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Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World's Ugliest Sweater

af Peggy Orenstein

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1358202,153 (3.71)8
Biography & Autobiography. Crafts. Nonfiction. HTML:

"Orenstein is such a breezy, funny writer, it's easy to forget she's an important thinker too."??People

In this lively, funny memoir, Peggy Orenstein sets out to make a sweater from scratch??shearing, spinning, dyeing wool??and in the process discovers how we find our deepest selves through craft. Orenstein spins a yarn that will appeal to everyone.

The COVID pandemic propelled many people to change their lives in ways large and small. Some adopted puppies. Others stress-baked. Peggy Orenstein, a lifelong knitter, went just a little further. To keep herself engaged and cope with a series of seismic shifts in family life, she set out to make a garment from the ground up: learning to shear sheep, spin and dye yarn, then knitting herself a sweater.

Orenstein hoped the project would help her process not just wool but her grief over the recent death of her mother and the decline of her dad, the impending departure of her college-bound daughter, and other thorny issues of aging as a woman in a culture that by turns ignores and disdains them. What she didn't expect was a journey into some of the major issues of our time: climate anxiety, racial justice, women's rights, the impact of technology, sustainability, and, ultimately, the meaning of home.

With her wry voice, sharp intelligence, and exuberant honesty, Orenstein shares her year-long journey as daughter, wife, mother, writer, and maker??and teaches us all something about creativity and conn… (mere)

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I enjoyed this book: it was a good look at both how a sweater is made from start to finish, and one of the ways we as a society handled the COVID pandemic. I already knew a lot of the parts that go into making a sweater, so there wasn't a lot of new information for me, but there was certainly more depth to some of the info. For instance, while I know the theory of sheep shearing—I was already familiar with how we've bred sheep so that they NEED to be shorn, I know about wool felting, I know that a lot of work goes into preparing a fleece for spinning—Orenstein went into a lot more depth than what I knew since I have never shorn a sheep myself. (I also do not want to process a fleece or dye my own yarn, though I do both spin and knit and have already learned the "YES, do body shaping on your sweater!" lesson.)

There were parts that I didn't like as much, and they mostly revolved around the way the author disparages herself frequently when talking about her efforts to shear, spin, dye, etc. It bugged me that she seemed to linger on how bad a job she'd done at some things that she learned specifically for this book. As an example: for the sweater that this book revolves around she uses the fleece she sheared off a sheep on her FIRST DAY OF DOING IT EVER. Of course it's not going to be a perfect (or maybe even particularly "good") job! You can't expect to learn skills that fast. And that kind of attitude comes up in this book a lot, starting with the title: "... Making the World's Ugliest Sweater."

Also, I will admit to being disappointed that there were no photos in this book, not even of the completed—and supposedly "ugliest"—sweater. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | Apr 4, 2024 |
Looking for an upbeat pandemic-era memoir? Look no further. Peggy Orenstein usually writes about topics related to teen sexuality and body image. In 2020 her professional engagements were cut short and, searching for a way to occupy her mind and body, she decided to create a knitted sweater from scratch. Orenstein takes readers through each step from shearing a sheep through spinning, dyeing, design, and knitting. In addition to describing the technique she explores history and recent developments in fashion and fabric creation, highlighting the ways in which modern conveniences impact the environment and global climate. It will make you think about where your clothing comes from, and more sustainable ways of managing your wardrobe.

Orenstein also freely shares the creative and emotional journey she experienced during this project. We are the same age, and I found myself nodding along as she processed the decline and loss of her parents, fostered her adolescent daughter’s independence, and planned for the future with her husband. I wish I could have her over for coffee–we’d have a great time. ( )
  lauralkeet | Apr 2, 2024 |
audio fiction (read by the author, ~6 hours)

Published January 2023. Nonfiction/memoir - San Francisco Bay Area writer (and 50+ year old mother soon to be an empty nester) decides to learn how to shear a sheep, spin the wool into yarn, and knit a sweater at the beginning of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and during the 2020 California Fire Season.

I thought this would be more relaxing, but the audiobook reminds me of listening to long lectures about sustainability practices, making it just stress/anxiety-inducing enough to require me to take more frequent breaks from reading, but is also full of some interesting historical background -- suitable for listening to while tackling various menial household tasks. ( )
  reader1009 | Dec 27, 2023 |
The subtitle pretty well says it all: "What I learned about life while shearing sheep, dyeing wool, and making the world's ugliest sweater". During the Covid pandemic of 2020, Orenstein, a long-time knitter and writer who concentrates on feminist issues, hit upon the notion of creating a knitted garment "completely from scratch".

Along the way, she discovers and elaborates on issues as diverse as climate change, the ecological impact of "fast fashion", the imposed isolation of the pandemic, transitioning toward being an "empty nest" parent, dealing with her mother's death and her father's physical and mental decline, racism, sexism, ageism, and any other -ism that happens to catch her eye. She also takes a look at how the making of fabric and the status of women within a society are inextricably intertwined.

Whether one is a knitter (or any kind of maker) or not, it's a fascinating look at the often unexpected interconnectedness of things, as well as a funny and informative description of the process of creating a piece of knitted clothing. Bacover photos show the sweater in progress; and while it's probably not "the world's ugliest sweater", it's not for a moment going to be mistaken for high fashion. Like the garment in Adrienne Martini's Sweater Quest, the point is the journey, not the destination.

Readers coming into the world of creating and utilizing fabric will find plenty of jumping-off points here for further exploration. Those who are comfortable with the concepts and familiar with the process will recognize many of the sources Orenstein cites.

This is a quick and engaging read with ample payoff. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Jun 18, 2023 |
People will look back at the Covid pandemic and remember what they did during that social-distancing time. This author decided to make a sweater, from the very beginning. She learned how to shear a sheep, card, wash, spin, and dye the wool. She got help in designing a pattern. She knitted her sweater. And she wrote about her experiences with all those processes. But the sweater project was just a platform for her to expound on her political views and her take on society. Readers, unless they skipped those sections, were privy to her opinions on everything she thought was wrong and needed to change. What I was led to believe would an interesting book about knitting - from sheep shearing to finished sweater - was anything but. The actual sweater details were sparse and there was far too many political opinions. I wanted to read about the sweater-making process, not about her life’s problems. The book was a disappointment. ( )
2 stem Maydacat | May 1, 2023 |
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Biography & Autobiography. Crafts. Nonfiction. HTML:

"Orenstein is such a breezy, funny writer, it's easy to forget she's an important thinker too."??People

In this lively, funny memoir, Peggy Orenstein sets out to make a sweater from scratch??shearing, spinning, dyeing wool??and in the process discovers how we find our deepest selves through craft. Orenstein spins a yarn that will appeal to everyone.

The COVID pandemic propelled many people to change their lives in ways large and small. Some adopted puppies. Others stress-baked. Peggy Orenstein, a lifelong knitter, went just a little further. To keep herself engaged and cope with a series of seismic shifts in family life, she set out to make a garment from the ground up: learning to shear sheep, spin and dye yarn, then knitting herself a sweater.

Orenstein hoped the project would help her process not just wool but her grief over the recent death of her mother and the decline of her dad, the impending departure of her college-bound daughter, and other thorny issues of aging as a woman in a culture that by turns ignores and disdains them. What she didn't expect was a journey into some of the major issues of our time: climate anxiety, racial justice, women's rights, the impact of technology, sustainability, and, ultimately, the meaning of home.

With her wry voice, sharp intelligence, and exuberant honesty, Orenstein shares her year-long journey as daughter, wife, mother, writer, and maker??and teaches us all something about creativity and conn

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