Sarah Jane Humke

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

Doctor Strangelove April 6, 2012

Today I made an appointment for little Miss Sweetie Pie to get spayed next week.  Since it is warming up rapidly, I want to get her out of my room!!!!! She is a teensy bit destructive and annoying and I am tired of being scratched and bloody (it’s how she shows her affection… purr, purr BITE!). However, I can’t put her outside in her current state as I’m sure that she would be preggers faster than you can say, “What’s your sign baby?”.

What are you lookin' at?

In other news, I will be attending my first fiber festival since being back Stateside.  It’s called Shepherd’s Harvest and it’s held in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.  My mom is going with me and is thinking about taking a weaving class while there.  I’ve never gone to this festival before and I’ve never gone to a fiber event with mom, so this should be interesting on several different levels!  I heard about it because Deb Robson tweeted that she is going to be there and I plan on catching her talk on Saturday night.

I have been hooking and knitting, but that crazy thing called “having a full-time job” has seriously cut into my crafty time.  (Not that I am complaining, I am very happy to have gainful employment, it just means that the crafty doesn’t flow quite a quickly as it was!)  I finished this scrapghan this weekend.

It’s a little different from my usual version in that I experimented with fringe.  I think that it adds a bit of a playful aesthetic to it, but I doubt that I will do it again.  It just got in the way a lot and was really time-consuming in the end.  It’s going to be raffled off by the Ackley American Legion Auxiliary in the coming months as a fundraiser.

Remember this?

I thought for sure that it was headed for the frog pond because I couldn’t find any more of the red yarn.  I looked in Michael’s and JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby and not one of them carried this particular shade of red.  Guess where I found it.  Wal-Mart.  I detest going into that store, but it’s really the only thing sort-of local and while I was in there looking for something else I just moseyed down the yarn aisle and there it was, bright as day, just sitting there!  It’s a good thing I really didn’t want to rip it out as now I have enough yarn to finish the blanket!  Woot woot!  And, I am planning on taking a little weekend trip out to Chicago to see Sarah and her crew in the next few weeks so hopefully I will have it finished by the time I get there and can give it to the little guy in person.  Just in time for summer…


Tricraftual February 8, 2012

I realized that I’ve not really written about what is on my needles, wheel or hook lately.  I’ve actually been pretty good about giving all of my current projects some attention each day.  It’s just worked-out that one is good for waiting time, one is good for watching TV, and one is good for when the other two bore me!

First up is my Kaleidoscope by Dutch Knitting Design.  I’m pleased with the fact that I am past the armholes and they are, you know, holey and that I can actually get my arms through them!  It is going to sound silly, but I’ve never cast-off in the middle of a row and then cast back on again, so the holiness of the arms is a bit of a miracle!   However, once I was past the slightly scary armholes, I was on to the super easy-to-remember lace section which has made this a good purse knitting project.  One row of easy-peasy design knitting and then a row of purls back.  The rest of the body is pretty much made like this, so it will be purse knitting until it doesn’t fit easily in my purse anymore.  It’s being knit out of Noro Silk Garden Sock in colorway S321 and should use two balls of it.

It's upside down. Which sort of makes sense since it is knit top down!

Next up is yet another crocheted baby scrapghan.  The baby that this one is for has already finished her gestation and is fast on her way to holding her head up and rolling over on her own, so I’d best get my butt in gear!

Finally I get to the spinning.  I am doing something that is probably a tad on the crazy side (not fully over there, just edging that way!).  I am spinning the lovely merino/cashmere/nylon blend from BugSnugger that I picked-up at Sticks and String.  I got three-four ounce braids.

Without flash

With Flash

I have divided each of the braids into three sections lengthwise, which I rolled into balls (nine balls).

Balls. She made wooly balls.

I plan on spinning each of those balls separately so that I can do as many or as few plies as I need for the specific projects that I have in mind for this wool.  It is spinning super fine and I got about 66wpi when I measured it so I may need all nine plies if I am to make a worsted weight out of it.  I don’t plan on making all worsted, but maybe some as well as some fingering.  We’ll see how much I end-up with when I am done with it all!  So far I have spun one of the balls and have made good headway into a second.

So very fine...

This bobbin is holding one ball's worth of spun singles.

A post about what I’m working on wouldn’t be complete without an update on my “Forever Stole” which is what I have decided to call it since it is taking me FOREVER to make.  This project, oddly enough, is the one that I take when I know I am going to be in a spectacularly mis-lit location.  It is white, which makes it easy to see and it’s small and portable.  And it’s still chugging along.  Forever….

This isn't a fantastic photo of this stole. However, it was windy and fraking freezing and the damn thing kept wanting to sail away so this is what you get! I will get a better one at a later date I am sure...

And of course, no blog post these days is really complete without a Red photo!


Recalculating… November 23, 2011

So, the plan was to take approximately five and a half skeins of Red Heart Super Saver in “Hot Red” and make a “Cars” (the Disney movie) themed blanket for a Christmas gift.  I’m about halfway through the first skein of yarn and I am only this far along in the blanket:

I know it’s hanging lengthwise, but that is actually the planned width of the blanket not the length.  I think that I am going to have to add yellow stripes.  I mean, the red car has yellow flames on the side of it!  And both parents of said child graduated from Iowa State🙂  Still, this will mean more stash diving which, though much easier than before, is still a pain in the butt.  I would say screw it but then I would have this “Cars” themed fabric in my stash forever!

In better news, the scrapghan for his little sister is pretty much finished:

All I have to do is work in some ends and do some trimming of stray ends and wash it well and it is good to go!


My brother’s goats are funny creatures.

The Billy goat in particular is a creature possessed.  I never fully understood the references to “horny old billy goats” before watching this guy with his sexed-up single-mindedness.

He’s tried to head butt me a few times already (as they are constantly escaping their pen and going walkabout around the farm) but I simply grab him by the horns and steer him away from me.  It’s sort of like bullfighting only with my butt as the red cape and I don’t get to wear the bitchin outfit.  Oh, and there are no deaths involved.  At least not yet.


Christmas WIP’s November 4, 2011

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So, Christmas is fast approaching.  For anyone not believing me, just go into any department store and check-out the Christmas displays and music piping from the ceilings.  Christmas is on it’s way people!

This year, Christmas isn’t going to be a big one for me.  With the move and no job and everything else going on in my life right now, it doesn’t really make sense to go crazy this year, even a little bit.  However, there are a couple of little kids in my life, and I hate for them to not get anything from Auntie Sarah.  One is really too little to care still, but one is right in the beginning of when Christmas is a magical time of the year and Santa is real and all of that wonderful stuff.

Because of the lack of incoming funds and the fact that I have a metric ton* (which is 2,205 lbs for those of you curious) of yarn sitting in a storage unit now I figured that I would make 2 blankets before Christmas.  One is for a small(ish) child (he’s big for his age) and one is for a baby.  I think it’s do-able!  I’ve already gotten not quite a quarter of one of the blankets done (it’s one of my trademark scrapghans) and I have found the yarn and fabric for the other which is more of an accomplishment than it sounds like it should be:-)

Here is the progress on the scrapghan with Malcolm for scale:

And just to be fair (and to torture the dog a bit more:-)) here is the progress on blanket #2:

Please don’t think that I am a total lazy butt as the bed has been made once today already.  Malcolm and Weezy really don’t like it when it’s all nice and flat like that.  Both of them paw and work at it until the entire bed looks like a towel someone threw on the bathroom floor.  Then they are both happy with the bed!  Meara on the other hand just sort of slips under the covers near the pillows, not really disrupting them at all.

All of my knitting has been put on hold for the moment.  My crocheting is faster (I only started that blanket a couple of nights ago) and these need to be done asap, whereas the knitting is all for me and thus can wait for a bit.  I made a trio of dish cloths as well (for the mama of the two kids) prior to starting these blankets, so I’m not turning homo-craftual in case you were worried:-)


*I don’t really have 2,205 lbs of yarn.  I don’t think…


WIP’s and FO’s September 27, 2011

I’ve not given a lot of space here to my knitting and crocheting projects of late as other aspects of my life have taken-up a great deal of my time.  That doesn’t mean, however, that I’ve not been working on anything.  On the contrary, I worked on an afghan right up until the movers packed my yarns!  I decided to call it complete at that point and it ended-up making a splendid blanket for a twin-sized bed.

I made this scrapghan a little differently in that each yarn did 2 complete rows before being changed to the next color rather than stopping and starting wherever I felt like.  This blanket stayed in the UK.

I’m also (still) working on Althea by my lovely friend Marleen van der Vorst.  I’ve been working on this since before Knit Nation, but it has been mostly a project for when I am waiting for something or someone.  So all summer long is got lugged around in my purse getting a few rows knitted before being rudely shoved back into my bag.  Luckily this shawl is at a point where it is pretty easy to stop and start it as there is a huge section that has a very simple couple of rows repeat.

Yes, I took a picture on the dog with the flash. She didn't mind...

Now most of my yarn is somewhere in a container somewhere in the Universe (I don’t really know where all my stuff is at this moment) which means that my sock yarn blanket is on a necessary hiatus.  However, right before I packed-up The Old Chapel I decided to take part in a magic ball “swap” on Ravelry.  I made and mailed the magic ball that I made off right before the moving insanity really took hold.  I wish that I had taken photos of all the stuff that I put in it and what it looked like when done, but I forgot.  However the first full day that I was home I had a package delivered with my magic ball!  It was a lot of fun to unwrap and see all the yarns and goodies that my magic ball-er sent me!  This is how it came wrapped:

And inside the fabric was this:

There were 12 different kinds of yarn in it with oodles of fun goodies inside including a little notebook with repurposed gift cards for the covers, a beautiful handmade stitchmarker and a bar of shampoo.  It was a very nice thing to get to welcome me home.

Obviously, once the blanket reaches these shores the new yarns will be incorporated into it!


Wassup!?! January 3, 2010

One of the managers where I am currently working will quite often greet us worker bees with this odd-for-an-Englishman greeting.  Every time he says it it makes me laugh as it sounds so….. odd, coming from his mouth.  Just think about it for a little bit….

Not a lot has been going on in my life of recent to tell you the truth.  I can’t say that I’m really knitting anything right now other than a sock I have been half-heartedly working on for several weeks (and haven’t gotten past the ribbing). Most of the reason is heartbreak.  One day, after having had Malcolm for only a very little while, I ran over to the neighbor’s house for something.  I wasn’t gone for very long but when I came back, the little project bag that I had been keeping the lace stole in was on the floor, yarn like cobwebbing everywhere and both needles on the circulars were broken.  Mal, who lived up to his name in Latin, had removed the project bag from another bag, opened the closed drawstring top, and proceeded to try to eat my lace stole.  Long story short, I think that it is salvageable, but I’m just yet up to opening that bag and working on it yet (and I need to get a new pair of needles!).

This is the last picture taken with the stole before the unfortunate event. It was taken a couple of months ago when the hubby and I went into London to meet-up with some friends. At least the stole has been very well traveled!

I finished a scrapghan right before Christmas for the neighbors and I have another crocheted blanket in the works, but nothing that I can write about as it is for a gift.

However, I may not be knitting right now (and my poor spinning wheel is gathering some serious dust too!) but I certainly will be this summer!  I am now officially registered for classes at both Knit Nation and UK Knit Camp!!!  Here’s a rundown of what all I’m going to be learning about:

Knit Nation

SPINNING FOR LACE with Janel Laidman, ESTONIAN LACE SAMPLER with Nancy Bush (!!!) and

THE WONDERS OF WOOL: UK with Clara Parkes (double !!!).  I got into all of the classes that I wanted and I’m really looking forward to taking my Ashford Traveler on the train and tube that first morning and watching the looks on peoples faces!
Yesterday I did the sign-ups for Knit Camp and, once again, I got into everything that I wanted.
Knit Camp
The Baby Surprise Jacket with Jared Flood, Rare Breed Wools for Spinners with Deb Robson, Intro to the magic loop with Angela Davis, The Aestlight Shawl and Traditional Shetland shawl construction with Gudrun Johnston and I am also signed up for the tour of the New Lanark Mill on Wednesday afternoon.  I decided on the self-catering option for the accommodations as I am usually a pretty light eater for breakfast and lunch and since it is a University town, I figure that there are probably a fair number of cheap eats in the area.  If there isn’t, please don’t correct me, ok?:-)  Part of the reason that I am so looking forward to all of these events is that I have friends coming to my little(ish) part of the world for both of them.  Tini is coming all the way from Germany for Knit Nation and will be staying with us while she is here (since we are well within commuting distance!) and Malin is traveling from Finland for Knit Camp!   If nothing else, I am looking forward to seeing both of them again!!!
In other news… The department store that I have been working for has asked to extend my contract to work for them until the end of January.  I have decided to take it as it will not interfere with my planned trip to CHICAGO on my birthday.  Yes, the hubby gave me a trip to Chicago for Christmas so that I could go for my traditional time with my friends there (he’s so awesome!).  I’m really looking forward to the trip if for not other reason than to buy a few packages of Stovetop Stuffing which I love dearly but isn’t available here except at the costly American Food Store.  So yes, the travel for this woman (and her knitting projects) is not yet over!

I Wanna PACK!!!!!! August 10, 2009

I keep trying to pack only to find myself stymied by the fact that I am going to need to wear/use some of the items that are still on the list in the remaining 10 days that I am here.  I should be outside enjoying what little I have left of the lovely English summer except that the summer is now being so very English!  Today, much like the past few weeks, has alternated between overcast and drizzly and has been actually kind of windy and cold-ish.  I’m sort of at a loss as to what to do.  The Flower Power afghan has been finished for Cesar and Pam (I wove in the one end this morning), the Feza scarf is done and blocked (there will be a post about that as soon as I can take a picture of the finished scarf [the hubby forgot the data disk for the camera in his computer this morning so no photos today!]) and the other scrapghan is getting to the point where it is unwieldy to work on (also, quite hot).  

So, I have been trying to get my plants ready for my absence.  We did some rearranging in the conservatory to free-up some space.  The violets are now nicely arranged mostly on a couple of shelves which will hopefully make it easier to water them (also, to protect them from kitties who think that they make a nice bed!).  I plan on moving some of the more tender plants that I have outside into the conservatory before I leave and marking those that I want the hubby to move in prior to the first frost.  It’s sort of weird to be thinking about these kind of things in August, but if I don’t, I’ll probably get home to a bunch of plants outside that have been taken by the cold that I wanted to try to keep for next year.  It’s one of my weird superstitions that if I prepare for something to happen, it won’t, but if I don’t prepare, it will.  It is a good chunk of the reason that it is set-up so that if need be, we, the entire family, are able to evacuate at a moments notice.

Me, OCD?  Never….