Sarah Jane Humke

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

Generosity January 21, 2011

I have several thank you’s that I need to make for people who have donated sock yarn leftovers to the massive undertaking that is my sock yarn blanket.

First off there is Tini, who sent me a great package with some sock yarn, beads and some candy.  Always a good combo!

Then I also got a package from an Anonymous RAK’er.  See, I belong to a group on Ravelry that is called RAK in Europe (RAK stands for Random Act of Kindness, just for those who didn’t know!) and the idea is to post a list of things that you are wishing for.  They can be physical (in my case sock yarn remnants) or more good feeling (well wishes for something going on in the person’s life).  So, you look over the list and see if there is anything that you can help with and if there is you send off whatever it is that you can help with.  There are no “paybacks”, there is no “requirement” to do anything, it’s just a nice thing to do to help someone out.  Anyway, I joined this group this past month and have had a lot of fun in it so far.  I’ve sent off 3 RAK packages which made me feel really good, and I’ve received 2 (I’m counting Tini’s as one as she is the one that suggested that I join this group!).  This package from the Anonymous RAK’er was completely unexpected, so all the nicer!


Perfect little butterflies of sock yarn!


Now my last thank you is a BIG super-duper-humongous-ginormous-holy-shit-look-at-the-size-of-that-thing one.  Jon from Easyknits said that when I came to his house to help out he would give me some of his tangled skeins and unsold yarns and such from up in the attic.  He said that is was, “a lot”.  I threw a couple of tote bags into my backpack when I was getting ready to go into the city on Wednesday, then I threw in more in “just in case”.  I also had a good-sized shopping bag with Jon’s birthday cake in it (his birthday is shortly before Christmas, but there was snow insanity and plague going on then, so he got it about a month late).  Anyway, Jon filled-up all of the totes, the backpack plus a big blue bag from IKEA!!!!  We were up in his attic and he just kept throwing yarn and fiber at me!!!  It was like a really good dream except that Jon was Jon and not a scantily clad Viggo Mortensen (not that Jon isn’t handsome!!!) (I think that you may have glimpsed a little too far into my head with that dream description!).

I was such a quivering mess of yarn-y-ness that I didn’t take any photos of it all until I had gotten home and unpacked it all.  But you can imagine how interesting it was sherpa-ing all those bags home on trains and tubes was!  Luckily, it was well after rush hour so I didn’t have a million people pushing at me to go faster and the route that Jon’s husband Roy came up with for me to get to Euston station had minimal steps to hike up and down.  I just got a lot of interested looks, not scowls.  Anyway, here is most of it, though I realize that there was also a bag of ends of cones that I didn’t get in this picture!

That big pile in the back? That is all sock yarn.

Some of this is going to be RAK’ed and a bit is going to Finland with me in February, so don’t think that I’m a total greedy pants (well, ok, I am, but I do share!!!)

There was also a ton of Kool-Aid packets that he gave me to play with the undyed yarn with, which I did yesterday for the first time.  Since I was just playing, I wasn’t too worried about how things turned out.  It was a lot of fun (though I needed to add less water to the Kool-Aid dye that I was using to make designs.  Live and learn!) and I managed not to make a complete mess of the kitchen.

Now for all of this yarn-y love, I did do a little bit to help.  Let me tell you sock club members, you are going to love this months colorway and pattern (which I helped to label, so I am very familiar with it!).  It’s perfect for curling-up in front of a fire and knitting during the cold and dark of winter.  Jon is also going to be at Unravel if you want to check out his yarn up close and  in person (as will I hopefully!). (more…)


2nd socks and dog pee…

Since I am pretty sure that she doesn’t read this (at least not in anything close to real-time) due to having an extremely active toddler in the house, I feel that I can post pictures of these without any major repercussions.  It might even be a good thing given how the UK and US postal services have done me this season*.  I will put pictures of her presents up and then I can point to it when she never gets it and say, “this is what you were going to be getting!”  Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that I have finished another pair of socks!  Yea!  Considering that the first pair took me nearly a year to complete, this is moving along quite a lot faster with only about a week for this pair!  They would have been done faster, but I kept having gauge issues for some reason on the second sock.  It kept ending-up significantly smaller than the first one.  Perhaps I was more stressed?  Anyway, here they are (and don’t worry Sarah [if you are in fact reading this], I washed them after modeling them!).

See! Proof that I washed them!

Pink Socks

Yarn: Wetterhoff Sivilla, 30% Silk, 70% Wool.  From my Finnish friends:-)

Pattern: Sock Recipie: A Good, Plain Sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee except for the cuff which is the Prestige Cuff from SWTC Socks a la Carte.

Since finishing the socks I decided to plug away on my sock yarn blanket for a bit.  No photos as it is only a little larger than it was the last time I photographed it, but it is still taking up some time.

I know, I’m just soooooo exciting.

Part of the reason that I am sooooo exciting of late is the dogsitting that I am doing.  It makes it rather difficult to just hop in the car and go somewhere more involved than going to Tesco for groceries.  There are feeding schedules and all sorts of stuff to deal with, not to mention a lovelorn Malcolm whining a LOT because Kali won’t… well, I’m not sure what exactly he wants her to do (they are both responsible pets if-you-know-what-I-mean) but she doesn’t do it while in the house.  Because there are new animals in the house there has been jealousy pees and lots of barking whenever anything happens.  It’s been exasperating to say the least because all of these animals have known each other for years!!!

There you have it, a brief look into the über boring life of mine.

*I mailed seven packages to the US (various parts) on the 20th of December.  I knew that they weren’t going to get there by Christmas, so I used the post type that the postmistress said could take up to 2 weeks to get there.  They are still not there, not a single one of them has been delivered as of today.  {Note to self: Try slightly faster shipping method next time so that they will get gifts in same season at least.}


I nearly forgot! January 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:47 pm

I found a totally cool hat in a charity shop this year.

It is a red cowboy hat with marabou trim, a tiara with light-up jewels and a band that says, “Merry Christmas”.

It is sooo me is it not?

All of this Christmas goodness for only a pound!!!!


Christmas and Pups

So, the application is done and dusted and sent off to Imperial College to pore-over and now I get to work on a few things.  I didn’t really feel right blogging too much when I had this application looming over my head, like a great e-sword of Damocles.  However, it is done and there is nothing more to be done about it now except to wait.

Kali helping finish up the application

First off is Christmas.  So yeah, I’m blogging about Christmas on the 13th of January, big whoop.  It happened in my life and I am going to write about it.  I got lots of lovely presents including many, many books (which always makes me happy) and lots of white cake mix (can’t get it here, thus it is a luxury) and a Phat Fiber box.  Probably the most popular Christmas gift this year though was the little Halogen space heater that the neighbor gave me.  An electric fire (what I’ve been calling it) like that is a good way to bring the entire family together!


And this doesn't count the Martha Stewart mammoth that came later! (Yes, there will be book reviews!)

I had lots of fun opening the Phat Fiber box on Christmas!

Some alpaca fiber from the Phat box with the X-Files set behind

Lots of mini skeins of sock yarn (perfect!) from the Phat fiber box

Little samples of fiber to play with from the Phat box!

We went over to the neighbors for Christmas dinner, which involved a great deal of alcohol.  This is something that the hubby and I picked-up on last year when listening to radio programs and everybody was making jokes about being pissed on Christmas (pissed as in the British meaning of drunk not the American meaning of angry [or, you know, actual peeing]).  I think that this may go a long way to explaining why Santa rides through the village in a sleigh, mounted on a wagon, pulled by a lawn tractor ending-up in the pub.  Yes, you read that right, the Ivinghoe Aston Santa goes to the pub on Christmas, I mean, where else would Santa go after delivering all those presents?!?!?  Anyway, we had a wonderful time with our neighbors and their family.  The highlight of the night was when I got a trivial pursuit question about what cheese is from the  village of Hawes and I let out a whoop (I had had a few at that point) as I actually knew the answer to it!  (It’s Wensleydale Cheese before you all hit the Google).  Before y’all totally roll your eyes, I had spent most of the night listening to them rattle off obscure (at least to me) British historical facts, so the fact that I, an American knew the answer and that they, a room full of well educated Brits didn’t, was quite exciting to me.

(I’ve just re-read the last paragraph and have decided that I need to get a life immediately.)

New Years was quiet, like the hubby and I tend towards.  Neither of us are party animals, so going out on a night when there are tons of drunks wandering about just doesn’t appeal.  We usually stay home and have a fondue party for two.  This year we just did cheese, no chocolate, but it was still good.  Drank a little fizzy drink and then went to bed.  I know, you just can’t keep up with us party animals!!!

The Beacon, sometime around Christmas

Truth be told, the whole holiday season was mostly about chilling-out on the couch watching X-Files (I got the entire series on DVD from the hubby. 2nd most loved present this year!) and knitting.  Oh, the sock yarn blanket has done well!  I am making it large enough to fit over the top of an IKEA king-sized bed. (If anyone has any sock-yarn leftovers that they don’t need anymore they would be well-loved here!)

Milo must investigate the blanket on the bed.

Willma Attacks! Oh God what are we going to do?!?!?!?

Milo decides that everything is better with cat butt. The End.

Since moving here Christmas has become a smaller affair.  Fewer parties (the hubby’s work only does parties for employees, not partners), fewer presents (shipping is just too damn expensive to/from the US!), less decor (no lights outside).  The funny thing is that of all of it I miss getting presents for other people the most.  In the US I would start shopping in January for Christmas.  I LOVE buying and wrapping presents!  It’s about a million times harder here because A.) Everything needs to be physically small to be able to ship it B.) Also not too fragile C.)Things just don’t go on sale or clearance here like they do in the US, thus everything is more expensive too.  I’m not complaining about getting fewer presents, rather about being able to give them.  My favorite year was one that I got a passel of Christmas stockings at the after-after-after Christmas sale (like in February) for mere cents each.  I then filled these stockings up with fun, small things (they were pretty good-sized stockings) and sent them off to my friends.  They were heavy and a bitch to pack, but they were so well received….  I would like to be able to do that again sometime (and I wish that I had taken pictures of the dozen or so stockings that I filled that year!).

This was the bulk of the Christmas shipping this year...

Last week was a week of packages.  I got a book that had been shipped on the 15th of December for Christmas on the 5th of January (yeah, the shipping in this country was that messed up over the holidays! I also got a rockin’ package from my friend Tini in Germany.

This Awesome bag with the totally rocking button that Tini MADE!!

Two books that Tini sent. It was a very cool box (and I have eccentric reading tastes, I know!)

Some Luscious alpaca (I believe) laceweight yarn in a much prettier red than any camera that I have seems to be able to take a photo of

Socks! Tini made me SOCKS!! (there is a picture around here somewhere with them on, just can't find it right now, but they fit PERFECTLY!)

A cute doggie cookie cutter

Candy, tea and tissues. To appease the snot monster???

This year instead of going to Chicago for my annual must-go-somewhere-insanely-cold-for-my-birthday trip, I am going to Finland.  My friend Malin has promised to try to teach me how to cross-country ski (and she says knit socks at the same time, I’m dubious about this idea given my coordination) and that I will get to see lots of snow.  I have my long underwear ready to go!  I don’t leave until the 11th of Feb as I am currently watching the neighbors 2 dogs as well as my 3.  The neighbor gets back on the 11th so that she can walk Mal during the day while I am gone.  I’m quite looking forward to going back to Finland and seeing Malin and Barbro again.

Now, here are some random photos of, what I call, Peace on Earth from an Electric fire and the cute dogginess that is going on around here right now..

Kali and Fluffy, our dogsitting charges for the next month (Kali is Malcolm's "girlfriend")

Weezy REALLY loves the heater

Kali is nervous about the couch as the sectional tends to push apart at that end and she's ended-up on the floor a couple of times already!

The blond sisters. They really are that cute in real life too!

And last but not least, a gratuitous cute Meara shot!