sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 14, 2019

pre-birthday unraveling
posted by soe 1:57 am

Pre-Birthday Unraveling

Technically, it’s already my birthday, but no one else is up to know, so I’ve marked it with a midnight snack, some Netflix (the new She-Ra and the first Galentine’s Day episode from Parks & Recreation), and some knitting while listening to my audiobook of the moment, The Woman Who Smashed Codes, about Elizabeth Smith Friedman, who was the chief codebreaker in America in the U.S. leading up to and during World War II and who was then forgotten for more than half a century while her husband’s success (also as a renowned codebreaker) was lauded.

The shawl continues. It is optimistic, but not overly so, to think it could be done by next week, but six years of languishing on the needles certainly would not inspire anyone to place money on its completion. Certainly these three books will likely be done by then. Akata Witch is set in Nigeria and its young albino protagonist has recently discovered that she has magical powers. Insomnia is a series of musings about being awake overnight and touching on how while the condition is equated with a lack of sleep, it can also be full of creativity and thought and should perhaps be more celebrated than it is (but, also, she’s really tired). And Gmorning, Gnight! is a selection of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pithy Twitter salutations illustrated by Johnny Sun. Much like short stories, I don’t have a lot of patience for either of these slender books when read at length, but enjoy them greatly when read for 10 pages or so at a time.

I have a bunch of other books I’d like to get to soon, including Angie Thomas’ sophomore novel, On the Come Up, and am looking forward to procuring Jasper Fforde’s new novel, Early Riser, at his booksigning on Monday. But in the meantime, these three books and my audiobook will do just fine.

Head over to As Kat Knits to see what other people are reading and crafting.

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

February 7, 2019

early february unraveling
posted by soe 1:41 am

Early February Unraveling

I took my books and knitting up to the park today to get an outdoor shot and some fresh air. My sock is into the heel flap, but I may end up hating how it disrupts the striping once I start the gusset, so I’m trying not to get too attached to the progress.

I’m also on a quest to resurrect some long-languishing UFOs, so out has come the Lightning Shawl. (Sorry, Mum. I know you hate seeing it not yet finished, a reasonable frustration given it’s now in its sixth year.) I will finish the second half of this sixth strip and assess whether I’m done or if I want to eke a seventh out from the leftovers. (This will definitely involve math and, if the yarn yardage works, may involve blocking what I have to see it needs it or not once it’s really done. I want it wide enough to be a shawl, rather than a scarf, and it definitely looks closer to the latter than the former.)

On the reading front, I am still listening to The Woman Who Smashed Codes and am reveling in the D.C. mentions. Tonight it was a restaurant with gendered dining rooms next to the Mayflower Hotel, which sits less than a mile from where I’m typing. The Emissary is overdue, which means I need to finish this novella tomorrow or Friday in order to return it to the library. I would still not use any of the whimsical adjectives attributed to it, so I’m hoping that feeling appears in the second half of the book. I started Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor last Friday. Its titular character is an American-born albino Nigerian who discovers she has magical powers and I am enjoying it so far.

Head over to As Kat Knits to see what other people are reading and knitting.

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

January 30, 2019

final january unraveling
posted by soe 1:50 am

Final January Unraveling

Don’t you just want to judge these books by their covers?

I finished The Assassination of Brangwain Surge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin earlier tonight. If you like fantasy novels and Brian Selnick’s latest tomes, which alternate prose and illustration, I think you should give this middle grade book a shot.

The others are what I’m on to next: Martina Benjamin’s Insomnia, which has a sparkly purple cover, like the night sky — that my photo does not do justice to, is a collections of musings on not sleeping in the middle of the night. Circe by Madeline Miller takes on the goddess of magic. And A Winter’s Promise about a young woman who travels via ark until she is promised in marriage to a man from a floating sky island.

I’m still listening to The Woman Who Smashed Codes, but it expires very soon, so I need to power through it. We’re currently in the inter-war years in D.C. and Elizebeth Friedman has just quit working for the War Department, but knowing the course of her cryptology work, I suspect not for long.

I’m nearly to the heel of my sock; I gave it a day at this length to decide if I wanted to stop here, but I think I’ll do another repetition of the colors before moving on. Stripes have the two-fold benefit of making it easy to compare length and keeping progress moving forward. I’ll just knit until the next time it turns blue, you think, and an hour later you’re saying the same thing. Just one more color change! Just one more chapter!

Exactly. Keep telling yourself that, self!

Check out other posts about books and crafting at As Kat Knits.

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January 24, 2019

a january unraveling
posted by soe 1:52 am

January Unraveling

A new book and new knitting this week.

Here we have the start of a sock. It’s just a basic ribbed top, stockinette sock, but I find I have the most likelihood of finishing boring socks than fancy ones. The yarn is Regia Snowflake that Mum and Dad gave me for Christmas a couple years back.

The book is the Brittany Cavallaro’s second Charlotte Holmes/Jamie Watson novel, The Last of August, which, despite the name, takes place in late December. It’s fine thus far, but a little slow to get started, so I’m hoping it picks up its pace soon. I think I recall this being an issue with the first one, as well, which is probably why it took me this long to revisit the series. I’m listening to The Woman Who Smashed Codes and enjoying quite a bit this biography of the nation’s forgotten foremother of codebreaking.

Head over to As Kat Knits for more reading/crafting combo posts!

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January 17, 2019

mid-january unraveling
posted by soe 1:12 am

Mid-January Unraveling

As you can see from this shot, I’ve decided to pick the shawl back up again. I continue to have problems with it, but it is user error, rather than instructional, and at least I’ve loosened up my tension enough that I can move the stitches on the needle again. A sure sign these days that I should put knitting down and not pick it back up again until I’m less anxious. I am coming up with a game plan for knitting this year, which involves socks and abandoned UFOs and finishing a sweater, and I’ll let you know more in the coming week or so.

I’ve mostly moved on to new reading this week. The Harry Potter continues to be picked up for a chapter here and there. They did not issue the fourth book in illustrated format this year, so I will have to either switch over to my original tomes (not a problem after I take down the Christmas so I can once again reach where the four of them are on my shelves) or wait until next year to read the next one. Luckily, I do not have to make a decision one way or another until I am so moved to revisit the Tri-Wizarding Tournament.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui is a graphic memoir about her Vietnamese family who immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s. The Emissary by Yōko Tawada (and translated by Margaret Mitsutani) is a novella focusing on a dystopian future in which an as-yet unnamed environmental disaster has left children unbelievably delicate. Mumei lives with his great-grandfather, Yoshiro, who literally has more pep in his step than his young relative. It just won the National Book Award for translation and has been described as delightful, funny, joyous, and playful, so I’m eager to find out why. And finally, I have a new audiobook on the go as well, having just finally started The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone about the preeminent American codebreaker responsible for the capture of numerous Nazis. Right now there are no Nazis in sight and she’s on the estate of an eccentric Illinois millionaire who has brought her there to help his wife prove there’s a secret code embedded in Shakespeare’s plays that proves they were written by Francis Bacon. Enjoyable starts, all.

Check out As Kat Knits to see what everyone else is reading and knitting.

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January 10, 2019

early january unraveling
posted by soe 1:50 am

Early January Unraveling

Yesterday it was so warm I spent the early part of the evening sitting outside at my local coffeehouse with my book. I had a tshirt and sweatshirt on and added a scarf while I was sitting there after sunset, but didn’t need to break out my hat or mitts from my bag and I certainly didn’t need a coat. Today it blustered a lot and snowed a little (not enough to stick, but still).

Anyway, this was what I was reading yesterday, but it was so charming that I was quickly done with it. If you enjoy historical fiction (it’s set in WWII London) that mostly (see previous parentheses) ends on an up-note, do check it out.

I’ve tried starting both An American Marriage and Washington Black, but I don’t want to read bleak but Important stories right now. Which I recognize makes me the worst type of liberal White reader, so I’ve just put them to the side for now rather than taking them back to the library just yet in the hopes that I can get out of my own way in the near future. I pulled out (carefully, because it was under my holiday light display) the illustrated version of the third Harry Potter film and picked up where I left off back in the fall, figuring it may help me over my reading hiccup. Or it may not, but at least I’ll have enjoyed it.

My knitting is also experiencing a hump. I could show you the various skeins of yarn I’ve pulled out of storage (quite pretty!), the older projects I’ve moved closer to the couch but haven’t otherwise touched (I could have FO’s with so little work!), or the six rows I actually knit on the beginning of that blue shawlette I thought would be done by (this, rather than next) New Year’s, but none of it is really knitting, but knitting-approximate, and we all know the difference.

Anyway … maybe by next week.

Head over to Kat’s where you can see what people who actually pick up their needles are making.

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