sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 25, 2020

sometimes on a tuesday…
posted by soe 2:01 am

You share finished knitwear. (Usually, though it’s Friday.)


Before you all get excited, I finished this shawl in 2018. I’ve worn it a handful of times, although mostly only for fancier occasions.


This is Andrea’s Shawl by Kirsten Kapur. I started it for the Tour de France and Ravellenic Games in 2016, and it only took me 18 months to finish.


I have no idea what the two yarns are. I have their labels in some knitting bag and will update this post (or, at least, my Ravelry project page) when I next stumble across them. I do know I bought all three skeins (two pink and one blue-green, both different brands) at Looped (the yarn shop around the corner from the Burrow) specifically for this project.


Similarly, I have also neglected to record what size needles I knit this with. What did I record, you might ask? Good question!


I did not alter the shape of the shawl from how it was written, which is slightly diamond-shaped. I had meant to, but then forgot and decided not to rip out, but just to keep going with it. I’m glad I didn’t bother, since I was able to block it to only be mildly angular at the top, and it adds a bit of interest to the neckline.

In general, it has the prettiest border of anything I’ve ever made. It was so pretty that I bought a shawl pin to go with it before I’d even finished knitting it.


The shawl pin is a Rajkovich Design (now Silver Siren Designs). And they do go together perfectly!


Stay tuned for modeled shots of shawls finished in 2019 and 2020!

Category: knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.

March 24, 2020

top ten tuesday: cookbooks
posted by soe 1:13 am

So, here’s the thing: I don’t actually do a lot of cooking. And even my baking is way less than I think it should be. But … I love buying cookbooks. I am a sucker for them! It’s gotten bad enough that I now force myself to take them out of the library and won’t let myself buy a copy unless we’ve made a recipe out of them.

But, at the moment, no one’s libraries are still open. (That’s true, right? Chicago finally closed theirs, right?) And we’re all stress baking. So, if you need a new cookbook, let me give you some recommendations (and a link to one of my local bookstores, which will ship them to you for free through the end of the month).

So, here are ten of my favorite cookbooks, with thanks to That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesdays:

  1. Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book — Hands down, my absolutely most-used baking book.
  2. Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden & Martha Holmberg — A great option if you eat seasonally and lots of veg.
  3. Teeny’s Tour of Pies by Teeny Lamothe — Teeny is a local baker who wrote a cookbook where you can make mini pies in cupcake tins
  4. The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu Jaber — Actually more of a foodie memoir, but with Middle Eastern-American recipes at the end of each chapter, including my favorite hummus recipe.
  5. Electric Bread by Suzan Nightingale — My favorite cookbook for my breadmaker.
  6. Any Moosewood cookbook — Honestly, I buy these any time I see them at a used bookstore, which isn’t as often as you’d think, in part because their recipes are straightforward, vegetarian, and well loved and, therefore, home cooks don’t often part with their copies.
  7. Laura Werlin’s Great Grilled Cheese — Okay, so this is less great cookbook and more just inspiration in a book when I’m wanting melty cheese in a different way (brie with apricot jam, for instance).
  8. Perfect Pops by Charity Ferreira — Popsicles are very comforting and can be made while you sleep.
  9. The Joy of Cooking — Because sometimes you just need an all-purpose, no nonsense cookbook to give you the bare basics.
  10. My grandmother’s collection of recipes — Sorry. You won’t find this in the bookshop, but it is one of my most treasured possessions.

I have not cooked from either of these cookbooks, but they would be next on my list to buy: José Andres’ and Matt Gouldings’ Vegetables Unleashed (it’s only a matter of time before he adds Nobel Peace Prize winner to his resume) and The Hot Bread Kitchen by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez (all bread products originated by the women who have trained/work at this NYC immigrant-friendly bakery). I have read all the recipes in the latter and would absolutely bake my way front to back.

How about you? What are your favorite cookbooks/baking books?

Category: books. There is/are 8 Comments.

March 23, 2020

cherry blossoms, corona virus edition
posted by soe 1:21 am

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

You may have heard (honestly, I have no idea what the press outside the region is reporting about this) that people are stupid and still flocked to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin here in D.C.

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Earlier in the week, I had given some thought to riding my bike down to the area and doing a loop of Hains Point (it’s an island adjacent to the Tidal Basin) just to see the blossoms. But the fact that there were enough people down there to be newsworthy made that seem like a stupid idea, because people park at Hains Point and walk over to the Tidal Basin. Or they just drive their car around Hains Point to admire the view from their windshield. But either way, that didn’t seem like it would make social distancing possible unless I fancied going in the dark, which seemed like it would defeat the whole idea of going. So I didn’t.

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

However, while the Tidal Basin is home to the most famous of D.C.’s cherry trees groupings, we actually have quite a few elsewhere in the city, including at Rose Park, which is just a few blocks away.

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

So, I biked over there, and while there were people about, they were obviously locals who were mostly sensibly keeping their distance from one another.

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

So here’s this spring’s batch of cherry blossom shots (they were slightly past prime today and now it’s raining, so this will be the best I can offer).

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Rose Park's Cherry Blossoms

Category: dc life. There is/are 1 Comment.

March 22, 2020

from my garden to you
posted by soe 1:33 am


Category: garden. There is/are 3 Comments.

March 21, 2020

social distancing plans
posted by soe 12:05 am

Here are two dozen ways I’m thinking Rudi and I can get through what now looks potentially like another month of social distancing:

  1. Ride our bikes places where other people aren’t. Obviously this will be other people’s plans as well, so we’ll have to think like a Sicilian.

  2. Clean the Burrow. I’ve mentioned it before, but the Burrow has gotten rather untidy, particularly after all of this winter’s travel. Also, it would be great to be able to take conference calls someplace besides my bed. And to work at my desk if I so desired.
  3. Garden. I’m going to go put in my pea supports this weekend on the chance that they tell us we must shelter in place at some point soon. Hopefully that way my garden will be able to limp through until I’m allowed to get back to it.
  4. Learn to make pasta.
  5. Learn to make macarons. (Mum has given me the means to do both.)
  6. Restring my ukulele and figure out how to play “Happy Birthday.”
  7. Buy a plant and keep it alive.
  8. Keep the sourdough starter I was gifted today alive and make bread from it.
  9. Call family and friends every couple of days.
  10. Journal.
  11. Read a lot.
  12. Check out some tv series we’ve always meant to watch, like Parks & Recreation, The Good Place, and Gilmore Girls.
  13. Fix our butcher block.
  14. Go through some of the food we’ve stored for a while. I feel like we maybe have equal parts dried beans and frozen strawberries. I don’t think they should go into the same dish.
  15. Visit the park every day until they tell us not to.
  16. Write letters. Because then maybe people will write back.
  17. Knit something big, but not overly hard.
  18. Learn to knit brioche.
  19. Recatalogue our music, books, and yarn.
  20. Take part in online socializing.
  21. Switch out my winter wardrobe for my summer one.
  22. Assemble material to donate once that’s allowed again.
  23. Get art up on our walls.
  24. Get caught up on book reviews here on the blog. (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

Okay. That seems like a good start.

What are you hoping to do with all your time at home?

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 3 Comments.

March 20, 2020

solid, outside for now, and seasonal change
posted by soe 1:44 am


With the world burning down around us, it seems especially important to find the pockets of good in our days. Here are three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Rudi’s mom and her house seem to have weathered the 5.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Salt Lake City earlier this week and its aftershocks relatively unscathed.

2. While more and more places are closed here in D.C., we are not yet on lockdown the way they are now in California. At midday I walked around the block and stopped at the bank to stock up on quarters for the washing machine. And we’ve been ending each evening up at the park, where we sit until we hear “Taps” wafting through the neighborhood from the Naval Observatory. Lots of other neighbors are doing the same thing, but while the dogs refuse to keep their distance, the people are relatively good about engaging in the social distancing that’s been prescribed to us all. (Rudi and I are hanging out in the gated section of the park, where the dogs aren’t supposed to be, just to be super diligent.)

3. The Vernal Equinox occurred just before midnight our time this evening, which means, despite everything, spring has arrived.

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

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