sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 9, 2017

yarning along through sickness & sock madness
posted by soe 12:35 am

Last week I thought I’d cut a stomach bug off at the pass, staying home from work one day to sleep through it and mostly feeling better for it. But yesterday, when the smell of my boss’ lunch made me nauseous, I realized it had sneaked out, brought in reinforcements, and was back to lay siege.

I’m glad to say that with yet more sleep, mostly liquid food for 24 hours, and the generous number of sick days my company offers, I think I’m feeling better. I suppose we’ll know for certain tomorrow.

But in the meantime, since Rudi left town today for his end-of-season coaching road trip, I had time to watch only the tv shows I like and to finish a couple books. Which means what I have to show you are two of the three new books I started tonight:

Sock Madness Yarn Along

Phoebe Robinson is a comedian and her memoir got a lot of buzz last year, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The Rose and the Dagger is Renée Ahdieh’s follow-up to The Wrath and the Dawn, which I read last year and loved, and together they form a retelling of the Scheherazade story. I’ve been looking forward to reading this for months and am eager to dive in.

On my phone, after flipping through audio book possibilities from my downloads and from the library’s Overdrive account, I settled on I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson, which was a big hit two years ago. I tried to read it in paper at the time, but couldn’t concentrate on it; however, I’m already past that point, so hopefully it was just a blip in the time-space continuum, rather than a huge divide, like the one I’ve encountered with My Name Is Lucy Barton and Big Magic, books everyone but me seemed to love. (Not really confidentially to raidergirl3: Did you see AudiobookSYNC has announced this year’s books already?)

On the needles is this year’s entry round for Sock Madness, the annual sock-knitting competition I compete in. This is Twisted Madness by Gina Meyer and the yarn is Socks That Rock Lightweight in Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I’m not loving knitting the pattern (there’s a lot of twists and knitting through the back loop), but I am loving how the pattern and the yarn look together. The pattern reminds me of socks I would have worn in the 80s, all twisted and scrunched, so the yarn seems a fitting choice.

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

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

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 3 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.