Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Autumnal Diamond Shawl

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

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

Autumnal Diamond Shawl

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

Autumnal Diamond Shawl

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

Autumnal Diamond Shawl

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

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

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Let There Be Light!

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

Meet my new trusty headlamp!

Let There Be Light

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

Thursday, September 02, 2010


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

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

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

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

Step One

Nekked Beans

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

Step Two

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

My Fave Coffee Bean Roaster

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

Step Three

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

Roasting in the popcorn popper...

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

Step Four

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

Beans just out of the popper!

Step Five

Grind some beans and drink up!

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

Neato right???

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