplish if she'd be able to go to school past the age of 14, marry who she wanted, choose whether or not to have children, and pursue work that fulfilled her. I also quite enjoyed the narration of the book. I gave it 4 stars.

I actually started Good Night, Irene before either of these other books, but I didn't finish it until Monday evening. I picked this one up in my quest to read WWII fiction that tells lesser-known stories, and this is another one based on real people. The author's mother served as a "Donut Dolly" for the American Red Cross, one of the women sent out in mobile kitchens to serve donuts and coffee to the troops and to keep their spirits up. It seemed like an adventure and a more direct way for these women to do their bit, but in reality, they were headed to war and very dangerous situations. And there are some particularly harrowing reminders of just how awful war can be and how awful WWII in particular was. (I'll add a note of caution to sensitive readers here: There is a storyline in which the main characters are sent to Buchenwald just after it's been liberated, and it's just as horrifying as you might imagine.) Ultimately, it's a beautiful story of friendship between two women and a lovely tribute to the women who served in a way that is largely lost to history. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm still reading Kairos -- in all honesty, I haven't picked it up in a while, but I will get back to it eventually -- and just started Same Bed Different Dreams. I'm not sure what I think about that one yet, but I'm not very far into it.

Please keep your fingers crossed for good weather today. After the staff meeting is the annual faculty and staff picnic, and it's outdoors, rain or shine. I don't want to get soaked!


  1. Your socks turned out great! Love the colors in them. And your newest spin - how vibrant and fun!! Thanks for the reminder of the first Guncle book (I never got around to reading it).

  2. Those socks are lovely! But that sapphire blue fiber... wow! What a fantastic reading week as well! :)

  3. You've had a good week in making and reading! The socks are really lovely, and as much as I like the first Björn singles you spun, Agnetha is my color! I just love that blue and am looking forward to seeing the next spin (and then plying and the project). I've been struggling to settle on a book that I want to read and Good Night Irene sounds interesting. It's kind of quaint that the Red Cross thought that donuts would keep up spirits in the midst of fighting, but I don't have a better idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Crossing my fingers for dry weather!

  5. I love the socks, it's amazing how that simple act of slipping the stitches make them look so fancy. Thanks for the review on the Guncle sequel, I've been wondering whether to put that on my TBR or not.

  6. That sapphire blue is really stunning, Sarah! (And I'll admit that my first thought was, "Bonny's gonna love that!") I so appreciate your thoughts on Guncle-2. I also loved The Guncle, but hesitated when it came to the sequel. Now I'll feel more confident about giving it a try! Love the socks. I'll bet it feels good to have them off the needles.

  7. Shall we name that color Bonny's Blue?! So glad you enjoyed Dolly's story as much as I did. This was my first Kate Grenville and she has a Backlist! Finishing up the Lilly Rose Dress (and a trio of socks for my mom for Mother's Day) means I have no vanilla projects on the needles. I actually sat and watched TV for an hour last night :-)

  8. Oh boy, I hope you had some good weather for your picnic. The socks heels and toes don't look pointy to me. I like that slipped stitch design element. The sapphire blue fiber is gorgeous. I need to give The Guncle a read. I had it on my list and it got lost.

  9. Oh I love the color you are spinning…. scrumptious! Pretty socks too ☺️

    1. I really love this color, too!