Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where did December go???

Heya kids!

How's tricks?

I know, I know. I've left my blog unattended again. December has been rough. What can I say? This month has been alternately plagued by myriad divorce proceedings, health issues (which I'm sure can be attributed to the stress surrounding my myriad divorce proceedings) as well as strangely pleasurable (despite all of the divorce and health misadventures) holiday endeavors which have included much eating, drinking and making merry with family and friends.

Can we all say hallelujah for family and friends??? There is NO WAY I would have gotten through this year without my peeps. I love you all to the depths of my soul!

Group hug!


Yes, well, in addition to the peepage lending me their shoulders to cry on, shoving platefuls of holiday goodies in front of my face AND keeping my wine glass filled to the rim, I've also been able to draw comfort from my craft. I mean, you should see the piles of stuff I've made this year that have yet to be photographed! It's nuts. Hell, I may have been a mess in 2009, but a productive mess no less and this week has been no exception. Yes, I been alternately in the kitchen making cookies with my Mom and sisters or sitting in front of one of my spinning wheels making yarn. As such, here is this week's homespun bounty...

I call this yarn, affectionately, The Christmas Catastrophe!

It's purty, no? Okay, it's weird. But it is also sparkly! My favorite color is sparkly...


And here is the more sedate spinning experiment of this week...

After looking at the image above, I cannot believe I just characterized this yarn as sedate. I am losing my mind...slowly...but surely.

Anyway, the lovely, shiny yarn above was spun from pulled silk sari fiber. Neato, right? It's shiny! I like shiny almost as much as sparkly...

Can I get another Ooooooooooh?

How about an Ahhhhhhhhhh?

Thank you very much...

Okay, I have tons more stuff to show you guys so I promise to be better about posting. Also, since there seems to be widespread interest in the critter-sized Lumberjack Hat, I will be posting the pattern soon.

Stay tuned!

Hugs and kisses all around!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Baby Lumberjack Hat

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Mine was good despite my mood being a bit subdued due to the many, many December divorce court dates looming over my head. Tomorrow is December date numero uno. Keep your fingers crossed peeps as I will need as many good vibes coming my way as I can get!

The holiday was nice nonetheless. I was on turkey, stuffing and gravy duty so my workload wasn't heinous. In fact, in between basting my bird every half hour, I was able to modify my Crochet Today Lumberjack Hat pattern to fit my niece's little noggin...

How cute is she in that hat???

Yep, worked up this little headgear in a few hours. I used the yarn mandated in the original pattern. Bubble gum pink for the interior lining and a brilliant magenta for the exterior. You can kind of see the exterior color in the pic below...

It was a satisfying and super quick crochet indeed!

Just look at the smiles I was met with after putting it atop her head...

Absolutely melts my heart...

Hey, if you guys are interested in the pattern for this baby sized Lumberjack Hat, just leave me a shout out in my comments. I'm happy to write up the pattern if there seems to be an interest.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jenny Lee's Quilt

Several months ago, my girl, Jenna, had a brilliant (read "cracked") idea, which she posed to me during our last set of quilting classes at the Sewing Arts Center, while I was under the influence of a divorce induced stooper I might add. This, err, clever conception of hers surrounded our mutual friend, Jenny Lee, and her upcoming nuptials in October. Oh yes, dear reader, you can guess what's coming next...Jenna went on to say that seeing as how we have become such expert quilters (Can you all say coercion?), having recently completed one quilt apiece (you read that correctly...one...quilt...a...piece), that she thought it a splendid idea that we show Jenny just how much we adore her (and her betrothed of course) by making the couple a wedding quilt, a queen size wedding quilt that is. I believe I just stared at her, deer-in-the-headlights like, drool dripping from the corner of my mouth, responding somewhat unintelligibly, "Uh, okay."

Despite my, err, reservations about our collective abilities to tackle such a gigantor project, in hindsight I'm happy to report that Jenna's idea was indeed a masterful one. Not only did we make an awesome heirloom for our beloved Jenny and her man, but Jenna and I found out that we make a pretty darn good quilting team. Before going into the gory details, feast your eyes on the results of our laborious journey...

Oh, and yeah, that would be the Double Irish Chain quilt pattern...I know, we're nuts.

Here are some detail shots...

Now for the gory quilting details!

As it turns out, I rather enjoy cutting PERFECT strips of fabric over and over and over again. Actually, it's kinda meditative. Jenna, on the other hand, doesn't mind chain piecing strip after strip after bloody strip. Oh and pressing? We both are good with a steaming hot iron. Go figure! After having the strips assembled, I sub-cut 'em for more assemblage. This time we both took to our machines for an anal exercise of matching up corners and seams. Once the individual blocks were assembled we both laid them out on the floor and simultaneously gasped at the size of the behemoth we were putting together. I then went back to my machine to assemble the top. Jenna was on iron duty at that point. Once assembled, we tag-teamed the borders and backing, readying ourselves for the homestretch, pinning the layers. Quilt pinned, it was time for Jenna to machine quilt the top (not my favorite portion of the program) and she did a wonderful job I might add. Top quilted, I attached the binding around the entire front edge with my machine. We then put an end to our co-quilting journey by spending a week's worth of lunch hours hold up in one of the cube farm's conference rooms, tacking down the binding to the back of the quilt with needles, thread, thimbles and thousands of hand sewn blind stitches.

Whew, makes me tired just writing all of that! But I gotta tell ya all, it was so worth it. As not only did I have the privilege of spending myriad Sundays in craft with Jenna, but I was able to witness the joy on Jenny's face when we presented her with her gift...

It just doesn't get much better than that...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Holiday Diamond Shawl

I know, I've made tons of these at this point. Nonetheless, here's the latest one...

I am calling this woven and crocheted wonder the Holiday Diamond Shawl for obvious reasons. Methinks I might need a gnome hat to go with it. I see a bit of felting in my future...


What can I say? I am addicted to lap looms, diamond shaped lap looms to be specific. I really should move onto a different shape. After all I have lap looms in various shapes at my disposal: rectangles; squares; tumbling blocks (yes, just like the quilt of the very same name); triangles and hexagons. Ahhhh, so many looms, so little time!

This latest version of my now ubiquitous diamond shawl was woven from many a skein of Jo-Ann Sensations Rainbow Boucle. I had a box of this stuff. Okay, so I have a thing for textured acrylic. Don't judge.

Anyway, I like the way the weave of the fabric just seemingly disappears into a mass of bumpy goodness...

I crocheted all of the diamonds together with some coned black wool that I had laying around and voila, one more diamond shawl gracing the dedicated shawl shelf in my closet.

All in all, a satisfying project, made sweeter by the fact that I used up pretty much all of the stash boucle in the box! Woo Hoo!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Costumeology: The Knitted Pirate

Pirate garb is de rigueur at ChezLinoleum. As such, I've been knitting and crocheting my pirate-y stripes for the last few years in an attempt to create a fully knitted pirate look.

My costume began with this piece...

Draping oneself in one's flag is the ultimate display of one's pride methinks.

In succession, came the crocheted and knitted versions of this sweater...

I currently have three of these little sweaters in my closet. Great with skirts. Fantabulous with jeans. And absolutely amazing with...BLOOMERS!

Oh yes, upon immediate discovery of this Knitty pattern, I knew that I must knit a pirate-styled pair.

I wore this lovely ensemble to our annual Stitch N Witch gathering last night...

Even though I am just a mere deck hand at the moment, I did win the coveted "Best Use of Yarn" Prize while making merry at our fete. Yipee!

I see a knitted frock coat and perhaps a crocheted tricorn hat on my list of projects to complete for next year's Halloween season...Aaaarrrrggggghhhhh!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Costumeology: The Dark Fairy

NOTHING makes me happier than donning a pair of wings (or fangs, or tutu, or pirate garb, etc.) before hitting the streets of LaLaLand to go about my daily routine. Now, under normal circumstances, I would be looked upon as a few eggs short of a dozen if I decided to show up to the cube farm sporting a clown fro. However, October cannot be considered "normal circumstances" so digging the tutu(s) (yes, I have more than one) and wigs out of the back of the closet became priority one a few weeks ago for this is the most spooktacular time of the year!

This particular Halloween season brings three dress-up opportunities for moi and y'all know I'm not about to wear the same costume three times. Mon dieu! So, lets take a looksee at what I've thrown together for one of my upcoming alternate egos, shall we? Without further ado, I present to you my Dark Fairy garb...

Now, every femme fairy needs an ethereal little skirt, don't you agree? Yeah...So, even though I have a plethora of tulle in my closet, I didn't have any tulle related vestments in this keen red and black color combo and no standard pink sparkly fae wardrobe would do for me this Halloween. Nope, I'm looking to personify the classic trickster fae folkette. As such, I worked up this cute little dark netted number last night in the span of hour...And what a satisfying hour it twas too!

These beauties have been adorning the wall of my closet for months! Oh, don't worry, they weren't at all lonely for I have LOTS of wings.

Anyway, are they not spectacular???

You know you want a pair...And you can purchase them here along with many other amazing versions. Her wings are awesome and really well made.

Anyhoo, as I said, these lovelies were sitting in my closet for eons, urging me to marry them off to a sampling of perfect accompaniments. I was obliged to comply. Just look at how amazing my wings look with their tutu comrade...

But wait, there's more!

No self-respecting fae would be caught dead with the ears of a human! Nope, only pointy elfin ears will do this All Hallow's Eve!

Um, am I the only one around who has spirit gum in her cosmetic case year round???

Ahem...Let's move on.

Lastly, I purchased this very cool kit from Sephora to aid me in achieving each of my spooktacular looks this season. Methinks the store should offer these boxes of wonder the rest of the year as well. Come on, you can picture it. Ice Queen makeup for winter. Flower Fairy makeup for Spring. Golden Goddess makeup for summer. It would be amazing right? Yeah, I agree, retailers have no vision.

My Dark Fairy costume just needs a little liquid leather and fishnet to top it off. Then I'm good to go!

Ahhh, Halloween, how I love thee!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stella Circular Shawl

OMG, October has been a blur! So much so that I have been unable to post during what has to be my most favorite time of the year. I haven't even had a chance to unearth my harvest decor for goodness sake!


Despite the current madness, I have still managed to maintain my daily fiber regimen. Oh yes, still designing as well as randomly crocheting, knitting, spinning, weaving and sewing, albeit in a lower gear. As such, I have a FO from an OPP (other person's pattern) to present to you...

This is my version of Kristen Omdahl's Stella Shawl. The pattern can be found in her book, Wrapped in Crochet, one of my current favorite crochet tomes. Upon first inspection of this book, I knew that Stella would be my first project. I mean, check out the pic below direct from the book's pages...

The shawl is simply gorgeous. Further, the project gave me a perfect excuse to purchase an entire bag of Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino! What a lovely yarn to work with, so soft and luscious.

I had a blast crocheting my Stella. The directions were clear and without mistakes. As such, I motored through this WIP, completing the shawl in less than two weeks. I am very happy with the results and intend to make another after the craziness of the holidays subsides.

Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Holiday Cover Girl

My tree skirt made the latest Crochet Today cover! Woo Hoo!

Tons of retro goodness to be had in this issue peeps. Get thee to a newsstand...stat!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As the Spool Turns

I've turned into one of those girls.

You know that of which I speak. One of those girls who sews all of her own clothes, knits and crochets her own sweaters and wears said ensembles on a regular basis. Yeah, I've turned to the dark side...

I am the embodiment of craftaholism at this point. As such, above I am modeling my newly sewn, and fully lined I might add, squid dress (okay, more like squid muumuu...hey, comfort is key), beneath my recently completed Summer Breeze Cardi.

Rad, right? I felt so accomplished, flitting about the office in my homemade duds. I know, I'm a dork, but a crafty dork nonetheless.

I used Amy Butler's Anna Tunic pattern for the dress and although I love Amy Butler's aesthetic, her patterns tend to be a bit challenging. Despite this fact, I moved through the Anna Tunic with relative speed. I especially like the button closure at the back of the neck...

Do you like my blue crystal buttons?

I also really like the squid fabric...

I have used this fabric, in an alternative colorway, prior to this project. Remember my squid skirt? It constitutes my first recent foray into garment sewing. Ahhh, feels like so long ago now...

Anyway, my adventures with needle and thread shall continue. I currently have two quilts in the works. Because this fact, I have vowed not to begin any new sewing projects until I've completed the pieced behemoths. Upon completion however, I am planning to sink my needle into a Collette pattern which I've been itching to attempt.

As the spool continues to turn...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Conventions of Wisdom

It's no secret that I am having a rough year. It's also no secret that the rough stuff is the stuff from which most of us learn our most valuable life lessons. Knowing this doesn't make the journey any less painless, however! I mean, to say that I'm in a state of transition seems an understatement to be sure. Be that as it may, I am learning to accept my current state of groundlessness. It was a bit unsettling at first to be this, uh, unsettled, but now I just shrug my shoulders and put one foot in front of the other, hurdling along my current path at death defying speeds, winding unpredictably to an uncertain fate. It's horrifying and exhilarating all at the same time and I have made many a discovery about myself and my life's cosmic soup along the way...

Firstly, when it comes to societal mores, I happen to be an unconventional girl. Okay, I know that you all are sitting there reading this statement and thinking, hel-lo? You didn't know this about yourself already? You've christened yourself LadyLinoleum for Pete's sake! My reply? No, I did not know this, or more appropriately I should say, I have, until this point in my life, had trouble accepting this vision of myself, as evidenced by my constant attempts to fit my trapezoidal shaped peg into life's round holes. Oh yes, my past is littered with failed pursuits of the western woman's dream. You know that of which I speak. You are born, you spend your youth immersed in compulsory education, after graduation you may pursue higher education and possibly career, but then you almost certainly find a good man, get married, purchase a home, have children, you and the hubby work tirelessly toward retirement, retirement finally arrives, maybe you travel, enjoy the grand kids and general fruits of your life's labors until the end of your days. Yeah, it took me a long, long time to realize that I'm just not suited to that particular path and it took me even longer to stop beating myself up about the fact that this path has eluded me.

So as it turns out, I am just not marriage material and further, I really like living alone. I love having a career and earning a paycheck. I also don't really mind being a single parent most of the time. Speaking of which, I love my daughter, but feel fortunate that I decided to have only one child during my early 20's. At the ripe old age of 40, I know that I have no desire at all to live in the 'burbs. I love living in the middle of one of the greatest cities on the planet, noise, traffic, hustle, bustle and all. Don't get me wrong, I love nature and having the ability to seek refuge in it from time to time, but I'm a city girl to the depths of my soul. As such, for me relaxation comes in the form of total immersion in activities that keep my mind and body busy. And I know that this one may come as a complete surprise to you (or not!), but I'm secure enough in myself to admit it nonetheless...I'm totally high maintenance. Yep, just call me, uh, complex. Not to worry though, I am quite capable of taking care of my own maintenance, thank you very much...Oh my, did it ever take me a long time to accept these truths about myself and to stop apologizing for them to whomever I found myself unhappily married to.

Secondly, and completely contradictory to my first dictum, when it comes to societal mores I am too every bit the conventional girl.

What did you just say?

Girl, have you lost your mind? Up above you were going on and on and on about what an independent, headstrong woman you are!

I am, but as also previously stated above, I am nothing if not complex...

In addition to my need for independence and a strong craving to experience the larger world we inhabit, I am also a woman who loves to get lost in what society considers to be a traditionally female role. I love caring for my child and home, cooking and baking make me immensely happy and well, you all know I have a penchant (read, serious addiction) for the needle and fabric arts. Okay, I admit it...I also adore all things girlie, shopping, primping and coiffing, gossiping and hanging out with the girls...People, I own a hot pink blue tooth and I am NOT afraid to use it.

Who am I kidding? This independent, headstrong business woman, in touch with her inner stay at home mom, is also perfectly at home in the shallow end of the pool.

Didn't I already use the term complex?

Anyway, the treatise above regarding the recent discoveries made while trekking about my inner landscape is my long-winded approach to a point, dear reader...Basically, I am a phoenix in mid-cycle. My soul having suffered a good ole cremation, I am beginning to rise from the ashes of what was before, readying myself to experience what will be. As such, I will be approaching this next chapter in the book of LadyLinoleum with a bit of wisdom tucked under my belt. Henceforth I will always make a concerted effort to live loudly and deeply. I will try not to be afraid to make mistakes or allow fear to hold me back. I will attempt to be gentle with myself and cherish my loved ones most deeply. I recognized that each day presents an opportunity to discover something new about myself and the world around me. I will make art everyday...

Oh, and for you, dear reader, I will keep these self-help styled realizations to a posted minimum for I seek NOT to be the Deepak Chopra of the craft world...Yes, you can all breath a group sigh of relief!

With that said, many thanks to you all for reading my soliloquy, all of my myriad soliloquies for that matter. Happy Wednesday kids!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Four Times a Lady...

Do you all remember my experimentation with Entrelac? Not a bad beginning to be sure. However, I did learn a very valuable lesson while knitting up my first Eleanor. Changing color at every tier? Yeah, it makes for some serious end weaving action upon completion of the project. What. A. Drag. Needless to say, I saw the error of my ways and bought entire bags of Kureyon and Taiyo for the three latest incarnations of the great Lady Eleanor. Effortless Noro color changes. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

She looks quite smashing in Kureyon blues and greens...

And equally fetching in Kureyon pinks and oranges...

But my fave is definitely the summerific inspired Taiyo Lady...

I even finished her off with the knotted fringe that the pattern calls for...

The Kureyon gals sport "easier for me" crocheted edging. I am equally satisfied with the results.

I know what you're thinking...

Yep, you all are wondering what has possessed me to make four of these stoles, right?

Well, it just so happens that I teach an Entrelac class at Abuelita's pretty regularly. It also just so happens that the beginning tier of this stole is a little tricky for novice knitters to grasp. Therefore, at the beginning of every Entrelac class I cast on and work the first tier of this project along with my students. You know, there's safety in numbers...Anyhow, I figure if I'm going to start one, I might as well try a different Noro colorway and make yet another stole. After all, Lady Eleanor happens to be quite an interesting knit despite the fact that I could probably knit one in my sleep at this point!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering...I have one more of these bee-you-ti-ful girls on my needles. Just wait until you see the results!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Back from Alaska...

A few months ago my mom suggested that we take a family vacay. Perhaps a cruise to Alaska? I nodded in silent agreement, thinking hells to the yes, I need a break. After the year I've had, planting my arse in a deck chair for a week and whittling away the hours with needles/hook and/or book in hands sounded nothing short of heavenly. As a result, my mother, younger sister and glorious offspring boarded the Star Princess in Seattle a few weeks ago bound for the wild north.

Now, let me tell you all right now that this was my first cruise and I would be lying if said that I was anything but skeptical about the whole notion of cruising upon accepting my mother's suggestion. It's not the sitting on the boat for seven or more days with which I had an issue (after all I do have a penchant for all things seafaring...Argh!). Nope, it was the fact that cruising just seemed so typically tourist to me...you know, organized shore excursions, 24 hour a day buffet, gold sold by the foot on the Lido Deck...because of this I just didn't consider myself to be the "cruise type". I mean my idea of a vacay is flying to some exotic destination, getting the lay of the land and traipsing about the alleyways and interstices of a city or some other random environ, soaking up the local culture like a sponge. Conversely, a cruise just seemed like it would sanitize my travel experience and, well, I like to get dirty. *wink*

Despite my reservations, I relented and told my mom that the offspring and I were in. I'm glad I did because it turns out that I rather liked the whole cruise experience as did my child. Most of all, I loved seeing the daily smile of delight on my daughter's face as she indulged her senses and discovered a part of the world she had only previously heard about...

My daughter's smiling face!

Speaking of discovery, onto Linoleum's look at Alaska!

As I said, we began our journey in Seattle...

We boarded the ship around noon, dropped our stuff off in our cabins and of course headed to the buffet for the first of many shipboard meals. The fact that I did not gain any weight on this vacay was nothing short of a gift from the gods because I can assure you, I never missed an opportunity to tie on the feedbag during our trip. Hey, when in Rome...

Anyway, we left port at around 4:00 pm that day and sailed northward on calm seas to our first stop Ketchikan, Alaska...

Located on Revillagigedo Island, in the southeastern part of the state, Ketchikan is a town with a year round population of about 7,300 residents. Their economy is based primarily on fishing and tourism. Yep, every couple days during the summer months three or four cruise ships pull into port and dump 2,500 people per boat onto the docks for some serious shopping and sightseeing. Actually this is true for all of the Alaskan cities/towns on the cruise ship route...It's nutty.

Not in town to purchase a Rolex (oh yes, jewelry stores abound in these little hamlets along the cruise routes), my little landing party opted for a more cultural experience...Totem Bight State Historical Park. My child is a totem pole aficionado...

The tour about the park was awesome as our tour guide was a lifelong Ketchikan resident of Tlingit ancestry. He led us about this rain sodden environ through spectacular scenery while simultaneously giving us his insights into his culture's mythos.

Oh fungi, how I love thee oh so orange-y.

A rad clan house.

Spookerific branches.

More spooky branch action. It's pics like these that inspire my designs.

Okay, so that shore excursion was well worth it. Next destination? Tracy Arm for some glacier action!

So, Tracy Arm is essentially a fjord. We didn't actually disembark from the ship. We just sailed up the fjord and the pilot maneuvered the vessel as close to Sawyer Glacier as possible, weather permitting, so that we cruisers could catch a glimpse of nature's retreating glory.

I found the color of the blue ice captivating.

My sister (left) and daughter bundled up against the cold.

Oh, the cruise ship traffic abounds...

Later that day our ship arrived in Juneau and we readied ourselves for another shore excursion, the Mendenhall Glacier.

More Alaskan photo opts...

My sister (left) and daughter hamming it up.

I love this pic of my mom and offspring.

Needless to say, we had a great time despite the cold and cloudy skies. Oh, but wait! There's more...after hanging out at the Mendenhall Glacier we were bused back to the boat in order to sail to our next destination.

Stay tuned for more Alaska peeps...

Missed you guys!