Sarah Jane Humke

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

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!


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.


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.


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!])




What I got January 30, 2013

So, I was asked to share what I got at Sticks and Sting this year.  I assure you it is modest in the most!  SAS2012yarn

The yellow yarn on the left is a custom dyed skein of Superwash Merino 3 ply yarn that came with my goodie bag (but that I forgot to photograph!) by Dreams in Fiber.  The middle blue and white merino/nylon superwash yarn is also by Dreams in Fiber and the colorway is “The Box”.  The bundle on the right is by Blue Ridge Yarns and it’s called Footlights in the colorway “Pansies”.

Yeah, I was that restrained.  But you see, I have this at home.


All those skeins in the plastic baggies on the top shelf? Wollmeise. The rest is an assortment of Blue Moon Fiber Arts and other various sock yarn companies.  I assure you that this isn’t all of my sock yarn, just what I’ve brought with me to Ames!

In other news, we had snow blow-in early this morning.  I fell on my arse twice in the parking lot just trying to get to Curtiss!  I was both wet and sore by the time I got to my office this morning.  Most, most annoying since I had even “prepared” by wearing my snow boots and was all decked-out for the weather. It is not supposed to happen if you prepare for it!!!! (Sarah’s Law)





The Mailman Always Honks Twice February 2, 2012

Today was another very good mail day.  Whenever there is a package too big to fit into the mailbox or one needing a signature, the mailman backs his truck into the drive and honks.  Usually twice.  In a house with 4 dogs in it, this is tantamount to declaring war.  You do not truly understand the saying, “the hounds of hell” until you have seen 4 dogs completely off their rockers from wanting to get outside and rip him to shreds for having the audacity to come onto their turf and honk.  Funnily enough, if they do get outside while he is still here they just bark for a little bit and then wander off and pee on something!

Anyway, we were treated to a full rousing chorus of doggie death threats today as there were 2 packages in the mail for me.  The first was from my friend Tini in Germany (who, by the way, has a bunch of new podcasts up that I keep forgetting to link to [naughty blogger me!]).  In it was all sorts of lovely stuff including a Eiki shawlette made in Wollmeise!

There was a partial ball of sock yarn to add to the blanket.  (Donations to the blanket are always welcome here even though it is on a bit of a hiatus as I still try to figure out where all my stuff is in the storage unit.)

There was also a long knitted tube that Tini gave me a heads-up on before I received it.  It was her gauge swatches from a number of different pairs of socks!  This is being put towards the blanket as well (though it’s almost too pretty to unravel!)

There was a beautiful butterfly pin.  I love jewelery with insects on it.  Someday when I am a famous entomologist (stop laughing!) I want to have something to jazz up my ultra boring wardrobe with.  I want to be the Madeleine Albright of the bug/horticultural world!

There was a solid handbalm (good for someone walking around outside in the middle of the night with wet hands after having made formula for a certain baby!) that smells yummy.

There was a cool lizard bookmark…

And the shawlette came packaged in a fun little clear plastic zippered case that is perfect for little projects!

And last but not least, there was a tiny package of GUMMY SHEEP!!!!  Oh my are these little guys cute!  I don’t know if I can actually bring myself to EAT them:-)

The other package is a bit of a mystery.  It came from Knit Picks and it contained 3 books. Knit Noro Accessories, Weekend Hats, and Interweave Knits Accessories were all on my wish list, so it would have been easy for someone to pick them out.  However, there was nothing in the box to give evidence to who they were sent from.  If it was you, please speak up and thank you!

Funny enough, I’ve been sucked into another Dutch Knitting Design project, this time it’s the Kaleidoscope Vest which was published in (what was then) Yarn Forward Magazine.  I stayed up far too late last night working on this (again) and this is how far I had gotten this morning.

It is an easy knit, but for some reason I frogged this piece before and I don’t remember why.  I think it might have happened around the time of my move, so who knows!  I had a chance to wear Marleen’s sample vest (I think it’s the one she’s wearing in the bottom picture on Ravelry) and it is really cute.  I got lots of compliments that day and I had to explain to many Dutch knitters that no, I didn’t knit it but the person who designed it was right over there…..  I’ve been on a serious knitting jag of late but I feel a spinning jag coming on.  So stay tuned folks!


Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season Approaching like an Out-Of-Control Mack Truck November 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 3:35 pm
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So, Christmas time is here again and if you’re struggling to find presents for some of the people in your life, let me make a few suggestions of things that I have found to be wonderful.  These are all things that I have either used myself or friends of mine have used and really liked.  Just to be clear, I am not getting any money or products from any of the companies that I am posting here.*  This is just stuff that I like.  However, if any of them wanted to send me products for say, review, I would be more than glad to have them:-)

For Everyone

Land’s End totes.  I’m pretty sure that I have written about my addiction to Land’s End Totes before but I can’t make a list like this without putting them at the top of it.  These are great for both men or women or even kids!  I’ve had the small one personalized with the name of the recipient before and then filled it with smaller gifts and candy.  This personalized present went over really well.  The extra-large bags would even be big enough to take the place of a toy box in a child’s bedroom.  I cannot recommend these totes strongly enough for pretty much everyone.  That and the service that I have consistently gotten from the employee’s at this company really make me want to keep going back to them for everything.

Eddie Bauer Favorite Tee’s.  Eddie Bauer is another company that makes things that last.  As I write this, I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt that I got from Eddie Bauer in high school (which was a while ago y’all) and no-one looking at it would ever guess that.  It hasn’t dated style-wise and there’s not a part of it that looks faded or worn in anything close to the (oh God) 15+ years old that it must be.  I’ve given Eddie Bauer bedding as a gift and it is still in use and still looks good 10+ years later.  The Eddie Bauer Long Sleeved Tee’s are one of the staples of my wardrobe, something that I wear on a daily basis.  Usually with an Eddie Bauer Men’s Fleece Vest over the top of it for greater warmth (and more pockets!).

Now, I know that I have mentioned these folks before, but they deserve another mention.  Queen Bee Creations.  I am still getting compliments on my Christmas present truckette purse from at least 3 years ago.  I use it pretty much daily and it still looks nearly new.   And I’m not one of those women who babies her purse.  Un-uh.  It has been thrown and shoved and stepped-on and wadded-up and shoved in other luggage.  Still, I get stopped by strangers on the street (for real) asking where I got my purse.  This isn’t some “it” purse of the season (Are “they” even still doing that? Clearly I am not a fashionista [like you couldn’t already tell that from the above choices!]) but if you chose one of their bags it will be well made and stand-up to nearly anything you throw at it.  I’ve taken this bag on lots of trips and on forays into some kinda dodgy places and I wasn’t too worried about my bag getting nabbed as it has securely sew-on seatbelt webbing straps that are long enough to go across your body.  There’s no way a would be thief would be able to grab your purse and have the straps break off.  It would take some pretty serious cutting at which point I would hope that you would hit him with it! I also have the Poppy Trucker which I am currently using for job interviews (it matches the interview outfit:-)) and it’s held-up as well as the purse has (though it hasn’t gotten nearly as much use…)

Kershaw Scallion Plain Edge Folding Knife.  I know, it is probably a little weird to be going from a purse to a pocket knife, but hey, that’s who I am!  I’ve had this knife for at least 8 years now.  I carried-it on a daily basis when I was working in the greenhouse and it got used a lot.  I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from guys when I pull it out to cut something and not those, “oh isn’t it cute she carries a pocket knife,” kind of compliments rather ones more like, “nice knife, where did you get that?” or even better, “wow, I have one just like that!”.  I see that they sell a version in pink now so if you have a slightly more girly girl who you think needs a good solid knife, she has one that the guys will give back for sure!  Personally, I would love the red version as I have nearly lost this green one in foliage a number of times (and I just love red!).

While I am on the “sharps” part of the list I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention Slip N Snip Folding Scissors.  This company has been making these in the USA for years now (I remember my Grandpa carrying these in his store when I was a little girl) and they are still making an excellent product.  I’ve taken these through many security lines at airports just sort of attached to my key chain.  Since they don’t look like anything exciting when they are folded-up going through an x-ray, I never had any problems with them even when they were confiscating the little tiny Swiss Army knives.  They are sturdy and fold-up smoothly every time, even after years of use.  These would make a fantastic stocking stuffer for everyone except small children (there are pointy, sharp bits) and can be found on Amazon.

Sheepskin slippers from either Land’s End or L.L. Bean.  Yeah, they are pricey, but they last for years and years (assuming the dog doesn’t take a liking to them!) and enable you to lower the temperature in the house.  If your feet are warm, the rest of you will be a lot warmer too!  And who doesn’t like the gift of lower heating bills!  One brand that I would not suggest is Ugg brand slippers.  If you have an adolescent that is begging for Uggs, don’t try to cheap out of it by buying them slippers instead of the boots.  They will not get it that they are slippers and will wear them outdoors, thus ruining them.  Trust me on this, I worked in shoe retail for a Holiday season and I saw more than one pair brought back in which this happened.  Uggs are much more expensive than the two that I already named and not particularly better quality.  They are not worth the extra money.

If you have someone on your list who just loves Christmas and really does the decorating and the whole shebang, then I would suggest Rubbermaid Roughneck Storage Boxes.  I can hear you rolling your eyes at me, but really, these bad boys really stand-up to everything you can throw at them year after year.  As someone who has made two international moves I can testify to how well they survive.  Don’t skimp and get the cheaper ones as they will crack and break eventually, trust me on this!  Now they are making a Roughneck Sheds and I have a feeling that I would like them as well.  Sigh…

Reisenthel Bags.  Another bag company that I’ve talked about before, but really, when you use two of their products on a daily basis, you really should be talking about them!  I have the All Rounder in (I think) Large.  I use it as my carry-on bag for flying.  It’s large enough to fit my laptop (and all the wires and crap that comes with it), my camera and a couple of extra lenses, a small pile of magazines and books for reading, and all the other assorted travel crap that you need.  It’s padded so that even if it gets slammed by a neighboring roll aboard in the overhead, your laptop will still work when you get there.  The strap is sturdy and the padded bit has some rubberized stuff on it so that it doesn’t slip off your shoulder.  Excellent, excellent bag.  This is another bag that has gotten a lot of use and does not show it at all.  I also use the Mini Maxi for shopping.  It’s big enough that it holds a lot but sturdy enough that you don’t feel like the seams are going to come out of it carrying your shopping home.  Since it rolls up into a nice little packet, this bag would make a great stocking stuffer!

Source Sports Sandals Classic.  I bought a pair of these at least 7 years ago and they are still going strong.  More importantly, they don’t smell strong!  One of the reviewer’s on the site mentioned that theirs had a, “Great vanilla smell even after 3 years!”.  Mine don’t smell like vanilla, but they don’t smell like ass either!  One of the unique features of these sandals is that they come with a green dot on the bottom of them.  The warranty on these sandals is 2 years plus up to an additional 2 years if the green dot is still visible so that folks who don’t do heavy-duty hiking in them will have a longer warranty than those that are harder on them.  I still have the green dot on the bottom of mine, and I wore them A LOT when I lived in Florida and they were pretty much all I wore in the summer in the UK too! I think that you would have to be doing some pretty serious hiking on a daily basis in order to wear out the green dot before 2 years was up.

Charities that I think use the money effectively are Doctors Without Borders, Heifer International, The Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.  If you have someone who really does have everything, before you buy the next gimmicky adult toy at the department store, think about taking that money and giving it to a worthwhile charity.  A donation that is non-specific as to where it goes does the most to help these organizations get goods and services to the people most in need.  Besides, even if they don’t like it, they aren’t about to complain about it to anyone:-)

So I don’t have any of these but they are so cute I just have to share (and would like them myself!). This print and this print and this calendar all from the talented artist Katie Vernon on Etsy.    I think that these minimalist fairy tale prints by Christian Jackson are amazing and would be a really cool alternative to some of the hyper-saccharin children’s decor there is out there.  Or even for some adults!  And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Aardvark Press manifestos.  Kill your TV indeed!

Charmin to Go.This is a total stocking stuffer, but I have to mention it especially since it appears that you can get a pack of 24 for $21.99 on Amazon!  One for everyone’s stockings right now!!!!

For Pet Owners

Marchioro Clipper Carriers.  Great pet carriers that stand up to abuse.  A handful of mine have been in daily use, and you couldn’t tell the difference from the ones that are only occasionally used.  They don’t come with the bolts that some airlines (I’m looking at you United!) require now, but they do have bolt holes under the snaps and you can pick-up the bolts cheaply enough if you are flying.  These crates don’t fall apart like some that I’ve dealt with and are excellent for daily use.

Flexi Retractable Leashes.  Another one that I use many times a day.  I really couldn’t believe the difference between this retractable lead and a cheaper one that I got in the US.  Yes, they are more expensive.  Yes they are worth it.  The mechanism in these leads is much faster and smoother than other leads that I’ve used.  It has been dropped, kicked, dragged and thrown (extra bad dog day there) and it still works as well as the day I got it.  I have the Classic Long Large for Malcolm but it looks like they have an option to customize the leads now for an extra special gift!

Birkenstock Garden Clogs.  These are fan-freaking-tastic when you have to run out with the dog for the umpteenth time in an evening.  The ones that I linked to aren’t exactly the same as the pair that I’ve had for 4 or 5 years now, but they are similar enough that I think that this is just the newest styling of the ones that I have.  These clogs combine the comfort that you expect from Birkenstocks with the durability and water resistance of a garden clog.  The shoes are fairly tall, so that even if you step in a bit of mud or water, it doesn’t get up in your socks.  I wore these sometimes to walk the dogs in, they are that comfy.  There are only a few downsides to these shoes really.  First off they will make your feet really sweaty if you wear them in hot weather.  Secondly, they aren’t great in snow.  You will get snowy socks if you wear them in the white stuff.  And lastly, my dogs seem to like to chew on them:-P

SmartyKat Super Scratcher.  Will help to save furniture while making happy cats.  Who doesn’t like that?

For all Fiber Freaks (Spinners, Knitters and Hookers)

The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson.   In a world becoming increasingly specialized, folks in the fiber arts should know where their fiber is coming from.  The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook is really essential reading for anyone wanting a better understanding of the materials that they are working with, or really anyone interested in fiber animals!  If the fiber artist in your life doesn’t yet have this book then you have at least one Christmas gift for them this year.  Really, it’s a no-brainer.  It’s a big, beautiful book that is destined to be a classic!  Go get it now.  Seriously people, get it.

All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin.  I will be honest here.  I’ve not yet read this book.  However, I have read everything else that she has published in the knitting genera and I feel reasonably confident that this book is just as excellent as all her previous books have been.  Plus, this is one that I want for Christmas!!

Hefty One-Zip Jumbo Bags.  These are 2.5 gallon zippered plastic bags.  That’s big enough to get most of a sweater in progress in.  Or a lot of roving or yarn.  Love, love love these bags.  Unfortunately, it seems that at least around here (meaning in all the places I’ve lived and visited in the US) the only place that I’ve been able to find them are at Target.  It’s not that I don’t love Target, it’s just that it would be nice if these were in every grocery store and big box store like the rest of the Hefty line.  And yes, I really have given these as gifts.

If you like the idea of a surprise of different yarns and goodies arriving for the knitter or spinner, then the Phat Fiber Mystery Box would be perfect!  Each month there is a different theme and oodles of indie dyers, fiber producers, and folks that make knitting and spinning accessories send in samples of their products that fit the theme for the month.  Not every box is filled with the same producers (that would be a lot of samples for one indie producer to come up with!) but they are all little representatives of what they can make.  There is a yarn only box, a fiber only box and a mixed box.  I got one of the mixed boxes for Christmas last year and it was so much fun!  The only problem with this present is that you do have to stalk it a bit in order to get one.  However, they do let you sign-up for a newsletter to let you know when the boxes are going on sale and what the themes are and things like that, so it’s not like stalking a particular color of Wollmeise!

For someone who wants to feel like they are a part of where their fiber or yarn comes from, there is Juniper Moon Farm’s CSA program.  They had the first fiber CSA in the country.  When you buy a share you get percentage off in their shop, invitation to the Shearing Day Celebration as well as either yarn or rovings of your choice.   This isn’t the “cheapest” way to get yarn or rovings, but it is one of the more interesting ways.  Personally, I like it better than having a star named after me or something like that!

For Spinners

J&S Shetland Combed Tops or an actual Shetland Fleece hand-picked by Oliver for your favorite spinner.  If you are living in the UK or Europe, you could order a raw Shetland Fleece to be picked-out by Oliver for your special someone.  If you live elsewhere, you will have to order their combed tops as they won’t mail a raw fleece out of Europe due to international restrictions.  However, the tops at J&S are lovely and a real treat to work with.  Order the Superfine white for an extra special treat!

Mini carders.  These are from P&M Woolcraft a lovely company based in Milton Keynes, England.  I’m sure that these must be available somewhere else too, but I’ve yet to find them.  If you do, please let me know in the comments!  Even if you do have to order them from England, the folks at P&M are wonderful to work with and will get your order shipped-out as quickly as humanly possible!

A subscription to Spin-Off magazine.  Duh.

For Knitters and Crocheters

Easyknits Yarn.  Jon makes lovely yarns.  If you aren’t sure what color to get the knitter or crocheter in your life order them a few months of one of Jon’s yarn clubs.  There is the Sock Club which comes in different fiber flavors that you can choose from or the Shawl Club which comes with a sushi roll.  Both clubs get patterns and goodies to go along with the yarn chosen that month.  Since it is a month to month club, you can get as many months as you would like rather than having to get a years club (which can get a little pricey!).  The colors are always new and Jon tries really hard to find fun new extras to put in the packages.  Much better than a wine-of-the-month club (though that could be nice too I suppose…)  Jon has also rolled-out (after much annoying prodding from me and others:-)) his Little Guys line, which is a set of 5-20 gram mini skeins all in a color family ready for color work or for a sock yarn blanket or beekeeper’s quilt.  These would make an excellent gift for someone working on either of these projects! (Which I am….)

Patterns from Dutch Knitting Design.  Marleen has tons of patterns available in English and really I cannot praise them enough.  Her patterns are thoughtfully worded and graphed.  Marleen tries to use commonly available yarns (she has a collection of Noro designs as well as a bunch of patterns in Kidsilk Haze) so that you aren’t running around trying to find a yarn at your LYS that simply isn’t available except in one corner of Mongolia (y’all know what I’m talking about here!)

A set of needles from Signature Needle Arts.  This is not one to surprise your knitter with as these puppies are A.) sort of customized and B.) really not cheap.  I don’t own a pair myself but I know a few folks that do, a couple of them knit for a living, and they all love them.  They also do Gift Certificates if you still want to surprise them on the big day and then they can choose the needles that they want themselves.

Pretty much anything from Succaplokki.  This artist is located in Finland and make all the Knitting Accessories from recycled plastic.  There are Needle Sizers in all sorts of shapes, Stitch Markers, Mitten and Sock Blockers as well as Gauge Checkers.  The products are all well made and packaged in funky recycled papers and packaging.  All are very fun and would make great stocking stuffers!

The Quizzical Owl has all sorts of quirky jewelery and stitch markers from Legos and well pretty much anything little and fun that Alex finds interesting!  If you want something that you don’t see in her shop, she is more than willing to make custom items!

Subscriptions to either (or both!) Interweave Knits or Interweave Crochet.  Double duh.

Posh Folks

For the folks on your list who only want really luxe, high-end stuff might I suggest a key ring from Tiffany’s.  I got one of these as a graduation from high school gift and I still have it and use it.  One of the things that they don’t tell you is that if you lose the little ball on the end of it (there was an incident in Mobile, Alabama after their Mardi Gras and silver beads on the sidewalk everywhere) they will replace it.  At least when I went in to get it replaced, it was free.  They just gave me another one.  No questions and no issues at all.  And, best of all, it still comes in that little blue box with all the trimmings!

*I have gotten presents in the past from Jon of Easyknits and Marleen of Dutch Knitting Design as I am friends with both but I am not receiving anything for this post nor was I asked to promote their products.  I just really like their stuff!!!


Wollmeise!! Sale!! Two of the most beautiful words in the world! Together!! August 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 12:32 pm
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Last week I did something insane.  I mean, really, really nuts.  I woke-up at 1am to fly to Germany to visit the Wollmeise store while they were having their annual summer sale.  Yeah, I really did.  Honestly.  I even have pictures!

I took the 6am flight from Gatwick to Munich on Easyjet.  I didn’t want to check any bags, so I measured all my suitcases to see which fit the carry-on size the best.  An older Boyt bag that I have had for a while now won hands-down.

It looks as though my Boyt bag was MADE for the Easyjet carry-on allowances!

I got to Munich around 9am and promptly headed into the city to be able to catch the train to Pfaffenhofen which is a bit outside of it.  The countryside around Munich is lovely, full of orderly corn fields and farms.  It felt a lot like where I grew-up in Iowa.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason so many Germans settled in my area!  Anyway, after a short train ride, I got off at the Pfaffenhofen station:

The cute train station in Pfaffenhofen.

I was leaving the station when I saw four women all walking together, all wearing knitwear.  I asked them if they were going to the Wollmeise sale and they said yes and I walked with them to the shop.  It was an easy, pleasant walk as we took a footpath that goes alongside the waterway that goes through the town.  We got there and I was right into it!

One of the walls of wool at the Wollmeise Shop. This one was filled with really darkly dyed yarns, blacks with colors and undyed white yarns.

One of the many racks full of colorful Wollmeise yarns!


A larger shot of the same set of shelves.

Even though the sale was going on, the famous Wollmeise creatures were still on display!

Baskets full of Lace-garn were dotted around the shop.

Even with the store in sale mode, the displays were lovely.

So many colors!!!

The entire front window was one great big pile of lace-garn!

Of course I went into the famously pink bathroom! (Actually, it was my first stop!)

There were signatures from around the world.

At times the amount of Wollmeise yarn was a tad overwhelming.

The store was everything that I had been told to expect and more.  Everyone that I met there was super friendly.  Claudia had set-up picnic tables outside under the awning so that people could compare colors in daylight and so that there was more space for everybody to sit and knit and chat.  I didn’t take any pictures of this area as I was really trying to not get folks in my photos, and there were always people hanging-out out there.  I know that the shots that I got of the inside of the store makes it look empty, but I assure you, it was plenty busy the entire time that I was there.  I just tried to take shots at moments when folks weren’t in the frame.  I apologize for the quality of the pictures, but I was only using my iPhone to take them.  I didn’t want to take my big Nikon and possibly take-up precious space for Wollmeise yarn!

After I had spent my budget, I took the train back to Munich and the airport.  I had several hours to kill and by this time I was hungry and very, very tired.  I decided to get dinner at the (only) restaurant in the terminal that I was flying out of.  I got the special, which I thought was composed of: soup, sausage and a pretzel.  This was what I got:

My unexpected dinner at the airport

It was sort of surprising when the lady took the 3 sausages out of a jar and stuck them in a bowl full of hot water.  I mean, I guess that is sort-of a soup.  It didn’t taste bad, but I was glad that I had the 2 packets of mustard!  I also must’ve been dehydrated or really tired as that half liter of beer made me a tad tipsy!

Anyway, you don’t really want to see what I ate.  You want to see what I got!

This is the glamor shot of all the skeins together.

It’s really hard to see the colors of some of them because a lot of them were the really dark black-with-a-color colors.  So, for those of you keeping score out there.  I got 16 Twin, 9 100% Merino and 2 Lace-garns.  Not all of them were for me a (cough, hack) couple were for other folks:-)

Here are some more shots:

It was an interesting experience and I am deeply glad that I went.  If you are ever nearby, I would totally suggest that you go and check it out!


(Edited to fix the problems with the photographs)


I am the master of the universe!!!! December 14, 2010

Ok, so maybe not, but I sure feel like it after the epic battle that I had blocking my finished Finnish shawl.  Say that five times fast, I dare you.  Actually, it really wasn’t that tough.  I know, you are just about ready to gouge my eyes out right about now aren’t you?  After checking-out the options that there are for blocking shawls I decided on one that I heard about while on the Shetland trip.  I’m not sure who or where exactly I heard it, I just remember hearing it there.

What I did wasn’t the standard 50-bajillion-pins-in-the-guest-bed version of blocking.  Since this design has very straight edges and the many-pins blocking usually leaves you with a bit of a scallop no matter how many pins you stick in the mattress I decided to thread a piece of fishing line down the 3 edges with a needle and then use those to pin.

I have to admit, this sounds like much more of a pain-in-the-ass than it really was.  I did it before I washed it, since the fishing line isn’t going to absorb any water or dye, and it took me maybe half an hour, forty minutes tops, to sneak the fishing wire through the purl bump of every other row of garter stitch on the edges and though the cast-off stitches of the top.

So, here is another photo of the shawl unblocked just laid out on the bed it is going to be blocked on.

This is what the threading of the fishing line looked like.

Then the shawl went for a little soak in Soak!

Unfortunately, the Wollmeise dye came out quite a bit, so much so it looked like my shawl was sitting in a sink full of cat pee.  (I don’t know why I gravitate to cat pee rather than human, dog or other pees.  Perhaps it is because I’ve had to deal with so much of it due to the lovely Jjij!)  You can see the fishing line sticking out of the water in this photo.

I rinsed it five or six times before I finally gave up and pour a couple of glugs of white vinegar in the mix.  That seemed to do the trick.

I gave it another final rinse just to get rid of some of the vinegar smell and then rolled it up in a towel to get rid of some of the water.  I didn’t take a picture of this, you’ll just have to imagine a piece of wet knitting rolled up in towel.  After I had gotten rid of most of the water, I started pinning it out.  I first did the top line and then the two side lines by making knots in the ends of the fishing line and pinning them to the bed.  Then, because of the pull down from the two side lines, I added a few extra pins to the top line.

To give you some perspective on the size of this thing, it is on a full bed lengthwise.  And both tips of the shawl are just at the edge of the bed.  I’m rather glad that I didn’t decide on that “one more repeat” of the pattern!

Some things that I learned with this pattern:

>The pattern doesn’t need to be in English, you just need to know what language it is to get it translated.

>It is also good to have friends that happen to speak the language it is in.

>Wollmeise bleeds dye. Apparently this is common knowledge.  I guess I’m uncommon:-)  (Though it does make sense given how RICH the colors are!)

>I would probably try for a heavier fishing line next time.

>Lace done on a non-cobweb weight of yarn goes a lot faster. (I know, big duh there, but damn! It’s a LOT faster!!)

>A skein of Wollmeise lace garn goes a LONG way.  I still have a little under half of the 300 gram skein left.

>For whatever reason, my iPhone takes much better pictures of reds than my Nikon does.  This is good to know since red is my favorite color.

>The iPhone also takes better photos of pee water in a sink.  I hope to never need that knowledge again (though suspect I will).

>I learned how to drop stitches down to fix a mistake made in the previous row rather than tinking back.  To say that I was pretty pleased with myself when I got that one would be an understatement.  I mean, I knew theoretically that it was possible, but I was never ballsy enough to do it until I was looking at a LOT of tinks to get back to the mistake.  Amazing how being lazy can make you a better knitter!

>I need to find an old stone wall.  Near here.

So, no glamor shots of the shawl on an old stone wall (not a lot of those around here) or on me (is hard to photograph yourself, even harder to photograph your backside.) The neighbor whom I would normally enlist on this sort of insanity wasn’t home most of the day and, to be honest, the light is pretty crap today anyway.  So, it may just have to wait until the weekend. And then the hubby can follow me around with the iPhone.  Taking pictures of my backside.  I don’t think that he will complain too much.


Pattern: Lehmus-huivi by Sari Astrom

Yarn: 155 grams of Wollmeise Lace Garn in Orient.

Needles: 2.75mm Knit Picks circulars in a variety if lengths.


OMG!!! December 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I cannot believe that I forgot to tell y’all that I finished knitting my shawl last night!  I still need to work in the two ends and block it (not an un-daunting task that!) but otherwise it is done!  Here is a picture of the unblocked shawl.

The photography doesn’t do the Wollmeise colors justice, but it’s a really crappy, rainy day outside, and it’s difficult to capture reds even on a good day.  I’m just happy that the image looks roughly like the shawl does to tell you the truth!

I’ll post more pictures when I figure out how I want to block this bad boy!