Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Well folks, 'tis almost the new year! As such, I've lined up a few teaching gigs around LaLaLand in honor of '09. Let's hear for working 7 days a week!


Despite the time suckage factor, I really do love to teach. As many of you are probably aware, teaching was my career of choice way back when. I absolutely loved imparting my passion for making unto others. I just had trouble making ends meet while doing so, hence my transition to the Cube Farm. However, I am fortunate to still have a few opportunities to play with you all! So, without further ado, I present my teaching schedule for the next few months...

On Saturdays (for the foreseeable future) I can be found at Abuelita's Knitting and Needlepoint in South Pasadena, where I teach both knitting and crocheting. Project based classes as well as private lessons can be had. Currently, we are encouraging peeps to crochet a pair of Fuzzy Boots!

Contact the store to sign up or just email me and I will pencil you in for a lesson!

My other teaching opportunities will occur at The Urban Craft Center in Santa Monica. Contact those peeps to sign up for class!


Design your own Amigurumi (must know how to make loops with a hook to take this class)
Sundays, 1/18 & 25, 11-1 pm


Project Ugg (my westside Fuzzy Boot class)
Tuesdays, 2/10, 17 & 24, 7-9 pm

Acid Dyes (oooooh, dyeing yarn!)
Sunday, 2/22, 11-1 pm


Crochet Project Class (beginners to know-it-alls welcome)
Sundays, 3/8, 15, 22 & 29, 11-1 pm

Whew! I am going to be a busy gal...

Happy New Year all!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Solstice Wrap

Finished this woven wonder just in time for the cold weather. And yes, it is cold in LaLaLand. About 56 degrees during the day. Okay, that's a spring temp for much of the rest of the country, but for us weather weenies, it is frigid!

So, back to my wrap. It's big (I wanted this to work as a coat replacement) and it's made entirely of scrap wool. Let's hear it for stash busting!

As is my way, I wove this example of diamond motif goodness on my 12" Hazel Rose Loom and crocheted the pieces together with a cone of Lamb's Pride worsted in their Smoke colorway.

I really enjoy using these little looms. In fact, I just finished up a diamond wrap made entirely of my own homespun and have one more in the works using a bushel of boucle from my stash. After the boucle wrap is complete, my plan is to move onto square, rectangle and smaller triangle looms. I also have to weave something on my Ashford Knitters Loom and my Spriggs Adjustable Rectangle Frame Loom. You can be sure that there will be lots o' weaving in 2009!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday!

Copyright 2008 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poultrypalooza Apron Redux

Tuesday evening fellow cube farmer, Rebecca, and I headed over to the Sewing Arts Center for a fabulous course in apron actualization taught by shop proprietor, Russell! I am a huge fan of apron-age and have tried my hand at one before, a poultry-themed lap wrap, but it didn't exactly display expert sewing technique. Basically, I just threw it together sans pattern, working from applique to finished product. The fact that it came together at all was more a result of luck than anything else.

So, needless to say, I do have a little sewing technique under my belt, albeit far (very far) from expert. Rebecca, on the other hand, is quite the avid seamstress, yet she is always interested in honing her skills and she's way into aprons (check out her etsy store!). Therefore, when she told me that Russell was teaching aprons and she was planning to take the class, I told her I was in!

I figured I'd do a little tribute to my first apron by revisiting the poultry theme in my second attempt...

Thanks for modeling Kristen!

Is it not darling?

Check out those wood scallops!

And the heart-shaped pocket!

This lovely piece of apron technology was also constructed sans pattern. Well, not entirely. Russell had us create a pattern for the bottom scalloped edge by using a quilting template and some freezer paper while in class. We also used a technique called the burrito roll to attach the scallops and apron strings to the body of the apron. All I have to say about the burrito roll technique is nea-to.

I am so proud of my little chicken apron! There are definitely more Sewing Arts Center classes in my future. Next up, I tackle the dreaded shirt...

Angelenos, won't you join me?

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I spent last weekend immersed in activity. Saturday, LittleLinoleum and I drove to South Pasadena so that she could work her weekend shift at Abuelita's Knitting and Needlepoint. Needless to say, I don't generally have any knitting and crochet students this time of year due to crazy holiday schedules, but simply dropping Lena off at work, going home and returning to retrieve her is pretty much out of the question due to distance and traffic. So, I use my student-free waiting time at the store to work on knitting and crochet projects, while chatting it up with the customers and Samantha (store proprietor). It's a nice way to spend the day and I'd like to believe that LadyLinoleum Jr. will look back fondly upon our Saturdays together.

I spent Saturday evening behind the spinning wheel while in front of the tube watching Christmas flicks (Little Women and It's a Wonderful Life), gas log blazing, lights twinkling on the tree(s), the hubs and I making the most of our quiet evening at home.

Sunday morning was all about a bit of baking on the kitchen front and a little assembly on the fiber front. From the kitchen emerged popovers, of which I forgot to snap a photo, and from my living room based textile mill half of new diamond shawl woven from some of my crazy handspun took shape. Pictures to come of the shawl. It's a wild one to be sure, lots of metallics embedded in the yarn. I'm quite happy with the results!

Then it was back to the kitchen for another round of making eats. This time I tried my hand at homemade marshmallows!

I never fancied myself a concoctor of confections, but marshmallows were surprisingly easy with Alton Brown as my guide. (Love that guy!) In fact, making 'mallows is nothing more than creating a syrup, whipping the syrupy mixture up with some gelatin until the final product is thick and sticky, yet airy. It's pretty fast and relatively simple if I do say so myself.

Marshmallow sugary syrupy base.

Curing mallows in a pie pan.

The most difficult aspect of the recipe process is trying to get the 'mallow mix from the stand mixer bowl into its final resting place, the pan. Wow, sti-cky! I won the battle however, and the mallows look superb. Tonight, I plan to coat my masterful marshmallowy goodness with chocolate. Mmmmm!

The hubs and I rounded out our Sunday with friends at our annual outing to Merry Tuba Christmas! (LittleLinoleum is currently too cool to attend this much loved *by the rest of us* tradition.) Sans child, we began the evening with a fabulous friends-filled dinner at Far Niente, then headed over to the Alex Theater to partake in a bit of musical majesty that only 150 tubas playing Christmas (and Hanukkah) carols can provide.

It was awesome. Incidentally, this year marked my fifth Tuba Christmas and, thankfully, the event always manages to kick my hibernating Christmas spirit into gear.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Linoleum Homestead

There seems to be a direct correlation between my escalating descent into a world where making is tantamount to breathing and my compelling desire to leave urbanity for a rural existence. I long for space, solitude, time to experience and experiment. How wonderful it would be to whittle away the daylight hours baking pies, crocheting pies, wearing pies...Ahem. Yep, I am ready to leave the hectic pace of my current existence behind, flee the 9-6 toil of cube farm life, shed the confines of my multi-family abode and head out to more sparse pastures, far, far away from the urban topographic maze I currently inhabit. I want to have the space and time to just live and breathe and relax and work with my hands. This is what I call bliss.

You see, I am an individual who finds great joy in mundane, repetitive activities that bear fruits. The shine of the kitchen counter surface after buffing, the diminutive band of stitches dotting the hem of a garment freshly sewn, myriad interconnected loops composed with needles, hook and hands, fleshy, yeasty dough coaxed into mound by kneading, wool loosed into a thin veil and drawn into an endless pirouette about the bobbin of my spinning wheel while treadling. As I said previously, to have the time to dedicate my day to such circumstance would be nothing short of my own personal heaven, but alas, such is not my lot in life. For better or for worse (depending upon my mood), I find myself the epitomical urban career girl, days occupied by a barrage of emails, memos, meetings and conference calls, only to find retreat in the hour long snippets of crafting during my lunch hours. For me, the bulk of my creative freedom happens after the sun has set, when the sky has dimmed and the city is slumbering.

Although I long for wide open spaces and the time to devote to my creative freedom while the sun is high in the sky, I will tell you that, for the most part, I have come to terms with my current living, working and creating lifestyle. I actually do rejoice in the mostly successful urban homestead that I've created. Sure, our condo is cramped. I have frame looms adorning the living room walls and spinning wheels dotting the floorscape. My butter churn is small by necessity, but quite mighty nonetheless. I don't have the room for any fuzzy barnyard buddies, but we do cohabitate with our share of friends hailing from the animal kingdom, as will most likely always be the case. But the best part of my urban homestead existence is the fact that I have lots of opportunities to expand my crafty and culinary frame of reference due, in large part, to the fact that I live in an urban area ripe with resources. Knowledgeable friends and acquaintances, classes and workshops galore all enhance my artsy, craftsy and cooksy skill sets and although I voice my share of complaints about the fact that I am, for all intensive purposes, the main breadwinner at ChezLinoleum, my income affords me the luxury to experience and experiment with much of what the crafty world around me has to offer.

So for the moment, my exodus from urbanity to all things rural is but a dream. In the meantime, I shall fill my urban nights and weekends crafting it up to the best of my ability, attending my weekly SNB meetings, taking classes at the Urban Craft Center and the Sewing Arts Center, teaching the uninitiated how to wield hook and needles at Abuelita's Knitting and Needlepoint and hey, I may even engage in a cooking class or two. Then, when the time comes for me leave the bright lights of the big city for a less populated locale, I'll be ready to soar in my new environ, my crafty bag of tricks overflowing. For now, I'll keep the dream alive and imagine a future filled with spinning wheels, butter churns, homemade cheese, lots of yarn and a feelings of utter fulfillment. Wait, that last statement characterizes my current lifestyle! Okay, absent the cow and pasture and sparse country lane. I guess I can live without those other things...for now.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cover Girl!

Guess who's hat made the cover of Crochet Today mag???

Yes, that would be my hat!!!

I am so excited!

Needless to say the pattern for this very funky, yet oddly fashionable earflap hat is included within the pages of the latest issue.

But wait, there's more...

I also designed a pair of fuzzy faux Ugg-ish slippers for this issue of the mag as well.

Just trying to help you guys keep your heads and feet nice and toasty this winter.

Happy crocheting!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Beauteous Bagels

How did you spend your Thanksgiving weekend LadyLinoleum?

Well, I sported a few pies atop my head while darting to and fro about the western reaches of the Los Angeles city limits AND when not driving around while donning pie, I attempted a bit of baking! Oh yes, bagel baking...

Are they not beauteous???

Okay, I admit it. My rings o' dough are probably not the most handsome examples of bagel-dom. However, they're not a bad first attempt and, more importantly, they taste like heaven. Seriously good. Really, my lips shall never touch another store bought bagel again. Okay, not really, but you get my drift.

Inspired? Come on, you know you wanna boil and bake some chewy bagel-y goodness! I know that homemade onion bagels are definitely on my upcoming weekend's slate of baking activities...Yum!!

Recipe source for bagel-y goodness: Fannie Farmer Baking Book

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fruit Tart Fascinator

I am so excited that you guys are lovin' the Pie-Rets! I have received tons of requests for the pattern. So, I will be testing all three pies this week in the hopes that I can offer the patterns to you in the next few weeks. Stay tuned...

Needless to say you've inspired me to keep going with the holiday sweets headgear...

Introducing the Fruit Tart Fascinator!

Yes, that would be me hamming it up with a little pie atop my head.

This mini crusted headgear was a one-night crochet project. As such, you can be sure that there will be many more versions of this little wonder in a variety of fruity fillings!

Who would have thought that wearing one's food could be so satisfying?

More holiday fun to come! Stay tuned...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Pie-rets

I have been infused with some serious crochet mojo combined with a touch of holiday spirit for the past few weeks. Now, you all know what that means...Oh yes, that definitely portends a bit of twist in my yarn!

Introducing Holiday Pie-rets!

These crocheted versions of round flaky goodness are just in time for Turkey Day! And yes, you can be sure I will be wearing pie to my family's Thanksgiving feast. So, let's take a look at my crusty choices shall we?

There is the always popular seasonal delight, Pumpkin Pie-ret...

Topped with a dollop of cream...

Thanks to Ellen for modeling!

OR how about a touch of dark and rich Pecan Pie-ret...

Bridget is modeling this lovely headgear!

And my personal fave, the Cranberry Orange Pie-ret with lattice crust!

Modeled by my girl, Jenna!

It's a tough choice to be sure.

Onto the crochet stats...

The Pecan and Cranberry Pie-rets were crocheted with an F hook and some of my Cascade 220 stash. An F hook combined with this light worsted yarn creates a very tight fabric. This is exactly the effect I was attempting to achieve as I was aiming for structure, not drape. My challenge during the design process for both of these Pie-rets was creating a perfectly shaped circle while using a popcorn stitch pattern. Needless to say, frogging ensued before I came up the correct increase to stitch ratio. I am happy with the results.

The Pumpkin Pie-ret was also crocheted with an F hook. However, I chose to use Lamb's Pride worsted for this one. Don't think I would choose this yarn again for this type of project. The FO ended up being too heavy for my taste. I will use Cascade 220 going forward should I ever decide to crochet another dessert-themed hat!

Needless to say, one of these hats combined with Turkeyzilla the Tote Bag accessorizing my holiday outfit will surely embarrass my daughter to the core. It just doesn't get much better than that! Muhahahaha!

Copyright 2008 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Practical Crafting

Well, I had my year end review yesterday at the Cube Farm. The good news is that I am still employed because as luck (or constant effort shall have it) I'm indispensable. The bad news is that management cannot reward me for my efforts with anything other than praise. Yep, salary is flat and bonus is down. Hell, at least my wages did not decrease and I'll receive a bonus! Nonetheless, I am mired in disappointment. As the sole breadwinner at Chez Linoleum, my finances are really stretched. No matter how unrealistic the thought, I was really hoping for a bit of monetary relief. No such luck. Oh well, I'll just have to quell my anxiety about my current state of affairs with an extra dose of crafting.

As such, my penchant for making has taken a turn for the practical. Whereas turkeys and bacon will always have their place in my creative pantheon, what I could really use right about now is a special pair of socks to comfort my tosies as I witness my 401K lose all of it's value in a tanking stock market...

Likin' those Holly Berry Jaywalkers!

Needless to say, thoughts of my Depression Era grandmother have become omnipresent lately. She was the master of frugality, saving pieces stale bread to make breadcrumbs later, forever mending holes in articles of clothing that had seen better days, throwing all of her aging foodstuffs into her world famous "Garbage Soup" and she pretty much made every single pair of pants that she wore. Literally, a rainbow of gabardine to be had in her closet. My Nana could stretch a dollar better than anyone I knew/know. So, in honor of my maternal grandmother I've taken up needle and thread. I don't know that I'll save any money by turning to my Singer in my time of woe, but my wardrobe will surely benefit by the addition of a few hand sewn necessities such as drawstring pajama bottoms. Here's one of the Halloween-themed pair that I recently worked up...

I've got stacks of fabric in my stash waiting to be transformed. You can be sure that the whole family will be sporting pj pants for the holidays before I'm through. And who knows, I may even try my hand at a bit of quilting...

But wait, there's more! My practical crafting also extends beyond the borders of hooks, needles, looms, spinning wheel(s) and sewing machine. Oh yes, let's not forget the artful, yet practical culinary crafts. 'Tis the season for cooking and baking and trying my hand at all sorts of magical kitchen delights. For example, last summer I acquired these handy attachments for my Kitchen Aid Mixer that I've yet to test drive...

Because nothing brightens my poverty-stricken day more than handmade tube steak!


So, even though my wallet is a lot thinner these days and the world a lot messier, I can take heart in the fact that I've got a roof over the clan, food in the fridge, fuel in the car...um, just a wee bit of yarn in my stash (okay, I'm understating...whatever) and few fundamental skills that will allow me to occupy my mind and fingers while riding out the tough times we currently face. Stay positive kids...We're chicks (and dudes) with myriad tools and we ALL know how to use 'em.

Big hugs all around!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Beanies for Blade Runner Bag Ladies

While at Camp Pluckyfluff, Lexi mentioned her penchant for making "spirit beanies" from her own handspun. I loved the idea. Simultaneously, my spinning classmates were discussing what their vision of a post-apocalyptic spinners compound would look like, a discussion I found to be completely intriguing. Subsequently, upon my return home, I began to work up my homespun odds and ends into a few Post-Apocalyptic Spirit Beanies...

Okay, they do look a little like hats for Blade Runner bag ladies. Come on though! Admit it! They do have a certain nutty charm and they are a departure from my usual obsessive compulsive fair.

It's all about creatin' outside the confines of the proverbial box...

Happy Saturday Everyone!

Angelenos, don't forget about Felt Club tomorrow!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Nurtured Nature

Last night, after my Wednesday night yoga hour and before the premiere of Top Chef, I was finishing up a special Thanksgiving-inspired crocheted item while watching an amazing documentary on PBS called Weaving Worlds. This incredible piece of television had the same impact (if not more) on my creative psyche as another PBS miniseries, Craft in America.

Weaving Worlds tells the story of Navajo rug weavers (who are also shepherds, shearers, mini fiber mills and spinners) and their role within the collectibles market. Through interviews and oral histories, the film gives an intimate look at current dilemmas facing Navajo weavers as well as the relationship between wool production, spinning, weaving and the family dynamic. Not only was this hour docu-journey fascinating from a pure process standpoint and how Navajo weavers have supported themselves via wool, but its emphasis on the female collective, a family's shared experience of growing, tending, making was inspirational.

Lately I've been thinking quite a bit about the roll of fiber/yarn/fabric in my own existence, which since the age of seven has been a fairly significant aspect of what makes me, me. Those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time know that I learned how to knit, crochet and sew from my maternal grandmother as a young girl. Looking back, I know now that my inescapable interest in what my Nana would do with her fingers, a few metal tools and some string has not ceased. In fact, I venture to say, that my interest in fiber and all of its derivative processes has well surpassed the interest stage, the whole fuzzy tangle becoming embedded in my genetic make-up. Or maybe, just maybe, I was predisposed to become a fiber fanatic. Maybe this fiber obsession is a recessive gene, that skipped a generation (my mother and her siblings) and appeared in my DNA strand just waiting for the right moment to bloom.

So, was the fact that I was inexplicably drawn to my Nana's fiber rituals nature or nurture?

Watching Weaving Worlds brought the question above to light for me. In the film one of the women profiled, who happens to hold a Masters Degree in Linguistics, decided to return home to her reservation in Arizona with her family because she needed, desired, to work with her hands, tend her sheep, process the wool from her flock, spin the fleece into yarn and finally weave the results of her labor of love into woolen works of art, just as her mother and her grandmother had done before her. She described her decision to leave the world outside the boundaries of the reservation for her current fiber-focused life as something she felt she was destined to do. Further, she said that weaving, working with wool, was in her blood, in short, who she is and who she wants to be.

I understand this statement to the depths of my soul.

I spin yarn. I weave yarn. I knit and crochet yarn. I sew fabric. I spend hours each day making stitches and loops because this is who I am and, even more importantly, who I always want to be. I don't know that my Nana thought this deeply, or contemplated the meaning at all, about why her fingers were constantly moving amongst the backdrop of baskets filled with yarn, thread and projects galore, but I do know that she too was drawn to everything fiber, delighted in it, worked at it every day as she was masterful with string. Her daily fiber practice may have had its genesis in necessity (as it did for many in her generation), but eventually became much more meaningful to her. This is the aspect of making, working with fiber, that holds me in sway and hasn't skipped a generation this time round as evidenced by the fact that my daughter is undeniably drawn to the ways of wool despite her current state of teen angst. Although she's foregone her daily acts of crochet in favor of endlessly texting and chatting online with her friends, I do occasionally find her fondling the omnipresent cakes of yarn scattered about the house. When I walk up beside her in one of those moments to ask her if she's interested in using the object of her attention in a project, she usually replies, "Not now Mom, but this yarn is really cool."

I have faith that eventually my ever creative daughter come back to our shared fuzzy space. After all, yarn is in our blood.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes. We. Did.

In honor of change I give you my tribute to the American democratic process...

Knit (and crocheted!) entirely from my stash, this lovely 100% virgin acrylic piece of Americana kept my digits busy as I fell deeper and deeper into the sway of the 2008 campaign season. As a result I found that I knit faster when something I heard, saw, read ticked me off along the way. Ahhh yes, it's those little revelations that make our political system worth participating in....

I had actually planned to wear this cape while voting, but alas it was nearly 80 degrees in my hood yesterday! At any rate, I wore it to work today. Uh yeah, pretty much everyone at the Cube Farm knows which way my political pendulum swings now...

Oh yes, we did!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Camp Pluckyfluff

Yesterday I set out on the 421 mile journey to my north in order to learn how to trick out my spinning. Yep, I'm in beautiful Placerville, California at Camp Pluckyfluff!

Held at the Boeger Winery, Camp Pluckyfluff is a two day art spinning extravaganza taught by the Pluckyfluff maven herself, Lexi Boeger.

Let me tell you after having just finished day one of this workshop, I am completely satisfied with the experience. Well worth the money AND seven hour drive up here. Today alone we workshop attendees learned six or seven techniques!

Just look at the results of my, um, err, spinning enlightenment...

Granny Stacks fit for Halloween...

Here's a detail of the stacks...

Crazy Carded Batts spun up into glorious thick thin string-age...

Lofty translucent mohair clouds...

And tons of twists!

Here is Lexi's twisted example...

Absolutely amazing day! I feel like my training wheels have come off and I'm flying by the seat of my proverbial pants. Doesn't get much better than this, creatively speaking that is. Needless to say I can't wait to get back to my wheel tomorrow morning for day two!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Renfield's Shawl

Here is my tribute to Dracula's sidekick...

Yes, it's Renfield's Shawl!

Covered in crocheted buggy delights, this woolly wonder is made up of woven diamonds that I subsequently crocheted together. Each diamond was woven on my 12" Hazel Rose Diamond Loom in a variety of yarns such as Colinette Point 5, Lamb's Pride Bulky as well as a little Vitreous Humor by Insubordiknit (which I love!).

Renfield's meal replacements...uh...buggy buddies were crocheted from scraps of Koigu KPPPM.

More details about the bug appliques can be found here.

All in all, not a bad accessory to drape about the shoulders while traipsing around the neighborhood in pursuit of candy on All Hallows Eve!

Happy Halloweeeeeeen!!

Copyright 2008 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Anatomical Patches

Whew, where has the time gone? Since my last post I've work a bazillion hours, designed lots of goodies for Crochet Today mag, purchased a new car and managed to hit Disneyland for a little "Happiest Place on Earth" time.

I've also finished a few embroidered, anatomically correct, patches!

Yes indeedy! I have finished my embroidered brain...

A few eyeballs...

Uh, intestines....

And a heart...

I edged all of these anatomical gems with a bit of machine stitchery and all of the designs, except for the brain, are from Sublime Stitching's Vital Organs suite of patterns. The brain? Yeah, that's all moi.

Now, just wait until you see where I plan to paste these patches...

Embroidered Brain Patch: Copyright 2008 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.