Sarah Jane Humke

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

I Will Drink From the Keg of Glory! June 29, 2013

I finished the first men’s sock last night.  It felt like it took forever and not in a good way!  I switched to grey for the “toe” as I was worried about having enough for the second sock.

Keg

This weekend is pretty quiet here.  Everyone I know is pretty much out of town.  I have homework (check), grocery shopping (check), cleaning (sorta check), and prepacking for the move.  You know, getting boxes together, finding packing materials, deciding what goes where, that sort of thing.

A low-key weekend. Maybe I’ll go hit that keg of glory now…

 

 

On Becoming a Knitting Cliché June 6, 2013

So, yeah…  I get the addictive nature of the Monkey socks now.  I already want to cast-on the next pair and I’m not done with this pair yet!  It’s sort of like when I was still smoking (yes, I used to smoke. I quit. It’s bad for you, don’t start it!) when I would want another cigarette before I had even finished the one I was smoking. Knitting Monkeys is kinda like that…

cliche3

I even have the yarn for the next two pairs balled up at this point, just waiting to get cast-on.

Both are Socks that Rock lightweight in mill ends colors (aka, I don't know the colors:-))

Both are Socks that Rock lightweight in mill ends colors (aka, I don’t know the colors:-))

It really is a sickness. Get used to seeing Monkey’s on here for a while!

In other news, I now have a place to live come the end of July.  Yay! I’m not going to be homeless!  Also, it allows dogs (note on the plural there) so I will be able to have both Weezy and Malcolm living with me next year.  I have a feeling that this means that the bromance ongoing between my father and Malcolm will cool a little bit and hopefully I’ll be able to get Mal back down to his proper weight.  Maybe in working on doing so, I will bring me back to down to my proper weight as well!

This has been a really scary year so far weather-wise across a huge chunk of the US.  For the folks in Oklahoma, it’s been heartbreaking.  It feels as though every time we turn around, there’s another round of severe weather heading their way, making the clean-up from what they’ve already gotten even more difficult.  There’s a really great knitting pattern book that’s been put together to aid the folks devastated by the tornadoes in Oklahoma.  It’s called k*tog and it contains 20 patterns including: 4 patterns for socks, 4 patterns for scarves or cowls, a vest, a cardigan, 2 hats, 4 shawls, a baby cocoon, some toys and a pair of fingerless mitts.  It’s $20 and ALL of the proceeds from it go to the folks in Oklahoma.  Honestly folks, even if you only knit a couple of the patterns in it it’s still a great deal. I mean, $20 for 20 patterns. Go, get it here if you haven’t already!

This weekend is the Iowa Sheep and Wool festival in Adel, Iowa.  I will be attending and taking a class on Saturday morning about Angora rabbits. How to care for them and how to spin their wool. Should be… fluffy:-)  I will be doing some stuff with my guild as well which is always fun!  If you are in the area I would strongly encourage you to come and check out the wooliness!

 

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!

 

I’ve missed you too… July 13, 2012

The past 6 weeks or so have been unbelievably hectic for me.  I am, for all intents and purposes, living in two places.  I feel like I am moving on a weekly basis as I pack-up clothes and kit and go from the apartment to the farm, farm to the apartment.  Between these commutes, I have a LOT of driving for my job.  Nearly 400 miles a week at one point.

But my work has only been part of what has kept me from the blog.  Another part has been applying and getting accepted to graduate school (again).  I am working on my Master’s degree in Agricultural Education.  The specific degree that I am seeking is a non-thesis one, which will allow me to get my teaching credentials so that I can teach at a high school or 2 year college when I am done.  I started off taking a class already this summer in Ag Mechanics.  I have already had classes in nearly every other area that I needed for this degree except for agricultural mechanics.  So, that’s how I ended-up becoming a Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician this summer.  Also, I did a lot of welding.  I really love welding, so that part wasn’t too bad, especially since we were getting to play with practically brand-new Miller welders!  I found out that I have a gift for a type of oxy-acytelene that I had never gotten to play with.  But small engines?  Argh!  I usually can’t even get a lawn mower started!  However, I did well in the class despite my issues with engines in the past and now I probably could diagnose a problem even if I still can’t get it started:-)  Also, I now have a rockin’ welding mask to call my own as well as a bunch of other necessary safety equipment.

Since I will be starting to go to school full-time in the autumn, I also had to find a new place to live as my apartment lease is up at the end of July.  I have found a place where I can even take Meara with me(!!) that is near the Vet Med college at Iowa State. So, in addition to my weekly ‘moving’, I am actually moving at the end of the month.

I’ve also been gardening, but the massive heat wave that we’ve had here has made it pretty difficult to do.  Since I am working in greenhouses and we’ve had multiple days where it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside when I am at home the very last thing on this earth that I want to do is to go outside into the heat.  For anything.  So the garden got a little neglected and weedy.  The worst is the back garden which is the thistle patch from HELL right now.  However, the tomatoes have started fruiting and we are staring down a tomatopalooza coming in the next couple of weeks as the Roma tomatoes all start becoming ripe.  Also, a onionpalooza, but that isn’t as scary to me.

I’ve done a little knitting and crochet lately.  Mostly it seems like I am working on baby blankets.  There are a passel of babies being born to friends of mine in the next couple of months so I need to get hooking!  I’ve also been doing a little knitting on my sock yarn blanket for which I have been faithfully collecting new and different types of sock yarn.  If anyone out there is looking for a trading partner for mini skeins of yarn for a sock yarn blanket, give me a shout.  I have a LOT:-)

But I haven’t forgotten about y’all in all of this insanity.  I have a massive backlog of photos that I need to sort through and show you.  Hopefully, I will get started on that this weekend.  Since I don’t really have that started yet, I give you a gratuitous Sweetie Pie shot.

 

Elf on Strike December 22, 2011

So I have started my spinning again.  I couldn’t for the first few weeks that I was here because the wheel was in transport.  Then once it got here I needed to find the rest of the bits of it as they were packed away in the bewilderingly labeled boxes.  By the time that I finally found them, it was time for Christmas knitting and crochet!

 

Which I am now avoiding by spinning.

I had a hard time deciding what I was going to spin but finally I settled on this:

 

It’s from Easyknits and it’s called Winter Berry.  It’s 80% Superfine Merino and 20% Black Diamond (Carbonized Bamboo).  I think that this was a club fiber and it is really lovely to spin.  My night-time photo doesn’t show it very well, but it’s a lovely blend of grey, a dusky blue and red.

 

So, you might be wondering, what is it that has me avoiding it so strongly?  It is this:

Yes, this is the “Cars” themed blanket that seems like A.) it sucks down yarn faster than a cargo van sucks down gas driving into a 30mph headwind B.) it is doomed in its current incarnation (mostly because of A.).  I started on this blanket in my usual fashion which in this case meant asking my mom how big a 3-4 year-old is.  I asked her because she’s had 2 of them and I’ve had none at this point.  After getting to see said child this week, I realized that this blanket would (in its current incarnation) be too large for him to carry.  Doh.  A shocking lack of knowledge about small children strikes again!

In completely unrelated news (other than, you know, it’s the Christmas season thus winter here in the Northern Hemisphere) it snowed last night.

This is one of those pretty, white dusting snows rather than the last one which was just confused rain.

Snow makes everything prettier, even Micheal!

The view of town.

Have a great day!

 

Unit November 1, 2011

Last Thursday my container arrived in Central Iowa.  I had found out the day before that it had been sitting in Cedar Rapids for several days as no one seemed to have contact information for me.  Also, it had been inspected by customs and I had a nearly $500 charge that I needed to pay before I could get at my stuff.

I didn’t take a picture of the container though I wish that I had.  It said in very big letters something like Mexicanana International on it.  I have to admit, had I been a customs person just seeing it I would have wanted to inspect it myself.  Anyway, the truck came with 4 guys to unload it into the storage unit.  Now, I have half a storage unit, the other half looks like it has grandma and grandpa’s detritus that none of the kids or grandkids wanted and is waiting to be sold off at auction or garage sale.  It’s very tidily arranged on tables or planks put across saw horses and labeled with things like, “Grandma’s telephone and sewing supplies”, or “Grandpa’s BBQ equipment”.  The tables and saw horses are precisely lined-up along the line in the concrete floor which denotes the middle of the storage space.

This is what it looked like at about 9am on Thursday morning as you entered the door.

And this is from the back of the space.

To give you perspective it’s about 30′ long by about 10′ wide and around 8′ tall where the roof meets the walls.  This was what it looked like after the guys left on Thursday from the door.

And from the back (as far back as I could get!).

And from a slightly different perspective…

I’m thankful for the movers on this end for taking the bubble wrap off of all the large plastic crates for me.  However, I had to open dozens of large boxes to get all the Deli-Cat and cat litter buckets out.  They packed them anywhere from 2 to 4 to a box as well as all the bags of wool and yarn.  Their labeling of the boxes was more than a little esoteric and creative.  More than one box labeled with “clothing” was found to contain yarn or even books.  Some of the boxes were labeled only with what was on the very top of the box, even if it comprised only a very small percentage of what the box contained. This has made finding the half a dozen things that I really wanted to get out sort of like a very bizarre Christmas where I’m battling open boxes taped very securely (I will say this for them, they didn’t skimp on tape or bubble wrap!) to find my own belongings in extremely odd groupings.  My bathroom stuff sharing a box with a tambourine and other musical instruments or a whole passel of shoes from the bedroom with kitchen equipment (that last one was labeled “dishes”).

While naked, I look as though I was trying to be a leopard for Halloween as I have that many bruises randomly marring my legs and arms.  My hands are completely unladylike as nearly every knuckle has been scraped raw.  Speaking of unladylike, the popping of my knees and creaking of my ankles as I stand or sit would make a proper lady check that the floorboards weren’t about to break.  Moving heavy boxes and furniture from 8′ in the air has really left its mark on me these past days.

While we were unloading, the guys were on the lookout for any boxes labeled “conservatory” or “pots” as all the pots were not put into the storage space as well as my shed parts and spinning wheel.  Oh and the sofa, can’t forget that!  I had driven Dad’s cargo van over and it was full when I left with a few things blocking the walking space in the storage unit for me to pick-up the next day.

The shed was a bit of an adventure as I had all the parts for it except the special plastic bolts that hold the whole thing together.  They were all carefully labeled and put into a 2.5 gallon zipper bag which ended-up getting put into a plastic crate that I thought had yarn in it.  I only found them today and had been going over plans to somehow lash the shed together without them at this point.  However, I was looking for yarn (stop laughing! It was specific yarn for a Christmas project!) and I opened this not-yarn container and voila! there they were.  I also found the yarn (I think it’s the same color as Lighting McQueen.  I’m not all that up on Disney characters.  It’s red at least!) so today was a total win in the “adventures-in-finding-stuff-in-a-solidly-packed-30′-storage-unit”.

I also built a shed today.

Rawr!

 

 

Adventures in Moving: Day 3 September 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 2:07 pm
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6:30am Milo the insane cat wakes me up with scratching and meowing at the bedroom door.  She is definitely freaked out by this move.  Hopefully the movers will be able to clear the spare bedroom completely today so that I could open up the attic for her to go up into.  The attic is her favorite place in the world and where she feels safest.  And where I know she won’t be tempted to dart out the front door in a frenzy of fear.

9am Movers are here again.  I feel as though they will finish quite early today as they are whipping through what is left quite quickly.

10:30am Ventured out from the bedroom hole-up during the guys break.  The house feels unnaturally hollow and echo-y.  Malcolm luxuriated in being able to really stretch out and pranced about a bit to celebrate. I forget that he’s not ever seen the house empty.

11:30am Realized that one of the big problems with wrapping everything so thoroughly is that it is going to be wickedly difficult to tell what’s what at a glance and also how heavy it would be.  Also, how fragile it will be.  They are putting my massive clay pots into boxes.  Hmmm.

Noon  Now I get why people always talk about losing items during a move.  This is the first move that I’ve not packed for myself and already I am missing several things.  I’m sure it will only get worse.

12:45pm The movers are gone.  The fit the last of the items into their big truck and left.  The house seems very, very big suddenly.  Malcolm’s crate is gone, so he is a free range chicken for a while so to speak.

 

Tomorrow I am planning on heading into the city to see Jon of EasyKnits one more time and to kind of, I don’t know, say goodbye to London.