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Firenza and Fria: A Fish Fable

((23x16 in, 58x41 cm)

This piece was created for the 2011 International Freeform Crochet Challenge.


Each year our International Freeform Crochet group votes on a theme. I voted for the recycling theme and was disappointed with the winning theme; it did not inspire me at all. I wanted to use recycled hosiery yarn and had an ocean floor in mind. I almost decided not to participate, but I had always been sorry that I didn't participate in the 2008 challenge because that theme also didn't appeal to me. And then it hit me: I could write my own story. I could make the story about recycling. And about turning lemons into lemonade.

All photography by Joanna McCaffrey

Firenza and Fria were two fish friends who could not have been more different. Firenza fulminated furiously at the flotsam that found its way to their part of the ocean. She fastidiously removed each floating piece, fearing it would foul her home. But she couldn't stop the flow, furthering her frustration. Fria, however, found the objects fascinating and festive. One day Fria said, "Firenza, you must float off for four days; when you return I will have fashioned something fabulous from the fragments." Firenza thought it impossible, but she knew that arguing with Fria was futile, so she flitted away. Fria found each bit more fantastic than the next, examining each feature fully. She formed them into fanciful figures, and with each creation Fria felt more fulfilled. Four days passed in a flash; when Firenza returned she was flabbergasted! "Fria! This is the finest ocean floor I have ever seen! I was foolish to doubt you." From then on Firenza faithfully brought her fortunate finds to Fria, who turned them into something fun and fashionable.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 
One gal's trash is another's treasure. 
Don't just pick up your marbles and go home. 
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

My Process


Making Hosiery Yarn

  • Buy hosiery (mainly tights) at thrift stores

  • Wash them and hang dry

  • Cut off the legs and remove the toes from them

  • Fold the leg lengthwise in thirds or fourths

  • Cut crosswise in roughly even strips, resulting in loops when unfolded

  • Stretch the loops and connect like a rubber band chain

  • Usually I leave the loops in bags and and make the yarn as I need it

  • This forces me to give my hands a break


How I Made This Piece

  • First I bought and prepared the hosiery**

  • Next came Firenza and Fria

  • Then I started making various little pieces

  • When I tired of that I started on the base

  • Then I alternated between pieces and work on the base

  • Finally the base seemed finished and I had "enough" pieces

  • I sewed the pieces onto the base

  • I made a few more pieces and added them here and there

  • Finally I sewed fleece onto the bottom


** Thanks to my daughter Cassie, my niece Lora, and my nephew Parker for stretching loops.

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