Friday, February 16, 2007

Chinese year of the red fire pig

Happy Chinese New Year!

This weekend celebrates Chinese New year. This has become a bit of an event here, particularly in some of the communities that were settled by the Chinese. One of the fun things about living in a multicultural society is the numerous celebrations we enjoy. You cant beat the Chinese for fantastic fireworks, festivities with the dragons and fantastic food.
The following years are pig years: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 and 2007.
The year 2007 is the year of the red fire pig. According to Chinese astrology, children born in the year of the pig will be happy and honest.

Chinese people in Australia
The Chinese have a strong link with our history.When the first fleet arrived and dropped off British convicts, it went back to England via Canton.In the 1850s Gold Rush over 40,000 Chinese people moved to Australia. For the first time civilians outnumbered convicts. So basically the population were the British officials, the British Convicts and the Chinese workers. Of course the indigeneous people had been here for a very long time. The colonists would use the Chinese people as cheap labour (as happened in many other settling colonies)and because of the famine in China at that time, many Chinese sought refuge, a new life, and opportunity in Australia.
Things such as the Eureka stockade, and in the early 20th century the White Australia policy demonstate an unpleasant component such as racial discriminatation.Today people from Chinese backgrounds are the 5th largest ethnic group in Australia. Most of our cities have a China Town, and the Chinese are very active and valued people in our society. China is also a major trading country with us, and my kids have studied Chinese in school as this is seen as a most beneficial second language to have.

Pigs in Australia

Pigs have a bad reputation in Australia. They were introduced in the 1770’s, as domesticated farm animals as a food source for the new colony. Due to a lack of fences and pens, and inadequate control in these times, feral pig populations were soon established in the wild. Because of this “pig shooting” or “boar hunting” became a pastime as officials tried to reduce the number of feral pigs. When I was a kid I can remember my Dad and uncle would load up the ute, go bush and go pig shooting. I can't think of anything more revolting, except perhaps for roo shooting.

The feral pig has a huge impact on the Australian environment and is considered one of Australia’s worst pests. Feral pigs erode the soil and waterways; they kill farmed animals such as lambs and carry disease which affects our native wildlife. Feral pigs will eat animals and plants, in particular small mammals, frogs, birds, lizards and eggs. When they wallow in the billabongs and creeks they destroy the water vegetation and disturb the ecosystem. They pose a huge threat to our native animals and wildlife. There is nothing cute about a wild pig!

Our daughter, (believe it or not) worked part time in the pig industry for the Pig Board eqivalent here while she was at uni. She told me everyone had piggy things on their desks. She also told me that even farmed pigs are pretty nasty. We had pigs on the farm when I was a small child and I always remember my younger brother being bitten on the belly by an aggressive sow. People would ask hin "where's your belly where the pig bit you?" and he would show them. He still has a scar.

So I decided that number 6 in my rugalugs series would be pigs, albeit a feral animal, but also in honor of the Chinese year of the pig. The pigs alone make great little brooches for a piggy party, and I reckon with a magnet glued on the back they could become fridgies. My son who is always full of bright ideas suggested doing the pigs bum with the tail, and this looks good on the back of the hat.

I think they turned out pretty cute, despite my reservations.

The chocolaty brown hat looks good for an older child. Again I have this predisposition to do things for boys because I also have 3 sons. I reckon crochet for boys is always a bit ho hum so I put a bit of effort into making it a bit blokey but also with attitude.

When worked in a 4ply baby yarn they are pretty special. I reckon these would make a different sort of baby gift for bubs born in the year of the pig. While red isn't every ones cup of tea for a baby, I think it is quite effective. Certainly a change from the pinks and blues.

I designed a baby's beanie, and then went on to make a matching pair of booties. These are really something else! I hadn't designed booties before, but once I worked out what to do with the pig I was on a roll. When worked in 4 ply they are perfect for a newborn bub.

I have just listed this little lot on etsy. It is the complete patterns set from pig motif, 3 types of squares - pig face, pigs bum and a contrast square. Also included are full instructions for the heat and booties. This is a bumper set but I felt it worthwhile to achieve something different for year of the pig.

So while they are feral beasts that stuff up the ecosystem, being on a babies beanie and booties is a good place for a pig to be!

Again my images and ideas are copyright. Please do not download my pictures. Direct links are always welcome!

Happy Chinese New Year!


Pyo said...

This is veru informative, I have no clue feral pigs were causinf so much trouble in Australia, men should always think twice when introducing new life forms (I should tell you about black locust in the south of France!)

I find your crocheted pig motif extra-cute!

You're very good at representing animals!
I love this one two!

Mimi said...

I just love those pig booties! I cannot resist this one...must buy soon ;)

tami and todd said...

Very fun! I love the little piggy tail! Hey, I finally posted one of my baby blankets on my site. Check it out will ya and let me know what you think!

jenny said...

love your piggies and I have already ordered the patterns.

Jackie said...

Hi there,

I love your works, they are soooo cute !

Thanks for sharing.

Tina said...

I had no idea pigs were so nasty. Here the only place I have seen them is on State Park farms, or driving by a farm out in the country. I always thought baby pigs were so cute. :( I guess they are just little troublemakers, who will grow up to be big troublemakers. ;) Your rugalug and beanies & booties are adorable, though!

Lourdes said...

I love your works. Very nice.

Angie said...

those are really cute!

i think the chocolaty brown one is my fave.

great job!

Anonymous said...

LOL Very creative. :)

JL said...

Oh! Those are too *oink* cute!