Friday, January 26, 2007

Australia Day January 26, long live the kangaroos!

Today is Australia Day.

It was hot and sticky and we enjoyed a barby by the pool. The boys spent the day watching the Aussies beat the Poms in the Australia Day test. I reckon the balmy army have probably had enough of Australia by now!

I learnt today that Woolworths makes burgers in the shape of Australia so we enjoyed some of them, with some Portuguese chicken, french lamb cutlets, wombok salad, bruchetta, turkish bread and a glass of Queen Elizabeth Chardonnay. Made us realise how multicultural our food has become. When I was a kid a barby was snags and rissoles, burnt onions, a splurt of tomato sauce all stuck in a bun.

I had a personal goal of having my crochet kangaroos completed for today. This is the next square in my rugalugs series. I like how the nose is sculptured and the ears stick out.

I figured crochetroo designs from Australia should have a roo or two in the collection (lol)

Having said this, they are not an easy animal to capture in crochet. The first few versions looked like a drunk rat, then they looked like a cat on speed, and a few I wasn't sure what they looked like. Some feral mutant animal that was trying to look cheesy.

When I finally had it figured out ,I had fun making a little kangaroo carry pouch. I reckon these would make a sweet gift with the little wallaby.

My Aussie animals collection is growing and I decided I would sell a few as a package on etsy. I seem to have some repeat customers so thought it worth a go.

At the moment I am deciding what to do next. The Tasmanian devil beckons, but he is such an ugly and nasty little bugger. And it is a pity that the Tasmanian Tiger is extinct. One of those sad things that happened with European settlement of Australia.

I read today that the sound of the Tassie devil is ranked as one of the worst in the world. Came in at number 11.

I find this odd: firstly because the devil is only found in Tasmania, and b) even in Tasmania they are pretty hard to find. So where are all these people voting on annoying noises? Well the research was done over the Internet. Fortunately most people will never get to hear the annoying noise of the devil, so it interests me they were in the line up. My pick for annoying noises would have included a few relatives, the dog down the back and a dripping tap. Having seen and heard the devil in the real when I was in Tasmania a few years back, I reckon they would also rank high as one of the worlds fugliest animals. Here is the link if you are interested.

As for my crochet habit, then there are possums, and bilbies, and numbats, and of course I haven't even started on the birds....

I could be doing these critters well into my golden years!

I hope you all had a great day! Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wallaby Joey crochet toy

Meet the Wallaby joey mob! It has taken me a while to perfect these little fellows.

I feel like a nag for saying this, but the images and design ideas are copyright (c)2007 crochetroo. Please don't steal them or you will suffer the curse of the great kangaroo!

I have seen crochet kangaroos around but somehow they never seem to give the nature of the creature. I realised it is all in the ears, the feet and the playful approach. Wallabies are part of the macropod family which includes kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, pademelons and a few other marsupials. Macropod means "large foot", so I realised any crochet version would have to have the large feet. The legs took me a while to work out, and in the end I decided to just go with the foot, and imagine the rest of the leg.

The kangaroo is one of the icons of Australia. It is on our coat of arms, and is the name sake of numerous Aussie sports teams. The Wallabies are a force to be reckoned with! It is also my name sake crochetroo. Maybe I should change my avatar!

There are currently 53 species of kangaroos in Australia with a number on the endangered species list. Since European settlement 6 species of Macropod are now extinct.

I say this because January 26 is Australia day which is the anniversary of Captain Arthur Phillip and the first fleet arriving at Sydney Cove. While we celebrate our Australian heritage on this day, which is marked by a public holiday and National celebrations, the joy is not shared by all.

While European settlement developed our country in a global sense, the impact on the Indigenous people and our wildlife was significant.

The kangaroo poses a number of threats. Much of the land has been developed for farming. Bush fires and development destroy native bushland. Introduced animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, sheep, cattle not only compete for food, but brought disease with them.

So this little wallaby joey is symbolic of our heritage. She also carries a boomerang in her pouch. What else would a little joey have to play with? It is the pouch that makes the wallaby and kangaroo a marsupial. Carrying the baby in the pouch gives the Joey a greater chance of survival. Did you know that males move away after about two years, but females stay with their mothers longer?

These little guys play in a mob so I made a few. Red kangaroos are found on the flat open plains, grey kangaroos prefer denser bush, and Rock-wallabies live among piles of boulders, rocky hills and cliffs.

I don't see many kangaroos and wallabies around the suburbs, but I have seen them in the early morning grazing in the paddocks down by the train station. Currumbin sanctuary has the best display in a natural habitat and whenever we have guests from overseas, this is where we head.

I have some more kangaroo inspired designs in the making.

If you crochet and you want to make your own Wallaby Joey, the patterns is now available at my Etsy store.

Thanks for looking. I hope you have enjoyed the story.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fairy penguin crochet square - rugalugs motif

Fairy Penguin crochet square

This motif is based the Australian Fairy Penguin, the smallest of the penguin family and is found only in southern Australia and New Zealand. Fairy penguins weigh approximately 1 kilogram and stand 30 cm high. They live in burrows, and are seen on the beach. Fairy penguins never see the snow. I have seen these in New Zealand and in Victoria a few years back. They are the most fascinating little creatures. Some are more of a blue colour than black, and each year hundreds die because of oil slicks. A few years back there was a major problem in Tasmania and the community rallied and knitted them little jumpers. Next spill (not that I want one) I am organising a crochet jumper effort. Check out this link:
Other penguins are found in Antarctica to the south of Australia.

Lots of kids cartoons show Eskimos, igloos, polar bears and penguins living harmoniously together. This in fact would never happen in the real world. Mainly because you will never see a polar bear and a penguin together as they live at different poles! A penguin would be very lost to have reached the North pole! I guess the poor little fellows would never get to meet Santa either.

This square is another in my rugalugs series which are for sale at my etsy store.
The only way I can promote my work is on the net. I also like to promote an environmental message as well. So crochet, the net and the environment - what an unlikely trio!

I am quite enjoying these and a few more on the burner. I start off with an idea, and then do several in order to get the look right. The hardest bit is getting them into a geometric shape. They will need blocking, and even if they are a bit wonky, they never the less seem to pull into shape if surrounded by a contrast block. A whole rug, or afghan would look so cool!

My son has decided he wants a rug to match his room out of these. They look very cute in brights as well as pastels. He wants black arround it, but I am thinking I might introduce some white into the contrast square.

I also then came up with a hat design. No point having a square if you have to make dozens of the things to make a rug! The hats turned out pretty ok as well.

The orangey one is in pure Australian wool which feels wonderful. Although it is our summer and people would think you quite crazy if you wore a beanie on the Gold Coast at the moment! They would look kinda comfy on a little head once the winter arrives.

The pastel penguins are quite sweet. I am imaging these in a pram rug in soft blues and pinks.

Thanks for looking. Please respect my copyright. These images and ideas are protected and remain my intellectual property. (c)2007 crochetroo.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

rugalugs: fun crochet motifs for kids rugs

This is the first of my Rugalugs (c) crochetroo 2007 series.

I have had a lot of fun with these. I designed the duckling a while back for a person who was mad about ducks.

After some tweeking, and some serious pattern writing I think I have it figured.

So then I embarked on working out what you could do with these. Obviously baby rugs, but also bibs and washers and motifs to add to purchased items.

I liked the idea of washers and bibs made in cotton. The range of cottons here is somewhere between pathetic and woeful and I had a mere 2 balls of sugar n spice to work with. These were raoked to me by some kind bods in the US. I looked at the web and couldn't find a mail order company to Australia, and even if I could I am far too impatient to wait. The blue and pink variegated looks cute, but I reckon some of them yummy colours I see on Bernat and the like would look really cool.

The ducky looks kinda cute in the thread, and I think these would be great to stitch onto purchased singlets and towels etc. I remember when my oldest 2 were little we went to England and I think we fed every duck in Great Britain. Ducks seem to inhabit most waterways in the world.

I had to put a little Australian black duck in there... or maybe it is a black swan signet. In Australia the swans are black, this is an interesting mutation and I guess us being so far away from the rest of the world our unusual genetic pools create some real wonders. The black swan is the symbol of Western Australia and they are most elegant creatures. Given most of Western Australia is a desert the swans are pretty amazing. I cant help but wonder how surprised the explorers were when they first saw these. But then I guess the wildlife here is all a bit odd!

So why the name "rugalugs"? This is a play on the word "bugalugs" and my son and I came up with this.

So I have a few more ridgy-didge rugalugs fun motifs for rugs on the burner. I am having a hoot making these and my hook can't keep up with by brain at the moment.

I will be listing these on etsy within the next few days.

Thanks for looking!

(please dont pinch my ideas or images which are protected by copyright)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Christmas Beetles

Australian Christmas Beetles in crochet

Well that was the Christmas that was! I can't believe it is over a month since I posted. Now that the silly season is over, and I am on leave I can get back into my usual activities.

We had the grand ol barby on Christmas day. The mosquitos seemed less this year, probably because of the drought, but them pesky Christmas Beetles were out in force. I must say though, there didn't seem as many as in previous years. I think the drought has mucked up their breeding patterns. I remember as a kids these things buzzing around , making a racket. They would fall on the lino floor and give me the heeby jeebies if I got up during the night and stepped on one. They are crunchy under foot.

I purchased this snazzy Cannon yarn from Mimi in the Philippines and was desperate to do something Christmassy with it.

She has some great threads which I can't get here in our lousy shops.

Holly and snowmen seem a bit stupid down here cos a) the stuff doesn't grow here, and b) the only snow I see is inside the freezer! And even that struggles in our summer heat.

I guess that is why I never got on the crochet snow flake wagon. While I think they are very pretty and some of the designs quite amazing, they look a bit alien in my house on the Gold Coast.

So what are seasonal Australian Christmas icons? Well the barby, the beach, the thunderstorms, and the Christmas Beetle.

This is Anoplognathus pallodicollis, a member of the scarab beetle family. They grow to about 3cm, and have glossy sparkly wings. They never seem to travel alone, so I had to make a few.

They feed on the eucalyptus tree and are attracted to lights. They can strip a gum tree bare.

Yep these little buggers just love lights, candles and Christmas tree lights. They are nocturnal, and just love a good party. Our cat also finds them amusing and has managed to munch her way through a few as well.

So I embarked over Christmas on crocheting a Christmas beetle. I think they look kinda pretty on the tree. Of course the highly critical family said the colour was wrong, and I had lost the legs ( doh) it is crochet not an oil painting..

I will tweek the pattern, and think they would also look good in brights for bookmarks. There are three versions: the closed wing, the open wing, and the beetle in flight. I needed 3 to show off Mimis' beautiful threads. If I had of got my act together sooner I would have made a heap of these to go out with the Christmas cards that I didn't send (lol). I guess if I start now I might have a few by next Christmas. I am imagining a whole tree full of them.

Here is a few beetle links for the interested:

So now the family mob has left I have a bit of time to catch up on the household chores and spend a bit of time with the kids and my hook. I have also been painting the inside of the house. All this activity has given me carpel tunnel so I have had to slow down a bit.

My next series is looking oh so cute! I will hopefully post these in the next week. I cant wait as these are the bestest, ridgy didge thing-ame-bobs (in my mind that is).

I hope you all had a happy and safe Christmas. onwards and upwards with 2007.