Friday, June 30, 2006

Hobby Schmobby

hob·by n. pl. hob·bies
An activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.
Do you have hobbies?

I have one hobby.

Pursuing moola.

This pursuit of the almighty greenback has little to do with what I consider to be my real regular occupation, the pursuit of all things creative, which currently is manifest mainly through the use of hook, needles and yarn sans monetary compensation. Unlike my regular occupation, my hobby neither provides me with much pleasure nor does it satiate my soul, whereas my regular occupation is my life’s blood.

Are you confused?

Well, let’s get some clarity, shall we?

I am an artist first and foremost. I always have been regardless of anything else going on in my life, including generating income. Now, there have been times in my life when income-generating activities have overlapped into my artful existence. For example, I taught the process of making art to children (K – 12) and to university students for several years, definite overlap. However, historically the majority of my "quest for cash" activities have mirrored my current “hobby” at the Cube Farm.

Can you say BOR-RING?

I sure can. And I say it often!

Which brings me to my next point. Artists remain artists whether stuck in a cube, digging thru mountainous reams of paper, waiting tables, punching keys on a cash register or repeating this acclaimed mantra day in and day out, “Would you like fries with that?”

This, my dear crafty ones, is a point lost on several of my fellow Cube Farm inhabitants, many of whom refer to my art as a “nice hobby”. Cube Farmers, we creative beings work because we need shelter, sustenance and yarn! Okay, I need the yarn…Ahem. We do not toil beneath piles of paper that could give the Swiss Alps a run for their money, duel with spreadsheets or click the button on our virtual timecards because it fills our souls with warm fuzzy goodness! No! We artists perform these acts because we must!

Further, knitted bologna is not my hobby! To that end, crocheted bacon (oh yeah, coming soon folks), yarn-y, fuzzy barbecues and crocheted guerilla vegetables are not my hobbies either! These creative expressions are what makes your Lady of the Linoleum, um, err, linoleum!

Whatever, you get the point.

Cube Farmers please take note, your nine to five is my five to midnight, for as you settle down for your evening respite, rear in the chair, remote in hand, snack bowl filled to the brim, I have only just begun to log hours at my regular occupation. Free from my daily hobbies, I enter the swinging doors of LabLinoleum, where the vegetables dance, the bacon sizzles and the yarn is always abundant…

Stick that into your spreadsheet and calculate it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Knitted Big Grill Wrap

This is the last barbecue of the season for me. I know, I know. It's a little early to make a statement such as that, but I've got lots of meats hanging off hooks about the freezer that is my mind so I need to get prepin', tenderizin' and cookin' the other yarn carnage!

At any rate, I present to you the knitted version of the Monster Crochet classic! The big momma of all yarn-based barbecues! The most ginormous grill you could ever wrap about your shoulders (modeled by this lovely and talented barbecue aficionado)...

Yep, this baby is mostly knitted, sporting intarsia steak appliques that don't sully the underside of the wrap with their, um, intarsia-ness.

The fabulous underbelly of the grilled beast, which looks almost as good as the front if I do say so myself...

Burgers and dogs are crocheted as I found they look much better made with hook than with needles.

However, I did knit the cheese...

Now I have two, yes two, fantabulous barbecue ready accessories to wear to my next outdoor grill-fest! The vision is clear...sitting around the fire with friends, cocktails all around, laughter bids the setting sun goodnight as it slips behind the backyard fence for its evening respite, the glowing coals fading as the sky grows dim, blanketing our summer just doesn't get much better than that folks!

May you all have much camaraderie, laughter and grilled flesh (or fibers) to cool your summer eves! Raise bottle of beer in tribute to the grill and always remember that meat is not just edible, it's wearable too...

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wild Knitting

I've got a penchant for the geriatric craft tome. No, they're not craft references for the elderly! This is just a Linoleumism for the craft books of yesteryear. There's nothing better than a tattered tome of the trade that was once lavished with love, used loads, then left at the altar when the proposition of a long term commitment reared its ugly head. Yep, just call me a rebounder for the bound! Or not...

At any rate, my latest mildew-y scented acquisition comes directly to me from an era where shoulders were not shoulders unless heavily padded, hair was better coiffed with knots and Aqua Net....oh, and multi-hued (anyone remember Manic Panic?)...and the safety pin was a standard fashion accessory. Oh yes, the 80's! Ahhhh, takes me back to the days when my entire wardrobe was a variation of black, the rips and tears always strategically placed and the pursuit of fuschia hair was preeminent. Yes, I am THAT old. However, I did get carded this afternoon at my lunch hour booze restocking fest, so all is not lost. I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes, craft books from the 80's. Enter Wild Knitting...

Circa 1979, this fantastic example of new wave chic is replete with clear and concise stitch guides and techniques, needle measurement deconstructed, the 411 on yarn types as well as two whole 9" x 12" pages devoted to tension. Also found amidst the informative leaves of my new favorite manual of knits for those who seek to have the shoulders of linebackers, sections on basic shapes, blocking, finishing touches, edges and insertions, the renovation or reclamation of yarn from sweaters whose time has passed and paying homage to the pompon, not the pompom. And as if this was not enough to make your Lady drop to the Linoleum at rapid speed, there is an entire section dedicated to the design and adaptation of patterns followed up by another titled, "Coping with Disasters". Fer sure.

The projects? Equally stylish and stylized, modeled on the heavily made, triumphant haired dames of the day. The photographs are seriously saturated with both color and mood exaggerating wearables that are sometimes strange, always inventive and not at all vague in their vagaries.

Part peasant frock, part lacey, mohair-y homage to the Pirates of Penzance, this dress is sure to freak your friends out at the next communal gathering. (Warning, if wearing this dress to an outdoor event, stay clear of open flame.)

Hint, hint...daytime party at the lake. No bonfires to endanger the wearer.

Clown couture. Very underrated.

Which clothing item says investment-banking-cum-a-day-at-the-cube-farm-apropos to moi? Methinks poofy rainbow dungarees.

However, I find that anything modeled after a hot air balloon with cuffs is difficult to beat as an answer to the trials of daily rigour.

Knitted cigs. Knough said.

Holy moly! Okay, so it's a hackneyed phrase. Whateva!

A jumper for Andy Goldsworthy...

Armadillos all around! You know I bought this book specifically for this roadkill wrap pattern.

I plan to finish off the ensemble with a pair of these socks...Duck feet are always in season.

Potential allies of the VLA. They just need some eyeballs and weapons and they'll be good to go.

What a find, no?

Angela Jeffs, where are you now?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mixed Grill Mats

The good folks at Lark Books were interested in having a little crocheted meat in their next book. So, they inquired within as I am the self-avowed Queen of Crocheted Flesh. I don't know why, but that title makes me exceedingly happy. I know. Twisted.

Anyhow, editors extraordinaires did favor a change of location for my examples of crocheted meaty fabulousness thinking grills might look better on the table than about the shoulders. I know. I can't believe it either! Mon Dieu!

So in light of this fact, I redesigned the 'ques to be larger and more plate-friendly. Here's a Mat O' Steak...



Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger...

And assorted appliques for waiting for their close-up!

Check out the backside of this steak. I had a fair isle thing going on here...

Get your hooks ready because this meaty pattern will soon be available in a bookstore near you!
Oh, and knitters? Grilled meaty goodness coming your way soon!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Give Me Your One Word...

Memes usually don't appeal to me, but I figured I'd give this one a try after seeing it on Deneen's blog.

Please leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me--it can only be one word long. Then copy and paste this into your blog so that I may leave a comment about you.

This is not so much about fishing for compliments as it is an exercise showing how hard it is to use just one word to describe someone!

Give it a try & I'll do the same for you if you're so inclined.

(From the enthusiastic Bron's Blog)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Plea For Wool

Dear Local Yarn Store Proprietor:

It is with great frustration that I compose this letter to you regarding your current ordering policies. After having visited your store several times over the last few months I began to notice a startling shortage in the amount of wool usually found in your inventory. At first I thought your sparse inventory due to my visit falling in between orders. No problem, I’ll just come back the following week and revel in your replenished stock, or so I thought. Having returned and encountered the same shocking lack of wool, I inquired within, to which you replied, “It’s summer.”


Forgive me, dear Proprietor, but when did the changing of the seasons ever determine which fiber content to order in a region of the country where seasonal changes are considered to be a bit of joke compared to the rest of the nation? To use the words of a good friend and another faithful fiber consumer, our lovely corner of the country experiences three seasons: cooler, warmer and slightly wet. Therefore, according to your current (and seemingly new) ordering policies, there is no need to order wool at all because our temperatures rarely dip low enough to wear it. Taking this argument a step further, your cotton inventory should be at maximum capacity year round and not just for the months constituting the “warmer” season. Although, unless you would like to brand yourself as Sunny SoCal’s Cotton Super Store, I’d stay away from the type of ordering methodology stated above.

Dearest Proprietor, what happened to the days where any fiber could be found in all of its myriad colors and iterations no matter the season? Maybe you have forgotten the fact that many of us crochet and knit our holiday gifts during the summer months? Why is it that restriction of stock has become the norm as opposed the anomaly? Often, I find myself standing with four or five balls of something in your store while asking if there is more in the back, to which you usually reply, “No.”

“Do you plan to order more?”



I just don’t get it. Knitting and now crocheting have become lifestyles from the legacy hook and needle wielders sporting blue rinsed coifs to the young, hip tweens, teens and 20-somethings running about town with their skull emblazoned bags of stash. Yarn has never been more varied, more sought after, nor more coveted. I’d think that this would be the ideal time to pack your shelves so full of fiber, you don’t have room for you behind that cash register!

Am I missing something???

No matter. I am willing to beg.

Please, oh please, Mr. or Mrs. Yarn Store Proprietor, bring back your wool, your cotton, your huddled masses of funkadelic novelty yarns no matter the weather’s whim. Treat me to mountains of mohair, autumnal alpaca and a cacophony of cool cotton blends. Give me vast amounts of variegates, hotbeds of homespun, hand-dyed creations aplenty! I need wool stocked to ceiling, standing ankle deep in angora to contain the fervor within me.

Your Proprietorship, I only ask you for choice and in turn I will pay, for my wallet is full of money. If you see fit to appease me I will surely be thankful, for Hell hath no fury like a yarn ho in drought.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Yours in yarndom,

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Intarsia Geek

Intarsia how I love thee! Love the chart creation and deciphering. Love the changing colors creating magic stitch by stitch, row by row. Hell, I'm so fond of this technique I don't even mind the coffee clutch of bobbins hanging off the back my work even though they are prone to get um, err, affectionate with one another. The process is just too rewarding for me to let a few horny bobbins stop me from using it!

I'm aware that although many of you share my love for this technique, some of you are a bit put off by the above. Bobbin p0rn is disturbing. I'll give you that. However, if you can see fit to get beyond the inherent intarsia issues you will be rewarded with a wonderful garment, object, piece of fiber wonder that really will make you look like the most skilled needleworker on this here planet!

Unfortunately, I've been unable to tackle as much intarsia as I'd like as of late due to the fact that I like to create my own charts. Historically this process has been one wrought with LadyLinoleum's blood, sweat and tears. In other words, lots of manual labor. Me, a pile o' graph paper, pencil and eraser gettin' busy. Literally, I would spend hours coloring in thousands of little boxes, foaming at the mouth, wondering when or if I'd ever finish.

Not any more!

I've gone from this...

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved. this!

Copyright 2006 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Awesome, eh? And purty too!

How did your Lady of the Linoleum go from her Lascaux-inspired graphs to the technological wonder you see above? One program.


This program is my new favorite toy. It's incredibly easy to use and it's cheap! If you're a chart fanatic like me, you need to get this program...Now!

Don't have a spare $39.99 laying about? All is not lost. Ever heard of Pixel Blocks? It's an awesome new-fangled building toy that is based upon, you guessed it, the pixel. Well, the folks at Pixel Blocks want their customers to be able to build whatever they'd like out of as much as their product they can purchase. Enter their free online answer to imaginative building with pixel purchase power AND your free answer to PCStitch...Digital Stained Glass. This online gem allows you to upload an image of your choice, click through the wizard and presto! Your very own intarsia chart in pdf form! Just wait until you see the pork product I charted using this program...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day of the Dad

Passing by a display of Father’s Day cards at the grocery store the other day, I was reminded that we edge ever closer to our annual celebration of Dad. Since the death of my father nine years ago last April, Father’s Day passes each year unmarked on my calendar. This is not to say that I do not pay homage to my father’s memory with every daily traversing of the sun. Not a day passes by that I do not think upon the man that was my dad.

My father was a truly remarkable man and this is not just an admiring daughter’s opinion. Everyone who met my father immediately applied for membership to his fan club. Devoted husband, parent and friend, admirable and annoying in his religiosity, a contagious and gregarious personality that attracted many to his milieu, my father was also intensely creative, an accomplished writer and photographer, hometown politician, comedian, marathon athlete, educator, mentor, visionary. He was steadfast in his belief that humanity can and should strive to make our world a better place though action, education, charity, compassion and love. I can safely say that he was the only individual I’ve ever encountered that actually practiced what he preached and that my friends, is nothing short of amazing.

Richard Henry Rioux never took life for granted. He lived each and every moment with gusto. I can still hear his laugh as distinctly as if it were just minutes ago. A smile creeping its way across my lips as I visualize my dad struggling with his computer, muttering G-rated obscenities, because the “rabbit” (his term for mouse) was not obeying his wishes. I remember vividly, the endless piles of lists, steno pads filled with his chicken scratch verbiage, huge cabinets filled with photographs and slides (the guy documented everything) cluttering up every surface and recess of his home command center. I can still feel the gentle hum of the engine in his red Ford Explorer as we drove the desert highway to St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo in order to meet with his cadre of monk consultants on his next big project…a special effects driven blockbuster based upon an epic battle between Jesus and Lucifer...Um, yeah. Dad always tried to include me in his schemes, no matter how harebrained and no matter my level of reluctance. He used to tell me that I was the offspring who was most like him and by virtue of that fact my participation was obligatory. Whether I acted as project consultant, secretary, graphic designer or computer tutor, like it or not, I was a de facto member of Team Richard.

The founding member of Team Richard was also the greatest cheerleader for TeamLinoleum. The story goes that at the ripe old age of two, a pencil was put into my hand and sheet of paper put before me in the hopes that I would create. And create I did. And create I still do. Art supplies were a predominant feature at Chez Rioux and a trip in the dadmobile to the library in an effort to acquire more craft books could always be had on a lazy Saturday afternoon for the term “I’m bored” was as unwelcome as it was rare. From painting to jewelry design, there was always a class to attend and a dad to chauffer me to and fro. When I hit college age, my father gleefully drove me around to local area universities so that I could investigate each art program before deciding which one would best suit my impending college career. Basically, my dad was a Crayola pusher and I am who I am because of that fact.

If you’ve got issues with crocheted meat on a crocheted grill, Richard’s the guy you should blame. I was never, ever told that I could not or should not attempt anything creative or otherwise. I simply went about my life painting, sculpting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, making, experimenting, experiencing, border-free! I don’t know that my dad ever really understood what I was making, but he supported my deep-seated need to explore and create nonetheless.

Dad, if you’ve got internet access in Heaven and you may in fact be reading this, I’d like you to know that I miss your daily presence in my life. I miss your laughter and your endless phone calls urging me to take my vitamins despite the fact that I am an adult and perfectly capable of handling my daily supplements. I miss your plethora of crazy lists detailing all of your ginormous projects. I miss your cowboy hats and your complete inability to get your computer “rabbit” to perform. I miss your undeniably simplistic, yet full of big ideas local newspaper columns that you faithfully photocopied for me every week in the hopes that I would read them upon receipt (which I always did but never let you know that). I miss the far from gourmet dinners you would concoct in which every dish tasted exactly the same whether meat, fish or fowl. Now that’s talent…Most of all I miss hearing you ask me again and again, “So, what do you think of me?” Dad, I think a lot of you, of this you can be sure.

~ In loving memory of Richard Henry Rioux (1943 – 1997)

Sunday, June 04, 2006


At this point you are all probably aware that after making my Monday through Friday, nine to five pilgrimage to the cube farm I dedicate a significant part of the remainder of my waking hours to crocheting, knitting and general creative exploits. Sure I also clean, bust open boxes of um, cuisine, for nuclear smelting and do the wife and mom thing. However, I will tell you that this once voracious reader has little time for that endeavor at the moment. And well, hanging out with the homies is taking a back seat to other activities such as oh, um, blocking...

It's my muse. She's a yarn pusher and taskmaster. Always tapping my veins to see if they are imbued with yarn striations. Always cracking the I-cord whip and bewailing me to pull the yarn through the loop at accelerated speeds, "Put some muscle into it, Linoleum!"

I'm telling you, the boss lady means business and she wants to see the gears of my fibrous production pumping. You see, I am merely slave to craft...

Ah yeah, so this girl's got a lot of stuff to block.

Above is the lace weight red orange pixie-inspired shawl I just finished ( I know it looks positively hideous on those towels!). I modified this pattern and now that I've accomplished said endeavor I consider myself ready to tackle a pair of bat wings.

Also, I'm ready to block my knitted grill...

Yes, I am knitting meat as well.

Let it be said that no animals were harmed in the meat knitting or crocheting process...I've been remiss in my duty to set the vegetarian yarn brandishers at ease some time ago. Really, I don't mean to freak you guys out, just give you a chuckle now and again. I think knitted bologna is funny. Yeah, I'm a bit twisted. Like that's news...