sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 23, 2012

music on monday: we are young
posted by soe 11:42 pm

The anthemic “We Are Young” by Fun. has been my latest blast and belt song this year:

Turn it up and sing along. I won’t tell.

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into the stacks: the witches
posted by soe 2:58 am

The Witches, by Roald Dahl

From the jacket: “This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches. Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories — but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face to face with The Grand High Witch herself!”

My take: Our eight-year-old orphaned narrator is left in the care of his Norwegian grandmother, who instructs him in a variety of life skills, but most importantly how to spot a witch. A witch is a woman who is bald, lacks toes, and has claws instead of fingernails, a powerful sense of smell, pupils filled with fire and ice, and blue spit. Oh, and she hates children and wants nothing more than to eliminate them from the face of the earth. So when our narrator accidentally finds himself trapped in a ballroom full of witches in Bournemouth, we know he’s in for some trouble. But, it turns out, so are those witches.

For a long time, I thought I didn’t like Roald Dahl books. I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and (I believe) Charlie and the Glass Elevator when I was in sixth grade and I was unimpressed. But then, as an adult, I read The BFG and realized I was wrong. Subsequent readings of Matilda, Boy, and James and the Giant Peach reinforced this conclusion.

So I was excited to read The Witches when I realized it was still on my top 100 unread list.

I’m glad I had that stretch of Dahl books I found charming, because this decidedly went on the so-so list. I mean, it was fine. I can see why lots of people like it. But I didn’t (even with the knitterly addition of using a half-knit sock as a mode of transportation). I think the characters, with the exception of Grandmamma, all felt a little one-dimensional. Dahl villains always are, but for some reason, this protagonist felt less developed than did James or Matilda. Perhaps it’s the lack of a name for our protagonist. Or the dark ending. Or some other reason. But, regardless, The Witches falls a cut below Matilda and The BFG in my book.

Pages: 208

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July 19, 2012

cannoli, hit the showers, and rain
posted by soe 4:54 pm

It’s been a busy week full of fun activities from meals with friends to concerts to Tour de France parties. I can’t wait for the weekend so there’s some time to unwind from it all! But first, I offer you three beautiful things from the past week:

1. We stop for a quick pizza dinner at Pete’s after the Fort Reno concert. Because we were there as they were closing, they offered us cannoli they wanted to get rid of. Who says no to free cannoli?

2. Sopping wet from sweating my way through watching an extra-inning baseball game in temperatures that topped 100 degrees, I head directly into the shower as soon as we bike home. I feel so much more human when I emerge a few minutes later.

3. I am in the garden when Sunday’s clouds finally open up. Instead of the torrential storms Rudi got caught in driving home from the Blue Ridge, I get a relaxing and refreshing summer shower, perfect for planting through.

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

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July 17, 2012

ten on tuesday: happy, everyday things
posted by soe 11:14 pm

Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic is Ten Everyday Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. Snuggling in for a hug with Rudi
  2. Time spent with friends and family
  3. A purring cat (or three) falling asleep on my lap
  4. A hot cup/pot of tea
  5. Books
  6. Music
  7. The ocean
  8. Color
  9. Thunderstorms
  10. Having written something well

If you want to quibble that a few of those things are neither things nor accessible everyday, I offer a few backups:

  1. New Haven-style pizza
  2. Ripe berries
  3. The scent of vanilla
  4. Lying in the sun
  5. Handknit socks

How about you? What makes you happy?

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July 16, 2012

sock ’em, block ’em
posted by soe 2:54 am

Back at the end of May, on the final day of Sock Madness, I finished this pair of socks from earlier in the competition.

Socks Just Grow on Trees, Right?

But it took me a while to block them (dry them in a stretched out fashion to even out the stitches), and then even longer to photograph them.

Mosaica: Close-up

They are knit using the mosaic technique, which means that although the socks are knit using two colors of yarns that you are never actually knitting both colors in the same row. On one row you knit all the stitches that are supposed to be in one color (red, for instance) and you slip from one needle to the next all the stitches that are supposed to be in the other color (white, in this instance).

Sock Madness 2012 - round 4

So while this isn’t fair isle knitting, it is still colorwork and, as such, these are my first finished colorwork objects.



Mosaica, knit with Shibui in ivory and Koigu in P607 and P602 (two very similar but slightly different colorways) with 2.75mm needles.

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July 13, 2012

weekend to do list
posted by soe 11:08 am

It seems like a good time to make a to-do list. Here’s what I hope to accomplish this weekend:

  • Make ice cream. Rudi wants peach. I want cherry vanilla (perhaps with chocolate chips).
  • Make popsicles. Really it’s unnecessary to do both in the same weekend, but I have yogurt and mashed raspberries and that seems to be an ideal combination.
  • Plant. We have some past-their-prime potatoes that need to go into the ground. My initial bean crop has been harvested (just one bean, but it is purple), so I’d like to try a second crop. The dead pea vines need to come out. The strawberry plants over-running the path between my plot and my neighbor’s need to be pulled. We should have some more tomatoes ripening. And the garden’s blackberry bush had plenty of red berries yesterday, so hopefully they’ll blacken over the next couple days.
  • Swim. If the pool is whole again (it was closed today because it sprang a leak), it should be played in.
  • Freeze some fruit. The fridge is full of fruit I’m supposed to do something with. Now is the time.
  • Knit. There are two projects I’m working on right now that I’d like to finish in the next week in order to allow me to cast on a new project to knit during the Olympics with a clean conscience. (Yes, I know no one but me cares how many things I have on the needles at once.)
  • Write. I have postcards to send, cards to mail, book reviews to compose, a document to update, and an email to prepare.
  • Hang out with friends. No one but me knows this right now, but I’m hoping to catch up with some friends. I suppose if they’re all busy, I could catch up with Rudi — maybe at a movie theater.
  • Chores. Laundry needs to be done. There’s a corner of the living room that is starting to attack back. Bills should be paid. A new cell phone ought to be considered. Macaron tasting must be scheduled.

What are you going to do this weekend?

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