sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 11, 2019


tour de france unraveling
posted by soe 1:39 am

Tour de France KAL Unraveling

Yes, Corey is awake in this picture, although he’d been sleeping shortly before. No, he didn’t go after the yarn. Yes, he is a good kitten and I told him so.

I have made it through the first section of my Tour de France knitalong shawl, which I have nicknamed Forever in Bike Shorts.

There has been some tinking, when I screwed up the pattern stitch and couldn’t figure out how to fix a knit-1-below stitch I’d dropped down to repair. But it was relatively straightforward getting it back on the needles, although I definitely would prefer not to repeat that once there are several hundred stitches on my needles, rather than just several dozen. I should definitely not attempt to knit on this while sleeping.

I did not end up picking either of the yarns I showed you on Sunday, nor the next one I tried the following day. But then, while hunting for something else, I came across this baggie of yarn I had unraveled from a sock-in-progress that had been attacked by a moth several years back. It’s Neighborhood Fibers in Dupont Circle and works really well with the Iris. (It has some purple variegation over the pink, so even when the MadTosh bleeds — the strong smell of vinegar suggests it will — it shouldn’t be a problem.) I’m excited to get to the mosaic section, although I admit that the skein now being in 12 balls ranging from a few yards to 200-300 yards is probably not quite ideal. But I will make it work because I am going to love the hell out of this thing when it’s done.

Much of my knitting thus far has been done not to bike racing on tv, but to the audiobook of Christina Uss’ The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle, a middle-grade novel I started listening to in May, then had it expire on me as I was about halfway through. Bicycle grew up in a Nearly Silent Monastery in D.C. and instead of getting on a bus to go to a Friendship Factory the way her guardian intended (because she had a poor record of making friends herself), she took herself off on a cross-country bike ride to meet her cycling hero in San Francisco.

When my hands aren’t occupied, I’m still reading Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors and Red, White, and Royal Blue. I’m about halfway through both. I need to finish the former by this weekend, because otherwise I’ll have to pay the library for returning it so late.

Want to see what other folks are reading and crafting? Head to As Kat Knits to check out her round-up!

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July 10, 2019


summer planning
posted by soe 1:55 am

It’s already a third of the way through the second month of summer, which means next week is roughly the midway point of the meteorological (as opposed to astronomical) season. I might not be failing at summer, but I’m definitely flailing a bit, which is probably indicative of where my head is these days.

Rudi and I fixed our air conditioner, which is great, because comfortable sleeping. But pleasant daytime temperatures in the apartment during our recent heat wave have made me a little loathe to leave it, sometimes even on the nicer days, and that’s not good for me. So I thought I’d brainstorm a little about things that I haven’t done this summer yet that I’d like to.

Here are then things that still seem totally reasonable to do this summer:

  1. Go to the beach. I miss the ocean desperately.
  2. Go home. I have spent the least amount of time ever in my life with my family and friends back home this year. Not being here in the event of a job interview has stressed me out tremendously, but it’s not like I couldn’t just come back early, right?
  3. Watch an outdoor movie.
  4. Attend an outdoor concert. We were going to go to Fort Reno last night, but the four inches of water D.C. received yesterday morning made the prospect very muddy.
  5. Check out the suffrage exhibitions around town. The National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the National Portrait Gallery all have have shows on right now about the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.
  6. Picnic. I mean, how hard is it to pack a supper to eat outside?
  7. Attend a Tour de France watching party. The danger of going to parties in Rudi’s social circle is that Rudi knows everyone and it’s impossible to extricate him without him having conversations with every bloody person in the room. If I just for a little while and plan to leave without him, I’m hoping I’ll find that less frustrating.
  8. Claim my first summer reading prizes. Reading is the only thing I’m reasonably successful at right now, so I have prizes waiting for me in Virginia and at my local D.C. branch.
  9. Try Jamaican and Filipino flavors of ice cream at regional shops.
  10. Attend the National Book Festival, which is on the final day of August.

Stretch goal: Adopt a new member of the family. Since Jeremiah died, we’ve been a one-cat family. Corey has a lot of personality and we aren’t fully sure about how adding a new cat to the mix will go, but he has lived with up to three other cats in our apartment without too much fur flying, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. We’d like to have a second cat again, so we’re hoping when the Humane Rescue Alliance has their next clear-the-shelter event (or, you know, we attend our next wedding), we’ll be able to take advantage of it.

What do you hope the rest of your summer includes?

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July 9, 2019


favorite found families
posted by soe 1:39 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to invent our own topic relating to book characters. I thought I’d share ten of my favorite found families of literature — the ones who are brought together by fortune or happenstance, rather than blood, à la Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Sherlock and Watson (in any of their iterations):

  1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: Shared location
  2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows: Shared location/interests
  3. Night Circus by Erin Morganstern: Coworkers
  4. The Illuminae Files trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: Shared nemesis
  5. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: Classmates/Shared abilities
  6. Check, Please!: #Hockey, Vol. 1 by Ngozi Ukaza: Teammates
  7. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: Shared nemesis
  8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: Shared location
  9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: Shared location
  10. Geekerella by Ashley Poston: Coworkers

How about you? Have you enjoyed any books that center around found families?

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July 8, 2019


tour de france knitalong
posted by soe 1:56 am

The Tour de France Knitalong, which runs concurrently with the bike race, has commenced, and I have decided on a knitting pattern:

4-Ever in Blue Jeans by Cally Monster

I knew I wanted to use some purple sparkly MadTosh Sock (colorway: Iris) Rudi gave me this winter for the solid color, and Rudi and I scoured my stash for something that would be a good contrast color.

Holi Festival, also by Madelinetosh, was, somewhat reluctantly, what I settled on. I think the white base is too white, and, frankly, I suspect the purple will run, which might be fine or not, depending on how it goes.

While looking for the right needles, I stumbled across a skein I’d started a sock in that seemed like it also might work. It has gotten separated somehow from its ballband, but I’m nearly positive it’s Araucania Itata Multy, a wool-silk-bamboo rayon blend. Because it contains silk, the kinkiness where I’d knit with it seems to have flattened this end of the yarn a bit, but where I haven’t worked it yet, it looks similar to the MadTosh.

I did a bit of a swatch:

TDFKAL Swatch

The Holi Festival skein is used at the bottom and follows the pattern exactly, but it was making my swatch double in size, so I bound off all the extra stitches and sort of approximated things at the top for the Araucania just to get it done.

What do you guys think? In the morning I’ll rip out both and start knitting with my purple yarn. I’ll have a bunch of rows before I make a commitment for that second yarn, so feel free to weigh in if you have thoughts (including if your thought is to go stash diving again).

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July 7, 2019


storm clouds
posted by soe 12:26 pm

Whoops! This didn’t post last night. Anyway…

Storm Clouds

As we were walking home from the pool and the garden this afternoon, we noticed the storm clouds overtaking the sun in a dramatic fashion. This is taken from Massachusetts looking west over Embassy Row.

Within 20 minutes, the winds were approaching gale force and sheets of water were pouring from the sky, obscuring the buildings across the road from us, with loud cracks of thunder overhead. It was a delightful time to be inside, and I truly appreciated our cozy Burrow.

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July 6, 2019


post-fourth weekend planning
posted by soe 1:29 am

Evening's Light

Rudi and I started off our weekend well with a surprising text from friends who were home and wondering if we wanted to see a film. We watched Echoes in the Canyon, a documentary by and starring Jakob Dylan about the early days of the music scene in Laurel Canyon in L.A., and then went out for drinks to catch up. It was a nice way to begin the weekend, and I hope it will continue pleasantly and include some of the following:

  • Swimming.
  • Watching the Tour de France and knitting. (More details on the latter tomorrow.)
  • Following the World Cup final. I caught some of the opening round matches, so I think it might be okay if I watch Sunday’s, but if they start doing poorly, clearly I’ll have to abort the plan.
  • Working on some job hunt-related things.
  • Baking.
  • Doing laundry.
  • Planting beans and harvesting mint in the garden.
  • Drinking home-brewed iced tea (Our current flavor is Hibiscus Raspberry Currant) in Arnold Palmers and maybe making daiquiris.
  • Dancing to upbeat music. (I don’t do this often enough.)
  • Phoning a couple friends to mark major life events.

How about you? What do you hope your weekend will hold?

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