sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 18, 2017

chandelier shawl
posted by soe 4:36 pm

Chandelier Shawl

Behold! It’s a finished object!

This is the Chandelier Shawl (pattern by Emma Welford), a tardy Christmas present to my mother.


It’s made with ~3 2/3 skeins of Valley Yarns Sheffield (merino/silk/angora blend) in Stone Blue (31), which is actually closer to greyish teal, and ~3/4 skein of Blue Sky Suri Merino (baby alpaca/merino blend) in Mystic, which is purple leaning blue-grey. The top photo is probably the closest, but I took the shots in the office conference room at work and the light was apparently appalling. I tried color-correcting the other shots to being closer to the real color with varying degrees of success. But you get the idea…

I knit it on US 7 needles.

Lace Detail

Mum bought both the pattern and the number of skeins of the Sheffield yarn called for and asked me to make it for her. I started it in fall 2015, but read comments that suggested I was going to run out of the yarn, which had been discontinued (and of which there were no skeins in the needed colorway for sale on Ravelry), so it went into the time-out pile. Clearly I didn’t pull it back out early enough this fall, but when I did, I realized I was, in fact, going to be being short.

I settled on a contrast yarn roughly the same dimensions and fuzziness as the Sheffield and shifted to it for the lace detail at the bottom, hoping that would make it look the least weird, which I think was a success. Because the purl side of the project is the main side, I fudged the switch to the yarn and purled every stitch on the wrong side, which puts all those two-color bumps on the the “inside” of the shawl, rather than the outside. You can see that a bit on the detail shots, but I don’t think it’s too distracting.

Lace and Cable Detail

All in all, a relatively painless pattern, but buy more yarn than called for if you’re going to make it as written.

Category: knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.

February 16, 2017

birthday photos and mid-february yarn along
posted by soe 1:35 am

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday was my birthday, and, as is my wont, I took the day off to do fun things. First, I slept in. On a weekday. Very luxurious. Then after a late breakfast, Rudi and I headed over the river to catch a showing of Sing, which we’ve been looking forward to since seeing a preview last summer.

Since we were already in Virginia, I suggested to Rudi that the new hat I’m going to make for myself might benefit from one of the faux fur pom poms that are very hip right now and I thought I should buy one for myself as a birthday present. It’s blue. You’ll have to wait for the hat to see how it looks, though.

Sweets with My Sweetie

We stopped by a local coffeehouse for some hot beverages and to enjoy a late-afternoon sunbeam, picked up cupcakes and doughnuts for dessert and breakfast respectively, and played some ping pong at a park we walked past on the way back to the car.

Alexandria Ping Pong

We supper with our friends John and Nicole and their baby, all of whom are moving away on Saturday, at our favorite pizzeria. We went back to their place to talk and collect some of the food goods they aren’t moving, before bidding them a tearful farewell.


We timed the bus wrong, so walked home, which let me enjoy the new purple coat my parents gave me for my birthday.

Birthday 'Cakes

We finished up the night with our cupcakes, hot tea, and some presents. All in all, a lovely way to mark turning 43!

A quick Yarn Along, since today is Wednesday:

Mid-February Yarning Along

I have put my Very Important Books on hiatus in favor of reading lighter romances this week: Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments (her first novel, which I’d put off reading until she stopped being quite so prolific), Stephanie Perkins’ Isla and the Happily Ever After (the final book in a loosely linked series of teen romances), and Gemina, the much anticipated sequel to Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s space opera, Illuminae.

The knitting du jour is the Violet Waffles hat (previously seen balled up here) and the Partridgefield Cowl, which gets knit on when I don’t want to pay attention to my project (tonight it was while we were watching Minions).

Make sure you stop back on Friday, because I have my first FO of the year to share.

February 9, 2017

february yarning along
posted by soe 1:40 am

February Yarning Along

What we have here are two things at opposite ends: Just before its beginning: the Violet Waffles hat. Just after its conclusion: the middle-grade novel Furthermore, a delightful story about a girl from a magical land who goes on a quest to help find her missing father.

Also being read and knit: Swing Time (still), Grief Is the Thing with Feathers (still), The Boy from Abaton (on audio, still), The Sellout, and the Partridgefield Cowl (still).

Yarning along with Ginny.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 1 Comment.

February 2, 2017

first of february yarning along
posted by soe 2:11 am

First of February Yarning Along

Work on my cowl is slow, in part because I haven’t felt like knitting a ton, what with the world ending and all… But I’ve joined a new knitting group, so at the very least, I knit there every week while we listen to chapters or stories from audiobooks.

My print reading is all yellow (which maybe makes me want to cast on something yellow to coordinate…) and widely acclaimed: Max Porter’s Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, a verse novel which embodies the titular emotion as a huge, hulking crow, and Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. My friend Sam gave me White Teeth the year it came out and it’s one of those books that haunts me, as I’ve tried reading it a couple times without success. It’s been years (as in, since before I moved to D.C.) since I picked it up, but if it’s similar to her latest novel, I have a sense of why I kept giving up on it. This novel, or at least the early part in which I currently find myself wading, is written at a distance — of both time and emotion — and doesn’t easily lend itself to my preferred immersive reading experience.

I think this month I’m going to try alternating some of my want-to reads with some of my should-reads, so the sci-fi YA novel I’ve been looking forward to for months, Gemina, will likely be next. (Also planned for this month are Isla and the Happily Ever After and The Sellout.)

P.S. Make sure you stop back tomorrow (later today) for my part in the annual Silent Poetry Reading.

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 1 Comment.

January 19, 2017

pre-inaugural yarning along
posted by soe 2:14 am


I started my new Partridgefield Cowl this week in preparation for joining a new knitting/bookish group. I haven’t gotten very far, but the yarn, Valley Yarns Peru, is soft, being 84% baby alpaca. As one of my fellow knitters mentioned to me, I have a lot of stitch markers in there right now — every 20 stitches — but since I needed 300 stitches, I thought that prudent. I’ll likely pull at least some of those out as I progress.

Not Your Sidekick, which I started this fall, went back into my bag this week. It’s dystopian fantasy YA, focusing on Jess Tran, the daughter of two superheroes in the area of the North American Collective that used to be Nevada. Finding she doesn’t seem to have superpowers of her own, she takes an internship at a tech company, where, it turns out, her parents’ arch-nemeses, who are missing, have been employed. I’m enjoying it so far, even if it’s started a bit slower than I’d have liked.

Next, I should be reading Zadie Smith’s Swing Time or Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which are now both overdue, but instead I want to read Gemina, the sequel to 2015’s Illuminae, which I loved. We’ll see how responsible I’m feeling this weekend…

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.

January 12, 2017

mid-january yarning along
posted by soe 1:27 am

Mid-January Yarning Along

Reading and knitting continues apace. Dear Data is one of the print books I’m reading. It’s thematic postcard-based data visualization — two women agreed on weekly themes of things in their lives to count (beauty projects, compliments, times they looked at their phones) for seven days and then come up with their own unique way to represent that information visually, which they drew on postcards and sent to each other (and then compiled in a book). It’s interesting, but very dense, and I have a hard time focusing on it if I read more than a few weeks’ info in one sitting. I find it a lot like visiting a museum: I read every word until I discover I’m not reading any of them.

I’m currently listening (as in, I put it on pause to write this post) to Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, a YA novel I saw on a lot of best-of lists. A teen girl’s widowed father gets remarried to a stranger, moves her across the country, and enrolls her at a new school with her step-brother, who’s also a junior. She starts getting anonymous emails from a guy at school offering to help her navigate the new scene and decides it can’t hurt to accept the offer. I’m only five chapters in, but am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It feels not dissimilar to To All the Boys I Loved Before, if you liked Jenny Han’s book.

I’m hoping to finish a few knitting projects in the upcoming days (I’ve got two three-day weekends coming up), so I’m showing you some of the new yarn my folks gave me for Christmas. It’s going to start becoming the Partridgefield Cowl just as soon as I get a couple things done this weekend. (Sorry for the dark exposure. Cats were occupying my two good photo shot spots and my phone was on low-battery mode, which meant I couldn’t use a flash.) There are five skeins of plum yarn and one red. Mum tells me the pattern looks like it’ll make good tv knitting, which I appreciate, particularly since I’m looking at trying a new knitting group next week.

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.