Thursday, March 29, 2007

The One Ring Con

Yes, that is Andy Serkis, Gollum in the flesh, holding my Gollum Hat, Gollum in the em, yarn!

And yes, I cropped my couple of martini lunch One Ring Convention self out of the picture. Really, I'm doing you all a service by not posting my half of the pic. I look the epitome of "drunken nerd". It's truly frightening.

Ahem, moving right along...

So, yeah, I got in touch with my inner geek by attending my first ever sci fi/fantasy convention in the lovely municipality of Burbank, California a few weeks ago. Needless to say, the experience was illuminating. And no, I did not dress up as an elf, but I did don my Gandalf t-shirt (yes, I own a Gandalf t-shirt!) and my Gollum Hat. I mean come on, if I can't wear Gollum on my head at an LOTR convention, wear the heck can I wear it??? I digress...

I didn't go alone either. My two fellow LOTR-lovin' girlfriends accompanied me (one a sci fi con vet and the other a newbie like myself). We went to cool symposiums such as "Making Armor in Your Kitchen" (incidentally, the three of us found we were way ahead of the lecturer in terms of our materials stockpiles and skill sets...hey, we're artists!), "Ringers: Behind the Scenes" (consisted of live Director's commentary whilst viewing the 2005 documentary) and rounding the day out with an Andy Serkis appearance/conversation. In between the scheduled festivities we hit the adjacent hotel bar for snacks and cocktails. Oh, and of course, I shelled out extra moola for the Andy Serkis photo op thang, which was totally worth it despite the fact that my souvenir photo clearly exhibits my "snacks and cocktails" pickled complexion.

Now, you should know I didn't leave the convention premises without first purchasing a few pieces of memorabilia to commemorate my very first nerd-a-thon. Yes, yes, I know the Andy Serkis pic is supposed to suffice, but people, hel-lo? I'm a bit compulsive, if you hadn't already figured that one out. So, yes, I acquired more booty in the form of jewelry.

A likeness of Gollum for my finger...

And of course The One Ring in silver 'cuz that's my style...

I kind of like this convention thing. I am thinking about purchasing tickets for this one next. Needless to say my teenage daughter is mortified that I'm even attending these type of events. Methinks her reaction to my nerd-dom makes me even more desirous of becoming a regular convention attendee...I know, I'm twisted that way.

Happy Thursday Kids!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Welcome to My Workspace...

I don't know about you, but I'm always interested to see where artists create their work. It's definitely the voyeur in me. I gravitate toward books and other media that provide me a glimpse inside these inner worlds. So, in honor of my second blogiversary (hard to believe I know), I thought it would be cool to give you a look around my workspace.

First and foremost, the cabinetry...

Or as I like to refer to these very special wooden repositories that reside in the second bedroom of our home, LadyLino's House O' Yarn! Yes, each dresser/armoire/cabinet and adjacent closet (not shown) are filled, and I do mean to the brim, with yarn and all of the collateral accoutrements. I should've opened them before snapping the pic, but I though it was too, uh, yarnographic.

Next stop, my Craftobrary...

...Which conveniently resides next to my sleeping head. God help me in the next earthquake. Although, death by craft book burial may be preferable to other forms of demise. Ahem...moving right along.

I am a huge proponent of acquiring inspiring materials as well as general reference tomes. Not only can I solve project and design technical issues right snappy just by merely cracking the spine of one of my Craftobrary compendiums, but by simply perusing some of the books and periodicals I've acquired I can jump start my blocked muse in a matter of moments.

From the Craftobrary we move onto the nerve center where all things crocheted and knitted take their first breath here at LabLinoleum...

Yes, that's my chair. It's big. It's bold. It's super comfy. And it sits next to my daylight lamp, which is currently preventing early onset blindness due to too much needlework. If you don't own one of these lamps, I highly recommend it.

So, that's it, the core spaces of creative output here at the Lab. Now, it's your turn. I'm interested to see your centers for creativity. If you so choose, please take a pic of your workspace and post on your blog. Then, if you'd be so kind, drop me a line so I can peer into your inner creative world. Come on. You know you wanna...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mixed Grill Bowling Bag

First there was this...

Then there was this...

Give your barbecue tongs a clink for the newest grillalicious accessory to hit the Project Wrongway runway, the Mixed Grill Bowling Bag!

Okay, let me just say, before proceeding with the meaty details of this item, that this bag is modeled after an actual bowling bag. It is not an actual bowling bag and will not hold a ball. It's definitely sturdy, but I bowling balls are heavy peeps and this is made from yarn. However, it warms my heart that you all think that I possess the skill to make something so, well, functional.

Okay, let's move on shall we?

I definitely took this bag to the next level. I don't really know what level that happens to be, but hey, no matter. An evolution is an evolution.

So, in addition to the steak, we've got a few standard Monster Crochet motifs such as kebabs...

As well as cheeseburgers and franks...

Like its predecessor, This bag is highly constructed, roomy and equipped with zippage. And this one is all mine! No, shipping to a publisher; never be seen again other than on a printed page. Mine, mine mine! Unless of course the offspring fancies it. In that case, it'll be hers, hers, HERS!


Crochet Stats-O-Rama
Fibers: Rio de la Plata in heated coals color, medium rare burger color, slightly cooked meat color, American cheese color, and metal skewer color. Cascade Pastaza in grill color, hot dog color, onion color, tomato color and green bell pepper color. Pity those poor yarn store employees who actually attempt to help me upon my entrance into their shop. They have no idea what they're getting into...
Hook: US G Hook
Pattern: Moi

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The High Road

Have a CD that floats your boat? Did you burn those tunes onto your ‘puter as a series of MP3 files and disperse it about the net for mass consumption? Have you downloaded a bunch of songs from the net without having paid a dime? Sure, I’ve done it. I don’t do it anymore, but I have in the past. Come on, you’ve done it too…

Do you find yourself partaking in hundreds of channels on your tube without paying any cold hard cash for the service? You don’t steal cable? Good, neither do I.

How about photocopying a knit or crochet pattern from a book then distributing said copies to a few of your fellow yarn addicts? Please, I don’t even want to hear the answers to this question…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ownership of ideas as of late. This is mostly due to the fact that I currently find myself in the position as owner, operator and seller of ideas. Now, moving from sole idea production to idea producer and distributor was truly a difficult transition for me. Why? Well, I’m fundamentally paranoid, that’s why! LOL

Let’s face it. I am a trained as an artist, not a designer. In art school, we learned to make fabulous, unique, amazing objets d’art while bantering obfuscating art-speak with our milieu, simultaneously balancing a glass of wine in one hand and a pat of brie atop slice of baguette atop our egos in the other, all the while clad in cool artist garb, which is like wearing a neon sign that flashes, “Here Stands A Creative Genius!” Yep, I paid lots o’moola for that variety edu-prep, which really doesn’t prep you for anything, but life in the art world. And the art world? Yeah, that resides waaay outside real world city center, let me tell you.

So, copyright infringement? Trademark violations? Intellectual property rights? Fair use provisions? Creative license? Plain old stealing? Yeah, we didn’t touch on any of those concepts while I was in school. We read a lot of Freud though? Does that count? I digress…

Truly, when one is showing their objets d’art in brick and mortar galleries, the only people likely to partake in this experience range from family and friends to other artists, gallerists, art aficionados and art critics. Not a big pool o’peeps, peeps. Sure, ideas can be infringed upon or hey, just plain old ripped off, but with such a small incestuous pool of peeps, this is not as big of a problem as you may perceive. Despite this fact, there are artists who are nonetheless paranoid, secretive and/or covetous of their ideas. For the rest of us, it’s all about showing your stuff, pointing to it and exclaiming, “I made that piece of genius. I am artist, hear me roar!” Like I said, real world city center? Yeah, not even close. Nonetheless, this small world and the people who inhabit its core seem content and safe to continue along the path of art for art’s sake and well, I don’t blame them.

However, ultimately I am who I am. And who I am is a restless creature not easily satisfied by life in a cage. Doesn’t really matter how great the cage looks, how much studio space I have in that cage, how safe it is to express my ideas in the cage, how cool the peeps are that reside in the cage or how many bottles of red I am able to consume at the Friday night cage-gallery opening. It’s a cage nonetheless. I love freedom, discovery, adventure, invention, and well, yarn. This is a completely different post topic, but yarn ain’t exactly a respected art material down at the old art world rec center. In fact, the word “craft” or any derivation of that word is a pretty derogatory term in the world o’art (like I said, ‘nother post entirely). All of these factors combined forced me to put pedal to the metal and hightail it away from the art world rec center pool over to the coast for a dip in the ocean. The world wide web version of the ocean that is.

And what do you get when you take up residence at your very own domain name, web pages available to anyone with an internet connection? Um, lots and lots of peeps. Lots and lots of peeps from all walks of life who have access to literally anything and everything a little techno savvy heart could or would desire. We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto. Nope we’re in the big wide world where art, images and creativity are ubiquitous and intellectual property rights violations are too. Yee haw! WWW also stands for wild, wild west oh, by the way.

Yeah, so knowing this, I was a just a wee bit paranoid to begin showing my work, publishing my patterns or selling objects on my website and blog. I hail from the safety of the art world after all. In spite of this fact, I slowly but surely let all that LabLinoleum has to offer hang out. And you know what? In doing so I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the goodness of people, the badness of people and everything in between. I have learned that copyrights are very important. I have learned that written contracts are a comforting convention. I have learned that I have lots of good friends out there in blogland who are watching out for me and my creations. I have learned that one needs to do unto others as they would have others do unto them. Therefore, I do not download “free” music, I always pay my cable bill, I purchase art and craft items from the source or a reputable dealer and when I know someone who is interested in a pattern or a compendium of patterns outside the Monster Crochet universe that I happen to already own, I purchase an edition of that book or pattern for desirous individual as a gift.

I am certain that there are many individuals out there who do not agree with me. I am positive that some will view me as a stick in the mud (or other less affable terms). I am also certain that taking the high road, though it be difficult at times, is the road I prefer to traverse.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Things That Make Me Go Yeah!

Lots of inspirational stuff to be had these days. Here are some of my faves....

From the Knitosphere...

The Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits has this totally groovy alternative-to-the-tank-top apron thingie.

I just love it. Must be my inner domestic calling out to be heard. At any rate, I use other people's patterns as a respite from my own design workload. Gives my mind a much needed break. Aprons away!

Knit.1 mag's Spring 2007 issue is a veritable font of colorful sporty delectables! I haven't really pinpointed any one item that sets my needles aflame, but overall I think the issue's patterns/layout make up a tight compendium and are a definite source of inspiration.

Domiknitrix rocks my world from luscious vinyl cover to luscious vinyl cover. This book is well thought out, directions are clear and concise, and hel-lo? Lots of LadyLinoleum obsessionables (yes, I just made that word up) to be had amidst the pages. Very shortly I will be casting on the Mohawk hat (pg 121). Sheer genius I tell you!

For Hookers everywhere...

Okay, this is a shameless plug, but whatever. Everyone who is able to wield a hook should go out and purchase this wacky little diddy as soon as it hits your local booksellers shelves. Why? Because I said so AND there is LadyLinoleum pattern in there that is not to be missed. Can you say crocheted meat? On a grill? With weenies too?

You can pre-purchase from Amazon. You know you wanna...

Moving right along.

Now it's time to git yer Jimbo on!

Yep, lookie what my man Jimbo sent me earlier this week...

Yes, that would be a super long hand-carved Tunisian AND a lovely bulbous hookie that is sure to dull my constant hook-hand pain with each and every stitch. Truly, if you're a crocheter and you're not yet familiar with Jimbo's wares, you are missing out big time. You must go visit him NOW!

Also, give Jimbo a big round of applause for having his hooks featured in Belle Armoire mag. How awesome is that? And it couldn't have happened to a nicer and more talented dude. Love you Jimbo!

From my fantasy man...

Hey, we gals need at least one of these! And mine comes in a chain-smoking, trash-talking, brilliant traveling chef type o' package. Yes, I know I've said this numerous times, but hell, what's one more?

Tony Bourdain rocks my world. And he can rock yours too with his hilariously funny critique of the Food Channel and it's cadre of personalities. Beware, do not drink and read simultaneously. Unless of course you enjoy having liquid shoot out your nostrils as you erupt in laughter. I'm just saying...

For Angelenos who enjoy music under the stars...

Yep, the Hollywood Bowl's Summer 2007 schedule is up! Wooo Hooo!

And my absolute favorite event, which was sorely absent from the 2006 schedule, has made a return for '07...Nothing like wine and some Julie Andrews to kick off the summer! I am so dressing up this year. Better get my needles and hooks moving in prep!

You can read about my '05 Julie-in-the-Bowl reflection here. Jeez, shameless plugs abound in this post.

For those of you who plan to get in touch with your inner leprechaun this weekend...

I am of the high-minded opinion that one just cannot have enough Guinness stockpiled in one's domicile at this time of year and this is my preferred delivery method. What? The black and white not for you? Well, first, shame on you! And second, there's always Irish likey those too.

Seriously though, be safe this weekend everyone, especially if you're imbibing!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Knit The Cheese!

This has been my knitting diversion of the last week and it happens to be a stash-buster to boot, due to much leftover cotton from this uh, boner.

Drum roll puh-lease!

Modeled by my lovely fellow cube farmer, Brenita!

Nothing like a little Swiss cheese to wrap around the old neck. And due to its fiber content and many holes, this lovely cheesy rectangular wonder is THE spring accessory for peeps who like to play with their food just as much as they like eating it. Pair it with a half-slice of olive loaf and you've got yourself one DELI-licious outfit!

"I Knit The Cheese" was just as easy to work up as it will surely be fun to wear! I worked the openings in wherever I felt the need for one using my "hole charts" for assistance. Basically, I came up with three sizes of openings (small, medium, and large) and charted the stitches needed (or not needed in this case) in excel.

Working charts from the bottom up, I bound off the first 1 - 3 stitches (depending upon the hole size) of the future opening, then worked even across the rest of the row before turning and working back toward bind off. At this point I began working with two skeins of yarn, attaching at opposite side of bound off area. Using my chart(s) as a guide, I made the bottom half of the opening(s) larger by decreasing one stitch on each side of the hole(s). Conversely to make top half of the hole(s) smaller, I increased one stitch on each side of opening(s). To close hole(s) I casted on the same amount of stitches as the beginning bind off and continued knitting across entire row. I repeated that process over and over at random points on the scarf for a perfectly Swiss cheesy look! Finally I cleaned up the hole edge(s) with a round of single crochet. I just think the crochet makes it look cleaner.

Anyway, I encourage you all to try knitting some cheese. It's fun, fast and you get a pretty cool accessory at the end of the journey.

How metaphoric is it that I was knitting fabric with holes? The unconscious is amazing is it not?

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Thank You!

I am overwhelmed by your show of love and support since my last post. Truly, I am blessed to have you all in my life. Hugs to all of you!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

At A Loss...

It is with heavy heart that I compose this post today dear readers.

My uncle, my mother's 58 year old younger brother, passed away last night after a brief but devastating illness that claimed his life. This current tragedy has added another gaping hole in the fabric of my family already pockmarked with the losses of both my maternal grandparents, my father and step-father.

I'm sitting here, staring at my computer screen, fingertips perched on keys, wondering what more I can say. Truly, I'm at a loss for words and need some time to process this event.

Give your loved ones a hug for me and cherish every moment.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I generally receive lots of questions in my comments section and I just do not have enough free cube hours to address everyone's informational needs. My boss expects me to work when I'm cube-sitting. Doesn't he know I have a personal life to attend to??? Jeesh.

Let's do a little Q&A, shall we?

Heather asks, "How do you crochet such odd shapes (such as the bacon and the flames on the bowling bag)? It's such a beginner thing to ask and I'm sure I must have known at some point but don't remember now. Anyway if you have a book or site to recommend that would be awesome. Thanks."

Heather, beginner questions are no less important than their advanced counterparts. So, let me try to take a stab a coherent explanation.

Usually, I tackle odd shapes with a series of increases and decreases combined with short rows regardless of whether I'm working flat or in three-dimensions. Now, when working flat as with the bacon or the flames, before I crochet anything I create a chart (a color graph that resembles the finished object) for each motif. I used to create my charts by hand with graph paper and pencil, but now I, generally speaking, use MS Excel on my computer. In some cases, I incorporate both ways of working to execute a project.

Visually, a chart allows me to determine where I need to place my edge increases, decreases and also when I should work a short row (if I plan on decreasing or more than one stitch on an edge). My chart is my project guide, so to speak, and charting has become an integral part of my process.

Charting resources:
Knitting graph paper
More printable knitting graph paper
Knitpro (for those who need instant chart gratification)

Micky entreats, "Are we having an obsession with poultry lately?"

Micky, I've suffered a long history of chicken-luvvv. Really, I don't know what it's about. I'm sure there is some Freudian explanation for it, but I'm probably better off not knowing the details.

Molly asks, "What will you come up with next?"

*rubs hands together while sporting a sly grin* Oh, you know Molly....stuff. Hehehe. I can tell you, however, that deli meats and cheeses are involved. Oh, and a few insects (which are finished and awaiting publication). Also, I've finally figured out the direction of my book proposal. Getting it published? Well, that's another ball of wax.

Jeez, I almost forgot! I will soon begin a beer can collection, which will be the basis of my crocheted aluminum opus. You know, crochet combined with beer cans is such an underrated art form. I aim to change that perception.

Soren solicits, "Are you going to publish the bird pattern somewhere?"

I wish I could, but the birds themselves where part of a larger pattern conglomeration that Interweave contracted me to design. However, the publisher has yet to use the bird portion of the pattern in their publication. I am trying to figure out a work around. Stay tuned.

In My Precious, Heather inquires, "Can Hobbit feet be far behind??"

Heather, this is sheer brilliance. I've done King Kong feet. How hard could hobbit feet be? I mean, they are practically the same size as the King's feeties.

Desperate Housewife asks, "How do you think this stuff up?!"

Would you believe that this stuff just comes to me? It does. Really. And not while I'm asleep. Good God, that would be scary if I dreamt of veggies wielding weapons and olive loaf slices adorning my shoulders when I'm supposed be catching some zzzzz's. Nope, I prefer to receive my crocheted and knitted messages while wide awake. Where I can process through my fiber-filled psychosis. With liquor.

Any more questions for me? Leave 'em in my comments section and I will attempt to answer said Q's right snappy.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Introducing "Just Charts!"

Oftentimes after I've presented a new item such as this or this, I receive emails asking me for my charts. So, since these LabLinoleum charts seem to be in popular demand, I figured I'd start offering them to you all in exchange for a few duckets. This new Monster Crochet pattern line offering shall henceforth be called Just Charts!

Wanna crochet or knit or cross stitch an enormous strip o' bacon? Well, you're in luck. Just purchase the chart from my sidebar for the low, low price of $5.

More charts to come...

Thanks for all of your comments on my flaming bag! It is supposed to be published this fall, that is, if the publisher likes it as much as you guys do. Keep yer digits crossed.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Ball-Bearer

Free at last! Free at last!

Yes folks, my February crochet-a-thon ended this morning with a visit to the master of my office's FedEx dimension for a celebratory box hand-off. What was in that box inquiring minds would like to know? This...

Ain't it purty?

Nothing like a crocheted bowling bag to help you get in touch with your inner-plaid-pants-donning, rented-shoe-wearing self.

It's flamerific, is it not?

Even I was proud of myself. This thing is highly constructed peeps. Lots o' parts. I inserted a zipper too...not bad eh?

It actually pained me to ship this bag off this morning. I want one! However, I don't want it bad enough to start crocheting another one anytime soon. I need a serious break. Really though, I designed and executed this um, ball-bearer, in 7 days (2 full days and 5 evenings). I think I broke my own record.

Have no fear though. There be themed bowling bags in the future coming to you from LabLinoleum. Count on that.

Happy Thursday peeps! Can't wait for the weekend when I plan to crochet or knit whatever I want. So there.

* This bag is a bowling bag style purse. In no way will it hold the weight of a bowling ball. If you're a faux bowler, this is your bag...

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.