Studio Musings

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ocean Menagerie - Crocheted Extravaganza

My new ocean menagerie, thanks to my amazing sister!
2016 has been a bit of a slow start in terms of my own creativity, so I thought I'd share the work and artistry of one of my favorite people in the world, my sister Shawna.

Last Christmas (2014), Shawna shared that she'd been working on a present for me, but it wasn't 'quite' done, and asked if I'd prefer to receive what she'd accomplished to date, or whether she should continue working on it.

My new favorite afghan!
In one of my clever moments, I asked which she would prefer.  Smart, smart, smart!   She said she'd like to keep working; to which I smiled and agreed wholeheartedly.

In early December, I had a chance to fly out to visit family.  The last night of the visit, Shawna brings out this HUGE wrapped present, with her boys 'helping' her carry it and grinning from ear to ear.  The box was big enough to fit my 8 year old nephew - I know this because he hid in it later and my brother brought me my new 'gift' - to much giggling from my nephews. 

I thought maybe she was working on a new afghan.  There was indeed an afghan at the top of the box - one of my sister's original designs, shading from deep ocean into the shore, with sand and sea foam around the edges.  In the color transitions, she crocheted beautiful wave patterns to continue the theme.

Under the afghan, I found an entire menagerie of crocheted ocean creatures.  Some so small they fit in the palm of my hand!  Here are some closeups:

He keeps making me sing songs from The Little Mermaid

The little harp seal hanging out with its octopus and jellyfish friends
Fancy Goldfish!  Shawna included these freshwater fish because I love them so

Her conch shell is fully three-dimensional and sooo detailed

Little Squidly in the 'surf' afghan

Shawna even made me a sea anenome and sea fan!
Hippocampus gigantica rosaceus
Flying with friends
She says that in the beginning, most of the designs came from free patterns off of the Internet.  But as she worked she began to develop her own designs as well.  Everyone then told stories of watching Shawna work on them at family gatherings over the past two years. 

Luckily, I'd brought an extra suitcase filled with Christmas presents for my family.  I'd hadn't planned to bring it back home with me.  On the return trip, I packed all my clothes in it and all of my new friends into my carry-on bag. 

This little guy to the right managed to escape the confines of the suitcase, and hung out with my while waiting for our flight.  He managed to amuse more than one fellow passenger, especially when a few of his friends started peaking out as well.  There was no way I was trusting them to the airlines!

Back home,  my newest friends made themselves right at home under the Christmas tree. 
Keeping an eye on things
The Great Escape (attempt)

After presents were unwrapped, it looked like they were all fleeing the scene.  The little clam/pearl had abandoned its shell and the crab was fleeing towards the front door.

Normally, after the unwrapping, the Christmas tree looks pretty bare.  Not this year!  Once we'd rounded everyone back up and put them back in place, they kept the tree looking quite full and festive until it was finally time to say goodbye to Christmas.

I haven't decided where their every day home is going to be.  Right now they're slowly migrating through the house.  Popping up here and there as Joe and I make little surprise appearances for each other.  A shark peaking out from a cupboard, a wolf eel keeping close watch over a laptop, the skate guarding the remote, ready to watch tv.  That sort of thing. 

One more shot of the full menagerie
Thank you Shawna! 


  1. Love!! What a great gift!...and memory.

  2. Love!! What a great gift!...and memory.

  3. What fun! It's obvious that creativity around sculptural little treasures runs in your family. And the moment I saw the crab, I started singing "Under the sea..."

  4. What an incredible and heartfelt gift - such memories!!