Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Boston Phoenix says it best:
It's finally here. People count down to this for months. As soon as the weather starts to change, it's fresh in everyone's minds -- the ritual, the camaraderie, the friends and families gathering together, all to celebrate overlarge cartilaginous fish with rows and rows of flesh-ripping teeth. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: it's Shark Week. It's one of those television events that can immobilize the entire country slack-jawed in front of the television set -- sorta like the Super Bowl, but it lasts for six whole days and is somewhat educational.
As a biology major and teacher, I have always loved sharks...their awesome immune systems, their sweet hydrodynamic bodies, notorious inability to breathe if they stop swimming, ridiculous amount of teeth, and sandpaper skin...beautiful. I would never, of course, want to actually encounter one, but they're fun to admire from afar! Very very far.

Anyway, we don't have cable in our apartment, so instead of watching sharks on TV, I opted to celebrate this geekiest of weeks by making a shark plushie. After making a measly black sausage plushie, I felt the itch to make something larger. Grander. More awe-inspiring. At first, I was going to make the ever-popular great white. After all, I do have plenty of gray fleece in my fabric stash. As I was looking through my bags and bins, though, I came across the perfect fabric for making everyone's favorite lovable giant: the largest fish in the world, the whale shark.

[NOTE: Did you notice the high percentage of sentences starting with "A" in that paragraph above? I didn't even do it on purpose, it just happened!]

I feel like whale sharks get the short end of the stick. Everyone gushes about great whites (how could you not? they're great!), tiger sharks are the most dangerous, thresher sharks have that ridiculously amazing tail, even the innocuous-sounding nurse shark is actually able to breathe while staying stationary by using buccal pumps. But whale sharks? They're just large. And they don't even hunt down their fishy prey; they eat plankton. That makes them kind of cute in my mind, just swimming along, minding their own business, nomming through life. Perfect for making into a plushie!

Now, if I'd been a proper scientist, instead of way too excited about this project, I would have done some research and realized that 1) the dorsal fin is much too tall, and 2) it should be set further back on the head. And if I'd been less lazy, I would have put in gills and pelvic and anal fins. Ehh...I'll just use it as a teachable object when I have kids one day, a sort of How Many Things Can You Spot That Are Wrong With This Shark toy. In the meantime, I am enjoying his large, silly face.
He has the same expression as his real-life counterpart!
Look! He's smiling at you! I made it so that I could hide things inside his mouth.
I can also pull out his mouth so that it looks like he's sticking his tongue out.

When I was little, I came up with all sorts of extra-creative names for stuffed animals, like (are you ready for this?) Bunbuns for a bunny, Turtie for a turtle, Cowkie for a cow, and the real winner, Snowie for a snow-white horse. So, going by those standards, would this whale shark be Whale-y? Sharkie? Whale-Sharkie? about...Spottie? Yikes. Sounds like he has a bad case of acne.
Un-scientifically eating toast. Sorry, I don't have a plankton plushie for you dude.

I ended up having to take all his pictures on our bed because it's the only well-lit place big enough for him. At least our sheets are kind of ocean-colored. It reminds me of how my brother and I would always sail our Lego ships on his bed because he had blue sheets because he was a boy.

Anyway, now that I've gotten the plushie bug out of my system, it's back to dressmaking! Out of curiosity, though, would anyone actually be interested in a pattern/fake-torial for making this guy?

Somewhat Simple


  1. I would love a tutorial for this guy! He looks amazing and so cuddle-able! =)

  2. Three years late, but I love this!! :)


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