Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Last Lady Eleanor

Lady Eleanor

This stole is the fifth version of the Lady Eleanor that I've made (modeled by my best girlfriend, Bri). The first version I knit using mostly my homespun. The second, third and fourth versions were knit with Noro as is the fifth version above.

Why did I make so many of these, inquiring minds want to know? Well, I taught several entrelac workshops last year. Each version of the stole represents one workshop taught, as I started a new one each time I began class, working the tiers along with my students. I found this method an effective way to teach the entrelac technique.

Lady Eleanor

I finished this stole last winter, but was unable to block it until recently. You know, all that pesky chaotic life stuff got in the way. Anyhoo, I am happy to call this LAST Lady Eleanor done! She is now on her way to a new home and owner. I hope that she enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Business Items...

Desire to wear a pie atop your head, but (i) you have no interest in crocheting one yourself, (ii) you don't know how to crochet and are patiently awaiting a knitting pattern from one, LadyLinoleum or (iii) you seriously just want a LadyLinoleum original. If you answered yes to any of the above then you're in luck! I have listed two Pie-rets for sale in my Etsy shop just in time for the holidays. I hope to make a few more, but honestly, I don't know if I'll be able to swing that before the holidays.

Wasn't aware that I had an Etsy shop, eh? Yes, I've had it for some time. I just haven't listed much in there over the years. Hopefully, this will be changing as the milk crate I like to call an apartment is just not big enough to house the enormous amount of items I've crocheted and knit since the inception of this blog. So, there will be more to come on the items for sale front.

Lastly, my thanks to everyone who has purchased a pattern from me directly. I'd also like to take a moment to apologize to those of you who found your order process less than satisfying. I have had HUGE problems with PayPal (especially in the last year or so) and have been unable to come up with an acceptable solution thus far. As such, I am determined to make one final effort to improve this situation by moving my patterns over to Ravelry. I plan to give it until the first of the year once everything has been moved over there. If that doesn't work, all patterns are coming off the interwebs. Most of you have been amazing with regard to this issue. I really appreciate your understanding and patience. Keep your fingers crossed...

As always, thanks for your support! Happy Monday everybody!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Winged Thing

In the last five weeks I have been to New York twice and London once. Needless to say, all of this travel has complicated an already complex lifestyle and unfortunately it has also had a negative impact on my ability to knit, crochet, weave, spin, dye (haven't stoked up the dye pot in ages), sew, DESIGN and blog. I mean let's face it, my life has undergone the ultimate sea change: still divorcing (almost a two year process at this point); lost my home earlier this year, currently residing in a space the size of a milk crate; job responsibilities growing faster than I can keep up with (hence the constant travel); daughter on the verge of adulthood, squawking at me constantly; and there is always a silver lining...I find myself in an affair of the heart with an amazing man. Needless to say, keeping up with the tidal wave that is my life can be a bit challenging and trying to be creative despite these many perplexities has been a Sisyphean task.

Nevertheless, I am creating, albeit slowly and on a much smaller scale than in previous years, but create I continue to do. I haven't started much of anything new in the last several months for I am a creature of discipline if nothing else. As such, I am making a concerted effort to finish anything and everything that became stuck in stasis due to the great life upheaval of 2009-10. I make progress on these myriad WIPs while crisscrossing the country (the globe) in a flying tube, sitting in those ubiquitous vinyl seats gathered around airport gates, on my 60 minute lunch hours where yarn and not food has become the ultimate focus and if I'm awake enough to tackle anything else at the end of a workday, while sitting in my overstuffed chair in front of the television as I try desperately to watch all of the previously recorded programming on my DVR. Making has taken a backseat to moving at this point.

Now, I am nothing if not adaptable. I have gone through similar periods in my life where the act of making/creating was threatened by the stress of my daily responsibilities. However, making/creating is a very powerful force in my world and while it's daily importance has lessened to a certain degree as life happens, it has not disappeared completely. Further, I'm positive that my creative spirit will endure the current constraints as well as those that may occur in the future as I am an artist at the core of my being. Always have been. Always will be. I will make things because this is who I am. This is what I do. I just need to figure out how to navigate the current landscape and adapt my process accordingly. Not always easy to do, but definitely attainable.

So, in working through my current conundrum, I've come up with a few solutions that I will be actively pursuing going forward:

  1. Finish all outstanding WIPs. Getting through these projects serves as a metaphor for closing the door on the past and readying myself for the future, thereby allowing me a clean slate to begin new work.
  2. Notation, notation, notation. Time for me to begin recording my ideas and conceptions in a journal/notebook again. This has been a traditional part of my process that I have allowed to lapse over the last year. Time to dig out my notebook and return it to its proper place in my purse. Never leave home without my "spell book" and quill!
  3. Smaller, lighter, faster. Size and portability are key when one is trying to create while trapped in a tube. I will try to fit all projects and accoutrement into the same carry-on size bag for every trip. Not only does this serve to simplify my packing, but it makes the project wrangling in a small space headache-free.
  4. LadyLinoleum has a laptop and will promise to use it. Blogging IS possible to do from a big fluffy hotel bed while inhaling room service, at least this is what I'm told.
So peeps, you will be seeing quite a few changes 'round this here bloggy over the next several months, but I do promise that your Lady of the Linoleum will still attempt to entertain you with a cadre of smaller crazy creations, one-off patterns here and there, a bit of humor and wisdom as she sees fit and hopefully, myriad on-the-road crafting tips! As always, I thank you all for your continued comments, emails and support. Literally, you all are THE ONLY REASON that I'm still taking up residence in cyberspace. Big hugs all around!

Stay tuned kids!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I absolutely love Autumn. For me, Autumn means lots of carding and spinning in the evenings, weaving while indulging in a bit of Syfy telly, knitting and crocheting as fast as my digits can move those needles and hooks. It also means lots of warm woolen sweaters and fun coats. Fall weather enables me to wear boots every day, should I so choose. In addition, it is also all about decorating and exposing my, uh, alter-ego(s) for the most wonderful of holidays, Halloween. For me, Autumn means a month of rigorous menu planning for Thanksgiving, a process I enjoy immensely. And, as soon as the daily degrees take their Autumnal dip into the 60s (hey, it's SoCal and that's cold to us) my baking books literally leap from their shelves, begging to be perused and used. Fall is fantastic!

Last weekend was the first weekend of the season to actually feel like Autumn. Saturday was cloudy and cool. As such, I had the urge to go get knee deep in baking flour. By noon, the dining room table was covered with oven-centric tomes and I settled upon a recipe that I've used many, many times...bagels. Whipped up a batch of dough shortly thereafter and was boiling and baking those glorious rings by evening. My peeps were none too happy to take the fresh, hot, crispy, chewy rounds of doughy goodness off of my hands. In fact, the entire batch was gone within hours.

Feeling the pressure to produce more carb-based foodstuffs for my loved ones, I went back to my baking manuals the next morning and decided on a recipe I had yet to try...Hot Buttered Pretzels. Mixed up a batch of dough in morning and after a day of Oktoberfesting, I worked up eight soft twisted lovelies for a stint in the oven. They were a bit malformed (I'll blame the copious amounts of beer I imbibed earlier that day for my lack of pretzel twisting ability), but no matter because they tasted better than any pretzel that can be obtained from your local mall. Shiny, salty, buttery goodness...

The Great Pretzel Experiment
Got a shot of the only pretzel that actually looked like it was supposed to. The moral of the story? Don't drink and twist.

More Autumnal adventures to come!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Autumnal Diamond Shawl

You may remember the very first diamond shawl that I created. It was actually more of a rectangular stole, but it was the beginning of what has become a suite of shawls/wraps that sport diamonds as their primary motif. Oh and lest we forget, I use only scrap yarn to weave the diamonds for these over the shoulder pieces. It's my woven version of a granny square.

So, following on the heels of diamond shawl numero uno is yet another earthy delight...

Autumnal Diamond Shawl

This shawl is much larger than it's predecessor and almost resembles the tail feathers of a turkey when viewing it from the back...

Autumnal Diamond Shawl

Not unlike my past diamond shawls, I edged each motif with a crochet (sc) border and then assembled the pieces using crochet (sl st) as well. I am not a fan of sewing knitwear of any kind together. I always crochet my seams, be they sweater or shawl. I have found that my crocheted seams are not only stronger than the ones I have sewn, but they are also more uniform than their sewn counterparts. And I like uniform seams, kids. They make me very happy!

Autumnal Diamond Shawl

Lots of varied yarn weights exhibited in the newest version of this shawl as well.

More of these to come as I have a lot of odd ball stash to power through. Oh, different woven motif shapes are in the works as well. Loving my lap looms to be sure!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Let There Be Light!

As you may know, I've been spending a lot of time exploring the great outdoors with my man. It has been so amazing to hike our state's myriad trails, sample some of our stunning national parks, cook on a toasty campfire and sleep under the twinkling stars. Being in nature is a real pleasure for me and experiencing it with someone I absolutely adore is definitely a bonus. That being said, our outdoor travels have lacked one very important feature: the ability to work on my crafty endeavors at night! Let's face it, trying to knit, crochet, weave or spin by a campfire is not exactly ideal. The light is beautiful, but it's not practical for working on any crafty to-go projects. Not to mention the fact that embers and yarn are not a really good combination. Not to worry though, I've come up with the perfect solution to my problem...

Meet my new trusty headlamp!

Let There Be Light

My handsome boyfriend, Steve, understands that a crafty girl has got to create, no matter the circumstances. So, he procured this headlamp for me. I road-tested it on our last camping trip. Works like a charm!

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Okay, so this year hasn't exactly been one of consistency when it comes to Monster Crochet blog posts. I am attempting, however, to get back into a blogging routine of sorts. My life has changed so dramatically over the past 18 months that my life looks completely and totally different in it's current state from what it had been the last decade. There are a few things that have withstood the sea change such as my job at the cube farm, but even here, my position has expanded and my responsibilities have evolved (or devolved depending upon my outlook any given day). Anyway, my blog has suffered as a result of all the transition. Nonetheless, I am eternally appreciative for your patience as I walk through this period of change toward a bright new future and hopefully feeling the need to share it with you all via written medium.

On that note, I am not afraid of change. I dare say that I actually like change. Love it even though it proves challenging. That being said, there are certain routines I have established in my life that provide me with some consistency, a familiar respite while undergoing the sometimes unsettling process of transition. For example, creating has always been both a place of discovery and solace for me. Making is an essential part of my day, a place to rest and recoup after a long day of negotiating the unfamiliar obstacles of my new path. Another routine I enjoy immensely is cooking. I find the process of creating with food all at once meditative, experimental, challenging and satisfying. So, although my work spaces and kitchens change, my mind and collateral tools are able to set up shop and get to work! Speaking of which...

Enough already with the introspective blather! Let's get on with the purpose of this post!

So, yes, experimentation abounds in the ChezLinoleum test kitchen right down to those dark, rich beans used to brew our morning cuppa joe. Yep, the special man friend and I roasted our own coffee beans and we didn't F it up either! Read on...

Step One

Nekked Beans

Procure some green beans. No, not the haricot vert variety! You want to obtain coffee beans that are ready for roasting, which happen to be a very delectable shade of army green. Basically, green coffee beans have had their outer skins removed and are then dried out. Only green beans are ready for the roasting process. Don't try to find a pick your own coffee farm! Anyway, one of my beloved's coworkers gifted him with a bag of bee-you-ti-ful Ethiopian green beans. So, loving a cooking challenge we began to do a bit of research on the intertubes to figure out how to help our green beans brown up.

Step Two

After procuring beans, it is time to determine your roasting platform. Your choices are to buy a spendy machine, plug it in and let it do the job for you (this is very much akin to a bread machine in my mind), haul your green buddies out to your next campsite and roast 'em over the campfire OR bulk up your biceps with a rather lengthy stove top stir-fest in your mom's cast iron skillet. What method did we choose? None of the above! Actually, we made up our own method after reading about all of three of these options on this site.

My Fave Coffee Bean Roaster

My man and I happened upon this glorious piece of small appliance perfection (above) at our local Target and decided it met all of our coffee roasting requirements (cheap, able to keep beans in constant motion, allows us to maintain our weak biceps and as a bonus, it makes a darn good bowl of popcorn). Oh, and I like the fact that it's called Stir Crazy. Hey, I'm easily entertained...

Step Three

Dump beans into the Stir Crazy and plug it in. Oh, if you do decide to do this at home, make sure to set your Stir Crazy under your stove top fan if possible, as an inevitable byproduct of coffee roasting is the smoke. Stove top fan kept the Linoleum test kitchen smoke-free!

Roasting in the popcorn popper...

Watching coffee beans go in circles in the Stir Crazy is like watching waves break on shore. Okay, maybe not, but I know I was mesmerized!

Step Four

When beans have browned up to desired color, cut the power to the Stir Crazy and move your beans to a colander. Grab a second colander and pour beans back and forth from one to the other until they've cooled. Store them in an airtight container and let them rest for 24 hours.

Beans just out of the popper!

Step Five

Grind some beans and drink up!

Mmmm...fresh roasted (at home) coffee!

Neato right???

If you're ready to try this at home kids, take a look at this site as they have lots of varieties of green beans and a more substantive set of directions. Have fun!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weaving the Weekend Away

Originally, we had planned to go camping this weekend. Unfortunately, those plans were thwarted due to a very important art-related event that my beloved is involved in tomorrow morn. As a result, I was left with many empty hours to fill. I figured, I try relaxation for a change. After all, there is a very nice pool mere steps from the door to my domicile. So, clad in my requisite black tankini, basket of string and things in one hand, towel in the other and sunglasses atop my head, I hit the chaise lounge for some pool play with the teens. Oh, and a bit of weaving as well...

Diamond Lap Loom

Weaving by the Pool

It was lovely to sit under the sun, talking with my beautiful daughter, relaxing the afternoon away.

Basking in the sun's glow
I love to see my DD smile!

I went inside for the evening with sun freckles speckled about my nose and cheeks, fully decompressed and inquiring to myself,"Why don't I do this type of thing more often???"

Weekend Warrior
Me, the weekend anti-warrior.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One Half of Granny

I have a stack of FOs that has travelled with me from residence to another, waiting to be immortalized in living digital color. It just so happens that I pulled one of these purty wooly wonders from the stack this morning, as we seem to be in a state of perpetual cold in West Los Angeles. So, not missing a long overdue opportunity to photograph said item, I present to you my newest Half Granny Shawl...

Half Granny Shawl

Crocheted from some of my Koigu sock yarn stash (and let me tell you, I've got a store's worth of this stuff), this light wool number is great for throwing over one's shoulders on cool summer evenings or for donning in offices that double as meat lockers, as is the case with my lovely cube farm abode.

Half Granny Shawl

In shaping this triangular shawl, I began using double crochet (dc) until I reached the bottom of my shoulder blades, then moved onto trebles (tr) for the length of the shawl. I stole this idea from my personal crochet idol, Ellen Bloom, who has both granny square technology and drape down to a science. Thanks Ellen!

Half Granny Shawl

I edged the entire shawl with a basic picot stitch as I'm not a one who fringes (well, not with regard to crochet anyway).

Half Granny Shawl

Yay! I feel so accomplished having decreased my pile o' FOs by one! Plenty more knitting, crocheting and weaving to come...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yes, We're Farmin'...

For me, cooking is a close second to arting and crafting as a way to pass my otherwise free time. As such, the pursuit of fresh ingredients for my cooking endeavors is also high on my list of pastimes that I enjoy immensely and what better way to source fresh ingredients of the produce variety than on a farm? To that end, I spent last Sunday afternoon with three people I adore picking fruits and veggies at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, CA.

We had such a good time loading up our baskets with raspberries, strawberries and blackberries, plucking fresh squash from the vine, picking eggplants and myriad variety bell peppers from their leafy progenitors. We even liberated a few heads o' lettuce, roots and all, from their rich beds of soil. For me though, the best part of the entire day was whiling away the hours with my peeps talking, laughing, listening to Eric (LittleLinoleum's boyfriend) make up songs about farming with my daughter as well as listening to the teens scream whenever they encountered a bug. Hel-lo? Nature.

It was a great day to be sure! Now onto the produce pr0n...




Our Berry Bounty

Our Strawberry Bounty


Red Leaf Lettuce


And here's my crew...

My Crew
L-R: LenaLinoleum, Eric & Steve

I'll end this very berry post with the lyrics to Eric's farming song...

‎”Yes were farmin'. Were havin' such a good time, yes were farmin'. Pickin' fruits of every kind, yes were farmin'. Lena’s not havin' such a good time…but were farmin'.”

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two New Patterns!

Let's hear it for some crochet content!

Yep, I've begun designing again for Crochet Today mag, the new October issue to be more specific...

My Newest Headgear

Nuthin' like a blue do to make your Halloween memorable! Oh, and just in case your mini me wants to be in the club...

My Newest Headgear

So, there ya go. A little crochet content, a bit of pattern hoohaa and a nod to my fave holiday to boot. She's baaa-aaack!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Patch Me Up!

So, yeah, I've been doing a bit of traveling and hiking lately. As such, I have been wont to record my expeditions in a format that suits my personality. What method have I come up with, inquiring minds want to know? A wearable one of course!

I bring you, my very personalized trip record jacket...

Trip Record Jacket

I purchased this lovely tapered-at-the-waist military cast-off at my local surplus store for a mere $9.95, upon making my decision regarding format of this, uh, journal. Now, I just comb the wilds of our state (and, hopefully, eventually, beyond) for gift shops and visitors' centers in search of patches. It's like I'm a girl scout on a scavenger hunt! Weeee!

So far, my right sleeve holds a few state and national park patches...

State and National Parks Patches

My left sleeve is becoming an homage to Smokey DA Bear...

Smokey Da Bear Patches

One can see forest and national park emblems emblazoned on my chest...

Yosemite Patch

Forest Patches

And I've even done a bit of embroidery meself...

Eagle Embroidered Patch

Gives new meaning to the term, eagle scout.

Anyhoo, I plan to do a few more embroidered patches of my own for this special item of apparel as well as A LOT more collecting as I continue to get my outdoors on. I may eventually need a matching bag...

Love these evolving type o' projects!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Homespun Goodness

I'm sure that you all read that title and your scratching your heads saying, "Does that Monster Crochet chick ever, uh, crochet?" The answer to that question is a confident yes, but I'm working on a few large projects so I don't have much to show with regards to the ways of the hook just yet. However, I will! I promise!

Until that time I can share a few new hanks of homespun love. To the left is approximately 400 yards of woolly wonder called Surf N Turf. I began with about 4 oz. of beautiful hand dyed roving, spinning it into a neat single. Then I plied that with a bit of gold thread, attaching golden silk cocoons here and there. The final effect reminds me of our California coastline, which incidentally is one of this state's myriad landscapes from which I am currently drawing inspiration.

Segueing off the spinning path for a moment...Some of you may be aware that I'm currently on a hiking kick, which means the boyfriend and I have been traipsing around the mountains on weekends and some evenings in search of some fresh air, spectacular views, a bit of fitness fun. In addition to these lovely attributes, I have become reacquainted with a landscape that I find infinitely inspirational. After all, this place is in my blood and it will always be home as I'm a native of the Golden State. I mean, just look at some of my recent shots from some of our hiking trips...

Top of the Trail - Grays Peak

Grays Peak Trail


Wrightwood, CA

Top of the Trail - Temescal Canyon

Segueing back to the premise of this post...My new homespun is beginning to be a visual reference of the topography of California and I'm really liking the results. Case in point, a bit of golden dazzle and a little purplish, goldenish 2-ply...

Not So Mellow Yellow

The Royal We

The Royal We Detail

Needless to say I have many, many ideas churning about my gray matter. This is just the beginning. I have oak leaves and golden grasses on the brain to be sure.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Lena

My most important creation enjoying herself at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday night. This child is all at once mystical, magical, maddening, merciful, sometimes morose, oftentimes merry, prone to outbursts of maniacal laughter, mysterious and is a magnificent beauty. I love my Magdalena with all of my heart.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Singles Night

Singles Night Redux

Three new spools o' singles, ready for the ply-zone.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Homespun!

Trying to get back to some crafty content on this here green bloggy. What can say? The stuff of life hasn't really allowed me the mental or physical freedom to create. Frustrating to say the least. However, I am attempting to overcome the obstacles and get back to it. As such, nothing like jump starting a little make session via the wheel...

Pink & Purple Worsted Wool

This ode to pink and purple was spun from BFL that I dyed eons ago. Originally, I had spun the Pepto pink single on my Hitchhiker, a little wheel that I have a love/hate relationship with. I find the little dude a bit funky to spin on. I'd really like to get in a groove with this little wooden wonder, however, because it's a car friendly wheel by virtue of it's size. And let's face it, I could get heap loads of spinning done on long road trips (my current fave way to travel for fun). The purple single was spun on my Lendrum DT (aka, the workhorse wheel). Finally, both singles were then plied together on my SpinOlution Mach 1. I use the Mach 1 exclusively for plying at this point and it does a splendid job each and every time. The wheel is masterful for spinning art yarns as well. Ahhh, I digress.

Purple & Red Novelty Wool

The wacky stuff above was spun with what was leftover from the purple single used in the previous yarn. I plied it with some red, shiny, sparkly composite yarn on the Mach 1 as well. I only ended up with about 40 yards of this stuff, so it will probably get tossed into the weaving basket(s) for inclusion in some diamond, triangle, square or rectangular loom based wonder (many stacks of woven shapes sitting around my apartment waiting to be made into something).

You might have noticed from this and previous spinning posts, that I tend to ply my singles as a rule. It's not that I don't like to use singles as is. I do. In fact, I have been spinning silk sari fiber into usable singles as of late. However, most of the time I prefer a yarn that has a bit more elasticity and softness. Plied yarns tend to be a bit, uh, bouncier. Also, I do tend to overspin my singles a bit. So, although I have gotten better at controlling the overspin, plying just allows me to correct any imbalance my singles may have exhibited before that process occurs. And anyway, I really like the interesting combinations that can be made when plying two seemingly unrelated yarns together.

Needless to say, I think I am getting back into a crafty groove again (at least I hope so). In the last week or so, I have filled many a bobbin with homespun glory and I am in possession of four huge bins containing much fluff. Not to mention the fact that I returned home from my recent trip to Sequoia and Yosemite with art yarn on the brain. The ideas and wheels seems to be working again!