sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 1, 2022

eventide, the library, and lively fountain
posted by soe 1:09 am

Sunset over the WWII Memorial

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. As my friend Katie and I were cycling between our game and the bar, we passed through the grove next to the D.C. War Memorial, which was sprinkled with fireflies. When we emerged onto the Mall sidewalk, we were greeted with the most amazing sunset.

2. My favorite Nationals player, pitcher Sean Doolittle, is also a big reader, and he was invited by the Library of Congress to take part in a public chat with Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress. Rudi, my friend Sarah, and her friend all got tickets, but Rudi and I went early to tour the building, since Rudi had never been. As a special treat, the Reading Room was open to the public. You could hear the angels singing.

3. The gnats drove Rudi and me away from the Capitol Reflecting Pool and off the Mall. On Pennsylvania Avenue, the Mellon Fountain was running so briskly as to keep the bugs at bay. We rested next to it for a good 15 minutes, soaking in the cool air, before continuing our walk home.

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

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June 29, 2022

tour de france knitalong: winnowing down the choices
posted by soe 1:55 am

The Tour de France and its corresponding knitalong begin on Friday, and, as usual, I’m down to the wire on making a decision. I thought I’d see what folks thought of some of these shawl patterns, all of which could be made from yarn in my stash:

From Summer to Fall uses 3 colors, with lots of garter stitch and sections of lace.

I have knit two Cally Monster shawls for Tour de France projects — 4-Ever in Blue Jeans, which I wear all the time, and my latest finish, Fully Charged. I considered Love Grows Here several years back, but decided against it that year. For the main color, I could either use the lilac I’d suggested at the time or the two mirrored shawl balls in gradients of green my parents gave me for my birthday this year.

I keep talking about learning how to knit brioche, and now could be as good a time as any, with something like Sylvan Tales Shawl, Sukha (which uses mohair as one of the yarns) or, more simply, the Feel Good Shawl.

Stripe Study is a two-color shawl, which would work well with some of the gradients I have.


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June 28, 2022

top ten books on my summer 2022 tbr list
posted by soe 1:22 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl asks us to share the top ten books we’re excited to read this season.

I love these quarterly looks ahead at what we’re planning to read, even if I’m not excellent at executing them (I’ve read two from this spring’s list and should finish two others this week). But what are lists like this for if not for an aspirational jumping off place?

So here are ten books I’m hoping to cross off my list before summer ends:

  1. Wayward Son, by Rainbow Rowell (Rudi gave me this as a Christmas present during the pandemic, and then I wanted to wait and reread Carry On before starting the sequel. I have yet to stumble across where I put it. Obviously the only answer is to take the first book out of the library, so I can get on to the second one, which is set on a summer break roadtrip, one of my favorite tropes in YA literature.)
  2. The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray features another of my favorite tropes — retellings/reimaginings of classic literature — set as a whodunit during a summer garden party.
  3. Flying Solo by Linda Holmes (Being from southern New England, I have a biased view of Maine as a summer vacation spot, which makes this feel like a prime season to read Holmes’ sophomore novel.)
  4. When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (A speculative fiction adult novel by one of my favorite middle-grade authors would be an easy yes in any season, but I’m hoping it’s a little bit of a balm in a post-Roe world (how it physically hurts to type that!).)
  5. Ashley Poston’s The Dead Romantics is her first foray into adult romance novelwriting, and I’m excited to see her succeed!
  6. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi is definitely a more serious romance, but has been well-received by people whose taste I tend to appreciate.
  7. People We Meet on Vacation or Beach Read by Emily Henry (Honestly, I’m not particular which of Henry’s previous two works I read. They’re both set during the summer and feature readers, and I am in. Plus, it should be at least a little easier to get one of these than her most recent book.)
  8. Rebecca Serle’s One Italian Summer is another setting that seems obvious for listening to while working in the garden or sipping a strawberry daiquiri in the park.
  9. Steven Rowley’s The Guncle (short for gay uncle) looks hilarious and heartbreaking in turns.
  10. Queer Ducks (and Other Animals) by Eliot Schrefer gives a scientific answer to that stupid question from when I was growing up: “If being gay were natural, wouldn’t animals be gay?”

What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?

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June 27, 2022

people-filled weekending
posted by soe 1:37 am

My weekend was lovely, filled with many of the people I love best in D.C.

Friday night, six of us who used start our summer weekends together pre-pandemic returned to Yards Park for a concert and picnic. As one of them noted, we’re going on 20 years of friendship, which seems like a surprising number given we were brought together by volunteering for a political campaign.

Saturday afternoon, I got a chance to play volleyball for a couple hours, which was nice. Then I headed out for the evening to a friend’s engagement party. Turns out my volleyball teammates are happy to hang until the wee hours, because most of us didn’t leave until going on 1 a.m.

We also had a friend in town from London, whom Rudi spent most of his weekend with. But I caught up with them for supper tonight. We hadn’t seen him in person in 14 years, but would catch up for video chats at the Super Bowl and on other occasions. (He called us the night of the 2016 election to offer his condolences.)

Honestly, I love weekends like this. I love spending time with friends and having something to do each night, even if I need to recharge a bit the next day.

How was your weekend?

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June 24, 2022

pick your own, good combination, and unstained
posted by soe 1:53 am

Rainy Day Blueberry Picking

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Blueberry picking the day after a substantial rainfall is a very satisfying thing because it’s usually a relatively easy harvest. Apparently not many people want to go out in the mud.

2. I started listening to Aristotle and Dante Dive into the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz while driving out to the farm today. It’s read by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also read the first book.

3. I wore a pair of red wicking underwear under my oatmeal-colored shorts to play volleyball in and discovered that they turned significant patches of my shorts pink. Rudi took to them with some Oxiclean yesterday morning, and got the stains out for me.

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

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June 23, 2022

fo reveal: fully charged
posted by soe 1:50 am

Fully Charged

I gave you a preview of my Fully Charged shawl, designed by Cally Monster, while it was blocking a few weeks ago. This weekend I took it to Connecticut to get a few glamour shots.

Fully Charged

I’m pleased with the result, although ended up being reminded once again that colors play weird tricks.

The combination, super bright on their own, have the effect of toning each of them down. The pink yarn is Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors in Hot Mama and the green is Kelbourne Woolens Perennial in Neon Lime. But without the contrast of the yellow shirt, I think it looks more red and yellow than neon pink and green.

Fully Charged Detail

It’s good to have last year’s Tour de France knitalong project done and dusted before this year’s race begins on July 1.

Fully Charged

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