Double Updates: Hemp T-Shirts and Lobster Surprise

My husband went out today investigating lungfish with a colleague, who apparently sets “yabbie” traps to catch his dinner.  He sent Stephen home with a few.  I understand “yabbies” are like freshwater lobsters.  They look like lobsters to me.  He calls them “crayfish.”

I hate to admit it, hailing as I do from the Lone Star state, but I never saw a crayfish that big.  He said these are relatively tiny.  Right.

He’s wearing a hemp t-shirt I made last Christmas.  I decorated the shirt using graffiti-style stencils and spray paint.  I was happy with the result, but worried the design might deteriorate over time.  Though the paint softened through continual wear and washing over the past year, it’s still going strong.  It faded from black to charcoal, I’m cool with that.

The same may be said of the hemp jersey- soft and strong.  The fabric feels weird at first, but it ages well.  This isn’t his “best t-shirt” by a long shot, but it’s living a full and happy life.

Unfortunately, it looks like the hemp/cotton shorts I made 18 months ago need to be retired.  Don’t make welts in hemp, it’s a bad idea.  Had I realized welts and hemp don’t mix I would have left them out and he’d still have a decent pair of shorts.  As it is, I’ll take a leaf out of Tanit-Isis’ book and mend them.  Again.   At least he can wear them out on the boat.

We spent some time with these creatures, they’re docile and otherworldly.  Except when I get too close.  Then it’s more like the movie Alien.  Perhaps we’ll paint a blue yabbie instead of a Moreton Bay bug for the Lobster Dress project.  It’s rather pretty, in its way.   I have a few new sketches to show, but I’ll wait to post those until we have a nice blue lobster thumbnail.

Do you like yabbies?  Crayfish?  Is a blue yabbie slightly more decorative than a Moreton Bay bug?  Should I document the process next time I do some t-shirt stenciling?


  1. They look like giant blue crayfish- weird! There is a crayfish festival in my hometown every year. I don’t eat them, though. When they are smaller they are too much like bugs.

  2. Wow! What a color on that guy! I’ve never seen a crayfish that big in the states. He’s definitely more lobster sized. At least if he is that big, it’ll be worth the effort to eat him.

  3. That’s a first for me too- huge and colorful! gorgeous! But the shape is more familiar to me than the Baybug. Do they turn red when cooked, like lobsters?
    And your Consulting Dressmaker service is brilliant- all the best of luck!

    • I suppose we could stencil a lobster on something, but he’s more of a monkey/apes t-shirt kind of guy…

      Thanks, I think so too. :)

  4. Dear Lord in heaven! Where I’m from (central NY), we have crayfish in the lake and in streams… and they’re about a third that size! That thing looks more like what they call “jumbo prawns” in India. Lobster/crayfish are cool… from a distance.

    A blue yabbie on a dress could be interesting. I think it may depend on the background fabric and your own color preference. Red is very WOWZA… but as most people know lobster in its cooked, red version, blue might be a bit of a show stopper.

    And yes… please enlighten us as to how you made the shirt! It’s ADORABLE!

    • Also… here’s a fun fact for all of you that eat lobster (I, for one, LOOOOVE lobster!)

      Lobster is a class of crustacean that dwells on the bottom of whatever body of water it’s in, and eats mostly debris. Way back in time, lobster used to be food for the poor. In fact, the used to use lobster to feed people in prison in certain parts of the USA (mostly ME… or at least that’s where I learned that little tidbit). Somewhere along the line, someone got it into there head to market it to wealthy vacationers. Now, decades later, we pay a ridiculous price per pount (at least here in the States) for lobster. Oh how the times–and tastes!–change!

  5. Hehehe, here in NZ the crays live in the sea and that one would just squeak in as minimum size. My dad and uncles used to dive for them and they terrified me, especially when one uncle took to chasing me around the house with a live one!
    If you are talking about motif as opposed to a dress inspired by the shape then I think these kind of crays are more interesting, because they have more bits waving about than an MBB does, so more dynamic. And the colouring is so pretty, and given they only go red when cooked, isn’t the blue and grey a cooler colour choice in more ways than one!? :)
    Thanks also for the tip about hemp and welts. Weaves and yarns are fascinating – I’m full of wonder about it all right now as I am sewing cotton velvet and I suspect that its bulkiness is no substitute for strength at a seam..,

    • Bwaaaahahaha! He had a great time showing the crayfish to the little boys next door (who were WAY impressed) and Lila, who was respectfully petrified of them..

      I think you’re exactly right about the blue lobster… And it would take it firmly out of “Slavish copy of a genius” territory and into “Interpretation-Land,” which is what I want…

      Your suspicions are not entirely unfounded. :)

  6. Oh oh what a beautiful creature! Shame to eat him really, why don’t you keep him in the bathtub like Homer Simpson did and call him Pinchy?

    And I agree, I tutorial for some stencilled shirts would be great!

  7. Yeah… love me some yabbies. Although The Yabbie Dress sounds a little like the copycat, RTW, off the rack version… The Lobster Dress just has a certain je ne sais quoi, no?

  8. Ooh! I’ve never seen one that colour before, its quite pretty, isn’t it. Considering my distrust of all things aquatic, the only ones I’ve seen are the small, pale blue ones they have in aquariums. If you’re really stuck on having a bug on your dress, maybe you could make another t-shirt for you husband with a blue yabby on it.

  9. Oh, another thing I miss about the Northern Rivers! I used to meet the yabbies walking out of the waterhole on the way to the creek in summer. It’s quite odd when you see one of these in the middle of the paddock.

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  11. I grew up on a farm on the Sunshine Coast and when we had the dam dug out Dad had local yabbies put in. He loved it! You’d have to very careful walking round the edge for the holes they dug themselves into. You’d see movement in the water occasionally and never know if they were the fish or the yabbies. Scary. The big ones have quite the bite too!

  12. I love the yabbies! They are such gorgeous colours – as Mrs C says, much more dynamic than the bugs.

    And please do post more about the T-shirt process. I did something similar once for Mr D years ago, but I don’t remember what I did!

    • I will! I’ll get up and finish the monkey/dove one I was working on for -ahem- Christmas… This weekend. Unless it’s hot and I’m incapable of doing much more than lying around. :)

  13. Have kept the blue Yabbies as pets over the years, mainly for the children to watch and each one has had their own personality..and when they moult, the discarded shell gets taken for “show and tell” to school and kindy.. they are especially delicious, cut in half lenthways and stuck under hot griller dabbed with decent amount of butter and lemon pepper..don’t cook too long.. Shove them in freezer first( if squeamish) to go to sleep, but slicing in half dispatches them instantly.. used to have a billy boiling by the dam where they were caught and just threw them in for 5-10 min and then peel them like prawns.. yum good memories

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  15. Have you seen a Lamington cray, found in the Lamington National Park? It’s pretty easy to see them on a lot of the marked walking tracks that cross creeks.

    They are bright white and aquamarine blue, and particularly striking in their natural environment, brownish rainforest creeks. They seem so incongruous there they truly look like a reef animal or a fake plastic toy set up by a prankster. They’re protected in the Park, so you don’t have to worry about catching/cooking/eating them!

  16. Oh to have been chased down the hall by an uncle with crays in hand. Bliss in the eating. I wonder how different yabbies taste to that orange Moreton Bay monster (which looks seriously freaky)?

    Steph the ‘journey’ to your lobster dress is going to be very very interesting, gastronomically and in every other sense! For my two cents worth I love the delicacy of the yabbie shape and its colour though I’m sure a lovely orange could be thrown in for completeness too.


  17. Thanks (belatedly) for the link! :)

    I think the blue-green lobster (that’s way bigger than what I would call a crayfish, too) is gorgous. Although you might have to be less abstract about your lobster reference than you could get away with in red.

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