Sarah Jane Humke

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

I value my fingers February 23, 2015

So, in case you haven’t guessed, it’s winter around here.  There’s not a whole lot going on that I haven’t already talked about.  Or maybe I should really put it this way, there’s not a lot going on that I feel that I can talk about yet.  Yes, that means that there are plans and ideas taking shape but none of them are solid enough yet to write them down here.  Though once they are, well, y’all are never going to hear the end of them!  But for this moment, I’m keeping quiet.

What is going on is more spinning and knitting.  Just because it’s cold enough to freeze nose hair outside doesn’t mean that I actually hibernate.  Also, nearly everyone I love in my life is born in the winter, thus making the life of a knitter who loves to make gifts a little more stressful.  I really need to work on working on birthday presents in July more!  The one that I can show you presently is still in its yarn state, which is hand spun so I still get some credit for it.  It’s for the boyfriend for his birthday (which is this week *ahem*) and he’s already seen it so no spoilers here.

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It’s a 3-ply yarn that ended-up being somewhere between a heavy fingering and a light DK weight.  It’s spun from some Shetland tops that I purchased while I was there from Jamieson and Smith.  It’s lovely, lovely stuff.  Very squishy.  Not overly soft, I would describe it as having a slightly crisp handle.  I gave the boyfriend a number of choices of yarn for his hat.IMG_0091

But in the end, he had exceptional taste (if I do say so myself) and chose the tops.

There are other projects that I am working on in the background that I cannot show on here as they would be spoilers.  One of the bad things about knitting for gift giving I guess:-)

The sock yarn blanket has grown some.

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This is what it kind of looks like while I’m knitting it…

It now covers my entire full-sized bed.  Sorry that the pictures are kinda crappy.  Did I mention that it’s winter outside?  It’s currently 15 degrees Fahrenheit (which is 16 degrees below freezing) outside and the snow looks either grey and dismal or yellow and cheerful, neither of which lends itself to photographing a giant knitted blanket on.  I suppose I could try to get creative about how to show it, but that takes time and I personally value my fingers and toes.  So crappy photos it is!

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One of the things that I have been doing that I can tell you about (even though I have no photos) is that I am currently taking a class through something called Annie’s Project.  It’s run through the Iowa State Extension Service (love me some Extension!) and it is specifically for women in agricultural endeavors.  The reason for it being specifically for women is that often women have different goals and a different experience with farming than men do.  It has been immensely helpful for me to just figure out where I should be putting my energy.  My class is specifically about business planning, but there are classes about succession planning and in-depth business classes past what we are learning.  It’s reason number 432 of why I love the extension service!

 

A Fine Day June 27, 2013

Yesterday I went down to Lake LaVerne and I remembered the camera.

First the fish started feeding (can’t really photograph them all that well).  Then the geese came.

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These guys were literally eating out of my hands.  In fact, one kinda tried to hop onto my lap!

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Then came the swans (they feel that they have to check out anything that the geese are into).

 

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Swans are more elegant at a distance don’t you think?

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There was also a turtle in all of this, but I didn’t manage to capture a photo of him.

Also yesterday there was good mail.

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A letter from Tini and a little skein of sock yarn! Yay for the sock yarn blanket!

Still knitting on socks myself.  Still the Basket Weave Rib Socks.

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I’m to the heel flap now. Have never made a pair of men’s socks before so it feels like it is taking forever.

 

 

Mail Call! June 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 8:51 pm
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I adore getting mail. Not flyers or bills or anything like that. Real mail. Letters, packages, postcards really anything that comes from a real person.  So, today was lovely going to the mailbox to find this.

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A package from my friend Tini in Germany with provisions for my sock yarn blanket!

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Yay for mail!!!!

 

 

Sock Blocked June 4, 2013

I finished the pink and grey monkeys shortly after I finished the last post.  My sock blockers have been getting a lot of work lately, a lot more than they are used to at least!

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There wasn’t a huge amount of yarn left over, but it only take about 5 or 6 grams to make one of the smaller squares.

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I enjoyed making that pattern so much, I’ve decided to make it again.  I’m even using the same yarn (base, like I would have that much pink of any yarn in my stash!). I think that these are going to be for me as I wear a lot of the colors in them often.

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It was a grey and rainy day today, as it has been much of the spring. Hence the craptastical photos. So far, Ames hasn’t flooded in any substantial manner, though given the amounts of rain that we have received, this is almost a surprise.  I don’t live in an area prone to flooding though there are areas like that all around the city.  Hopefully, this won’t be a repeat of years past

(Don’t worry, the Wollmeise is all in plastic bags and on a top shelf, just in case! [because I knew that y’all were worried!])

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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.

 

My birthday (a little late) February 7, 2013

You know you had a good time on your birthday when you don’t get to blog about it until a week later!

My day started normally enough until I got to the office where a very interesting box awaited me on my desk.  Given it’s dimensions, I was a tad apprehensive that my day was going to devolve into something Kill Bill-esque…

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…until I opened it up.  It’s a beautiful tapestry that my friend Guang had his folks bring back from China for me:-)

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When my friend Elise arrived, so did flowers…

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doughnuts and a massive chocolate cake.

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I also got another box in the mail when I went to the post office later.  It was a wrapped box…

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…and it contained this.

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It’s a Nexus 7 tablet.  A very kind friend sent it to me as a really big surprise.  A big surprise is certainly was!

That evening Elise and I went to Welch Ave. Station for dinner and drinks.  This is a college bar here in the Iowa State campus town that has been around FOREVER.  My free birthday drink was their Pissed off Japanese Minnow Farmer.  After that, well, things got a little interesting.

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Yeah. That’s me. Putting away tequila shots like a full-on college student.  Which I guess that I am!

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Believe it or not, after about 10 shots I still was able to walk out of the bar on my own two feet.  I didn’t get sick nor was I hung-over in the morning (in case you were worried).  I think the pizza, fried cheese balls, and cheesy bread that we had eaten earlier in the evening mitigated the potential for alcohol damage.  Don’t get me wrong, I was a rather cheerful Sarah leaving the bar that night, but honestly, I was walking better than Elise was and she’d not had a drink that night!

Today I received a package from my friend Tini in Germany.

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In it was a sweet birthday card, 2 cutie sheep figurines, some lush spinning fiber, a bit of leftover sock yarn for my blanket and a little notebook that I am going to use to keep my spinning notes in, and a bunch of Tyvek bracelets like what you get when you go to a club or an event.  They are for marking yardage and such on skeined-up yarn that you are then going to wash.  Brilliant!

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This evening I got yet another birthday present from my lovely roommate Des.  It’s the book Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis. Such a beautifully done book!

Weezy approved!

Weezy approved!

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so wonderful.  Special thanks to Elise and Guang for a fantastic night out!  If this is what 35 is like, roll on 40!

 

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.