Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Edit, Edit, Edit..... The Green Girl Gets Her Rant On.....

Well, I thought I was finished blogging for the month of September. I was incorrect. I have one more blog in me that I have to write now. Fair warning - here comes my first big blog rant.

I have a friend that is a world renowned science fiction author. She befriended me over 14 years ago when I was moderating a chat sight for America Online - back in the stone age of internet social venues. She saw something in me and talked her publisher into hiring me to edit a book. Let's be clear, I had never edited a book, I had no plans to edit a book, and I was shocked out of my hand-spun - hand-knit warm and woolly socks. All I can think is that my life long love of the written word and unfailing attention to the written detail (thanks Miss Downes) was something that said publisher thought would work in their favor. So, over the past 14 years, I have edited a few books, many articles, and academic papers - I guess I could say I am an off again, on again editor. Someone needs me, I'll be there to assist.

Back when that first book editing job was suggested to me, I had a hard time. Why? I do not like to judge others - I just don't! I like to think that most people are being honest and up front. I have been unfairly judged by people that should know better, not critiqued, but out right judged and sentenced as a lesser person by people that have no experience or education in said subject matter. So, I try my hardest not to judge, it is not my job in life. Then one day the publisher called me and said this, "You are not judging, you helping to refine a product, make sure it is accurate in its facts and understandable to the common reader. You are also helping to keep us out of court by making sure the author does their research properly and gives credit when it is due." OK - I understood this idea, that is the same thing we do in academics all the time. This is not about the person's character, just help to make sure everything is as it should be in the final product. Good, got it, moving on....

Rant Begins:
I know, why all the lead up, what am I getting at - move it along, get to the point. I will. On my last venture to the local library, I picked up two books that I thought looked interesting and educational. The author, Maggie Righetti. The books, "Knitting in Plain English" and "Sweater Design in Plain English." I started out reading KIPE and I must say that I closed the book exactly 26 pages into the volume. I am not judging Ms. Righetti, but rather stating what I would have done as her editor. I guess in the long run my beef is with her editor. This book discusses a lot of history without any notation as to fact. I cannot tell if Ms. Righetti has a seeing eyeglass into the past or is just bad at giving proper notation of where she gets her facts. Something her editor should have picked up on in the first review. Then she makes what in my opinion is a fatal mistake if you want a diverse audience to keep reading your book - she mocks people that use tools other than the ones she deems worthy. In her defense, she gives a list of reasons as to why she likes them best, but she chides the knitter that dares to disagree or have an opinion of their own by saying, "If you want to use straight needles that is your privilege; it is also your privilege to chew your animal hides to make leather." (pg.25)  In my opinion, she just negated all the positive reasons  that she eventually lists for using straight needles. This seems a huge editorial mistake. This one line, stopped me cold, made me close this book and refuse to pick it or her second volume up ever again.

Anyone that knows me personally or through Ravelry knows that I think each and every person has the right to use the type of yarn, needles, etc.... that they wish with no judgment from anyone else. There is no universal knitters code or test that one must pass before being allowed to call themselves a knitter, thus there is no right and wrong regarding your choice of materials. If something turns out poorly, well as many of us know those projects become gifts. We learn a lesson, we move on, we maybe even make the same error at another time, maybe not, but it is our individual process and if as an individual we could give a hoot then so be it, it is no one's business to judge.  All one needs to do is read a few of the posts in the many lovely forums on Ravelry to see that some people don't knit for the finished product, but for the experience. For example, if I knit to stay calm, I don't care what the yarn looks like or what tools I use, I need the calming effects of the motions to keep me from going postal at the next PTA meeting, etc.... You get the idea.

In conclusion - I'm angry and disappointed that a fellow editor would allow a book that clearly states on its cover that it is the only book any knitter will ever need, to be so bias in its statements and so lacking in its fact checking and notation. I am not saying that you should not read these books, just that you should know what to expect. These things may bother no one else and that's cool, but I cannot continue to give them my time.

Rant ends....

I shall now go and try to get my zen on and finish my second to the last test knit for the Autumn collection. I have taken a vacation day from the day job on Monday with the greatest of hope and the promise of all my efforts to complete the collection and get that puppy published on Ravelry in order to help give inspiration for those lovely holiday knits that will soon be flying off of your needles of choice.

Peace and joy to you all....
The Green Girl

The Crochet Challenge - Training Begins....

OK - As I have written previously, I am in a challenge with a friend in my Baker's Dozen group on Ravelry. She thinks it's easier to get a 12x12 square with crochet and I say it's just as easy if not easier with knitting. So, she is to make a knitted square and I a crocheted square from the round. That's the basics and it's all for fun, but as it is a challenge, I need to get in some training time. Flex those fingers, get out my favorite hook (yes, I have a favorite from years ago - start the Rocky soundtrack now,) and practice a little. It has been years since I crocheted an actual object as my love of knitting just moved the crochet aside. I think the whole knitting vs. crochet thing is a silly psychological mind game, but it seems that as with all human endeavors we have to choose sides. OK - as long as no one gets hurt, I'm cool with be basically being on the knitting team.

In order to start my training, I've been looking for granny square patterns. Patterns that are more than the basic because to be honest the openness of the basic granny square is a little too drafty for the type of fabric I like to make when I knit or even crochet. I found a book with 99 varieties of squares at Hobby Lobby (was able to use a 40% of coupon as well) and I think I see a couple of squares that might fit the challenge. I'll work up a couple over the weekend and see what I think.

If you have any ideas - let me know. I'll be getting in shape for the main event over the next couple weeks.

Peace and joy to yo all.... 
The Green Girl

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What if......

It is a lovely early Autumn day here in the greater Chicago-land area. The sun is out, the temperature is mild, the sky is aqua blue without a cloud. Yep, it's the perfect time for a "What if.." day.  Yesterday, I was writing an essay about my two grandmothers. These women were unique each in their own way and they were both great influences on the woman I am today and I want their stories written down for my niece, Kate as she will never know them in any other way. One of my fondest memories, besides knitting, crocheting and quilting with them, was a game they use to play with me, "What if..." That's the question we would ask and then fill in the details. What if  I had an empty semi-truck and a million dollars? What if I built a house on the edge of your property and lived fifteen feet away? Then we would spend the day discussing all the possibilities of the "what if." And the best way to play this game was laying together on a blanket in the sun on a cool day out in the yard. The sky was an enormous canvas for our minds to play out the "what if" scenario.

So, with the sky being clear and beautiful today and for as long as the weather complies, it's a great day to play the game. My question today would be, "What if I had a million dollars and 24 hours to spend on knitting supplies?"

There would have to be a plan. I mean that much money and time makes my head spin a little. Would I buy online, spend some of the time driving to LYS, would I be specific about my purchases or buy on mass just to get the goods and then sort them out later. How much could I get for my million dollars? Would I just up and buy a shop pre-filled and start a business? This game may take some time and a lot of iced tea out on the deck. Ah - the muse just came running in - she felt the vibe of the game and wants to play as well. This is the perfect game for the muse, as my good friend, Laurie would say, "She's so excited that she gets silly ears."

So, hopefully you all will have a little time to yourselves today. Take a few minutes and play along. "What if you had one million dollars and 24 hours to spend on buying (fill in your art form here) supplies?"

Let me know how your game turns out.

Peace and joy to you all....
The Green Girl

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Autumn Surprise and Crochet Challenge.....

It was a busy weekend. Saturday, we had to get a new tire for DH car (4 hours.) I thought it was the lost weekend all over again. Then on Sunday we had a double family birthday party for Nic (9) and Kate (2). Although it was cold and windy (definitely time to start thinking warm wooly hand knit socks, scarves and sweaters) we all had really nice time. The children each had several friends attend and there was two very yummy birthday cakes made by my sister in-law, Shona (she is also momma of Nic and Kate.) All in all a lovely event.

Then it was time to return home and try and salvage part of the time spent waiting on Saturday for the tire. That meant (drum roll, please,) you got it - THE LAUNDRY!!! Honestly, I think it just breeds in the laundry room. It's not finished, but at least I got Dave's work clothes done so that he's not walking around the office naked. As the weather has changed, he'd be very cold. Tonight I will drag out the Fall/Winter clothes and get them going in the laundry and get the Spring/Summer stuff put away. This is a chore of great proportion, but I don't really mind as I love this time of year. Really it's like someone just flipped the switch again and we went from furnace hot to chilly in 0.5 seconds. Again, that's ok - it will get colder and that's ok. As "The Yarn Harlot" would say, the furnace wars have begun. How long can we hold out. It will have to get a lot colder.

Then I got the loveliest surprise. I was closing the curtains that look out on the deck and there in the pot of dead flowers from the summer, was one little marigold all in bloom and perfect. There havne't been marigolds in that pot since June. I had to run outside with the camera. There in amongst all that deadness (note to self: get your Autumn gardening done) was this little burst of color. So pretty.  Maybe it's a sign of good things to come this autumn.

This got me thinking about how much I love the colors of Autumn - orange, gold, red, browns. I'm knitting a square for the October MOM (member of the month) for my Baker's Dozen group and it will be orange/red/cream (her choices) but the colors are just right for this season. They remind me of the leaves that are already turning in the neighborhood. I'm really enjoying this square and I had better because I have taken on a challenge with the moderator of my BD group. You see we've been having this discussion that crocheting a square in the round is easier to get the proper size than knitting one. I don't think so. With knitting you do a little calculation at the beginning and you're pretty much assured to get what you want. The crocheters keep saying that they just adjust from single/double/half-double stitches as they go to get what they want. Now, honestly I think that's fine, but not easier. So, the challenge is, I crochet a square for November and Eve will knit a square. Then we will compare notes. I know how to crochet, I use to do it a lot more than I do now, but knitting has always been my truest love in the world of fiber arts so I don't crochet as much anymore. Anyway, I have to find a pattern in the round, dig out my hooks and see what I come up with. Stay tuned.... I believe the colors are to be pink and purple. Wish me luck.

OK - It's Monday and I should do a little work today. I'm still trying to get the Autumn collection completed, but it's looking like I'll need to extend one week. Too many life events happened that side tracked my best laid plans. Sorry about that, but I hope you will all find the collection worth the wait.

Peace and joy to you all.....

The Green Girl

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Realization of Loss.... a.k.a. - Where oh Where Can My Knitting Needles Be...

For several months now, actually since I put together my new studio in our new home, I have had a feeling that something was not right in the Green Girl knitting world. Something just out of my reach and memory. This feeling has come and gone many times, but it hit again yesterday and it has not stopped bothering me all of today. So, I've been playing memory games with myself. What is it, what's wrong with this picture, what's out of focus, what can I almost touch, but not quite??? There's a foggy memory in the back of my mind that does not want to come to the fore front and be recognized. Why? What is it hiding from???

Then as I'm sitting and working on an angel assignment for my Baker's Square group it blossoms (more like it hits me upside the head with a thud.) My knitting needle supply is not complete. I've been researching and testing a new (new to me) plastic knitting needle from Boye called Perfection Points. For plastic they are fabulous and their point is a true tapered point. I really am enjoying these needles. And what struck me is that I've used them before, I'm sure of it, but they weren't the pretty colors I have now. More of the memory unfolds - they were called Balene Perfection Points and they were cream colored and suppose to be a plastic representation of Balene whale bone. I love these needles and I should have tons of them - circulars, straights, double pointed - the whole range, but where are they? That's what has been bothering me all this time, I have a plastic case and bag full of these needles. When I started using addi Turbos,Clovers, Signatures and other nicer (aka  -more expensive) needles, these got put away (back in Seattle.) Where are they????? I did not put them away in the new studio. I have not seen them for a very long time. I'm at s loss and I'm sad -I want my needles back. Why was I ever lured away from their lovely smooth finish and perfect little tapered points?

I'll tell you why - I was lured by the shiny, slick metal of the addis, by the smooth warmth of the Clover woods - and all because someone told me that plastic was cheap and not a good material for knitting needles and I must have the best to be a proper knitter. HOGWASH!!!! I was a proper knitter with my Balene's and I'm no better now with all my fancy needles. Yes, there is a needle for every project, but my Balene's were lovely and creamy and they did their job with no complaints.

So, to my dear Balene's - I'm sorry - please come out of hiding and join my other knitty friends in the studio. Take your proper place in my collection once again. I promise to never be a respecter of needles based on their cost or material just because someone told me they knew better. Come out, come out wherever you are...
I truly have no idea what happened to these needles. They have to be here somewhere, but where? So, the search begins...... to be continued.....

Peace and joy to you all......
The Green Girl

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's a Library Thing....

I make no bones about the fact that I am a book-aholic. My mom took me to the library to get my first library card at the tender age of five. I've volunteered in libraries, spent countless hours sitting in the stacks going to far away places, and even more hours researching and writing. The library is my happy place, its the place I feel most myself and most comfortable.

Wouldn't you know it, the library is a great place to knit! Why shouldn't it be, have you seen all the lovely knitting books they keep in the library? Nuggets just waiting to be taken home and read and then to have projects created from their pages. I own a substantial (at least I think so and it's mine so that's what counts) library of knitting books, but I can see even more at the library. I can give them a bit of test drive before I decide to buy. It's an adventure like no other - my two favorite pastimes (OK - we'll call them what they really are - addictions) are wrapped up in one spot.

So, the next time you have a free morning or afternoon - grab your book bag and knitting bag and head over to your local library. Go to the stacks find piles of knitting books, find a comfy chair (they are mandatory in all libraries nowadays) and read and knit. I'll also bet you that you get a tap on the shoulder from you dear muse. The muse loves the library, she hangs there a lot. You might also strike up a conversation that will change your life - how???? You may meet someone wanting to learn to knit, ask a question about your knitting (crow at this time - it may be your only chance for the day,) you may even meet a new friend. In the end relax, release, enjoy!!! The library can be a magical place, you never know what may happen there.

Peace and joy to you all......
The Green Girl - off on another adventure.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lost Weekend....

That title says it all - the weekend that held so much promise for getting important work done went nowhere. Let's get it the way back machine and dial it for Friday, 9/17/10.

It's 5:00pm and DH and I head off to dinner at our favorite diner. Busy as always, but the white fish was delicious and DH had a nice pork tenderloin dinner. DH runs off after dinner to rehearsal and I go for a quick errand and then home. I enter the Twilight Zone  at the market. In all honesty, the mistake is my own because I trusted someone else to do their job. I'm learning that this is an ever stupid idea on my part. I don't know why people cannot do the jobs they were hired for or keep their word when they say they'll do something, but honestly I'm done spending brain power on trying to figure it out. It is was it is, I will not be precious about such things ever again.We'll move on from here as I really don't want to get into the mayhem that took place at the market, suffice it to say that was the beginning of the end of the weekend.

I'm now at home and I'm so exhausted from the market ordeal that instead of cleaning out the knitting bag and getting my designs in further order, I put on the pj's and watched trashy TV (and I didn't care.) As you may have read earlier, the plague had hit earlier in the week and it helped to set-up a small infection.The meds I'm on for that seem to have the lovely effect of causing an anxiety attack (you know the feeling that you are going to crawl out of your skin.) Lovely, more meds to counter that. So, as I lay on the sofa in my cuddly pj's wrapped up in a snugly watching the Food channel, QVC, and Science Fiction (I warned you it was all trash TV) I was also dealing with this exhausting anxiety feeling.  Holy Creepy Crawly's, Batman!!! I tried to go to bed at a reasonable time and these meds just kept me awake forever.

Now, we are at Saturday. I sleep in a bit, but I'm feeling better and hoping that when I take my meds today things will be alright (hope springs eternal.) DH is up and about and getting ready to leave for the day. We talk and I tell him about my day. I go out to the kitchen have some breakfast, coffee (Warning, Warning, Will Robinson!) take my meds and then proceed to check in on FB and Ravelry. Then within 30 minutes, WHAMO!!!! The anxiety is back with a vengeance. I go and take my anti-anxiety med and no go - it's on strike or something because it's not working. No way, no how! And we have company coming for dinner (well my brother and sister in-law and niece,) but I'm making Moroccan stew, couscous, and best of all bread pudding. I wait another hour and then I go take another dose of the anti-anxiety meds (this is allowed according to the doctor that I had called - I know I sounded like someone that had escaped from a psych ward, but it was the meds man. She also informed me that I shouldn't drink coffee. Too Late!) I also had to make the decision about dinner. DH was still gone, so no conferring on this one. It was coming down to the wire for getting the stew going and the meds were barely buffeting the creepy crawly's. So, I called DB and canceled dinner. I felt awful, but I just didn't know how things would go.  Ended up spending almost all day in bed, finally made some pasta shway shway (pasta fast fast - quick and easy dish in minutes) for my dinner and collapsed on the sofa with DH for the rest of the night. Day one of the weekend lost - never  to return - I could see it walking down the road waving good-bye as it went on it's merry way.

Sunday: woke and felt much better, but realized that I had to take my meds. OK- I'll try something different, no coffee as apparently it expands the consciousness in a bad way when on this drug. Eat a full breakfast, drink my appropriate juice (recommended by doc) and do my Sunday morning reading, then take drugs. If this plan fails to keep the creepy crawly's at bay at least I will have had a nice start to the day. And it worked!!!! The angels sang, the heavens shown brightly, no anxiety side effect. Praise the Maker!!! I also kept drinking bottles of water, which in my mind tells me that I was keeping the meds diluted in my blood stream and that kept the effect away (maybe, maybe not, but I'm sticking to that idea.I need something to cling to at this point.) So, I shower, get in the car and go out to do the real marketing. Then WHAMO!!! I'm at same said market as Friday night and as I'm bagging my groceries, I turn and the stand that the bags are held on stabs me in the stomach (right in my surgical incision from my cancer surgery.) Stars, birds, lightening bolts all flash before my eyes, I double over in horrific pain and lean against the trolley. Who would have known that a three year old scar could still hurt so badly. After what seemed forever I finish bagging  the groceries and limp out of the store (this store has it in for me I'm sure of it - I told you Friday wasn't a pretty scenario.) And by the way, I think the eco gods were getting back at me for using plastic bags. I always use my own bags, have for several years, but had forgotten to bring them into the store on this day. Even though I'm enough pain to bring down a 500lbs bull, I make it to the next shop, get the marketing done there (remember to bring in my own bag) and get myself home. I take a headache tablet for pain and put an ice pack on my belly. Too late - black/purple/red/green bruise already appearing and spreading out to three times the site of impact. It's lovely!!!!
Moving on, I decided to make a quick Hoisin  glazed chicken with Chinese noodles and asparagus for dinner. I'm keeping myself together, oh I'm in pain, but DH is home now and I can't moan and groan to quite the extent as I can when he's gone (it just freaks him out, and there's no use in us both being edgy today.) Now, when I have made Chinese noodles in the past, I use regular old thin spaghetti. It works like a charm, but while at the market today I noticed actual Chinese noodles by the fresh ginger and thought why not give them a try. Bad idea - don't know what happened but they were basically wallpaper paste. I had also tried a new sauce recipe, way too much peanut butter (tasted like a PB&J sandwich.) Chicken was yummy though - lesson, stick to known recipes that I know aka - if it ain't broke, don't fix! Grrrr....

Finally, dinner is over, laundry is done ( that is the one thing I was able to do with exactitude while in my anxiety ridden haze on Saturday, even gave me enough vim and vigor to organize the pantry) DH and I settle on the sofa to watch Boardwalk Empire (new HBO series.) Learned some things I didn't know about this part of American history. Anyway, I finally break out the knitting at 8:00pm CST and start the test knit on one of the last designs for the Autumn Collection. Ten minutes into the show I rip in out, start again, at 30 minutes I rip it out again. I love the yarn, and the effect I'm getting, but something isn't right. Ah - it's the needle size, this pattern needs to be a bit looser, up in size we go. 45 minutes - rip it out again. DH looks and says, trouble or are you just having fun. Hilarious!!!! Grr.... Now he knows this is my process and I'm guessing he was just testing the waters to see if I was in another drug induced freak out. Fourth times a charm...not only does the needle size need to change the pattern needs to be altered. Fourth test is lovely - done and done! However, by this time it's 12:02am, Monday morning so officially I accomplished nothing in the knitting department over the weekend. At least not in my time zone. If I still lived in Seattle it would only be 10:02pm and I would have saved the weekend from being a total loss. So, I choose in my head to be in Seattle. The pattern name is Twilight on Tahoma (so that's perfect.) Oh, as an aside, Tahoma is the ancient Indian name for Mt. Rainier out in Washington state.

I have three more days of meds, but hopefully I've figured a way to keep the creepy crawly's at bay. This Green Girl is rather black and blue from this weekend, physically an emotionally, but as Scarlet would say, tomorrow is another day. And as I would say, it better be a good one!!!!

Peace and joy to you all.....
The Green/Black & Blue Girl.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Green Girl On The Go.....Going....Gone!!!

It's Friday and it's almost time to head out for the week. DH is taking me to my favorite diner for their white fish dinner (love it.) So, as I start to get things picked up around the office, I look over at my knitting bag. It's a mess and I don't mean a little one. Yarn, books, fig newtons, needles, coffee mug, juice bottle, all bulging out of the top and around the sides, plus I still have two projects, another book, and a camera to stuff into the depths of said bag. Ouch, was that a needle poking me in the hand??  I didn't realize that I had become a "Bag Lady" or at least a "Knitting Bag Lady". I've been so busy trying to get projects and patterns finished that instead of emptying my bag each night and repacking it with the things for the next day, I've just been piling it all in the bag and hoping for the best. This image now has me worried that when I get home and look at my studio it's going to look the same. In the back of my brain I know the studio looks just as bad, where are those freakin' helper mice again. I'll bet they're over at Cinderella's house sipping tea.

Then no sooner did I snap the pictures to show the world my disgrace and slothfulness (really I don't know why I show this to anyone - note to self: have head examined), but I hear crash, bang! Slowly I turn and the bag is on the floor, the contents spilled into the dusty corner. All my lovely knits in a heap as if they were to go out with the daily trash. Poor, poor knits! So, I pick them up, dust them off and stuff them right back into the bag. I didn't even take time to fold and place them nicely. What's wrong with me???

Tonight, DH is going to be gone and so it was going to be a "Gavin and Stacey" marathon with some last minute design work on the side. Now, it's going to be a take out each piece from the bag and treat it with the proper respect - I mean this bag is so full those helper mice might just be in the bottom, who knows! Then if there's time, "Gavin and Stacey to the rescue of my addled brain with design work on the side and  my own cuppa.

And that's what it's like to be the Green Girl on the go and as you can see I'm way far gone.

Peace and joy to you all...
The Green Girl.

The Right Tool For the Job or How This Old Dog Learned a New Trick.....

I have said it many times and I drill it into students - having the right tools makes all the difference in your end result. Your product or knowledge base can be poor, good or fantastic depending on what tools you use to get the job completed. Now, I tend to abide by this rule (thus why when I tell DH that Dooney and Bourke handbags will last forever, he knows I'm right as I've had mine for 30 years and it's still doing its job,) but yesterday I learned that low and behold a very simple little tool had been overlooked in my knitting kit. The humble darning needle/weavers needle, whatever you call it. I have been using plastic needles for years - I always tended to stray away from metal as I thought they wouldn't work as well. Plastic is flexible and usually has a bigger eye for ease of threading - what could be better.

Enter - Simply Knitting - Issue #71 and the freebie that was in the package. A little egg with 3 metal darning needles. Big eyes, smooth and sleek and heaven to use. As I was weaving in the ends on a project last night, they were just sitting there and as I was entirely too lazy to go to the studio and get the needle I normally use, I tried the new ones. OK - to say that these needles are good is to miss the chance to say. "The heavens opened and angles sang." These little goodies are slick as you please. They wove through the yarn as if by their own power. The working up part of this project was complete in half the time it would have taken with my plastic needle. Now, I have to wonder if this has been a conspiracy from my fellow knitters to keep these from me or if this something you just learn through trial and error. I choose to believe the trial and error idea as we all know that knitters are good, honest and helpful as they can be to their fellow cohorts.

So, give a listen - go invest in Issue #71 of Simply Knitting and get your own set of these little jewels. I may have to get a second copy in order to have two sets of these darlings. I'll just donate the second magazine to YMCA or the library. And if you knew all of this already - you may now stop laughing at my ignorance (I hear it causes wrinkles.) ;>)

Peace and joy to you all......
The Green Girl

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Long and Winding Week.....

I have been convinced all day that it was Friday. That this was the last day I would come to work this week and the last day before I could sleep in and snuggle my pillow for two days (I live a simple life - and simple things tend to bring me the most comfort - so yes I like to snuggle my pillow.) This has been a rough week for me in terms of health, as the plague decided to visit me for 5 days, plus a sinus headache to beat all this afternoon. That headache tells me it is Autumn in Illinois. The crops are coming out of the fields so the air is filled with stuff that makes me sneeze (this part will pass.) However, there has been good success with my new pattern, which thrills me no end, so that offsets some of the yuck from the week. My sweet nephew, Nic turned 9, my sweet, Kate calls me by name whenever she sees me now (that thrills beyond anything.) On the personal front a great week. And I also had lunch with two wonderful friends. Just us girls - very nice and we're considering making it a habit. Yeah! However, it was at this lovely lunch that I was informed that is was only Thursday. After I did some counting backwards on my fingers, I realized they were not playing a dirty trick on me and that indeed it was only Thursday.

I could be disappointed, sad, depressed (that tomorrow is not snuggle the pillow morning,) but instead I have decided that I am the most fortunate person I know. I was just given the gift of another day. A day that  apparently I thought I had already lived. How often does that happen? Another day to knit, another day to get my Autumn collection finished (believe me when I say I need it,) another day to love my DH, enjoy my home and care for my friends. Yeah!! And a big thanks to Nancy and Sandy for giving me back my Friday.

In regard to my Autumn collection, I'm getting ever closer to finishing. I really think there's a chance that I will not have to extend my deadline even a day, but I still need every minute in order to make that deadline. I picked up the last of the test yarn today, the names for the patterns are done, a few pieces have been test knit and the rest are almost complete. I've sent the muse on vacation for a week in order to stay focused on the pieces I have to finish. As soon as the collection is published, the muse can once again work her magic.

So, all in all a good week and I still have another day left. Hope yours is going well!

Peace and joy to you all...
The Green Girl

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Holiday Sparkle Scarf.....

This pattern is now available on Ravelry as well. Enjoy.

Holiday Sparkle Scarf

Diana Mullins-Atkinson
Oz Dust Designs and The Green Girl Studio

This scarf is made from a Aran 10/ ply yarn with just a bit of glitter in order to give the Autumn and Holiday season a little sparkle.
This scarf while having some yarn overs (for the girly effect) in the sections between the gathers still has enough density to give warmth during the colder parts of the year.
The yarn used for the test scarf is “I Love This Yarn – Sparkle” which can be purchased at Hobby Lobby craft stores or from their online store. I highly suggest trying this yarn. I was highly suspect of the quality, but with some sage advice from friends, I gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. I think this would look lovely in an angora or other natural fibers as well. However, I truly believe that a pattern is just a jumping off point to make an item truly your own, so choose the yarn of your choice, the color of your choice and have fun!
Peace and joy to you all…
The Green Girl

Close-up of pattern: Gathers with yarn over sections between.

Knit stitch
Purl Stitch
Cast On (CO)
Bind Off
Weaving ends
Yarn over
Knit 2 together (K2tog)

Yarn: Red Sparkle – I Love This Yarn – available at Hobby Lobby stores or their online store ( If not available or if you prefer a different yarn, choose an Aran/10 ply or comparable.

2 skeins yarn (approx. 502 yards/460meters)
1 pair size US 7 (4.5mm) knitting needles or size to obtain gauge
1 yarn needle for weaving in the ends

20sts = 6 inches/row

CO 20 stitches
Rows 1-2: Knit entire row
Row 3:  Pattern stitch (K2, yo, K2tog). End row on K2tog
Row 4-6: Knit entire row
Row 7: Increase each stitch for the entire row. You should end up with 40 stitches.
Row 8: Purl entire row
Row 9: Knit entire row
Row 10: Purl entire row
Row 11: Knit entire row
Row 12: Purl entire row
Row 13: Decrease by K2tog across the entire row. You should now have 20 stitches again.
Row 14: Purl entire row
Repeat Rows 1-14 until scarf is approximately 50-55inches long and end with a section of Rows 1-6. Bind off all stitches. Weave in the starting tail and ending tail.
Feel free to make the scarf longer or shorter depending upon your needs.
The yarn used for the test piece can be blocked using steam if you want a blocked look, but it is not necessary.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Viruses, Birthdays, and Sparkle.....

Hi Folks - Well I'm back after a several day hiatus (due to stomach flu.) Whatever this little virus was, it has put me down good. I am finally back on 7-Up and crackers today. The best part is that the nauseating headache has finally gone. Ugh!!! It's good to know that my immune system did it's job (don't want a lazy immune system - not good.)

Today is a special day, as my nephew Nic is turning 9 years old. Nic is my brother's youngest son and middle child. He is smart, kind, loving and so funny! This kid has a sense of humor to rival most professional comedians. He keeps us in stitches. Nic has wanted to be a vet since he was about 3 years old. He adores animals - horses - cats - dogs - fish - you name it.... So, when his uncle Dave and I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said, "I want a stethoscope. Not a  baby one, but a real one. I have to start learning about the heart and lungs for when I'm vet." I'm just sayin' if this kid doesn't become a vet, I'll be quite surprised. He has great focus for a nine year old. Anyway, that's what he's getting from Dave and I. As I'm the only family member with a medical background (almost 30 years) I'll be thrilled to pass on my skills and teach him how to use the stethoscope. I know this as well, whatever Nic becomes in his professional life, I will always be proud of this child. Just thinking about him makes me smile. I'm lucky to be his aunt!

OK - in between the virus and the birthday, I have had a few moments of un-nauseated clarity  and  I have started my own holiday scarf (pattern to be on Ravelry in a few days.) It's a simple gather stitch with sections of yarn overs between. The thing that makes this really special is the yarn. I've said it before, I don't typically use acrylic yarn unless someone has requested it and basically never for myself. However, I've been chatting with some fellow Ravelers in Hobby Lobby Harlots forum (ok - this name cracks me up - Hobby Lobby is craft store that makes no bones about that fact that they a Christian oriented establishment. They even play hymns as their background music - so the whole harlot thing is just too funny!) All that aside, this store has a nice yarn department as they are one of the best yarn stores in this area, I shop there. They have a brand called, "I Love That Yarn" and "I Love That Yarn Sparkle."  100% Acrylic! I have ignored this product for a long time for reasons already mentioned. However, the Harlots (hee hee hee - gets me every time) cannot stop extolling the virtues of this product line. So, while there one day last week before the plague set in, I noticed this lovely red yarn with a thread of silver sparkle running through it. Very Nice! I touched it and thought perhaps it wasn't acrylic after all, but the label said that indeed it was acrylic. Well, I'll be tossed in the river... This is pretty good stuff in terms of feel, but how would it work up. I bet the thread would split and look awful. Nope - wrong again. It works up well, too. It's obvious that I bought a skein, just one, I mean let's not push this thing. And after working and ripping out four versions of this pattern that the muse planted in my brain (it's all her as by this time, the plague was upon me and I couldn't think straight) I came up with what I consider a soft, sparkly, pretty little holiday or winter scarf. As I love red, this is will be worn at times other than the holidays. As is it my scarf, I don't care if anyone else likes the yarn or color. I like it.

Now, when I went to take photographs, the one with the flash turned out the right color, but lacked in showing the pattern detail. The one with no flash, looks orange (which I would love just as well if the yarn came in that color,) but shows the pattern well. All in all pretty and sparkly!!!

OK - must sign off for now, as headache is returning. I think I've done too much work on the computer to fast. 7-Up and crackers here I come.

Peace and joy and health to you all.....

The Green Girl

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Changing Season.....

The sunlight has changed. It's rays are softer, it's intensity more filtered. How does it know that Labor Day has gone and it is time for it to change. This shift in the sun's presence always marks the beginning of Autumn for me regardless of the date on the calender. I love these days of soft light and cool breezes. The harvest has already begun as well. Fields are being taken in like the sheets that we dry out on the clothes line. Windows are opening and air conditioners are being turned off at night - it seems that the world is preparing for bed like children putting on their pj's and brushing their teeth. I love this changing of the season.....

This change also means that the holidays are ever closer and it's time to think seriously about the holiday knitting. I guess I should have said, do the holiday knitting (I can sit and think about it all day, doesn't get the job done.) I have had a list of projects for about two months, I also have the yarn for most of the projects - life just seems to get in the way of the doing. You know things like, getting a new patterns collection published, doing the laundry, working the day job, working on my group squares, knitting the chemo caps, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cooking and freezing easy week night meals, doing the laundry (yep - there's a pattern there - you're not imagining things.) So, now I have a challenge - get the knitting broken down into units, mark the calender and knit until my fingers bleed. Given the list I have given myself this year, I should be done right about Christmas Eve. It doesn't help that nine family members had to go and be born during the holiday knitting rush, but they're here now (some for many years), what ya gonna do? I've learned that knitting at a birthday party is acceptable as long as you give your wishes to the birthday recipient, say a quick hello to the party goers and then sneak off to a quite corner and knit away. This works really well if the party is for a child as all they really are interested in is cake and presents. I'm cool with that! It's a little trickier with adults as they like to talk to you as you are their cohort. I'm cool with that as well, as long as they are cool with letting me knit while we chat. They have to understand, I'm not a speed knitter and these two hands can only work so fast and each hour spent at the task makes for much better odds of my having a sunny disposition on Christmas morning.

So, for all of you that have been "thinking" about the holiday knitting. Start your engines, tune-up your needles (or hooks if you crochet,) get your yarn ready and go..................................

Peace and joy to you all......... even during the holiday rush!
The Green Girl

Monday, September 6, 2010

Starry Starry Night......

Saturday was the most beautiful day of the entire summer in my humble opinion. The heat finally broke and the temperature was around 74-75F with a light breeze. It could not have been any better. A perfect day to celebrate Dave's B-Day with his parents. It made driving down to Bloomington a lovely experience, sitting and talking with my in-laws (with no AC -finally) a lovely experience. I saw twin sisters in their wedding gowns (they had stopped at Starbucks of all places) on the way to their ceremony. I hope they remembered the mints. Those girls could not have planned for a nicer day to be wed. All in all the trip was fab!

I love knowing that I can knit in the car. I surely cannot read in the car and on family vacations as a kid, I basically slept my way across country to keep from throwing up the entire time. Made my mom as mad as an old wet hen. "Diana, wake-up - stop sleeping you're missing everything." "Mom - I can't help it if I open my eyes I'll throw-up." On and on it went for 18 years. However, as an adult I have found that this does not apply to knitting. Yeah!!! So, as DH and I drove down to see his parents, I began to knit a headband for a friend going through chemo. The pattern is a freebie from the web and is tres' easy! Basically you just increase the purls every so many inches, which widens the pattern to make a basic rib look like peaks and valleys. I'm using the Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe yarn in a mid-tone gray. This yarn is part wool, part bamboo and very, very soft.

After our nice visit with Dave's parents, we headed back up the highway to home. It was about 9:00pm so it was completely dark. The days are once again getting shorter. We could see the planet Jupiter out the window plain as you please. It was just so bright. Now, as I am and have been my entire life a star gazer, I twisted around in my seat and looked up. What awaited me there was no less than a sight that was truly breath taking. The night sky was full of stars. More stars than I've seen in ages. The weather had been so clear that it had made for a perfect evening sky. Constellations were everywhere and so plain to see - it is the one time I wish the CRV had a moon roof. I finally started to nod off , but every little bit I would wake and look back up at that beautiful sky and then WHAM! She got me me! You know who I'm talking about - the Muse! Somehow she had stowed away in the back of the car. Before I knew it she was sitting in the back seat whispering things in my ear - like Starry Starry Night.... Scarf in navy blue with lighter flecks - maybe a lace idea. Every time I waved her away, there she was again. Apparently she didn't realize that the trip from Bloomington to home late at night is for listening to the highway and sleeping. However, I suspect she did know and was just being a pest. Anyway, although I did no knitting on the way home, a new pattern was born thanks to a pesky muse and a truly awesome night sky.

Peace and joy to you all......
The Green Girl.

Friday, September 3, 2010

All About Dave.....

Today, September 3, 2010 is the birthday of my DH, Dave. So, no knitting in this blog - it's all about Dave.

Dave is/has/was. etc....
1) The most conscientious person I've ever known. In 31 years he's never missed an appointment, been late or forgot our anniversary.
2) A smile that still after all these years makes my stomach do a little flip.
3) A mother that calls him at exactly 11:02am CST in order to re-live the moment of his birth. He was an actual Labor Day baby and was born during the pet parade.
4) Lost 70 lbs in the last two years - with effort and as he says, "pulling away from the table." He's always looked good to me, but now he looks good to him and that's important.
5) He flew for the US Navy. That's how we ended up living in Seattle.
6) Is a biochemist by profession. He is pure genius on two legs. No kidding!
7) Loves all his nieces, nephews and god children as if they were his own: Beth, Jim, Tom, Jason, Nic, Kate, Katrina, Kayla and Mason, JT and Jacob.
8) Is a wicked horse shoe thrower.
9)Is now participating in his second stage production. (Winkie General in - The Wizard of Oz.)
10) He is the middle of three brothers, Bob, Dave and Steve.
11) Enjoys lap swimming as a form of exercise and a time to ponder his thoughts.
12) Is married to me for the past 28.5 years. What a ride!
13) Has a lovely singing voice and sang in the Turbo-Tones, which was the DuWop group for the US Navy's School's Command Choir in Pensacola, Florida.
14) Has seen the stars from the middle of the ocean - how totally cool!!
15) Wrote a tremendously insightful book a bit before it's time, but now watches as science, religion and humanity in general are catching up to his thesis. That makes him quite happy. As he says, "Baby steps will get us there."
16) Is my best friend!!!

I could keep going, but this gives you some idea of who Dave is on paper anyway. You will never meet anyone quite like him and you'll like him immediately. Dave has enriched my life and others in more ways than I can count and in more ways than any of us realize. Yes, I am married to a super man!!!

So, Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. Have a great day and know that on this and every other day of the year, I love you!!!!

Peace and joy to you all....
The Green Girl.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

High Speed.....

Line from Ghostbusters (read blog about a Book With No Name and you'll understand why this movie quote was chosen.) " I recorded a workout and played it back at high speed. I got a 30 minute workout in 10 minutes. Saved time - that's good."

Well, that quote says it all for me today. I feel like my life has been at high speed all day. That is after I woke-up 30 minutes late. Things just kept spiraling out of control from that point on. It's almost 3:00pm CST and I think the top is slowing and things are settling back into norm
al time. However, I'm not willing to place a bet on anything right at the moment. There's still a lot of agenda left for today before I can say for sure how the second half is going to trend.

I did find a real bargain today at Michael's Crafts store. Loops and Threads yarn 4/10$. I don't typically knit with acrylic, but I have a lot of people in my life that love it and as I was not put on this earth to crush anyone's groove, I oblige and find the best quality acrylic I can when on sale and put it in the stash for their gifts and projects. And I must say that they had an ombre yarn with a color scheme that made me want to faint. I actually bought some for myself - it'll be a pillow for the studio. The colors are fuchsia/Velveeta orange/and about three others that I can't remember at the moment, but they were good, too. You see color is my weak spot - if Interpol wanted to come after me for something, all they would need to do is set-up a sting that had something to do with color and they'd have me good! So, I tell myself that the universe knew that today would be at high speed and it waited until today to put this gorgeous color yarn on sale so that I could get some to help others and have a little treat for myself. Pretty sneaky!

Peace and joy to you all....
The Green Girl