a short post

Last week I missed my deadline for a number of reasons, which I decline to state, and this week isn’t really that much better. I moved into a new dorm, and the week-long event to welcome freshmen has started, and the first part of it I attended was a behind-the-scenes tour of the Seattle Aquarium.

Have I told everyone here how much I love rockfish? I love rockfish. I love the lazy way they swim, barely moving their fins. They’re built thick and heavy with fins barbed with spines. They don’t need to be fast; they’re tough enough to ward off most predators just by existing. I love the way they will sit on anything; rocks, walls, corals, whatever will sit still long enough for them. I love the way their only response to something that surprises them is to slowly raise their dorsal fin.

I especially love the Pirate, who lives in the big exhibit just inside the door of the Seattle Aquarium. He’s a forty-year-old yellow-eyed rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) who’s hit 18-20-some inches, and his name is the Pirate because a while back he had a run-in with a bacterial infection known as pop-eye or bubble-eye. Pop-eye causes a fish’s eye to swell up to painful-looking proportions; the Pirate had to have his removed so the infection wouldn’t spread. It hasn’t bothered him a bit. He might even outlive me; some yellow-eyed rockfish have been identified as 120 years or older.

I have pictures, but my dorm is from the 1930s and wi-fi didn’t exist back then (or now, apparently), so I can’t transfer them to post. Similarly, I have become stymied in my yarn rockfish adventures by the fact that I am a truly awful colorwork writer, and I need to print out the pattern so I can write all over it. However, the aforementioned wi-fi problem has screwed with my wireless printer, so that’s not happening any time soon either. Solutions must be found. When I have more energy.

Until then, readers.

Baby’s First Socks

I finished my first pair of socks! Hexagons by Kirsten Hall is a fantastic modular pattern with clever construction that is really quite simple to knit. I got several comments while knitting these in public that they were “fancy socks” and looked like a “difficult pattern”, which I very much appreciated, but all you need to know how to do is knit, purl, decrease, and pick up stitches! You knit the first hexagon, and then pick up stitches along the sides of all future hexagons.


Wish this was a better picture, but I’m stuck with none of my usual photo set-up and editing software. Ah well! These were done with one skein of Zitron Natura Pro, a bamboo/superwash wool blend that is now discontinued. I modified the pattern slightly to have a shorter leg by leaving out one row of hexagons at the top.

The first sock was almost unbearably tedious to knit because I hadn’t yet gotten the hang of the hexagons, but by the time I got started on the second sock everything was speeding along merrily. The hexagons are very satisfying ways to measure progress and it’s easy to knit one whenever you have time so that you end up making a sock chunk by chunk instead of row by interminable row.

Actually, the knitting construction of Hexagons resembles the construction of normal socks so little that I still don’t really consider myself sock-initiated. So to round this post off, let’s see three regular sock patterns that tempt me next. The hexies are for my mother, but these next ones will be for me (if I get around to them).

One Fish, Two Fish by Deborah Tomasello. Ravelry link here.

One Fish, Two Fish by Deborah Tomasello. Ravelry link here.

One Fish, Two Fish is a tessellating fish pattern, and I love tessellations.  And fish. I would love to make these in two shades of blue or maybe yellow and blue or gold and green. Stranded colorwork is something I haven’t really done before in knitting, except for a couple of swatches, but it works pretty much the same way it does in crochet.

For something a bit easier:


Swirl Socks by Maia Discoe. Ravelry link here.

With a variegated yarn and the diagonal ribbing, this sock gives the illusion of having a diamond pattern on it. I like it because first, it’s toe-up, which has always seemed to me to be the sensible way to knit socks–that way it’s impossible to run out of yarn at the toe and not have a wearable garment at the end. Second, it sort of looks like fish scales, and has a very appealing geometric sense to it. Good stuff.

And back to something difficult:

Hold your Seahorses by Yvette Noel. Ravelry link here.

Hold your Seahorses by Yvette Noel. Ravelry link here.

These are difficult not just because of the colorwork, which is really no more complicated than any other two-color knitting, but because they’re not a proper pattern. Noel developed these socks by adapting a mitten pattern by Tori Seierstad, and merely put together her notes and charts for us to benefit from. However, the results are so gorgeous it’d be worth it. I like the blue and orange, but I also think royal purple with yellow seahorses would be delicious.

And a final bonus:

Super-Bulky Socks, Toe-UP or Top-Down by Liat Gat. Ravelry link here.

Super-Bulky Socks, Toe-UP or Top-Down by Liat Gat. Ravelry link here.

I have an entire drawer’s worth of bulky and superbulky yarn, and I’ve been thinking about stashbusting it for a little while. Super thick socks are maybe not the most practical for every day life, but boy would they be comfy. Good thick socks to walk around the halls of college dorms when I don’t feel like putting on shoes, maybe?


I thought about doing a book review this week–I have both the crafter’s guide to taking great photos and crafting by concepts, but the first belongs to me and the second isn’t due back to the library for five weeks, so I’m not in any hurry. I also thought about maybe writing something of a musing about the nature of art and how I feel about my textiles; especially given that most of my art background is actually in drawing and visual arts, and how do textiles fit into that framework? We’ve been talking a lot about that in class lately.

But ultimately, I have almost made it through my first two weeks of college now, and frankly I am tired. It’s going to be something of a lazy weekend (I get Mondays off before fall quarter starts) so you don’t get a review or deep ponderings on art. You get more fish.


These are all the pieces for my rockfish minus the body. From top to bottom, left to right, we have soft dorsal fin, lips, bony dorsal fin, anal fin, fish eyes, paired pelvic fins, and paired pectoral fins.

(Thinking about redoing the bony dorsal, but haven’t decided if I’m finicky enough about the color to make changing colors in a fdc row worth it.)

Anyways, that’s a lot of different kinds of fins, huh? Especially when the highly distilled popular culture image of a fish (think goldfish crackers) basically only has the caudal and the pectoral fins. But if you hang out with enough fish, you get to know them pretty well.

Dorsal fins go on the back and prevent a fish from rolling over and aid in navigation. Most fish have one; rockfish have two, the first of which is armed with nail-like spikes. Some species can also inject poison through these spines. Charming!

The anal fin is similar to the dorsal fins, but it goes on the underside, usually after where the actual anus is. It acts as a stabilizer.

Pelvic fins don’t look at all like they are attached to a pelvis, and strictly speaking they’re not. However, they are analogous to hind limbs on vertebrates that have legs. They help in sharp turns, up and down, and quick stops.

Pectoral fins are generalized structures that are often highly adapted to particular functions. In rockfish they are probably used to help navigate, but in flying gurnards they function as an intimidation device and make gurnards impossible to swallow whole, and in sea robins they have been adopted into creepy spider-leg things.

The caudal fin does propulsion. It’s not in my aggregate image of yarn rockfish parts because I designed it to be crocheted along with the body instead of separately. They can be quite fancy in some species–for instance the domestic (and artificially selected) butterfly-tail goldfish and betta–or lethal, in the case of the thresher shark.

Adipose fins don’t exist on rockfish. What are they?

we just dont know gif

(No, really–we have no idea what they’re for, which is a problem, because we regularly cut it off as a method to mark fishery-raised salmon.)