Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Loom Lust

Are you getting sick of my new weaving fetish yet? Don't worry, I have some knits and crochets that will be ready to share with you very soon.

Anyway, my big loom purchase arrived yesterday! Woo hoo!

No, I didn't buy a floor loom, although I would love one. However, I'd have to get rid of the hubby and kid to make room for the loom and collateral accouterments. And then there is the wall space issue. I just don't have an available inch of space in my condo to accommodate a warping board.


Some day I'll be able to be a floor loom weaver again. Until that time, I'm having fun with the small loom weaving experience.

Enter my new tri-loom!

Okay, this baby really cannot be considered a small loom measuring in at 6' across. However, one weaves on a tri-loom as one would on a small lap-type loom. If fact, weaving on a triangle loom is virtually the same as weaving on a diamond-type loom (go here and scoll to the middle of the page for pdf instructions) or a bias loom. These looms require the weaver to work warp and weft at the same time with one continuous yarn. It is a super cool process. Totally easy and the results are pretty darn stunning.

At any rate, my tri-loom will allow me to make a shawl in a day, or so they say. Not only will I be able to work quickly, but I can weave tartans as well! How awesome is that?

I'm so excited! Actually too excited...

Last night in my hurry to get my new loom assembled, I had a bit of an accident. I propped up the newly assembled large triangle on my ottoman against my chair in our living room, nails facing outward. Then I proceeded to sit in front of the tri-loom on the ottoman in an attempt to set up the loom stand. I must have moved around a bit too much or something because the loom had come down atop my head before I knew what was happening. Oh yeah, nails collided with skull. Needless to say I suffered a minor wound, which my sweet girl cleaned and swabbed with Neosporin for me.

I'm an idiot.

Anyway, after recounting my "when good looms go bad" tale to fellow lap loom weaving addict, Bri, this morning she countered with this very apropos response, "Well, the loom is now anointed with your blood and full of power." Actually, my boo boo is tingling so there's probably something to her statement. Or I have sepsis. Whatever. Bring on the yarn!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tools of the Trade

Recently I've made an attempt to organize my stash, which I found was literally impossible due to the fact that I own enough yarn to open my own store. Really, it's ridiculous as well as puzzling because despite the sheer amount of fiber housed in my home, I still never seem to have the color or type of yarn I need for my project du jour. What's up with that?

At any rate, I'm on the wagon. No more yarn for me until I use at least half of what I already own. And Jenna? Please do not tell anyone about the yarn I bought last Friday with you at the Yarns Unlimited sale. After all, I didn't pay retail, so therefore we're not counting that purchase.


Yes, we all know I have a problem. Anyway, let's move on, shall we?

So, what am I purchasing to enhance my craft? C'mon no yarn, just means no yarn. I can buy other stuff! I already let you in on my loom lust. Let's see...There's definitely more than just looms arriving at the doorstep of ChezLinoleum!

First, my skullie spoolies have arrived. I couldn't resist trying out the big skullie (13 pins). It's capable of making a nice skinny scarf width tube, as evidenced by my variegated stash yarn (thank you very much) starter tube emerging from within.

The small skullie spoolie will be perfect for churning out easy i-cord.

Also on the knitting tool front...

Yes, that would be a knitting board (loom)! I can't wait to try this one out! Supposedly I will be able to finish a scarf/wrap in nothing flat. We'll see if it's faster than my clicking needles. I'm a pretty fast knitter so the loom speed test should be an interesting one.

Yes, I will be using stash yarn (for now) on the knitting board too. Jeesh.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I have a new addiction. Okay, it's not really new to me as I became acquainted with the force behind this addiction while an undergraduate in college, thereby truly characterizing my current enslavement as a rediscovered compulsion. What is this new yet familiar obsession of which I speak?


Oh weaving, how I love thee! How is it that we have been separated from one another's company for so many years? Okay, yes, a floor loom is a substantial piece of furniture that (i) requires copious amounts of space and (ii) requires housing that is fairly stable (meaning moving on a yearly basis, a situation that characterized my late twenties, early thirties, is not conducive to owning a floor loom). Then there is the whole dressing the loom business for which I always required a helping hand and, oh by the way, lacked for quite some time. As a result the weaving regimen I cultivated during college fell by the wayside, and there it remained until very recently.

At any rate, a few weeks ago while enjoying my morning coffee in front of my 'puter at the Cube Farm, I received a call from former Cube Farm inmate and devoted friend (read all-things-crafty-pusher), Bri. During our phonealogue Bri began to extol the virtues of her new, yet oddly familiar to her as well, propensity toward making fabric of a woven nature. She began to rattle off online resources (start here) for lap loom weaving as well as all of her eBay loom targets. Being the historical and painfully deprived weaving addict that I am, I jumped right onto her bandwagon, hardly skipping a beat.

You mean, I can weave again? No floor loom required?

Sign. Me. Up!

Needless to say, thanks in part to my good buddy Bri and some extra cashola burning a hole in my pocketbook, the last two weeks have seen significant loom purchases in a variety of sizes and formats. First, I perused eBay for some vintage Weave-Its. I won both a 4" x 4" and a 2" x 2". Cool. Then I really started to get my loom on, expanding my purchase power with one of these and oh, one of these too. I am so not done. As is my way, I also made these acquisitions: a 7" one of these as well as a 12" version (what the heck!) and the ultimate in lap loomage...a 6' (yes, that's in feet, not inches) one of these.

Yes, Virginia, clearly LadyLinoleum has a problem. Really though, she's harmless. Only a danger to her wallet. Yes, I'm positive about that.


Oh and lest we forget, good ole LadyLinoleum had purchased a small Wishing Windows Loom from the lovely and talented Noreen Crone-Findley during her summer jaunt to New Hampshire.

Was this predecessor to the loom accumulation process a mere coincidence? I think not. Let's call it FATE...

Anyway, wanna see what I've been weaving?

C'mon, humor me.

Okay, well, I have only received one of my many, many looms thus far so I'm a bit limited by lack of lap loomage at the moment. Nonetheless, I am weaving on my 7" diamond.

First and foremost, isn't my new loom purty?

Now, check out the results...

It takes me about 45 minutes to make one diamond. At this rate I should have a stack o' diamonds in no time.

What am I going to make with these woolly girl's best friends? You're just going to have to wait and see. What I can reveal is the fact that we've entered a new era on this here bloggy. Oh yes, Monster Crochet is not merely a crochet and knit blog anymore. Nope. You'll definitely be seeing weaving here now too. Woo hoo!

I freaking love yarn!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Urban Craft Center

I belong to the community of craft. Currently my community can be characterized as being primarily of a virtual nature, be that by blog, message board or that new mecca of internet yarndom, Ravelry. Sure, occasionally I'm able to hit my local SNB and hang out with my peeps in the flesh so to speak, but mostly my yarnalogue happens via world wide web and I've been mostly satisfied with this situation. However, nothing truly beats connecting with my crowd, needles clicking, hooks, um, hooking, in the background as we catch up on each other's lives, laughing, sharing stories and of course inhaling some great food. I love that! Unfortunately, I don't get to my beloved SNB as much as I'd like because well, life tends to get in the way. Also, sometimes it can take me 55 to 60 minutes to travel from my office to Farmer's Market, site of SNB (about 4.5 miles), which makes me nuts. Not into it.

At any rate, I'm pleased to announce that my crafty-peeps-in-person (or lack thereof) problem has been assuaged thanks to my friend and fellow cube farm inmate, Jenna! Yesterday morning Jenna sent me an email with a link to this new establishment that just happens to be minutes away from my home and office!

Woo hoo!

And here's the best part, not only is this a locale where those of us who are crafty can hang, make and be merry, but they offer classes too! After perusing the class schedule, Jenna and I decided to take the embroidery class together next week (Bri, you may want to join's crewel) and in October I am planning to attend the spinning class. Since the UCC is new and therefore currently lacks the ability to take credit cards, Jenna and I sped over there at lunch to give them checks for our classes. We were greeted by a beautiful facility, plenty of natural light, new tables, chairs, cabinets and one of two familiar proprietors! You've no idea how happy I am to have this amazing resource open in my neighborhood.

So, if you live in Los Angeles, like to make stuff while in the company of others, this is the venue for you. Go check it out and sign up for some classes! Or just go, hang out and make stuff with other peeps who are similarly engaged. You will not be sorry.

Long live the Urban Craft Center!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jolly Roger Redux Means Charts For All!

You know, I tend to believe that things occur for a reason. For example, the sale of my original Jolly Roger Shawl led me to create a second version. While working up the second shawl I decided to pattern test the charts for release.

So, you can thank the buyer of Jolly Roger Numero Uno for the availability of the new set of charts on my sidebar! The charts are broken up into four separate pieces: skull; bottom half of saber; top half of saber; one complete saber. They are a bit of a challenge, but it you like intarsia (knit or crochet) then you'll find them interesting to work with.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


A few packages have graced my doorstep as of late. The first little bundle of joy came to me all the way from France from fellow designer, Sylv!

Yes, those would be gorgeous buttons and a sweet little snack! The buttons were actually half of a prize for winning a contest on Sylv's blog. Wish I could say I did something special to win this awesome acquisition, but it just happened to be luck and luck alone. The other half of the prize is this pattern. Neener, neener, neeeeee-ner! I'm going to make a Plumetis Car-di!


Thank you Sylv!!!

Next up, it's a fabulous Art Esprit original!

Susan actually presented this wonderful painting to me while I was visiting her in NH this summer. Fortunately, she didn't mind mailing it to me as I was deathly afraid of squishing it into my suitcase. Needless to say I was so happy to pick this package up from my mailbox the other day that I literally did a happy dance inside the UPS Store. Not a pretty site, let me tell you.

At any rate, I love this piece! In fact, this morning I was padding around my home in the wee hours, coffee in one hand, hammer in the other, contemplating the perfect placement for this work.

Thank you Susan!

Now, for a little commissioned gifty action...

I asked my brilliant buddy Noreen to make me a couple of her excellent spool knitters...Here's what she's come up with. The best part? I didn't even ask her to do this! She just intuited the fact that I needed more skullies in my life!

Oh, and she made me a skull crochet hook too.


Thanks so much Noreen!

Gifties rock!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I activated my membership yesterday! Please send me friend invites. I have no idea who is already on Ravelry as I've yet to do some real investigation. Anyway, woo hoo!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Things are back to normal (well, relatively normal anyway) at ChezLinoleum. So normal in fact that the hubs and I found the wherewithal to take on the roles of culinary mad scientists. Yes, lots of experimentation happening in our kitchen...

First, there is fermentation happening here.

No, we have not built our own still!

Although that's actually not a bad idea...I digress. We are making a crazy sort of moonshine though. Ours, however, is a health-nut approved elixir - Kombucha. Yep, after spending 30 bucks a gallon on a weekly basis for this stuff at our local natural foods emporium over the past several months, we've decided to brew our own shroom. And let me tell you, this process is not for the faint of heart. Very involved it 'tis, that's for sure. However, the hubs was determined and his patience paid off for we now have a gallon of the stuff brewing.

Lookie how purty our fungal tea is...

The hubs has definitely got foodie mad scientist tendencies in his blood. Anyway, this reddish, amberish, brownish liquid has been sitting on it's heating pad for close to a week now. Hubs checked the pH yesterday and we're almost at the drinkable level. Definitely a little scary, but awesome nonetheless.

While the hubby has been playing around in the fermentable zone I've been concentrating my efforts in the realm of dehydration. That's right, for me it's been all about the jerky. Uh-huh, I made my own by following the recipe and oh so sage advice regarding the dehydration of foodstuffs from one of my favorite Food Network personalities, Alton Brown. Love him.

What's cool about his jerky recipe is way the meat is dried out by using a box fan, paper air conditioning filters and bungee cords. Dude, who knew that one could literally suck the moisture out of food by using items from your local hardware store? Needless to say, AB's method worked and I now have a container full of dried out meaty goodness...

Fruits and veggies beware. I will suck the moisture out of you sooner than you think!

We've definitely entered a whole new level of craftiness over here and I love it!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A New Era...

Currently, we've begun a new era here at ChezLinoleum...High School. Yes, Little Linoleum, has begun the first day of the next four years of her life, as if we've not endured enough tumult as of late. At any rate, my amber-eyed teen spent hours straightening her locks this a.m. in order to prepare for the day's events.

Priorities, people.

I know she's frightened about starting a new school, as evidenced by her current sullen demeanor and omnipresent irritability, but she's also bright, witty, pretty and strong. Nonetheless, my stomach was in knots as I dropped my girl off on the front lawn of the campus. Will she be able to find her classes? Will she make new friends quickly? Will her classes be challenging enough? Will my sweet child succeed???

I believe the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes. However, as is my way, I still worry.

I texted her as soon as I returned home to finish preparing for my own daily toil.

LadyLino: "R U okay?"

LenaLino: "I hate this skool."

LadyLino: "Okay. Did u find your class?"

LenaLino: "Yeah...theres this really hot guy."

LadyLino: "OK, that's good then! Call me later. Luv u!"

Hopefully I will survive the next four years...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Embellishing the Surface

Before I launch into my crafty tute du jour, I wanted to thank all of you for your supportive words, good vibes and powerful prayers. I walked away from court last Friday with my daughter at my side and a month's reprieve from this process. We are not by any means finished, but we are definitely seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I know that all of the positive energy you all sent our way made a huge difference. I am blessed to have each and every one of you in my life.

Needless to say, I've been a bit preoccupied as of late. Now I must qualify this statement, as during the normal course of daily events my mind operates a lot like Times Square on New Years Eve. You can only imagine what it's been like the last few weeks. Yeah, I have no words to describe the current state of my gray matter.

However, despite the anxiety and chaos my family is currently mired in, I have made an effort to stay immersed in craft. Yes, craft seems to be my only source of solace at the moment. Craft is my life preserver in the moments when I feel as though I just cannot endure much more. This is seemingly true for LittleLinoleum as well for she has been drawing and crocheting from the moment she awakes in the morning to the time her head hits the pillow in the evening (in between her myriad phone and IM conversations throughout the day that is).

So, what the heck am I working on you inquire?

Well, lots of things, but last night I was finishing up my replacement for this item, which is fine because I really want to release this pattern to the public anyway. So in order for this to occur, pattern-testing needed to ensue.

The first version of this shawl utilized a less than conventional color scheme. For shawl number two I decided to employ a more expected palette: red; heathered greys; ecru and black. This palette adjustment serves to make the finished object one that I will wear more often than I would have worn the first (and you know, why reinvent the wheel). However, the current color scheme also creates a conundrum that I've had to deal with as a result.

It might not be too evident in the photo below, but crochet intarsia (which I used to create the appliques for this shawl) has a one major drawback - the edges between color changes are a little jagged (a state of affairs that does not occur when doing color work in knitting).

Nonetheless, I chose to use crochet for the appliques on this shawl because I wanted the stiffness that is a direct result of this method. My knitting swatch was just too drapy for purposes of this project. Further, because the colors used for the appliques are similar in tone, the jagged edges in the shawl number one appliques are not that conspicuous.

Enter the new applique colors: ecru and black. Yeah, doesn't get more polemic than that and as a result the jagged edges really bothered me in the finished appliques. So, being the problem-solving yarn addict that I am, I decided to camouflage the edges with a bit of surface embellishment otherwise known as "surface crochet".

What the heck is surface crochet? Well, the description is the title, so to speak. This technique entails crocheting on the surface of existing crocheted (or knitted) fabric. Ever made a front post stitch before? Then in a sense, you've already employed this technique! See below for details.

Step One - Insert hook into fabric, pushing it through the closest appropriate opening. Appropriate means you have to make a choice about which direction your stitches are going to go. Up? Down? To the side? I want to work in an upward direction so I push my hook out of the opening above my insertion point, basically attempting to follow the ecru outline around the skull's eye opening.

Step Two - Yarn over and pull the loop through.

Step Three - Yarn over and pull the loop through the loop on your hook, creating a slip stitch (sl st).

Step Four - Insert hook up and out of the openings directly adjacent to first sl st made.

Repeat steps two and three.

Continue around entire edge. Sl st to beginning sl st to join edging round and fasten off.

Totally easy and time-consuming so it's a good mind-occupier for me at the moment.

Again, many thanks to everyone for your enduring love and support. You all rock!