Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Who’s in the Time-out Corner? November 23, 2008

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Several folks have asked what I am working on lately.  So I am going to have a WIP’s post today.  To give a full accounting, I will also put projects that are currently in the “time-out” corner in here.

#1 WIP in time-out is the super secret blanket that I still cannot put a picture of it up.  This one has been in time-out for some time now and really needs to come out of it because it is due in a few weeks. It is just hard for me to even look at it since I have started it from the beginning now 3 times.  Personally, I think that it should be made a law that people cannot graduate from a State school at the same time of the year as Christmas is going down.  It is just wrong and inhumane to those of us who care for these folks and want to celebrate both things!

#2 WIP in time-out is a “quick and easy scarf”.  I mostly made this one on my trip to Chicago a while back.  The reason that it got put into the time-out corner is that it used a little more yarn than it was supposed to and I ran out of the edging color quite a ways from the end of the scarf.  Still haven’t quite decided what to do to this one and am not in a big hurry for it since it has no due date.


#3 WIP  Yet another traveling baby blanket!  I finished the last one that was made out of I Love This Cotton! and I am now back to Bernat Cotton Tots.  This one also has no due date.


#4 WIP  This one is a Christmas gift for a good friend of mine.  I am putting it up here since he knows that he is getting it and, in fact, has been getting periodic updates on it’s progress.  Yes, it is another scrapghan.  What can I say, I like making them!


(Weezy likes me to make them too!)

#5 WIP This is a blanket that I have been commissioned to do by some friends of mine in return for windowsills in the house.  It is made up of octagons instead of squares and is a lot easier to make than it looks.  This one will get done some time after Christmas as we are still deciding on colors.


Only 5 WIP’s, not too bad for me…  Oh, and I have to do the ends and trims for 2 more scrapghans before Christmas for the various parents.  I’ll have pictures of those after the holidays.


Mild to Moderately Miserable November 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 7:29 pm

I have been battling a moderate sinus infection since Wednesday.  Even with the cutting edge drugs that are available in this world, it is still a pretty miserable state to be in.  Everything sounds horrid and food smells awful.  It is a good way to lose some weight I guess.

However, I have had some fun in my life of late.  I got a tetanus shot on Wednesday!  No, seriously, I went with the Hookers to Go Green for the Holidays.  Sort of a holiday open house with 8 different businesses in College Park participating.  They had pedicabs to transport people between the various businesses.


They had tasty treats and lovely drinks….



They had lots of discounts and specials.  They were even giving out massages!


As usual, I forgot to take pictures after a fairly brief period.  I totally missed the girling-out at the Beauty Spot with my camera.  However, when we found out that they were doing complimentary massages, hand treatments, EYEBROWS, and things like that we basically camped out there.  They were also selling gift certificates for a massage, pedi and manicure, and a facial for $60 which we were all immediately lined-up for.  I got my brows done.



Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of your own eyebrows?  Let me tell you, it’s pretty damn hard!  Go ahead! Try it, I dare you!  Send them to me if you manage to take one…..

Anyway, it was a really fun night and Lily should get major kudos for planning it!img_1563

Lily baby, this one is for you……..




Ok, fine. November 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 11:52 pm
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Here are some pictures of fleece washing.  Very glamorous, no?


So there.  I was able to take pictures of the inside of the washing machine without dropping the camera into it.


Wash Day! November 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 8:03 pm
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So, I am finally washing the fleeces.  I decided to use the lower work method using the washing machine.  I had to turn up the temperature on the hot water heater, I figured that out after the test batch.  The lanolin in that handful sort of laughed at me like, “You need to bring it better than that toots!”.  So I turned up the heat and promptly forgot about it until I tried to wash some dishes. After dropping a handful of scalding hot silverware with such a loud racket that I awoke some of the hibernating cats around the house.  Jiji actually came out to complain with lots of meowing and licking her paw. Doh!  Anyway, there aren’t any pictures as washing fleece isn’t all that picturesque (you try taking a picture of the inside of a washing machine without dropping the camera into the water or something equally as stupid).  Plus, it’s a couple of old pillowcases in dirty water.  How very exciting…..

However, I haven’t made any felted footballs and the test batch was quite a lot cleaner.  I am getting more confident that I can actually take this matted, greasy, dirty, kinda smelly fleece and turn it into some yarn!  I am not sure how long the carding is going to take however…..

The reason that I decided to start washing the fleeces is simple.  The longer that you wait to wash them the harder it gets.  The lanolin actually solidifies and becomes much more difficult to remove.  I also decided that I needed to also get this done prior to the move to the UK.  Moving a few stinky fleeces into the UK may be a little more work than I want, just as moving the three parrotlets is proving to be more complicated than initially expected.  Just as the CITES permit for the birds is nearly in grasp, I am told that I need a special permit in order to fly them out of Orlando.  WHAT?!?!?!  Why wasn’t this mentioned ANYWHERE ELSE!?!?!  And I still have to get a permit from the UK equivalent of the USDA.  Let me tell you, it is a lot easier to take non-feathered pets with you than your feathered ones.  Still, I continue to slog through it all.

It was downright chilly when I woke-up this morning.  If was 55 degrees in the house when I got up, the birds were deeply not happy about this state of affairs.  I had all 4 cats and 2 dogs on the bed making it actually quite cozy.  I was amazed that the cats were able to call a cease-fire for that long of a period of time!  Now, if only they can figure out how to clean the litter box………


Wicked Fun Weekend!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:43 am
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So, the Friday night lift-off of the shuttle was easily the best one that I have seen in my decade here in Central Florida.  It was just a little bit cloudy, so the flames coming out of the back seemed sort of magnified.  It really looked like a small sun rising especially in the first second or two.  Here is a link to see some pictures of it from the NASA site.  It was great, most of my neighborhood was out on the street watching it take off.  I’m really glad that I took the time to go out and see it since it will probably be my last here.  And, it is among the last missions that will ever go up as they are closing down the shuttle funding to work on a different way to get folks into space.  

Last night I went to a barbecue at Lily’s house.  I got to meet her great friends and family, hang-out with a few of the hookers, and eat an insane amount of meat!  Oh My GOD they had a LOT of food.  I was so busy eating that I didn’t take any pictures.  Of course.  I took a cake from B & K Bakery that, as usual, had everyone very excited.  These are the same folks that made the wedding cake for Tech Support and I’s wedding.  They were applauded when they came to take the plate back to the bakery!  Anyway, if you are ever in the area, I highly suggest that you check them out.  Anyway, it didn’t rain like the forecasters had been threatening for last night but it did cool down, which was kinda nice.  It was a great night and I had a lot of fun.

Afterwards, I did a little spinning to try to calm me down to go to be.  I finished the bobbin!


This trying to do a little each night before going to bed works really well I have to say!


Today I am going to try to do some more cleaning and laundry.  I just gave all of the cats and dogs that I could get a hold of their flea treatment.  Milo escaped to the outdoors so she will get hers when she comes back in.

Oh, before I went to the party last night, I went shoe shopping!  Now, anyone who knows me will know that I hate clothing shopping, and that includes shoes, with a passion.  But yesterday I HAD to get a new pair of tennis shoes for work.  The ones that I was wearing were letting water in through the bottom.  Not a good thing when you work in a greenhouse where you are walking through water a lot.  Plus, all of the support was shot in them and ever since my knee surgery I’ve found that I can’t wear shoes until they fall apart quite as much as I used to.  So, I went to Sports Authority since they had a pretty good Veterans Day sale going on.  They had some shoes for $29 which I thought was a pretty good deal.  Then, I got there.  They had a TON of clearance shoes!  I ended-up getting these tennis shoes for the gym for $19.


And these Nike hiking shoes for work for $29.


And these waterproof hiking BOOTS for England for $39!


Plus I got a long sleeved Columbia shirt for $14 and I had a coupon for $25 off a $100 purchase.  It was easily one of the best shopping times I’ve ever had!

Tonight I visited the Big Blue Box.  They were having a one year anniversary party/sale.  Free meals (ummm, sweetballs) and a $20 gift card for a $100 purchase.  Baby, my Billy needs some accessories!  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for that shade of blue:-)


Keepin’ Busy November 14, 2008

This is what I did last night after the Happy Hookers meet-up.


I started spinning up some of the rovings that I bought at Rhinebeck.


The name of this colorway is “Sage” and I only have half a pound of it.  It is (I believe) 100% merino wool.  I am not sure that I like spinning merino.  I am sure that this is some sort of sacrilege to say, but it just doesn’t flow like some of the other wools.  I now understand why I had so much trouble maintaining a single when I was learning to spin as this is what I was learning on.  However, the single already feels like silk….


It is interesting to spin because it isn’t just green.  It also has bits of pink in it, even some yellow.

Coming from reading Amy O’Neill Houck’s blog The Hook and I, I may have found the pattern that pushes me over the edge.  The one that will make me want to try knitting yet again.  She has just had a pattern put put by Twist Collective and I took a look around.  That is where I came upon sylvi.

Oh my God.  I am totally in LOVE with this sweater.  I feel like such a slutty traitor for desperately wanting to make this design.  One of the limitations of crochet, in my opinion, is that this type of design always comes out looking sort of, well, odd.  Cables and crochet are like geese and tequila (well, for that matter, most anything and tequila except maybe strawberries) not a great mix.   I am going to hold off until I go to the UK to try the whole knitting thing.  The last thing I need on my plate at this time is yet another thing that baffles and frustrates me:-)

In some totally unrelated new.  I was just told by my mother that my little brother will begin his second deployment in 2010 (I know it sounds like a long way off, but it is way less than 2 years away).  His first deployment was to Iraq and he was gone for about 15 months.  This time is will be to Kosovo for peacekeeping.  As a big sister, I like this assignment a lot better!  However, it is hard on my family as my brother helps out with the farm a lot now that my dad is getting older.  It also means that he will miss a lot of time from his job, which is super supportive of it’s National Guard members.  At least by that time the hubby and I will be in the UK, so we will be able to go visit him pretty easily and he will be able to come hang with us during his breaks if he wants to.  So that will be pretty cool.  At least, thank God, he isn’t going back to Iraq or Afghanistan.  I hope that very soon no ones little brother, or son, or husband will have to go back to either of these places.

So, I have a timer set so that I can tune to the local NPR station to listen and watch the space shuttle take off tonight.  They are carrying stuff to do a little fixing up in the International Space Station.  Night launches are always the coolest since they are the easiest to see this far out.  Godspeed astronauts, y’all have bigger ones than I ever will….


I will think of Blue Faced Leicester when I see kilos November 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:37 pm
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So, while I was in the UK the last time I bought a bag of oatmeal colored Blue Faced Leicester roving.  I bought a half a kilo of it, thinking that was the closest that I could easily get to them selling me a pound of the stuff. Half a kilo is about 1.1 pounds.  So, this has been what I have been spinning for the last, well, forever.  Spinning has been a little neglected of late due to the whole Christmas-is-hurtling-through-the-calendar-faster-than-Santa-on-his-supersonic-sleigh thing as well as the whole moving-to-another-country-lots-of-paperwork thing and the usual I-have-2-jobs-and-go-to-school thing.  The wheel actually had dust on it.  Anyway, last night I was removing the roving from Milo’s mouth for the umpteenth time (she thinks it’s tasty, until, that is,  she can’t get it out of her mouth because it is stuck in her teeth) and I decided to just go and spin the rest of it.  There wasn’t really that much left and it took me a few hours, but the never ending bag of Blue Faced Leicester has finally ended!  I made up 2 pretty good sized skeins of the stuff with what was left.  Here is the one that I soaked and hung last night:


Here is the one that I finished plying this morning, still on the niddy noddy:


I am so glad that the never ending bag of wool is done.  If for nothing else, I don’t have to worry about Milo walking around with a pseudo beard of wool hanging out of her mouth.  It freaks me out!

Now, I just need to wash all the fleeces that I got at Rhinebeck.  That, however, is an adventure for another day……