It’s Wednesday – so I’m linking up with Kat at As Kat Knits to share what I’ve been reading and knitting this week. Kat hosts Unraveled Wednesday each week and it’s a great opportunity to find lots of inspiration and recommendations. Please visit her blog and the other bloggers participating! This week, I’m sharing two finished books, one reluctantly abandoned book, and several stitching projects.
Finished Reading This Week:
All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny
The 16th book in the Armand Gamache series did not disappoint me! Set almost entirely in Paris, it’s exactly what you’d expect: lush food descriptions and a love of French culture. We spend time high on (in?) the Eiffel Tower (to avoid being eavesdropped on by murderers), in the National French Archives for research, in modest and cozy city apartments, and in decadent hotel suites. It was perfect.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
I know next to nothing about Shakespeare, so I was hesitant to read this. But many of you have raved about it and it won the Women’s Prize for fiction, so I used an audible credit and was sucked in almost immediately. 5 stars! This is a fictionalized story about the death of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet. This is a story of grief and despair, so be warned if you’re currently experiencing acute grief. And I loved Agnes, Hamnet’s mother. She is just the type of witchy character that I adore.
Abandoned This Week:
Jack by Marilynne Robinson
I was so excited to learn that the Gilead Trilogy was becoming the Gilead Quartet. And when I learned that the new novel was from the perspective of Jack, possibly one of the most tragic characters in American Literature (in my opinion), I was over the moon. I received an advanced copy from Netgalley and almost immediately began reading it.
Friends, this is slow. I thought I’d be able to push through and finish it once I found my bearings because all of the Gilead books are slow. But I started this on August 31 and I’m 39% of the way through a 320 page book. I’m reluctant to walk away from it because there’s so much tucked away in this novel — I’ve written down a ton of quotes from it. But I have to force myself to read it, which tells me that I’m not enjoying it. I hope that my difficulty reading it is because of my mood and not because this is simply a difficult book. I also hope that you one of you read it, love it, and inspire me to try again!
I’ve spent some time in the basement with my Scrappy Crossroads Quilt. I’ve decided to quilt it diagonally along the crossroads, which has presented a challenge. It’s hard to roll it up neatly and pull the entire length through my machine. It stresses my shoulders and back and I feel like it shouldn’t? But luckily I have a Juki sewing machine and she is a workhorse. I can finish this project. I know I can. I just have to prioritize it! I can’t wait to be able to give its official measurements because it is a beast.
Sitting with my machine and seeing all of these seams aligned, the pieces neatly pressed, and the sheer magic of putting small shapes together to make something amazing has re-lit my quilting fire. I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I’m not fighting it. The challenge is that my sewing machine and supplies are all in the basement and it’s hard to “escape” for just a few minutes at a time. Unlike knitting and reading, which I can easily pull out and put away quickly if necessary. I’m brainstorming different ways to fit it in.
Last night I finished a Jubilee Hat (Ravelry link) for Baby Birdie (almost finished. I still need to weave in the ends). I’m trying to use up the bits and bobs left over from my last couple of sweaters because the yarn is too heavy for the scrap blanket I’m working on. This is some of the leftover rosa rugosa from my Spark Cardigan. I think I still have enough to make her a pair of mittens. Of course, I did the pointy version because what other option is there for a 2 year old?!
After finishing Birdie’s hat, I almost immediately cast on one for Bug. I’ll do the rounded version for him. I’m hoping that the stitch pattern will be more visible in this leftover Cascade charcoal, also leftover from my Spark. This pattern is so clever and I love the ear flaps!
And now for the big reveal: I finished my Spark Cardigan! No, I didn’t knit the full 74″ on the belt. I made it to about 60″, tried it on, said good enough, and wrapped myself in the lovely goodness of a new cardigan! Most of you know that I hated knitting that belt but I loved knitting the cardigan. It came together really quickly and I highly recommend it. And guess what? I’ve already ditched the belt. So if you decide to knit it, you might consider giving yourself permission to skip the belt entirely (which I will do if I reknit this project) or knit the belt first as Sarah suggested in a comment a few weeks ago.
A note on the fit: I probably could have made one size larger, but I do like the length and the close fit. If I’m not careful with my clothing, I can easily look like I have no shape, but that’s not the case with this size! But when I knit this again, I will definitely add an extra inch to the shawl collar to make it a bit more snuggly. And extra inch would ensure that I don’t need the stinking belt to wrap myself up with because I’m definitely not knitting that again.
The weather has activated the maker in me. I’m spending a fair amount of time on the Overdrive app and doing my best to make sure I always have a good audiobook nearby, but I’m okay if my reading rate goes down while my knitting/sewing/quilting rate goes up. Ebb and flow. I’m embracing it!
I hope you’ve managed to stay focused on the things that renew your soul lately. Things have been hard in a lot of ways. I wish you a peaceful end to your week.