Sarah Jane Humke

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

Random randomness. June 2, 2013

Random has been sort of my catchword of late.  It feels as though my life has become a host of things unrelated to one another except through me.  I could make a concept map to explain this, but I’ll save y’all the horror:-)

I’ve not posted here in a while.  Partially this is because, quite frankly, I was tired of writing.  I write a lot in grad school and by the time I make it home, all I want to do was sit and watch something that didn’t tax my brain powers at all and have dinner.  And knit or crochet, of course. This makes all forms of communication other than texting (short and usually grammatically incorrect, thus fits into the stupid qualifications) rather difficult to find the motivation to engage in.

There were also other things going on that were really too sad to talk about for a while.  My lovely Meara died quite unexpectedly in the middle of December.  This threw me for a lot longer than I even realized.  It may be corny to mourn a dog, but she had been my nearly constant companion for over a decade.

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School got a lot harder this past semester than it had been the previous two.  More graduate level classes as well as T.A.’ing a class that was pretty time intensive.

I have been knitting. Lots of socks:

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These are my “Eye of Jupiter” socks. I used the vanilla pattern from the Yarn Harlot and the yarn I dyed last semester at a Workspace class. They are inspired by the “Eye of Jupiter” paintings that Starbuck painted on BSG.

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Yes, these are my first Monkeys. Knitted mostly on the way to and back from Columbus, Ohio for a conference. Done in Socks that Rock lightweight, unknown colorway (mill-ends grab-bag).

This is how I roll when being driven:-)

This is how I roll when being driven:-)

It wasn’t all socks, there were shawls:

Damask by Kitman Figueroa knitted in Swans Island Pure Blends Collection in Seasmoke.

Damask by Kitman Figueroa knitted in Swans Island Pure Blends Collection in Seasmoke.

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There was a LOT of sock yarn blanket work done! I’m actually running into a real threat of running out of unique sock yarn leftovers! Hence the reason I am suddenly feeling the urge to actually knit socks! I have a lot of sock yarn, but a lot of it is really nice stuff that needs to get knitted into something else and have leftovers used rather than just instantly becoming labeled “leftovers”.  If anyone has any little balls of leftover sock yarn, I will certainly take them off your hands.  I also have a lot of “mini-skeins” that I am willing to trade for new yarns. Just give me a shout!

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Photo taken this afternoon. Trust me, it is a fair bit larger than it was in the first photo!

Photo taken this afternoon. Trust me, it is a fair bit larger than it was in the first photo!

Of course there were baby goats too!  This was a set of twins born to a doe not really interested in them. When I put these photos on Facebook I said,  “You know that you are at an Ag University when this is your Saturday night…”  So, so true! Both of them ended-up in good homes and are happy and healthy (no, I did not keep them long-term in my house. They were there for a weekend!)

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Amongst all of this, I actually did some school work! One of my favorite assignments this past semester was a presentation I did for a technology class on how to incorporate Ravelry into the classroom. I had fun making the display:-)

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Yep, that’s the sockyarn blanket, project bags from various Ravelry meetups, and mini skeins of sockyarn!

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I’m wearing buttons from various meetings and events I have attended. There is also a “concept map” about fiber in the background that I made for another class.

My brother got married in April and he and his fiance (now wife, obviously) decided to do it in St. Marteen. At an all-inclusive resort. Yay!

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Seriously, this was taken in the middle of the day with no editing. That was what the sea looked like from our hotel!

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Happy, happy!

There was a visit to the farm by my roommates dog, Dusty (so NOT a farm dog:-))

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A poster abstract I had submitted got accepted to a national conference. Thus the trip to Columbus, Ohio a couple of weeks ago.

Most of the ISU group at the AAAE National Conference.

Most of the ISU group at the AAAE National Conference.

This was the row of Iowa State posters. We took up an entire row. I'm not sure that any other school did that:-)

This was the row of Iowa State posters. We took up an entire row. I’m not sure that any other school did that:-)

My poster. It was about an energy workshop held for teachers.

My poster. It was about an energy workshop held for teachers.

I even had to go out and get a suit for this conference! Haven't had to look "professional" in a long time!

I even had to go out and get a suit for this conference! Haven’t had to look “professional” in a long time!

This week I found a sewing machine at the side of the road waiting to be hauled away by the garbage collectors. I couldn’t let it happen just for the cabinet alone!

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There is a little spot in the cabinet where you can slide the foot peddle into it and there is a lever that opens out so that you can control it with your knee!

It’s an antique Necchi, which when I did a little research, I found out is an Italian brand that was really mostly known for their industrial machines, but that they also made really excellent machines for the home as well. These still go for $100’s of dollars in working condition, which this one is. They are known as very tough machines.  Yay for me being a garbage hound!  I did replace the power cord, as the one on it looked like it had been melted time and again and made me very nervous.

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So that is a really brief synopsis of what has been going on in my life.  Of course there is a lot that I have left out.  Like how many times I fell on my arse this very long and very snowy winter (a lot). Or how many pages of papers I graded (many hundreds, if not low thousands). Or how many text messages I’ve sent and received (ummmm, don’t want to talk about that….). It’s been busy, but I am hopeful that the summer will allow time for more blogging again.

 

Making me Laugh (Canine Edition) September 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 8:15 pm
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I keep Dog Shaming up on my computer at all times.  It’s amazing just how many different things dogs will eat!  They update it throughout the day so you can keep up with what infractions are going down at all times.

This comic by The Oatmeal made me laugh so hard the dog barked at me.  Which made me laugh harder.

Meara’s utter disdain for the AAAE regional conference proceedings that I have spent so much time today ignoring her in favor of.

What’s making you smile today?

 

College Life-Moving August 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 4:57 pm
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One of the things that I seem to remember about college the first time around was all the moves that I made.  In about a year and a half, I moved 5 times.  Which isn’t even a lot for some students.  I remember one girl telling me that she moved 5 times her first year in school as she couldn’t get along with any of her roommates (at what point do you start wondering if it isn’t actually them and is really you???).  So, this week is my first move.  I know that I will have at least 1 more in the coming 2 years as this move is only until the end of the Spring semester.  I don’t know if I will have to find another place in Ames for the summer because I don’t know if I am taking summer classes or not (I’m hoping towards not, so I can work over the summer and not pay rent).

So, since I have to be ready to move out of my current apartment by Tuesday at 9:30 am I have lots of crates of stuff stacked in my room currently.  I have sorted things that I will need in this new place (Meara’s crate and treats and such, she’s moving with me!) from things that I don’t need (dishes and the like for example, it comes with a fully kitted-out kitchen).  Yesterday afternoon, I went over to my storage unit and wrestled 2 of my (many, many, many, many) bookshelves out complete with the shelves that fit in them.  I’m not certain that they will both fit in the new place, but it was easier to get them both out now rather than just get one and try to get the other one out later.  I’m not taking a huge amount of furniture with me.  It’s a little bedroom and there is already a dresser and a desk there.  Just a twin bed, the bookshelves, a fan, a bedside stand, and Meara’s crate.  I may take a trunk later if there is still space, but that can always fit in the car.  I’ve got black, plastic crates that look like these (though not nearly so colorful) that should fit under my bed to store things like out of season clothes and extra supplies.  For those interested, I got the crates for $1.99 each at a local garden center.  They get their bare-root perennials shipped in them and then sell the crates in the spring and summer.  They are cheap and seriously strong and great for things in the garden or the workshop too!  I will take a picture when I get everything set-up.  Hopefully.

However, before I can enjoy the excitement of moving into a new place I have to finish with the drudgery of getting out of the old place.  I have gone through an entire can of Pledge furniture polish cleaning all the wooden surfaces in the apartment.  I’m about half-way through the second one at this point!  I’ve scrubbed the tub and shower and blitzed the oven interior and even pledged the inside and outside of all the cabinets in the place.  I still need to do floors both vacuuming and mopping, as well as the windows (there aren’t that many of those luckily).  But the biggest issue is getting the couch out!  My roommate left in a hurry (long story, but not bad in any way) and now the behemoth is mine and I have to figure out how to get it out of here…  Sigh.

The next week:

I’m now moved into my new place.  Meara and her new roomie (a little boy dog) are getting along remarkably well.  England was good for chilling her the heck out.  Before England (B.E.) this move wouldn’t have gone well at all with her getting seriously bent out of shape by a strange dog being in her space.  Now, as long as he doesn’t take her bone or try to get on the bed when she’s there, she could really care less.  Which is good.  As I write, he’s camped-out under the desk between my feet and she’s snoozing on the bed in front of the fan.  My new room is a little smaller than the one that I moved from, but I get to have Meara here, so an ok trade in my opinion.  Here’s what the room looks like.

Yes, I use a bookshelf for a headboard for my bed. The lower shelves that are covered by the bed are used for spare blankets and things that don’t get used very often. I can still get to them pretty easily as it is only a twin bed.

I really prefer to be able to look out a window when I am at a desk. I’ve brought a much better chair since I took this picture.

The dresser matching the bookshelves wasn’t planned, but it worked out well. Meara’s crate is at the foot of my bed and now my spinning wheel is behind it (not in this photo obviously).

The desk and dresser both came with the room and everything else is mine.  The room is on the North-East side of the house, so I have good, but not overpowering sunshine.  I really like having morning sun as I think it helps me to wake the heck up!

 

Finished! January 31, 2012

I have been working on Althea by Dutch Knitting Design otherwise known as my friend Marleen Van der Vorst.  I started this at Woolfest on either the 24th or the 25th of June.  Well, that’s not exactly correct as I started this yarn as a different pattern but quickly decided to use Marleen‘s pattern instead.  I hauled this shawlette to Knit Nation with me where very little got done on it.  However, I felt that I needed to show Marleen the progress that I was making on one of her patterns.  Then I am pretty sure that I didn’t show it to her at all.

This project rode in my checked baggage on the airplane home, only to be ignored for weeks on end in favor of Christmas projects and spinning.  I packed it into the big white van and it rode to Florida with me to deal with the house and not one stitch was added to it.  Finally (finally!) it got packed to go to Sticks and String this past weekend with me which is where we made a connection.

I know everyone always says this, but it’s amazing how fast a project goes when you actually work on it!

At the beginning of the weekend, it still looked more or less like this:

By the end of last night it looked like this:

The finish was exciting on this one.  I had this tiny ball of only 3 grams left over and that was after deciding to not do the last row of patterned knitting!

I gave it a bath in Soak last night and pinned it out early this morning.  My blocking board is packed somewhere in the storage unit along with my pins so I sort of had to improvise.  That’s ok, I’m pretty good at improvising!  This is a cedar chest that is under about 10 layers of blankets with a non-slip rug pad under them all.  This princess and the pea set-up is to keep Malcolm and the rest of the crew from scratching the top as they look out the window.  On top of all these blankets is a massive towel that my mom sewed out of 3 smaller towels way back in the day to put on the seat of a couch (which we no longer have).  I usually use it as a dog towel, but it was pressed into service as a pinning base today.   There was no way I was getting a picture of this shawl today without Sweetie Pie in the picture in all of her adolescent glory.  She’s actually waiting for me to throw her toy so that she can go fetch it.  For real, this cat plays fetch.

I didn’t have my fancy quilting pins (in storage as well) so I used a random pack of safety pins.  They worked ok!  The little gold ones were the best for pinning out the points.  When I have all of my blocking supplies together I will give this puppy a much stricter blocking, but this works for now!

And here is what it looks like now, blocked and fully finished!  It turned out much larger than I expected.  I knit and knit and knit on this and it took 97 grams out of 100 in the skein and I, for some crazy reason, thought that it was going to be a lot smaller than it turned out to be.  You would think that by now I would have a goodly grasp on the idea that more yarn (usually)=More knitted item.  I’m actually quite pleased with how large it is.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one aspect of Marleen’s patterns that I just love!  She makes them in these little booklets that fit perfectly inside the plastic bags that they come in.  This means that you can just turn to the proper page in the pattern and pop it back into the bag.  My patterns usually end-up looking (quite frankly) like a hot mess by the time that I am done knitting the project.  They’ve been folded and refolded and stuffed into a bag so the ends are all curly, you get the idea!  This particular pattern has more than a few miles on it.  It’s been stuffed into my purse for weeks on end (never a good thing!), packed into suitcases and carry-on bags, the works.  It still looks wonderful all protected by the plastic bag even after a LOT of abuse.  The pattern contains both charted and fully written-out directions as well as multiple color pictures of various aspects of the garment.  How many times have you knit something and wished that you could see how it was put together, not just on a super skinny model?  Well, Marleen’s patterns have them!  I know I sound all gushy about a pattern, but really, when you see something like this done the way it should be done it’s hard not to get a little verklempt!

So here, with no more ado, are the glamor shots of the finished and blocked shawl!

Obviously no pictures of me wearing it as it is difficult (to say the least) to take a flattering shot of yourself by yourself from behind.  However, it goes all the way down my back to the top of my jeans.

Pattern: Althea by Dutch Knitting Design

Yarn: Supreme Sock by Yarn Addict in Earth.  50% Merino, 50% Silk. 97 grams used.

 

A Day January 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 5:54 pm
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Moon over Iowa farmland

Meara says, "I'm cuter than that stinky goat!".

Mama Cat in full squirted milk action

Half the pictures don't show her tongue! It's amazing how little milk she usually gets on her face with this method of consumption!

 

A short walk on a cold winter day December 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 11:33 am
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I took Malcolm and Micheal down to the creek today for their walk.  Meara and Weezy were originally excited by the idea but quickly changed their minds when they understood just how cold the wind was.

The snow from yesterday has stuck around making the cold seem appropriate.  It also causes the landscape to appear a tad less harsh.

The creek is only partially frozen.  There is still moving water in parts of it while it is completely frozen over in other areas.

The sun tried valiantly to overcome the winter gloom.

Malcolm wears his “please don’t shoot me hunters, I’m a dog” vest every time we go further than the front yard now.  There are often many shots heard from deer hunters in all directions.  There “shouldn’t” be any hunters on the land we are walking on, but I feel better with him geared-up like this.  Plus it makes him a lot easier to find in this brown/white landscape!

Sweetie Pie wanted to know where the heck we had been when we got back!

 

Thanksgiving November 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 5:02 pm
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May you all have had as much nose-licking good food as you want this Thanksgiving!