sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 22, 2014

yarning along
posted by soe 3:15 am

I admit my socks look much like they did a fortnight ago (I’ve added one icord of 14), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been knitting.


The square is for a quilt being made in remembrance of an acquaintance of ours. He was hit by a car last fall, suffered serious traumatic brain damage, and died last month as a result of complications from the surgery to close his scalp after the swelling had finally gone down. Rudi learned the quilt was being made and asked if I’d be willing to knit the square from us. He picked out and bought the yarn at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (Marigoldjen Yarns worsted in Paradise Islands), and I did the knitting. The heart, which I decided to add at the last minute and which is hard to see in this photo, isn’t centered vertically, but I think it’s okay the way it turned out. I’ll block it tomorrow and Rudi will be able to send it off to the knitter who’s collecting the squares and putting them together as soon as it’s dry.

The other knitting is a gift, so I won’t talk about it much, but knitters will recognize it as a Color Affection shawl, which I made for myself several years back and which I wear all the time. I’ll share more information about it once it’s done and with its recipient, but I’ll say that’s nice, mindless knitting, good for multi-tasking.

On the reading front, I’ve got three things going on: My book books are Arabel’s Raven, about a young British girl and her troublemaking pet bird, Mortimer, and A Snicker of Magic, about a young American girl whose mother has brought her and her little sister back to the small town where she grew up — a town once renowned for its now-defunct magic.

My audiobook of the moment is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was one of my favorite books of 2009. It’s performed by a cast of voice actors and I’m enjoying hearing the letters read aloud as much as I’d enjoyed reading them myself five years ago. I’d been thinking it might be time to revisit the book, and when I saw it was available in audio format, I recalled co-author Annie Barrows saying that they’d done a particularly good job with it. It’s perfect for keeping my attention while knitting.

How about you? Are you reading or knitting anything particularly enjoyable?

(Yarning along with Ginny.)

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May 16, 2014

visit, yarn cakes, and rested
posted by soe 1:12 am

The rain that we’ve been waiting for for two days has finally arrived and is currently drenching everything outside. It has not yet moved to drenching things inside, but I think I’ll put down precautionary towels before I head off to bed. Better safe than sorry, particularly since I’m going to get up early for Bike to Work Day and to make some sorbet to take to my office potluck. (I have yet to decide if I’m going to bother biking downtown in a downpour. And, if I do decide to, whether I’ll take my own bike or Bikeshare.) Keep your fingers crossed for an early-afternoon end to the rain so we can celebrate Rudi’s birthday with a picnic with friends.

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. Longtime friends Eri and ECN come down from New York for a long weekend and Eri’s 40th birthday. We introduce them to some local eateries and our favorite fountain (at Malcolm X Park), eat strawberry shortcake (with the first strawberries of the season at the farmers market), and stay up late catching up. It’s a nice visit.

2. Four skeins of yarn wound and tucked into a bag for a couple impending projects. Their potential energy is palpable.

3. In honor of impending company, I take a comp day and a vacation day off from work to make it a four-day weekend. While I spend one of the days cleaning, I also do a lot of sleeping. When I headed back to work on Tuesday, I felt more together than I have in a long time.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week? Feel free to share in the comments.

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May 9, 2014

art, ornery, and posies
posted by soe 2:38 am

This is one of those nights when I struggle to remember what I told myself earlier in the week would make a good item for today’s column. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting some, but these are good, too:

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. At the craft fair last weekend, I am drawn to an artist who uses fabric as her medium to produce landscapes. While what pulls me in are depictions of the kite festival, ultimately Rudi and I take home a tetraptych of a tree through the seasons. It feels very grownup to buy actual art to put on our walls.

2. One of our favorite parts of the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival every year is the sheep dog demonstration, which is run by the same two shepherds and their border collies. This year, they have used a different breed of sheep than usual, and it’s clear these animals do not appreciate the gig. The emcee announces they’ve escaped the pen several times over the weekend and have had to be rounded up for real from the festival grounds. As we watch, the sheep decide they do NOT want to be herded through a chute and over a little bridge, because they start charging the dog trying to herd them. This is a first in our experience, and while the shepherds ultimately restore order (we learn why it is a shepherd carries a crook, for instance), it’s fascinating to watch a more legitimate demonstration, rather than what’s usually a pretty scripted event.

3. Colorful poppies and fragrant lilies of the valley from farmers markets join the spring’s final delicate bouquet of violets from the garden in vases atop the fridge.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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May 8, 2014

yarning along and once upon a time reading challenge
posted by soe 2:34 am

onceup8200I’ve been meaning to write a post declaring my participation in Carl’s annual Once Upon a Time VIII Challenge for more than a month now, but for whatever reason, I haven’t made the time to do so. However, I thought I’d share that I am participating and I have been reading books in the fantasy/fairy tale/folklore/mythology realm and am looking forward to reading more before the end of spring. I’ll be taking part in the Quest the First, which calls on me to read at least five books.

Want to see what I might read? Check out the to-be read pile:


Currently, I’m reading and enjoying Seraphina, a young adult novel about dragons and music and politics and family. There’s a lot of world-building necessary in this story, so the start has been a little slow, but I anticipate the pace building quickly as the pages turn.

I’m also listening to several books, which is necessary when you’re knitting late at night. I started out with Mindy Kaling’s Is Everybody Hanging Out without Me?, but I quickly realized that modern memoirs, which tend to be topical rather than chronological, are hard to listen to when tired because you don’t realize that you’ve dozed off and are listening an hour later than when you last tuned in. So I moved on to Heat Wave, the first novel tie-in to the tv show, Castle.

Yarning Along -- May 7

The socks are my Sock Madness round three pair, Rainbow Pipes and Linen Stitch Sock. While the knitting is done, the embellishment is not. So there remains a bit more to do — icords and buttons — before they’re wearable. Luckily, I’ll be able to work on those at my leisure, as I failed to finish in time to advance to the next round. Next up, a square Rudi would like me to make for a quilt for the family of a friend of his who died.

How about you? What are you knitting or reading? (I’m Yarning Along with Ginny.)

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May 3, 2014

weekend to-do
posted by soe 1:06 am

This is one of those lists where you read it and shake your head and think, “Sprite, there’s no way you’re going to get all that done.” I think so, too, but there’s no way to find out except to plow forward full-steam and not look up until Sunday night to count the casualties.

This weekend I hope to:

  • Finish my Sock Madness Round 3 socks. (This will be particularly challenging when you see the rest of the list.)
  • Put the rest of the early veggies (like peas) and potatoes in the ground at the garden.
  • Get to the library to drop off a few books and to pick up one that’s on hold.
  • Go to a couple embassies (which ones are still to be decided).
  • Attend part of the Funk Parade/Festival on U Street.
  • Stop in at the Meet Market.
  • Get to the farmers market when they first open. (I’ve seen rumors of strawberries, but I know they won’t be plentiful if there are any.)
  • Head up to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
  • Send off rent and a couple belated birthday cards.
  • Do a couple loads of laundry.
  • Get the rug in the living room to dry (post-flood).
  • Deal with at least one bag and one box in the living room (in advance of out-of-town friends visiting next week).
  • Sleep.

How about you? What do you hope to do this weekend?

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May 2, 2014

nap, fresh veg, and yellow
posted by soe 1:08 am

If it’s Thursday, it’s time to share three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Closing my eyes for a bit after an early start to the day and many hours of working with the public.

2. The first asparagus of the season — eaten with Hollandaise sauce.

3. While in Connecticut at the beginning of the month, I bought a cheerful yellow dress. I wore it for the first time Sunday to a wedding reception and got lots of compliments on it, including from the bride, who was similarly attired in a brightly hued outfit.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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