Saturday, February 02, 2008

Year of the Rat (kangaroo) in crochet

Well it is Chinese New Year this week and this year is the year of the rat. Now rats aren't an inherently cute critter; or one that would normally come to mind for babies gear, however I thought I would give them a go. It is also an opportunity to highlight the little rat kangaroos that are native to Australia.

The year 2008 is the year of the brown earth rat. According to Chinese astrology, a child born in the year of the Rat will be sweet and loving. He or she may be shy, but inwardly they are fiercely competitive. Sounds like you wouldn't want to be the teacher when this year group hits school!

Black and brown rats arrived in Australia with the first fleet. They are responsible for the extinction of a number of bird species, particularly on our offshore islands, as well as endangering others. The early Dutch and English explorers thought that the native potoroos and small marsupials were large rats. Of particular interest is the rat kangaroo as it is an endangered species. The musky - rat kangaroo of the Daintree Rainforest is a real cute little critter and a great spreader of forest seeds.

The rat kangaroo looks like a huge rat, with long hind legs, hind feet lacking a first toe, and a long and tapering tail. Rat kangaroos are about 20inches/ 50cm long.
Some species of rat kangaroo are now extinct in parts of Australia. The non-indigenous fox and rabbit are partly responsible, as is settlement and land degradation. Rat kangaroos are an endangered species.

Here are some links to info about rat kangaroos and you can see how they could be mistaken for rats.

When designing my rat-kangaroo I thought I would steer away from the baby pinks and blues and use more earthy colours, in keeping with the brown earth. Unfortunately no one seems to make baby yarn in earthy colours! I found some yummy 5 ply Bluebell which is a pure Australian wool by Patons.

I love this stuff, although it is at the upper end of the cost range. It works up beautifully; has a nice texture to it and I always buy this for my stash. I notice they have a few almost earthy colours in their dreamtime range in a 4ply which I will try.

So here are my rat booties and rat baby beanie. These ones are for etsy, however I have a few more sets to make for friends having bubs this year. I decided to make the rat tail at the top of the beanie for a change. Thanks for looking and Happy Chinese New Year!

(c) crochetroo Australia (it is bad luck to pinch my photos and /or copy my ideas.)


Pixiepurls said...

How cute, my daughter was born in 2007 the year of the rat and her name is Sydney after Sydney Australia :) I prefer wallaby's personally haha!

crochetroo said...

pixie 2007 was the year of the red fire pig.. you must have the wrong child!

Anonymous said...

oh susan!
that is very cute - in a strange sorta way! leave it to you to take something so ummm uggg - and make it babylicious! great job once again!


Archie and Melissa said...

I Love your new design and your history of the rat & rat kangaroo. What a great post. I also really like that the hat has a tail at the top. Very creative!

Olga said...

You have a great page here...Your work is so kool...and I love the pug ..what a cutie!!

Way Out Wear said...

Excellent designs and thanks for all the background information. Very nice!

Angela said...

Ooooh, I love the rat tail. :)

lynne said...

Those rats are so adorable, will you be selling the pattern at Etsy?

Teresa Shiu said...

This rats boots and beanies are super cute! I stopped crochet since high school and now i am inspired to resume to make something for my baby. My baby will be born this coming dec so i think your design are just great as his first xmas present!