Sarah Jane Humke

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

New Additions to the Library July 2, 2016

I recently added three new books to my fiber library that I am so excited about I just had to share.

First is the book Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions by Donna Druchunas and June L. Hall.  First off, can I get a WOW just for the book itself.  Beautifully bound, well photographed and high-quality printing makes this book stand out amongst knitting books in general.  Now I’m a sucker for a knitting book that isn’t all just patterns.  I find that often the stories shared in them are just as inspiring as the patterns.  As far as I am concerned, Lithuanian Knitting sets the standard for the “Not just a knitting pattern book”  genre.  The writing is excellent as well as the selected patterns.  I cannot suggest this book strongly enough if you are interested in the history and the continuing relevance of knitting in a country known for its knitting traditions.  Get it, you won’t be disappointed.

Books 2

The second book is Icelandic Handknits by Hélène Magnússon.  This is another beautifully presented book with excellent photography and lovely printing and binding.  There isn’t as much introduction to this book, but I love the little stories within the patterns spread throughout the book.  Reading this one has made me even more excited about my very short time in Iceland in the autumn.

Books 1

The final book that I have added to my library is The Book of Haps edited by Kate Davies and Jen Arnall-Culliford.  I’m rather a big fan of most things Shetlandic, so when I saw that this book was coming out, I decided I really must get it.  It starts with a brief history of shawls and haps and how the terminology changed throughout the years.  It then moves on to patterns for various types of haps inspired by the various locations of the pattern writers.  Every single pattern is beautiful in its own way.  Some weave WAY off the path of what you would consider a “hap”, but all the patterns are completely wearable and totally lovely.

books 4


Book Review: Knitting Around March 10, 2010

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So, as I am sure that some of you astute readers of mine have noticed, this is one of the books that I got last month when I was in Chicago.  I think that I now have all of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s published books.  Knitting Around is part knitting book, part personal history with both parts deeply interwoven by EZ’s distinctive writing style which is one part instructional and many parts conversational.  Reading any EZ book is like having a talk with a good friend about life and knitting.  The patterns are all written in the EZ style, meaning that you can adapt them twenty ways to Sunday and more than likely, no two of any pattern will ever approach being the same.  The reason for this is simple, EZ wanted knitters to master knitting and not patterns, a goal I am fully behind.  As a person who approached knitting from a crochet background, it has always irked me how slavishly knitters seem tied to their patterns.  But EZ tried to break that habit with some very unconventionally written knitting books.

I mentioned at the beginning that this book is part personal history and that was (quite honestly) the part that I found most interesting.  She predates her own birth to tell us about the family that she was born into, giving us an interesting picture of the family that she was born into.  Then, going through her childhood as the oldest of 3 daughters, she tells the tale of her life through the war and her courtship to a German man.  EZ then moves into her life as an immigrant to the US and the difficulties that she and her small, then larger family faced.  Finally, we come to the schoolhouse, which is still the centerpiece of Schoolhouse Press, the business that her daughter Meg still runs to this day.  It’s a fascinating story and one that makes me glad for purchasing the book, even if I never knit a single pattern in it.

I give Knitting Around 4 and 1/2 yarn balls.


I (Heart) Mailman June 16, 2009

There is really nothing much better than getting real mail and the past 2 days have been most excellent for that here at The Old Chapel.  Monday I received my graduation pictures from Florida.  Still haven’t gotten my diploma yet, but that’s ok.  Anyway, I had ordered a package with four 5X7’s in it to share with the family.  I’m keeping one and the other three are going to get sent out as soon as I can get to the post office.  I also got a lovely letter from my friend Sarah Jane.  It is always just so good to get an actually snail mail letter.  Don’t get me wrong, e-mail and phone calls are nice as well but there really isn’t anything to compare to an actual hand written letter mailed to you with actual stamps.

Today, I got a package from my friend Tini in Germany.  She sent me a couple of books that she thought that I could use:



I know, I'm such a big fan of Debbie's and I didn't have this book!

I know, I'm such a big fan of Debbie's and I didn't have this book!

She also sent CHOCOLATE!!!!


Always accepted into the Chapel!

Always accepted into the Chapel!

 And to top it off, she sent the note written on the back of a Tori Amos postcard.  Does this woman have my number or WHAT?!?!


There is a package going out to her today so check out her blog to see what I sent her!

So, I did a bit of a stupid.  I sort of knit a few too many rows on my sock before I stopped to count it and now I am going to have to frog, well, a lot of rows.  Here’s what it looks like currently:


Oh well.  Now I get to learn about frogging with knitting!

Edited later to add:

Holy crap!  There were stitch markers in that package as well!  Tini mentioned them in an e-mail and I went, “Huh?  Stitch markers?  Better go check the packaging again.” and voila! there they were!  Such a cool package!


Three little stitch markers sittin' in a row

Three little stitch markers sittin' in a row