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 RenĂ©e 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.

March 7, 2017

early-march weekending
posted by soe 2:03 am

Mural at the MLK branch of the D.C. Public Library

This weekend included a final trip to the main branch of our library, which has now closed for a three-year renovation, to pick up a bunch of dvds to watch during Sock Madness, which began on Friday.

There was a meandering walk home, including a stop at for chaider (a combination of apple cider and chai), potato-Parmesan focaccia, and a clover-shaped spritz cookie. I admired lots of spring flowers and flowering trees, even through the temperatures dropped back to February lows. (It’s good I admired the magnolias while I could. Their flowers literally died on the branch Saturday night.)

Saturday's Lunch

I listened to an audiobook and watched Paper Towns, did chores, and knit.

I bought broccoli at the farmers market and books at my local bookshop’s member sale. I planted arugula, Bibb lettuce, and four types of peas in the garden.

Early March Gardening

I welcomed Rudi home from his penultimate ski coaching trip of the season.

How was your weekend?

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March 3, 2017

live chat, really quite warm, and fat tuesday
posted by soe 3:34 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

Magnolias in front of the Phillips Collection

1. A visit to the main branch of my library during my mid-week #brownbagdc Twitter book club nets me the opportunity to conduct my chatting in person with the three librarians (Jo, Myra, and Esti) who run it. Because the main branch (sadly, the closest branch to my office) is closing on Saturday for three years in order to do extensive renovations, our chat hosts were offering walk-ins as many free books off their Advance Reader cart as we wanted. I restrain myself to two, and we discuss the possibility of an in-person book club meeting later in the year to do a book swap.

2. The unseasonably warm temperatures has had me wearing my early fall clothing (essentially, also my summer clothing, but with short socks and closed-toe shoes, rather than flip flops, and sometimes a shawl if I anticipate getting home after dark) and spending lots of time outside.

3. The most delicious King Cake I’ve ever had (raspberry cream cheese) and sparkly Mardi Gras-themed nails to match.

King Cake and Mardi Gras Nails

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

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.

February 24, 2017

serenade, fluffy face, & unexpected double-header
posted by soe 1:45 am

February Flowers

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. As Dad and I are chatting on the phone Sunday evening, a dozen or so women walk by me outside singing “This Land Is Your Land.”

2. An adorable 6-month-old tawny terrier named General Grant is at the park with his owner. No one is immune to his charms.

3. Volleyball resumed this week after an unintentional three-month respite. My team was expected to provide someone to ref the match following ours (a normal part of our league), and since Rudi was out on a bike ride, I volunteered to be that person. Except that those teams ended up being a player short of being allowed to play, so I was asked to keep score while playing. (The team I was on did win, but I swear it was legit.) It ended up being a fast-paced, good-natured game of four-on-four.

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

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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

destination: me, leftovers, and first flowers
posted by soe 7:24 pm

I’m heading over to help our friends pack before their movers arrive tomorrow, so I thought I’d post this before leaving:

Three beautiful things from my birthday week:

1. My parents drove 8 hours down to visit me, spent 3 hours here, and then drove 8 hours home, just to bring me birthday presents and a chair. Hard not to feel loved when people will spend 16 hours in a car just to spend a little time with you.

2. My coworker had a dinner party on Valentine’s Day and made such a sumptuous feast that her guests had no appetite for the seasonal candy she’d put out. I arrived at work yesterday to find a bag filled with probably a pound of M&M’s and Reese’s hearts waiting on my desk.

3. I spied crocuses on Saturday, a year to the day I saw the first bulbs of the season last year.

First Crocuses of the Season

Neighborhood Crocuses

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

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 3 Comments.