Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Whip Up

Have you heard the news? There's a new collaborative crafty blog out there and it's not to be missed!

Why? Well, the creme de la creme of crafty blogdom will be populating the virtual pages with tips, tricks, profiles, ideas galore and tons of good ole crafty goodness. Just look at this A-List of contributors: Alison, Amy, Betsy, Camilla, Claire, Jane, Kathreen, Laural, Lisa, Lyn, Maitreya, Maria, Nichola, Nicole, and little ole me (your resident A-List wannabe).

This brainchild of Kath is sure to be a hit so grab a button and stroll on over there!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Robert J. Beet

Meet the Beet at the VLA Recruiting Office:

Mr. Beet joins Vegetable Liberation Army Headquarters as Administrative Head of its Recruiting Office. He brings a wealth of experience to the VLA's growing administrative ranks including his prior status as Head File Clerk in the US offices of the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers, Important Document Shredding Coordinator at The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association and Executive Vice-President and National Head of Document Rotation at Beet, Tuber & Rootensky, LLP. Robert was also named World Champion Spreadsheet Jockey in 2002, 2003 and 2004, loves to watch US Congressional Session reruns on CSPAN and he's Celine Dion's biggest fan! Please join us in welcoming Mr. Robert J. Beet to VLA HQ!

Doesn't he look smashing in his hat?

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Small, Medium, Large & X-Large News!

Before the x-large news, some small, medium and fairly large business items need attending to...

Okay so I missed Snowflake Monday by one day. It's not a crime! Anyway, here are thready masterpieces five and six presented to all in their unblocked glory...

I know, I know, it's Tuesday. I haven't blocked 'em. I'm a flake (pun intended). Nuff said...

Now, three HUGE thank you's to go out that are definitely overdue!

First one goes to Rose for giving Chad his relocation papers. We here at ChezLinoleum are so excited to have him as we don't have much Gourd representation in the VLA. All of the Produce welcomed him with open leaves.

Here he is, bags of stuff unpacked, waiting for the onset of Holiday Season '06 so his hat and Santa toy look a bit more apropos. Despite the Gourd's garb he still managed to find a girlfriend. Elspeth finds him attractive, if just a wee bit eccentric.

Second thank you goes to Mimi for Big Man!

Isn't he fabulous? And he looks quite at home in my favorite chair does he not? I'm in love...

Lastly, but not leastly thank you for the shroom Angharad!

Carnivorous Carrots has taken this little guy under their tops in an effort to research suitable eyeball donors. We'll keep you apprised of current developments with this situation as they arise.

I almost forgot! A fourth thank you needs to go out to the blogosphere...To each and every one of you who has left comments and sent me emails (even the ones that needle me about getting my patterns together), I thank you from the bottom of my yarn-encrusted heart. You guys are wonderful and your unwavering support and continual feedback really has touched me deeply. Smooches all around!

Okay now for the x-large news!

I've been interviewed! Yes, I, have! And here's the best part, you can download it and listen to me prattle on, and on, and yes, on, about my crafty pursuits. Jennifer (the brilliant mind behind this project) assured me that I don't sound too dork extraordinaire. So that's good, right? Anyway, you be the judge. And if you think I sound like a craft-tard, well, just keep it to yourself. I won't mind....

Go visit Jennifer at the Craft Sanity site and say hola!

Link to Podcast here! You must have iTunes to download.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crabius Maximus

Here's the newest seafaring creature to grace the halls and NOT the kitchen of LabLinoleum, Crabius Maximus!

This crab is definitely king, sporting 600 yards of single crocheted Cascade 220 and measuring about 30 inches in diameter (tip of claw to tip of claw). He's constructed in two parts (top shell, and underside with appendages) which are sewn together upon completion.

Building on the lessons learned regarding segmented crocheted scorpion claws, I was able to perfect the process while practicing on this guy's ten appendages.

I think there may some themed crabs in the future...

As such, this pattern is definitely one I will build upon in creatures to come.

Speaking of patterns, I am in the final stages of pattern testing the jellyfish. So folks, get your hooks and your Koigu ready for action!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

LabLinoleum Lurkers

Do you lurk about the green linoleum floors of this here lab, I mean blog, late at night without so much as a hi, how's it going oh Lady of the Linoleum flooring?

Well, stop it!

Leave me a comment and let me know you're out there. OR check out my sidebar and make your mark on my Frappr map!

Peeps, I know it's difficult to fathom, but I actually stop by all of the blogs on my sidebar and I found a good many of them through my commentation (Drew's word, I stole it). And let me tell ya, you guys are making some inspirational stuff and I am fortunate to be able to participate in your bloggy worlds.

C'mon you want a little LinoleumLove right???

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes

Or, more apropos, a tale of misdirected Tomatoggression...

There has been a serious lack of Produce-inspired products around here as of late. So in light of this egregious situation I figured it best to get back down to Seeds of the matter.

Meet the first in what is to be a long line of psychotic tomatoes, Professor Rojo...

And his alter ego, Mr. Hothouse...

Two halves of the same whole...

Professor Rojo, a mild-mannered Tomatollectual by day turned schizoid, bloodshot, ripened on the vine Mr. Hothouse by night. What could twist our red friend's Stem that out of shape?

GreenHouse Gas.

That's right, Professor Rojo is a bit of a lush when it comes to imbibing the local gassy brew at the neighborhood GreenHouse. So much so, that it makes him a bit dotty. Who am I kidding, Professor Rojo is an angry drunk and after an evening of sucking down fumes he's ready to pick a fight with anyone, for any reason. The Tomato's nefarious reputation is well known amongst the Produce in the neighborhood G-Houses and now he is simply referred to by those far and wide as Mr. Hothouse.

Ostracized and eventually driven from the annals of Tomatodemic society, the fallen off of the vine Professor Rojo/Mr. Hothouse has retreated into a life steeped in fervent gas inhalation and the subsequent rabble-rousing that ensues. In fact, after hours at the local Crateyard he's gathered other red-skinned He-Matoes in order to work out their collective Tomatosterone aggressions with one another. This gathering of brutish Tomateys is aptly called by participants and aficionados alike, Tomato Fight Night Club ("TFNC"). Any Tomato jumped-into the club is not to speak of the club to anyone. They are not to speak of TFNC to one another, nor to their spouses, girlfriends or therapists. No one. What's done in TFNC, stays in TFNC.

Stay tuned for more degenerate Tomatoes as I pledge to make one a week for as long as I can stand to do so...

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Makin' Flakes!

Oh yes I've joined my first CAL - Snowflake Mondays! Very excited about this! Upon a few recommendations, I decided that my snowflake pattern book of choice should be 99 Snowflakes.

I'm happy to report that this, in fact, was the right book to choose. Not only are the directions clear and a wide range of stitches represented, but there are 99 different little bundles of thready glory to try out! So far I've made four. They aren't blocked or stiffened yet, so no snide remarks from the blogosphere, okay? Okay.

Thus far, I've tried out a couple of different threads: DMC Cordonnet (size 10) and Aunt Lydia's size 10 ala Jumbo ball. Now I love DMC, but actually big ole cheapy ball of Aunt Lydia's seems to work up better with my teeny weeny steel hook. And there are 2730 YARDS of white thready goodness on Aunt Lydia's-have-enough-thread-until-death-ball, SO I won't have to replenish my supply any time soon.

Speaking of CAL's, some of us peeps at the WeHo SNB have decided to have a little vintage chapeau CAL. At last week's gathering, I brought one of my McCall's Needlework mags circa Fall-Winter 1963-64 and this page definitely lit our hooks on fire:

We all decided that our lives would be exceedingly incomplete without these hats to adorn our heads. A fact with which I'm sure you all concur. (If interested in joining us, email me.)

It was a tough decision, but I'm starting the turban before the funkadelic flower muff and headband because I decided that I need to begin wearing turbans, especially the mohair and gold variety, sooner rather than later (Lori, I know you understand this desire).

The pattern for the turban is frighteningly easy, that is once I'd gotten past my aversion to crocheting mohair. Yes, I hate to crochet with mohair and eyelash yarn. Come to think of it I hate to knit eyelash yarn too. Actually, I just hate eyelash yarn. I love mohair though and will knit it any ole day, but peeps just try to frog crocheted mohair. It's like you've been transported to your own personal torture chamber, pulling and tugging endless amount of fuzz away from more fuzz. In short, it sucks.

At any rate here's my soon to be favorite fashion accessory in the making:

Beyond the CAL's I've been working on lots of new creatures (stay tuned for a future creature post) and some groovy functional items as well. Remember the New Year's weekend capelet? Well, I've frogged it. No, I didn't rip it out! I added a frog closure!

Recently, I also made myself a pair of legwarmers because I loved the ones I made for my offspring so very much. Her's were of course in an oh so sedate color as my daughter lacks the chip of this block when it comes to the color wheel. In contrast, mine incorporate many of the hues on the wheel. The child does not approve. And acknowledging this fact, I wear them around her often...

I am not ashamed to tell you that I used Red Heart Super Saver for my warmers of the legs. C'mon that colorway could be nothing else but RHSS Mexicana! And for all of you yarn snobs out there who'd never use this yarn form of Satan I've got a little fact to share with you...In the event of a nuclear holocaust, the only things that will survive are: (i) cockroaches; (ii) styrofoam; and yes (iii) Red Heart Super Saver. So, my rainbow legwarmers will be a testament to our civilization's way of life should aliens ever decide to visit here and bring back souveniers for study. So there. No, I'm not drinking.

Last but not least in the post o' WIP's and functional FO's, I am getting a jumpstart on holiday season '06 with fingerless gloves. I love fingerless gloves and believe that everyone I know should own a pair. In keeping with this belief, I aim to make everyone a pair for next season's gift-o-rama. I bought oodles of sock yarn and can be seen about town sporting my size one dpns and variegated skinny fiber.

Incidentally, I love the Holiday Knits book which includes the glove pattern I'm using. It's beautifully photographed, has a wide range of projects with clear and concise directions.

Better color shot of glove yarn below. Check out my ghetto safety pin stitch holder...

Sorry for my time lapse in between posts folks...I'm working on improving that situation!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Penchant For Puppets

I love puppets. I love watching them, playing with them and most importantly, MAKING THEM. If fact, over the last half dozen years I've amassed quite a collection of my own handmade little people. There's just something magical about putting yer hand up the booty of a glove puppet or rod puppet, tugging the strings of a marionette or positioning the sticks and/or wires of a shadow puppet, enabling these little beings to come alive. Equally thaumaturgical is the act of creating said mini-peeps; designing a character from conception to finished product. It's intoxicating. Really, it is...And I aim to prove it to you! In keeping with this effort, each week I plan to show you a few of my puppet roommates, share some of my secrets, elucidate my design process, link up to a few resources and hopefully entertain you a bit in the process.

Without further ado I give you the premiere puppets (and two of the first ones that I made) in this weekly series, Pancho y Judi (pronounced Hoo-dee)!


This is my very Los Angeles, very Latino version of the glove puppet classic, Punch and Judy. Now, I'm not really a Latino, but I am a born and bred Angeleno, I've been married to a couple of Latino men (no, not at the same time...Jeesh...and anyway, I like 'em tall, dark and handsome...so sue me) and I speak some pretty amazing Spanglish, so my extrapolation from Punch and Judy's British and Italian ancestry seems fitting does it not? In addition, themes of serious marital strife, adultery, abuse and murder enable this puppet classic to easily transcend hundreds of years of history and find a home in our own au current affairs. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this puppet play seems as if its story line was lifted directly from the headlines of our nightly news or alternatively an episode of Jerry Springer. Yep, it's THAT twisted. And we all know, that I'm kinda into twisted...If nothing else, the historical significance of this puppet drama is evidence that the human race really hasn't changed all that much in our long history on the planet.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the original Punch and Judy puppet drama:

The tale of Punch and Judy varies from puppeteer to puppeteer and has changed over time. A typical variant is listed below. A transcript of a typical Punch and Judy show in London of the 1840s can be found in Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor.

Punch, in a fit of jealousy, strangles his infant child. When Judy flies to her revenge, she fetches a bludgeon, with which she belabours her husband, till Punch, exasperated, seizes another bludgeon and beats her to death, then flings into the street the two dead bodies. The bodies attract the notice of a police officer, who enters the house. Punch flees for his life; being arrested by an officer of the Inquisition, he is shut up in prison, from which he escapes by means of a golden key. The rest is often perceived as an allegory, showing how Punch triumphs over all the ills that flesh is heir to. Ennui, in the shape of a dog, is overcome; Disease, in the disguise of a doctor, is kicked out; Death is beaten to death; and the Devil himself is outwitted.

Featuring, as it does, a deformed, child-murdering, wife-beating psychopath who commits appalling acts of violence and cruelty upon all those around him and
escapes scot-free, it is greatly enjoyed by small children. Terry Pratchett draws
attention to this paradox in his short story Theatre of Cruelty, the last line of which is "That's not the way to do it."

Can you see why I'm attracted this particular puppet play? Yep, twisted is good. And judging by the age of this particular piece of entertainment, I'm not alone in my interest nor affection.

The Characters


Mix a little bit philandering with a pinch of pugnacity, drench that combo with deviousness sprinkled with spite, a reckless relationship to the world around him and you get a taste of Pancho's personality. Oh yeah, he also exhibits an uncontrollable urge to murder his family and friends, but did I tell you that he's also comical? Yeah, I agree, the guy needs chemicals and a rubber room...And yet, he's the star of the show! As I said, Jerry Springer would love this guy!


Pancho's wife who currently exhibits the following symptomology: histrionic fits of jealousy and rage; vidictiveness; a tendency toward tears; and an uncontrollable need to beat her husband with a bat. But she's funny...And she loves her children...And she's a good business woman. You know, there's always a bright side!

At any rate, my Pancho y Judi carry the physical attributes of their forebearers with a bit of artistic license here and there (i.e., Pancho's pompadour and RayBans, Judi's flowered shower-cap-like-chapeau and cuke slices to treat the bags under her eyes). My versions do, however, exhibit the traditional hooked noses and chins as well as the glove puppet form. Unlike the original play though, my P&J are small business owners, operating a profitable fast food establishment (shown above, Pancho y Judi's Taco Hut) in Pacoima.

Character Construction

Before embarking on the puppet construction journey I did plenty of research. From there I knew that I wanted my puppets to be of the glove variety, in keeping with Punch and Judy historical precedent, and I wanted to construct them from easily acquired materials (primarily felt and crochet thread). Further, I also knew that I wanted to employ sewing as my primary construction technique. Once these factors were determined the cast went together relatively painlessly. And I can assure you, the group is quite large indeed. I had a blast making all of them!

I am so looking forward to sharing my little peeps with y'all! Next week you will be introduced to Los Ninos (the kids)!

Stay tuned...

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Demystified Design: Part Two

From idea to the meat of matter...literally.


I received an email last August from Noo asking me if I'd be interested in doing a commission for her. Rubbing my hands together in anticipation of a new challenge I answered yes immediately without knowing what she had in mind. After a short but fertile email correspondence we determined that I would create two creatures for her: one in the form of human bone; the other a piece of meat (the type o' meat that you find in your local butcher shop people...get yer minds outta the gutta...jeesh); both creatures crocheted.

The bone-inspired creature took the form of none other than Dr. Frankenfemur, while the meat-inspired creature(s) took off in a much different direction...

Meet the meat!

Introducing (from left to right) USDA Choice, The Tenderizer and Big Angus!

Notice their muscular, meaty (I know, redundant) arms? Please note that their fabulous limbs are fully articulated as well.

So how did I go from the concept of meat as cyclopsian monster wrestler to actual meat as cyclopsian monster wrestler???

Come, plug the back of your head into one of those dirty chairs on the Nebuchadnezzar, mind freed, ready to rocket the idea from Matrix to Real. Wait, I guess you wouldn't plug your head into the grimy chair to enter consensual reality. Scratch that. Okay, unplug your head from the filthy chair and come with me as I travel from Matrix (idea) to Real (three-dimensional object) in a few easy peasy steps.

Step One: Research

Ahhh, research. This is my favorite part of the design process. This is where I get to search through my fully stocked library of art texts, exhibition catalogues, materials and process tomes as well as journey across the world wide web in search of new images, ideas, techniques and historical precedent in the hopes that I will be able to go from here...

to there...

The most notable art historical meaty precedent I encountered and reacquainted myself with while conducting my research were the works of Francis Bacon. Nothing like fabuloso paintings of meat to get my mind warmed up. And how about this faboo meat-tastic painting by Adrian Henri? Or this meaty masterpiece by fellow Angeleno artist Victoria Reynolds? Thank the Lordy above for the art world and all of its voluminous history is all I've got to say.

Next up, the Google Image Search (use either Darth Vader or Morpheus voice here). Oh yes, in the last several years I've become best friends with the folks at Google using their image search every chance I get. Don't have a picture of thing you want to take from Matrix to Real in a book? Can't get to the library in order to find the book that has thing you need to see in it? Well, the folks at Google have solved your problem. Go here, type in meat or more specifically, steak, and click Search Images. Oh the wealth of steaks you will encounter. It is simply mahvelous dahlings!

I usually print out as many images as I can/need/find/desire found by the Google search engine. However, upon printing little web-based images I knew that I would need to enlarge several of them on my office photocopy machine for I envisioned life-sized meat dude(s). I simply explained to my boss that enlarged pictures of meat really do have a positive impact on the monthly revenue figures he was feverishly waiting for me to generate for him. Ahem, yes, art is THAT important. At any rate, be stealth if need be, but use whatever means necessary to get your images ready for Step Two.

Step Two: Pattern and Execution

Working directly from one of the enlarged steak images as a guide for both color and form, I crocheted a stout free-form t-bone (USDA Choice) using worsted weight cotton. Not only was this guy difficult to crochet by virtue of his free-formedness (okay, so I made that word up right now...so what), but he was next to impossible to document and thereby reproduce again. So, I dropped my hooks and yarn and grabbed the graph paper instead. Reminder to self, buy PCStitch ASAP.

Using one of my enlarged photocopied images as a guide I worked out this chart to be used as a template for my little meat tapestry dude(s):

The tapestry or intarsia crochet method worked. I made the front of the steak using the pattern as is, reversing the chart for the back piece. Both pieces were then crocheted together with a one inch band of single crochet in the round.

To create the arms I cut out a pattern from scrap paper, which served as a guide for shape and scale and crocheted those in the round.

Step Three: Finishing

After stuffing the arms I needed to figure out how to attach them to the steaks. I knew that I wanted the arms to move so I opted for attaching them from the center of each upper arm with a few stitches as opposed to sewing them down in several places making them stationary. Next I crocheted up a few eyeballs and attached them to their intended recipients and the meat dudes were finis!

Okay, you can plug your head back into the dirty chair if you've had enough of reality at LabLinoleum...

The meat men salute you!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Crocheted entirely from Koigu KPPPM, this sea-inspired beauty worked up in a matter of hours, mostly due to the fact that I used one of my existing patterns as the basis for this creature. Remember Leah O'Lantern's wig? Well, the long panels were perfect for bell portion of the jellfish anatomy.

The jellyfish's oral arms are supported by a round, stuffed structure sewn in the upper interior of the bell that acts as a support system so that the weight of the arms won't drag the sides of the bell down and distort its shape.

I am definitely going to make a bunch of these in different colorways and textures (I'm thinking mohair for future jellyfish buddies). Methinks that they'll look great hanging from my ceiling.

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Needleworking Into The New Year!


I started this little cardigan capelet on Thursday night and promptly finished it this morning. Here it 'tis in all of it's "being blocked" glory:

My daughter expressed her dislike of the colors I chose for this Autumnal-inspired beauty. Whateva! She's twelve and much more sedate when it comes to the color wheel than her momma as evidenced by this lovely sage green neck cozy she was crocheting at the same time I was knitting like a mad woman.

Looking at this photo I must say that her tension is really even. My offspring just began her crochet odyssey and has taken to it like a fish to water or maybe she's just a chip off the ole block. Shortly we may even have dueling cyclopsian creatures!

At any rate we were both working patterns from books. My capelet was from this one:

This is the second capelet I've made from this book. The first came together without a hitch. The directions for the one above had two typos in two separate decrease row repeats. Can I tell you that my words were a bit more colorful than the capelet as I frogged said decrease rows and worked through the mistakes so that the rows worked with the pattern and shape??? Seriously, patterns that are wrong really, really irritate me. Anyway, I prevailed over the mistakes. Yay! And I also stash-busted some of my Cascade 220 gluttony. I am definitely going to make more of these in different colorways. Lots more Cascade 220 in myriad colors in the closet...

My daughter was working from this book:

She loves it. I highly recommend it for the new crocheter whether child or adult. The directions are very clear. There are wonderful pictorial tutes. And there are plenty of projects that would be suitable for any age to enjoy.

All in all I think we're off to a good year here at Chez Linoleum. Happy '06 everyone!