Monday, August 17, 2009

On Vacation

I will be on vacation from August 16 - 24. I will have VERY LIMITED ACCESS to email. As such, pattern orders received during that time will not be delivered until I return.

I'll miss you guys! See you when I'm back in LaLaLand!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Breeze Cardi

When not designing I've been working OPPs (Other People's Patterns) in an effort to expand my creative horizons. You see, I learn a lot from other designers when I work up their patterns regarding construction, stitch pattern design, as well as the drape and/or structure of knit and crocheted fabrics. Oh, also? It's fun to give my designer brain a rest and follow someone else's instructions for a change of pace. With this in mind, I decided to try my hook at one of my fellow Crochet Today designer's fabulous cardigans...

Yes, that would be me modeling (in the office ladies room no less) Elena Malo's Summer Breeze Cardi from the May/June 2009 issue of Crochet Today.

I have been experimenting with crocheted sweaters lately. In other words, currently I've been crocheting quite a few. Now, I have to tell you all that traditionally I tend to not be a huge fan of crocheted apparel because generally it lacks drape and by virtue of this fact, the fabric itself becomes pretty darn thick. However, it seems that designers have begun to take these facts into account when designing crocheted garments. Therefore, today's designs seem to be much more wearable than their predecessors. This is true of the Summer Breeze Cardi as it definitely has drape.

In addition to the drape factor, I think that the construction of this little sweater is quite clever. The back, fronts and sleeves are crocheted first then joined together when crocheting the yoke. It's very cool.

Needless to say I have a couple of boxes of yarn that I purchased recently in order to make a few more of these cardigans. Oh yes, I shall have one in fuschia, baby blue, black of course, oooh, and red...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Spinnin' Away!

I've been on a batt buying kick as I haven't done much dying on my own as of late. This is mostly due to the fact that Jenna (my partner in color crime) and I both dropped some serious duckets on sewing machines. Hence, all the sewn apparel and quilting happening at ChezLinoleum. However, we should get to dying again soon, don't you think Jenna? Our dye pots are gathering dust...Anyway, I digress. So yes, instead of dying my own fluff I've been buying other people's fluff and spinning it up or mixing said fluff with some of my stash fluff on my drum carder before ultimately spinning it up.

Now, I gotta tell you peeps that I LOVE spinning. It is a process that rivals knitting and crocheting for me. In fact, when I'm feeling down I often think that sleeping next to my Lendrum would sooth my bereft soul. Then I actually come to terms with the logistics of this notion and opt for snoozing with my cat instead. Poo Poo Kitty is nice and squishy. Much easier to cuddle up with. So, my Lendrum remains next to my chair, at the ready, whenever I'm feeling the need for some spinning meditation and just look what we've been creating together lately...

Purty eh?

I spun eight ounces of Mountain Colors Handpainted Targhee Roving, in their Moccasin colorway, into singles on my Lendrum. Then I plied it with the leftover gold thread from my first quilt on my Mach I. Since my Mach I's arrival at my condo it's become my primary wheel for plying. Doesn't matter the size, weight or crazy factor of the yarn I'm spinning, I always seem to use it for the plying process.

Next up, look at this wacky color combo...

I used a Donna Batt (Battman Batt from Material Whirled) for the singles that make up this yarn. Then I plied it with some leftover pastel variegated lace weight mohair.

Neato eh?

I gotta tell you all that rarely do I look at a batt and think I MUST HAVE THIS NOW. However, the minute I saw the Donna Batt, I thought just that. I told Reenie that this colorway is so wrong that is just right. She responded by telling me that we should have t-shirts printed with that statement on it. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Needless to say, I have more Donna Batts on the way. Ultimately, I have special plans for this yarn...


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


In between my melt-downs (and actually, during them as well) I've been crafting. Can we all give a huge shout out to personal savior? Yep, no amount of misery can stem the tide of my creativity. Um...err...or my attempt at creativity as the case may be with this next example of handmade glory...

Oh yes, I made my own jeans.

Now, I'd like to say that the process of making one's own denim pantalones was one that I enjoyed immensely, but then I'd be fibbing. Oh. My. God. Making jeans is hard peeps! Firstly, how many pattern pieces should one really have to deal with in one project? One pair of jeans has like, oh I don't know, a bazillion pieces! Damn the belt loops!


Okay, so I knew I was in trouble when I began to liberate my pattern pieces from their paper frames. I'd cut out one or two out and think, well, that's got to be all of them. Then I'd look at the stack of folded pattern pile-age in front of me and think, Really??? Pinning all those pieces to the denim and cutting them out was no party either. However, I must admit that cutting out pattern pieces is NOT my favorite part of the sewing process. It's kind of like cleaning toilets or folding a hundred white socks. Boring AND tedious. Yay! Anyway, after three hours of cutting I began what I thought was going to be "the fun part" of making my own jeans.

Okay, if you have jeans on, I want you to strip from the waist down right now.

Yes, I mean it! C'mon, humor me.

Are you nekked? Okay, good. Now, turn your jeans inside out and look at all of the pieces sewn together that create both the front pockets and fly.

Are you feeling my pain?

Fine, you can get dressed now. Thanks for playing.

Needless to say, it took me four three hour classes to sew my denim dynamos together, from controlling the stitch line of the reinforced stitches to putting in the fly to riveting the pockets. I whined the entire time (my version of whistle while you work). Oh, and let's just say that I came to know my seam ripper INTIMATELY.

Now, here's the sick and twisted part of this whole thing...I have a stack of fabric, both denim and corduroy, that I intend to use to make many a pair of future jeans. I must be a glutton for punishment, eh? Or, perhaps, I could turn this process from one of torture to tickled pink (I mean blue) with just two little words: assless chaps. A pair of those would look smashing in ladybug print corduroy and won't have as many pattern pieces to contend with.

I'm a jean-ious.

Monday, August 10, 2009

When Things Fall Apart...

Last weekend began with a phone call at 4:30 pm on Friday afternoon...

I looked at my Blackberry screen...private number. I debated as to whether I should bother answering and then elected to do so.

"Ms. Gonzalez?"


"This is Detective So and So from the LAPD."

I immediately think, great! What's my soon-to-be-ex-husband accusing me of doing to him now? (You all have no idea, dear reader, the shenanigans that have ensued since the official split.) My seconds of contemplation were interrupted by the Detective's voice.

"Ma'am, do you have a daughter?"

My right brow elevated slightly as I answered, "Yeeesss."

"Can you tell me her name?"

Upon my answer he began to relay the scenario that necessitated his call. Apparently my lovely daughter and her posse were smoking cigarettes in the alley behind our condominium. The undercover narcotics detectives spotted them and thought that they looked a little too young to be smoking. Bingo! So, they decided to wrangle the group up and search their persons and belongings.

Guess what they found in my offspring's bag?


No, give it another try.


Well, yes. One doesn't achieve beautiful full lashes without a little help from the cosmetic counter, but that item didn't give the officers cause for any concern. No, the item found in my daughter's tote that provoked this Friday afternoon phone call was...oh yes...a marijuana pipe.

Yeah, the fun never stops over at ChezLinoleum!

The detectives said that my daughter and her friends look like good kids, but the pipe could be a sign of more to come if not nipped in the bud (no pun intended) sooner rather than later. Further, they said that they would only give my child a ticket for smoking and release her into my custody, allowing me to handle the situation as I saw fit. Unfortunately, the ticket means that we will be going to teen court (Yay another courtroom experience!) in September and she will receive a fine.

The one good thing that came out of Friday evening's events? For the first time in weeks, my daughter seemed to lose her obnoxious teen 'tude. Yep, when I calmly explained to my daughter that she would be grounded for the rest of the summer she just looked at me and replied, "Okay. I'm sorry Mom." Further, she told me that she will be paying for the fine with her own wages, to which I replied, "Yes, yes, you will."

Unfortunately the weekend just worsened from that point forward...

Weekends have become increasingly difficult for me since the onset of my marital mayhem. When my husband and I were still residing together, weekends were filled with tension and a depth of unhappiness that was nothing short of utter oppression. Now that he is gone, the silence itself and my ever encroaching awareness of the nightmare that I have endured, am enduring, has become utterly oppressive. Now, I am quite adept at keeping my sadness, anxiety and depression at bay most of the time, but there are occasions when no amount of positive affirmation can stem the tide of my despair. And last weekend, despair was the rip tide that caught my leg and tried to pull me under...

I could feel the ripples of despair lapping at my toes when driving home from my teaching gig on Saturday evening. As I edged closer to home, my stomach began to turn and my mind raced with unsavory thoughts. I acknowledged that this did not bode well for an evening of quiet relaxation.

By 10:00 pm I was in full melt-down mode. My body was collapsing under the weight of my sadness, tears streaming down my cheeks, nostrils leaking fluid, hair in disarray...not a pretty sight peeps. I needed to hear a friendly voice. I texted my Mom and said simply, "I'm falling apart." She called me shortly thereafter and by the end of the call, we were both in tears! At this point, my eyes were burning and my eyelids had swelled to size of raviolis. I needed to get control of myself. So, I threw Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring on the DVD player and attempted to drown my sorrows in a bowlful of Cheetos. Normally, Frodo and a neon orange snack would do the trick, but this was no normal bump in the proverbial rode. (Oh, by the way, the whole time I was melting down mercilessly? Yeah, I was also crocheting. Just because I was falling apart and contemplating heaving my body from the rooftop, did not mean that I had became exempt from my design deadlines.) At that point, I decided to pack it up and just go to bed. Yeah, you guessed it, I cried myself to sleep.

So, how was your Saturday night?


Needless to say, Sunday I awoke with bloodshot eyes, ravioli eyelids and a headache the size of Los Angeles County. I looked in the mirror and began to tear up again. Enough was enough. I called my girlfriends. They were coming over later to get me out of the house. Knowing this made me feel marginally better, but not enough to dam up the tear tide completely. So, I picked up the phone again and dialed a familiar international number. I listened to the crackle and hiss of the line making it's myriad connections before finally hearing the foreign and yet oh so familiar ring go through its repetitions...

The deep resonant voice that I know intimately answered, "Al-lo?"

"Honey, it's me," crying ensued...AGAIN.

He immediately answered me in English, "What's wrong Re? Tell me..."

It was there and then that I laid it all out, the pain, the suffering, the overwhelming sense of feeling like a failure. I told him about LittleLinoleum's Friday fun fest, my parental controls slipping away, the endless crocheting during it all. How could I have allowed my life to go so...sideways? He listened intently and comforted me with his words. By the end of the conversation he even had me in doubled over in laughter. We were both reluctant to end the dialog, but we said our pregnant goodbyes nonetheless. After hanging up, I looked in the mirror and noticed the residue of a smile on my face. I would be okay...

Later at lunch with my band of rescuers, my mom looked up from her plate of food and asked me, "Did you talk to Sam?"

I smiled. "Yes."

She smiled too and said, "I thought so..."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Two New Crochet Today Patterns!

Yes, even though I've been a bit out of it as of late I have nonetheless still managed to push out a few patterns here and there. My latest designs for Crochet Today...

How about that adorable dino hat and those floppy bunny ears? Cute eh? And easy peasy to crochet too!

Next up, a ghoulish treat bag...

I rather like this little green dude. Also an easy crochet!

Shipping new designs this week for future issues of Crochet Today as well as for a friend's upcoming book...

Monday, August 03, 2009

New Charts Available! From Head To Toe: The Skeleton!

I've got an early Halloween surprise for you, my peeps...

Remember my skeleton antimacassar? That Monster Crochet filet crochet classic?

Well, I finally finished translating my hand drawn charts into digital format (yeah, that took some time) and I am offering the set of 15 charts to you, dear reader, for a mere $15! Yes, that would be a buck a chart!

The set of charts comes to you in PDF format, each chart on a separate page. You get the skull, ribcage, pelvis, a right and left humerus, a right and left ulna, right and left hands, a right and left femur, a right and left tibia and, of course, both right and left feet! These charts can be used for knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, etc. Remember, these are "Just Charts!" so there are no needlework instructions accompanying the charts themselves. Charts are available on my sidebar.

It's never to early to get started on crafting your Halloween decor!

Copyright 2009 Regina Rioux and Monster Crochet. All rights reserved.