Crochet Inspiration Follow Up - Pioneer Shawl

I'm so happy to be able to show you this! So many times I write Crochet Inspiration posts and talk a lot about what I'd like make, but I don't always get a chance to recreate them for various reasons, usually because I'm busy crocheting other things. But I was able to make this one!

Last October I wrote about the Frontier Shawl from the movie Bend of the River (read about it here). I recreated it and made a few changes. What do you think?

The colors I chose are obviously brighter but that is because I couldn't get the one's I really wanted. I think they really worked out though. As I said before, I think the shawl was really an afghan folded in half, so my pattern can also double as an afghan, great for draping over the back of the couch.

If you're interested in making this, you can buy the pattern from Crochet Spot; it's a good price and a good investment. If you do make this shawl, be sure to tell me your thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

I'm also proud to say that I am in the process of recreating another "movie-inspired" design. Stick around!

A Moment of Holothurian Behavior

Just recently I had the incredible pleasure of witnessing a bit of holothurian behavior. It was something I never would have thought I'd see. I'll tell you more down below!

Enypniastes, a free swimming holothurian in the Gulf of Mexico.
In highschool I studied marine biology and was particularly interested in the phylum Echinodermata. I chose to write a paper on sea stars at the time and have written other material on them since. More recently I have been drawn to their relative, holothurians, due to my exposure to them by both NOAA's Okeanos Explorer expedition of the North Atlantic in 2013 and the Nautilus in the Gulf during the same year.

Last year I wrote an article entitled Holothurian Distinction. In it I touched on some of the differences in the phylum Holothuroidea but I placed specific emphasis on the genus Enypniastes. From the brief footage taken by the Nautilus I could see that there were at least a few kinds of purple holothurian popular to the Gulf but no one mentioned the species names. Some were fairly translucent species rimmed with "frills", remaining upon the seafloor as most holothurians do and others were more spiny. But there was one that stood out and I found out later it was called Enypniastes. The genus Enypniastes has a fin surrounding the oral and aboral sides which it utilizes in its swimming habits, as it is known as a free-swimming holothurian. It is unique in its abilities to swim because as I said earlier, holothurians are benthic creatures, meaning they dwell on the sea floor. The Enypniastes flutters its webbed fins while contorting its body to propel itself into the water column only to lazily settle back onto the sediment just a few feet away.

Enypniastes feeding.
During a past dive, the Okeanos and every one watching had the remarkable opportunity to see an Enypniastes feeding. With finger like tentacles, the holothurian moved along the sea floor reaching out, grabbing "fistfuls" of sediment and shoving them into its mouth. It didn't discriminate but ate whatever it picked up. The sediment was then processed through its long coiled gut leaving a trail of fecal matter behind. The rate at which it does this is surprising but I guess when a creature ingests sediment at that rate with the intent to sort through its finds it's bound to happen just so.

Enypniastes feeding.
I can't tell you how exciting this is for me to be able to see first hand. After the difficulties of researching and not finding satisfying results, I have nearly all my questions answered in just a few minutes of live footage. It was truly an delightful experience, one of many I've had so far since discovering NOAA's telepresence treat. I thank NOAA's Ocean Explorer profusely for this amazing learning ability.

If you'd like to get in on these experiences, watch them live at Ocean Explorer.

The Okeanos in the Gulf

For some unexplainable reason, I've always been drawn to the ocean. I say unexplainable because, unlike some people, I'm not even remotely close to the ocean and have only seen it once, or rather a small part of it. Maybe it's the remarkable colors of the coral reefs, or the amazing creatures similar but still incredibly different to what we encounter on land. Or maybe it's the fact that it is such a large part of our world that still remains greatly unexplored! Let's just say all of the above and more.

Last year, I discovered NOAA's live footage of their exploration in the North Atlantic Ocean from their research vessel Okeanos and my family and I were hooked. Everyday that followed our TV/computer was on and the sound was up so that we didn't miss a thing. When they were finished for the season we found the Nautilus, another vessel exploring another part of the ocean, and followed them until they were finished for their season. It was a sad day for us when all was finished, and the thought of waiting until the next season was depressing.

But time flies quickly and once again the Okeanos is back exploring the ocean! This time they are in the Gulf of Mexico. Already well into the expedition, Legs 1 and 2 were spent mapping specific areas of the Gulf during February, March and the beginning of April. This last leg of their voyage will begin what I consider the most interesting, if only because I, from my home, can visibly experience it. With the help of their still new ROV (remotely operate vehicle) Deep Discoverer, or D2, and it's camera sled Seirios, the team plans to observe cold seeps, deep coral communities, undersea canyons, shipwrecks, and hopefully, mud volcanos and brine pools.

Due to my schedule I missed dives 1 and 2 but was present to watch dive 3. I did see though that they had found a brine pool on the very first dive. I hope to read more on it and share my thoughts later on. Just like last year, I plan to keep up with them and the exciting findings here on my blog. (To see posts from last years expedition, click this link.) I hope you will return to read my posts. And in case you'd like to watch the Okeanos live, here's the link. I definitely recommend it!

The Woolen Skirt... with Buttons!

When I was young I had three plaid woolen skirts that I adored. They sat higher on my waist, which made it difficult to squeeze into when I grew, and longer on the legs than any modern skirts, but I loved them nonetheless. I've never been one to turn down a vintage look. Ever since then, I've wanted to find some skirts in that same style.

While watching an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, I noticed Millie's woolen skirt with a line of 3 or 4 inch buttons down both sides. I've already told you how much I love woolen skirts, but added to that is a fascination with buttons, especially big, round buttons. I had to take the time to share this.

I did a search on Pinterest for wool skirts with buttons and found some real retro examples. Check out my boards Vintage Looks and So Cute Style to see what I pinned.

Keeping with the style of the 60's, Millie wears with it a simple dark turtleneck skirt and probably about a 4 inch wide belt. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is a style worth wearing today!