Sarah Jane Humke

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

Lush October 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 6:16 pm
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So today I made this totally lush yarn.

By accident.


I guess that accident isn’t totally correct.  This yarn was made with the remainder of the leftover fibers that I had from Janel Laidman’s spinning class at Knit Nation.  There is (I think) some alpaca and silk, Merino and silk, BLF and silk, and BFL or Merino and Tencel in this yarn.  I had 3 bobbins with these leftovers, one with the alpaca, one with the Tencel and one with the Merino and BFL.  I then did a straight 3 ply of all the singles together.  The Tencel adds some serious shine while the alpaca adds a little bit of halo.  I really can’t wait to see if this blooms some more after I wash it.

To say that this is a seriously lush yarn would be an understatement.  I need to play like this more often as most of the time I think of the fibers that get as sort of individual yarns even though combining them gets me much more interesting yarns as well as more yardage on a single bobbin.

Now I’m going to be eyeing my fiber stash with a lean toward color combos.  Be afraid, be very afraid!


The Package October 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 11:58 am
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Thursday I returned from a really good day at Ally Pally (I’ll write more about it later) with my friend Jon of Easyknits (LOVE the new Twinkle yarn btw) and there was a large package waiting for me in the entryway.  The return address was the retail store of the organizer of Knit Camp.  This wasn’t completely shocking as I had heard of other folks having received their zoodies.  What was surprising was the size of it and that it was much heavier than a single item of clothing would be.

So, I opened it.  Inside was the expected zoodie as well as some other stuff.  Books. Yarn. Fiber.  I’m not completely sure, but in all probably about equal to the amount that the organizer had said that she would reimburse me for Knit Camp.  And its not bad stuff; whomever filled this box did so with some consideration.  All of the yarns are in colors that I would use and like, the fibers likewise.  The books, well, I’m not sure if the person who filled this box checked my Amazon wishlist or not, but the two books were both on there.  This box was thoughtfully filled with me in mind, not just chucked full of junk.

So I’m calling it even, at least financially.  I know that I will never see the money and I would never take it now so long as there are folks so much harder off than I am because of this event.  So, it’s ok.  Not good, not great, but ok.

I do have Knit Camp to thank for a number of things.  I met a ton of new people who share my illness for the wool.  I learned just how much I could take, and still stay smiling (hint: it’s a lot).  I saw just how much someone who is having a good time and is happy can make the folks around them have a better day just for being around them (thanks yummy-mummy for that!).  I questioned the career that I have chosen for myself since it generally doesn’t involve being around people a lot, and I think that I’m pretty good at helping folks (thanks modeknit for that kick-in-the-pants!).  Not to sound all new-age-y on y’all, but I grew as a person.

There it is.  As far as Knit Camp and I are concerned, I’m done.  Knit Camp took up most of my summer, I’ll be damned if it is going to take up my autumn and winter as well!  I will still assist the tutors and employees in any way that I can to help them get what’s owed to them of course.  However, if y’all have some pictures of me there, I would love to see them!  I only took a handful of photos the entire week (it’s hard to take pictures and run at the same time!).


Tutor’s Fund October 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:52 pm
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A fund to help compensate the unpaid tutors at Knit Camp has been set up.  It is being run by an accounting firm in the UK to make sure that everything remains completely above-board and open.  The tutors who were affected are:

Ann Kingstone

Annie Modesitt

Carol Feller

Deb Robson

Debbie Bamford

Debbie Tomkies

Di Gilpin

Donna Druchunas

Ewa Kuniczak

Jane Harrisson

Jared Flood

Jon Dunn

Kate Tetlow

Kerrie Allman

Liz Lovick

Lorilee Beltman

Lucy Neatby

Mary Jane Mucklestone

Nancy Bush

Nancy Marchant

Rebecca Bonser

Sasha Kagan

Woolly Wormhead*

Yeah, it’s basically a who’s-who of the fiber world.

If you would like to contribute, the easiest way to do it is to go to this link on Ravelry.  There are instructions there.  A lot of these folks are paying interest on flights and transport that was never repaid, let alone their mortgages that are late because not getting paid for their teaching that they did.  As famous and glamorous as many of these folks are to us, being a knitwear designer isn’t all that high-paid of a profession.  They can’t afford to have taught these classes for free…

There are also folks that are auctioning things off with the resulting money going to the fund.  The information about those auctions are also on Ravelry.

Fiber folk are some of the most generous folks in the world.  I have met more people who are willing to spend hours knitting or crocheting a garment for someone who they will never probably meet.  These folks you have met either through teaching or reading their books and articles.  Please help, I am have.

*The list is from one posted by Pat Ashforth on Ravelry.


Totally Gratuitous Swag Shots From Shetland October 4, 2010

So, since it seems that my proper Shetland posts are going to take a dogs-life to be written (we crammed a lot into a week!) I figure that I can give you some swag shots to keep y’all happy:-)

Now, as you all know, the whole trip was arranged by Jamieson and Smith, the Shetland Wool Brokers.  So it only makes sense that I got a lot of J&S wool!


This is 3.5 Shetland fleeces from Oliver’s Special Stash for handspinners.  I’ve not taken them out yet as I don’t really have a good place to put them where the Malcolm dog won’t try to eat them.  I would like to take them out of the plastic bags photograph them and store them in a pillowcase or a cloth bag of some sort, but I am rather short of bags at the moment.  So they will stay in the plastic for the moment…

I also got some processed wool from them.  This is 500 grams of Grey Shetland tops.

And I got two of these 500 gram balls of white Shetland Superfine from them as well.  It’s really dreamy to work with…

I also got a skeins/balls of yarn (ahem!).

Firstly, I got enough yardage of J&S 2 Ply Jumper Weight in shade 81 to make Jared Flood’s Girasole Blanket, which I had gotten a signed copy of the pattern at Knit Camp.

I also got an arse load of the J&S 2 Ply Lace yarn, which I am a big fan of.  I got enough in the white to be able to do a fairly large shawl in it and a much smaller amount in the denim blue for a lace scarf.

Sorry about the seriously crappy photo.  It looks like those pictures that people post on ebay that have been done with a scanner.  However, one of the absolutely great things about the ladies at J&S is that they package your yarns and fibers like the apocalypse is coming and they want the yarn to survive it! Thus, it is packaged so well that there is really no good reason to take it out.  Except that it doesn’t photograph well:-)

Anyway, I also got a fair amount of their 1 Ply Cobweb lace yarn.  This I got in Optic, which is a tad lighter than the natural colorway.

I also gave into the siren song of the Aran yarns, buying this cone in a lovely shade of green.  Trust me, the color is much prettier than the photograph!

I also couldn’t resist a cone of the new J&S Shetland Supreme Laceweight.  I got the 2 Ply in Black.

One of the things that greeted us when we got to the hotel on Shetland was lovely goody bags from J&S and Liz Lovick.  Inside was a shade card from J&S (and I bought the other one later from Jamieson’s [though that was the only thing that I got from them!]).

Also in this goody bag was a lovely shawl pin/bookmark from Liz.

The charms on it could all be removed to be used at stitch markers.  Definitely designed by a knitter!

Our hotel was right across the street from The Spiders Web which sells hand and frame knitted items from on the island.  I got a few things there, mostly as gifts for people at home.  However, I did get one thing there for me, a hand-bound blank-book covered in Fair Isle knitting.

Next to the Spiders Web was a little shop selling all sorts of odds and ends, lots of collectibles and things like that.  However, in it there was a totally random adjustable sweater blocker, which I got despite knowing how much of a pain in the butt it was going to be to get home.

One of our favorite shops in Lerwick was the Peerie Shop, which also had (imho) the best cafe in the town at the back of it.  It was filled with quirky, gifty sort of things, but the thing that made it stand out in my mind was the amount of sheepy goods in it compared to other similar shops elsewhere.

I bought this really cool mug with all different breeds of sheep on it, including “Shorn Sheep” and “Mountain Bike Sheep”.  It’s very cute and is now holding pens and pencils by my couch in my room.  It makes me smile whenever I stop to look at it.

The shop also were selling some cotton bags with their store logo on them for a pound.  I couldn’t resist what with their logo being primarily a SHEEP!

While we were out and about there were lots of places with postcards of sheep for sale…

(Yes, I am getting quite a collection of sheepy postcards!)

Lerwick also had an awesome little bookstore with a really nice knitting book section.  I got a couple of books there.

Fair Isle Knitting Patterns: Reproducing the known work of Robert Williamson by Mary Macgregor

And Heirloom Knitting’s Shetland Hap Shawls: Then and Now by Sharon Miller

I also got another small book about Unst’s lace knitting traditions called A Stitch in Time: Unst’s fine lace knitting by the Unst Heritage Trust at the Unst museum.

The Shetland Soap Company makes lovely soaps right in Lerwick where I got a few bars.  They had these wee mini bars that will be perfect for making my yarns smell nice without taking up a lot of space.

And last, but definitely not least, is my new sheep pen:-)


iKnit Weekender (a little late…) October 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 6:14 pm

I went to the iKnit Weekender on the Friday a few weeks ago just to shop and see some friends.  I didn’t take any classes as I was still a tad “knit-out” at that point.  However, I did shop!

First off, I got some lovely yarns from the lovely Jon of Easyknits.  This is the colorway Solider Boy, which I believe is pretty new, in the Merino/Silk blend.  I couldn’t leave the Royal Horticultural Halls without it!

I also got this “Socks seen from Space” colorway called Carousel in the 100% Superwash BFL.

And lastly, I got the colorway Swamp Thing in the BFL as well.

While I was at the Easyknits booth, I also got some patterns from a friend of mine, Marleen of Dutch Knitting Design.  She’s been designing a lot lately using the Easyknits yarns, thus she was in the booth helping out in all of her craziness:-)  I got her book as well as a couple of her individual patterns which I’ve wanted ever since Knit Camp where she taught one of the classes that I took at the last-minute.  She hadn’t been planning on teaching and thus had only brought a few copies of her book and patterns.  She does sell her patterns on her website as well as through Ravelry, but I love how much attention to detail that she has put into her printed copies. I highly recommend her patterns as they are written so clearly that even I can follow them with ease!

I also ended-up with a wee cute tape measure at the Easyknits booth.

There were quite a few people at iKnit that had been at Stirling that I hadn’t had a chance to shop at then.  I didn’t miss my chance this time!  One of those booths was the Textile Garden booth of button-y goodness.  I got a few different batches of buttons and stuff there!

Woolly Wormhead was also floating around signing books, so I got one from her…

Ann Kingstone was there with a booth selling her patterns as well.  The description of the Hartfield design was enough to sell it for me!

The folks from the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop were there selling their wares and I got a few things.

I’ve wanted a shawl pin for a while now, but haven’t been able to get designs that I wanted (I always wait and then someone else gets it!).  I snagged this one post-haste when I saw it!

I also got some Wensleydale rovings in natural colors.

The folks from Herdy were in attendance!

As was iKnit the shop, where I got the newest version of Alice Starmore‘s book Aran Knitting which I had hoped to get signed, but I apparently missed the announcement for over the loudspeakers.

I also got a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Fingerpaints yarn in the colorway Cider House.  I really like their yarns and am glad to see someone carrying them in the UK.

I also got a flick carder as well as a set of Louet Mini Combs, but I have (naughty, naughty me!) forgotten which stand they came from.  This is why I should be better about writing these up as soon as I get home…

Last, but definitely not least, I got some really scrummy superwash Merino roving braids from the Picperfic‘s stand.

It was a really lovely day and I’m glad that I went on the Friday, since it was less busy.  I got to talk with lots of folks and hang-out with Jon and Marleen afterwards, which is always an event guaranteed to have something snorting out your nose!