10 Reasons Why Cuttlefish are Amazing

Number 1: their ink is actually ink. Sepia, in fact. Yep, all those drawings by Leonardo da Vinci started life in a cuttlefish ink sac.
squid-153604_640

Number 2: They have greeny-blue blood. This is because where we have iron in our blood, creating that lovely rust colour, they have copper, creating that lovely old-copper-roof colour.

Number 3: They have three hearts (eat your paltry two hearts out, Doctor). This is because green blood isn’t as efficient with the whole oxygen-moving thing as red blood is.

Number 4: They have pupils like inverted monobrows. I mean, look at this:
Cuttlefish eyeNumber 5: On the subject of eyes, they apparently get their eyes all up and running before they hatch from their eggs. So if you happen to swim past a batch of cuttlefish eggs, beware – they’re watching you. And it has been suggested that they gravitate toward the sort of food they saw pre-hatch. (Death by oodles of baby cuttlefish: cutest creepy death ever.)

Number 6: Continuing on the subject of eyes, the cuttlefish has no blind spot. So don’t think you can escape…

Number 7: They are masters (and mistresses) of disguise. They can change colour like sea-chameleons (despite being unable to see colour); they can change their skin texture to more closely resemble their background. And they can do all this accurately, even in near total darkness. How, no one knows. They can even present different appearances on different sides of their body.

Camouflage

See the seafloor, cuddle the seafloor, be the seafloor…

Number 8: One of their colour patterns, used by males when in an aggro situation, is called “Intense Zebra”. (Out of such little joys is a life made…) Not to mention that there’s a species of cuttlefish called the “Flamboyant Cuttlefish”. And here’s why:
Metasepia pfefferi 1Number 9: They have an internal shell, called the cuttlebone, which they use for going up and down like a submarine. More liquid in the shell: down. Less liquid: up. The cuttlebone has also been used for centuries by metalworkers for making moulds for little fiddly things; and more recently by owners of caged birds for keeping up their calcium intake. (The birds’ calcium intake, that is. Not their owners. As far as I know.)

Number 10: They can be terribly grand and impressive:
Giant Cuttlefish-sepia apama (8643345101)
or completely gosh-darnit cute:
Sepia latimanus (Reef cuttlefish) all whiteAmazing critters, aren’t they? Which is why I decided to knit a cuttlefish cover for my cellphone. It’s not entirely like a cuttlefish, but it has points of resemblance. I started out intending to use this pattern but in the end it was more ‘inspired by’ than actually ‘based on’.

cuttlefishcosy

Fits smartphone measuring 63 x 120 x 10mm. Howdunnit available on request.

Pocket Restoration

Holes in your pockets. The very image of lack and loss. But do not despair – the garment and its pockets can be saved. All you need are pins, needle, thread, a bit of fabric and the will to make a difference.

If you’re anything like me, the invalided garment sits in a heap in the mending pile until you either grit your teeth and get on to the job of mending it, or decide you don’t need it that badly after all and out it goes.

Laundry basket full of ferrets!

Signs You Have Left Your Mending Too Long #14: Ferret Infestation

And so it was with my husband’s trousers (except without ferrets). Before anyone objects to me mending my husband’s clothes for him, let me point out that he does my techie ‘mending’ for me. From each according to their ability; to each according to their need, as the apostle Paul said, though admittedly, not in those words.

The problem wasn’t so much finding the time or motivation to mend them, as finding the know-how. Because the problem was one I’d never tackled before. I knew I could put a patch on a patch pocket, but this is the other kind: set-in. Further complicated by discovering that the whole side of the pocket was so worn you could read through it.

hole1

Highlighting of hole provided by The Leaky Pen of Yesteryear. And how come we have yesteryear and yesterday but not yestermonth or yesterweek?

Would I need to replace a whole pocket? Did I know how? (Clearly, no.) But that didn’t stop me. The first thing I did was to wash and iron a long thinnish piece of calico (or muslin, depending on where you come from). That was it for a month or so while my eyes recovered.

The next step was to lay the calico (as I shall call it) over the worn side of the pocket and pin along the only straight line the pocket had. I used the selvedge (or selvage) for this. Some people say you should never use the selvedge for anything, but clearly, I am not one of them.

Then it was a matter of pinning, trimming, and pinning some more. Handy hint: if you’re going to tuck an edge under a pre-existing overhang, you can push the whole cloth under and then press down. Pull the fabric out and it’s got a crease showing you where the fold will be. Cut the excess off, a short distance from the fold, and Bob’s your uncle. Example:

pintrim1

In this case, the folded hem will fit under the waistband (the bit marked Domino). Don’t forget to fold the fold the other way to pin in place – raw edge underneath.

Carry on trimming and pinning, until the fabric is fitted all the way around.

To make my life that much easier, instead of shaping the calico to the curve of the pocket at the bottom, I simply pinned a hem and folded it over to the back of the pocket. Like this. (Clicking may result in a bigger image.)

backpin

Then I tacked it. Tacking is one of those things, like flossing your teeth and knitting a gauge swatch, that you know you ought to do, but frequently don’t. Maybe it’s my age beginning to show, but I find I am now doing all of those things. I don’t say I necessarily enjoy them, but I enjoy not having the after-effects of not doing them: wiggly seams, dentist’s drills, and outsize socks.

The other important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t tack through too many layers. If you can’t get your hand into the pocket, you’ve gone too far. The same goes for the fold-up seam at the bottom, unless you want a squared-off pocket.

tacked

The other good thing about tacking (besides the stability it gives when doing the actual sewing) is that you can have a try-on without the victim wearer having to do the Dance of Extreme Delicacy as pin-points menace their recoiling flesh. This is a chance to make sure that there are no uncomfortable bumps, chafing spots etc; and that the pocket hangs properly.

Then you retrieve the garment, and (at least if you are me) repeat the procedure from the top for the other pocket.

tacked3

Once it’s all placed, pinned, tacked and tried, you are ready to sew. I sewed by hand, because there are some things that are fiddlier by machine than hand, and sewing through only some of the layers is one of those things. It didn’t take very long, to my surprise.

Once you’ve sewn everywhere that was tacked, you can take out the tacking. Finished? No, not quite. You still have a hole on the inside of your pocket, and unless you want to deal with the anguish of trying to extract something from between the original pocket and the new layer, you had better take the final step.

Simply sew an outline of running stitch around each hole, fastening it to the new layer. (But not all layers, unless you want a donut pocket.) As thus:

outline4

Well done! You have rescued a garment from the looming shadow of the rubbish dump and restored it to useful life. And that is what I call practical ethics.

Guess Who Snores?

Not me, of course. Not even the Caped Gooseberry, unless he has a cold.

It’s the cat.

Gattohaydeè1
I always knew she was a noisy cat. She has a profound purr which seems like a full-body workout, the way it hurls her back and forth on her chassis with the force required to produce that much noise. And she appears to have the remarkable talent of falling asleep while still purring, which allows her to get her beauty sleep while everyone else is kept awake by the jack-hammer impression.

She does eventually fall so far asleep that the purr shuts down, although you have to be careful about stretching your legs in case she decides to restart the warning buzz to remind you she’s there.

Lolcat
But it is once she’s finally asleep that the real noise starts. Thankfully she’s not a habitual snorer, because you can spend a lot of time lying awake wondering what the noise is before you finally home in on the innocent-looking bundle of fur at the end of the bed.

Could it be the wiring, you ask yourself. Is it the next-door neighbour using power-tools in the small hours? Is there a blowfly trapped in my pillowcase?

I at last realized it was the peacefully snoozing cat, and was then kept awake by trying to render an accurate description in the medium of words. It was such a strange unsnory noise. It sounded – and this is the best analogy I could come up with at that time of night – as though she had swallowed a bee whole and it was now taking advantage of her unconsciousness to attempt an escape.

White Cat Sleeping
She doesn’t so much snore, as buzz.

This is still less disturbing than her son, who has a much less vigorous purr, but who has taken to groaning dramatically in his sleep. Like the squeak of a high-pitched door, opening oh-so-slowly, or a tiny teenager being told to clean his room.

He’ll be lying there, totally relaxed, with nothing but a gentle rise and fall to prove he’s actually still in the land of the living, and then suddenly, this eldritch moan. He doesn’t appear to be distressed, or in the grip of a dream (none of those little twitchy paws). He just delivers this drawn-out groan and then carries on sleeping, while everyone stares in his direction.

Sleeping Golden Cat
Not that I can talk, of course. Because I can, and I do, and what with me babbling in my sleep, the cat buzzing and the ‘kitten’ groaning, it’s a miracle the Caped Gooseberry gets any sleep at all.