Horti Honey's Blog of Yarn, Plants, and Life

Sarah Humke examines life through fiber tinted glasses….

Slacking* March 29, 2015

Spring is usually busy, but this year is even more so than usual for me.  First up, it was my brand new niece’s baptism last weekend.  I decided to make her a Christening Shawl/blanket for the event.  I then decided that it should really be hand-spun Shetland laceweight.  With wool from Shetland of course!  Well, I’m sure that you all can see exactly where this is going…

I ended-up finishing casting-off at around four o’clock on the Saturday before.  I blocked it on my bed that evening.

slacking 4Luckily it was one of those super easy things to block and all I had to do was kind of pat it into place and let it dry for a bit.  I have a heated bed so that helped to move things along a bit:-)  It was dry and ready for the baptism that morning.

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Thanks to my SIL for taking this photo. I wasn’t able to take many photos with my niece IN the blanket as I was supremely busy that day with the lunch for the family after church.

I was amused by two facts during the baptismal sermon.  First, I’m not in church all that often and that Sunday I was sitting in the front row of a pretty full church.  The second was this:

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Yep, the whole sermon was about sheep and goats:-)

For those interested, the shawl/blanket is a strongly adapted version of a traditional Shetland Christening shawl pattern.  I skipped the edging and added a picot cast-off in its place.  The yarn was spun from about 284 grams of the Jaimeson and Smith Shetland Supreme combed roving.

I just happened to finish it when I was helping out my friends Ellen and Wanda at their booth for their shop Fiber Curio and Sundries at Fiberpalooza in Winterset, Iowa on Saturday.  I took absolutely zero photos as my hands were busy the entire day long either setting up or knitting the shawl.  However, it was a really fun event to both attend and sell at and I had a good, though very long, day.

Thursday and Friday were involved in the final classes for my Annie’s Project course.   I think that now is a good time to share with you what the business I was taking this business planning class for is.  I am getting sheep.  Or to be quite precise, I am getting about 20 or so Shetland ewes.  It’s a bit of long story, and I’m not a hundred percent sure that all the parties would like me to share it, but I can say that it’s kind of one of those things where karma has come full circle.  I have booked my flights out to Montana where the sheep currently reside and will drive back with them.  So there is a lot to do on the ground here to prepare for them.  Fencing for one.  These ladies have not been in fences a lot in their lives, which could be either a good or a bad thing.  Currently I am working on an area that will be somewhat permanently fenced for when they first get here and probably for parts of the winter as well.  I am going to purchase some electric netting so that I can move them around and graze the different areas of the farm and keep the grass and weeds down.

This is honestly, a kind of dream come true for me as I have wanted some ever since I visited the islands in 2010.  I adore their wool, I find the sheep to be appealing in their durability and size and I enjoy the variety of colors that they come in.  I have hesitated to write about it here as I wasn’t sure that it was really going to come to fruition.  But now with plane tickets booked (thank you frequent flier miles!) and making plans for fences and trying to find a livestock guardian animal, it is all starting to feel very, very real.  If anyone knows of someone looking to re-home a donkey in the Iowa area, please let me know.

Dusty got “sheared” one of our warmer days.  It wasn’t a perfect job as he wanted to chase cats and I didn’t want him to chase them but it worked out ok.

Before

Before: “Look at those cats making fun of me!  Must chase them!!!!!”

See what I mean by "shearing"?

See what I mean by “shearing”?

After

After: “The cats are laughing at me.”

I would have saved it to spin had I given Dusty a bath prior to his spring shearing.

I would have saved it to spin had I given Dusty a bath prior to his spring shearing.

I’ve been destashing a lot of mini skeins of sock yarn on Ravelry.  If you are interested (and the link doesn’t work) just go to the group “Mini Mall” and the thread called “Random Sets”.  I still have a lot of sets available and am willing to mail wherever you want in the world (with a few small exceptions:-).

On top of all of this has been seed starting and garden planning (in that order, it doesn’t always go in the order it should have you know!).  This year we are having a fifty foot by seventy-five foot garden.  Should be exciting!

Oh, and I got a full-time job finally.  I start in April and it will involve a lot more commuting than I am used to.

*For the irony impaired, I haven’t been slacking.  Quite honestly I’ve been as busy as a one-armed paper hanger!!!

 

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!

 

Chugging along January 6, 2015

I know, I’ve not been on here much of late.  Alas, there hasn’t been a lot for me to write about lately.  Winter is a time to hunker down, stay warm,  and plan for spring here.

Christmas was nice.  Lots of lovely and thoughtful presents.  I got a lot of books that will hopefully help me prepare for the coming year (I would like to get a few sheep and some laying hens).  I spent a lot of time with both my family and my boyfriend’s family.

New Year’s brought specken dicken at the Ackley Civic Center and colder weather.  No big parties or fancy nights out. That’s not really how I roll:-)

This past week I’ve been doing a big cleaning and rearranging.  Trying to make my space more useable and pleasing to be in.

I did, in fact, finish a bunch of knitted items before Christmas.  One, in particular, I am especially proud of.  I finished a pair of socks for the boyfriend made from hand-spun, 4-ply sock yarn.

Joel's Socks
This is a 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, & 10% Nylon blend that was custom dyed for me by Diane Pals of Bugsnugger.  It’s a lovely blend that I took my time spinning.  I have more yarn like this and I will probably be knitting another pair of socks from it but they will hopefully go to the Iowa State Fair before going to their final home.

I also knit a pair of “normal” socks out of Kroy and Opal.Joel's Socks 2  I used the red Opal to finish off the socks as there wasn’t enough of the Kroy in the 100 grams for a pair of size 12 mens socks.

Here are the socks together:

Joel's Socks 3

There was also a scarf for my mother made from some of the ruffle yarns as well as an infinity scarf from Debbie Bliss Angel for my sister-in-law.  There were also another pair of socks for my boyfriend’s mother.  So, I was fairly busy in the days leading up to Christmas!

 

 

Make do With What’s on Hand July 12, 2013

So, today I nearly finished my most recent monkeys, but I had left my sewing-up needle at home.  However, I really wanted to get the almost completed monkeys off the needles so I could cast on another pair.  What to do?

So, I thought about what I had around me.  I was at the ISU agricultural mechanics shop out at the 450 farm.  So, I procured a couple of little pieces of leftover  mig  welding wire, transferred the stitches onto them, and voila! Rough and ready stitch holders!

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The rest of the sock isn’t visible as this pair will be a future gift for someone who might actually read this.  Yes, I am working on the Christmas presents already! 🙂  If you want to see them, pictures are available on my Ravelry page.

However, I have started on another pair, this time for me, thus I can show them to you!

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And this is one day later!

And this is one day later!

 

I’m totally adoring that green, grey and teal together. Can’t wait to wear these!!!

 

Two For the Price of One July 3, 2013

Today you get what would normally be two blog posts only in one, compact edition. Yay! It’s like a 4th of July sale at Menards!

Your first lovely blog post is called: I Shall Swim in the Pool of Victory

I finished the socks for Joel finally. The knitting was done this morning (I just couldn’t go on anymore last night) and I worked-in the ends and Soaked them and put them on the sock blockers to dry tonight.

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I had plenty of the multicolored yarn leftover, so the grey toes were unnecessary, but you and I both know that had I not done that, I would have run out of yarn!

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So, details. These were knit with Sheepish Creationssock yarn, in an unnamed colorway.  Merino/nylon, 440 yards / 4.0 oz (407 m / 118 g). The grey toe yarn was a little over 10 grams of Pingouin Machine Washable 4 ply Sock Wool that I bought at The Knitting Hut in Woburn Sands (God, I adore Ravelry for this reason. This yarn was from a pair of partially knit socks from way back. However, I’d put all the info into Ravelry [as of course the tags are long gone for the yarn] and all I had to do was look it up!). The pattern is called Basket Weave Rib Socks (free pattern) and they are designed by Sarah Ronchetti.  I would make this pattern again, but only to do it with a solid colored yarn with good stitch definition. I feel like the pattern got a little lost in these…

These will be going off to Joel once they are dry and packaged up. Because, everyone needs wool socks when it’s over 100 degrees outside:-)

My second blog post is titled: Call Me the Grill Master!

Yes, I bought a very little, very cute little grill.

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I’ve not done a whole lot of grilling these past few years.  Really, it didn’t make sense when the hubby was a vegetarian!  But now I am alone and most definitely a omnivore so I splurged and got a grill.

First thing I grilled on it?

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Why Brats of course!

 

 

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…

 

 

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.