Review: Pica Pau

The little goddaughter (4) has long had a little sister (3) and now there is a baby sister (3 months) too. Joy and good cheer with friends and family and of course the minute I knew she was there, I started looking for wool in pastel colors and the most beautiful baby patterns. However, I did not knit a single stitch …

PicaPau HäkelmonsterBecause – as if it had been agreed – EMF publishing house sent me the book Animal Friends of Pica Pau. The first thing I thought when looking at the book was that it has been way too long since I had a crochet hook in my hand. Followed by the thought that this little baby might never be able to wear everything I have already knit for her siblings (let alone anything I might knit for her), because to do so her mom would have to change her several times the day.

PicaPau HäkelmonsterHence, I decided on making her a stuffed animal. The son voted for Edgar Unicorn (no surprise), I am tempted to try Adele Alpaca (no surprise either). (The German version of the book has names for every character. The energetic otter is Oswald Otter, the gentle rhino is Rhino Rocco, and so on. However, I assume that all instructions are alike in the different language editions of the book.) So far, I have not decided which one to crochet, as we’re still reading the book. And there is a lot to be read.

PicaPau HäkelmonsterEach character comes with a story. There is Fred Ferkel (i.e. Piglet), who is afraid of the dark and afraid to be left alone, Oswald Otter, who was born at the Irish West coast. Pia Panda is a gourmet. Then there is Norbert Nasenbär (i.e. coati), a ranger and soccer fan, Vektor Wolf, who may be a hipster, Piet Papageientaucher (i.e. puffin), a specialist when it comes to sailing yachts, and 15 others.

It’s fun to read those stories and somehow every little creature becomes familiar, even before crocheting the foundation chains. Just as nice: All patterns have detailed instructions, step-by-step pictures and explanations of all techniques used, so everyone should easily get acquainted with any of the animals. Especially since the book has a good 50-page introduction on crochet basics (hook, yarns, equipment, how to hold the hook, how to read instructions …), but also stitches and techniques are wonderfully explained.

PicaPau HäkelmonsterNo pig in a poke, no nasty surprises, no boring book. Quite the opposite. Whether you’re working on legs or sweaters, horns or ears – every single detail can be looked up.

So, what’s holding me back? Nothing, other than the agony of choice … (1) to choose a color and (2) to decide on a creature.

Unicorn or alpaca? Edgar or Adele.

Or Gina.

Test knit: Wavelength

In case you missed it – among lots of other stuff, Sophia writes beautiful sock pattern. Newest addition to that “sock family” is Wavelength and I was lucky enough to test knit. No idea whether name or pattern came first, all I know is that increases and decreases indeed remind me of relaxing ocean waves rolling in.

Wavelength Stichfest HäkelmonsterMaybe I should not have chosen variegated yarn, as now those waves are not as obvious as they might have been when knitted with a solid color. However, variegated or not – they’re ocean colors.

Be it as it may, it’s a lovely pattern. Easy to follow, nothing complicated, great fit. And even though I did not like Sophia’s idea of binding off – they’re neither constricting nor too loose. Hence, a bit of extra work but totally worth it.

I’m perfectly happy with those socks. Looks like Sophia and I are (again) on the same wavelength …

So, if you are among those who like to knit socks in summer, have a look at the pattern over at ravelry and knit an ocean for your feet.

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Bright Above Me

The Japanese cherry disaster, the portable basketball hoop, the moths – I blogged about quite a few things lately. Not much about yarn though. High time to catch up!

Especially, after I have finished another test knit: beautiful Bright Above Me, a while ago. It has been lying around for quite a few days and (hopefully!) that won’t change any time soon as luckily it is warm outside, getting warmer every day – not the right weather for a sweater made of Lettlópi yarn …

Bright-Above-Me Häkelmonster
before blocking

Don’t get me wrong: That sweater turned out exactly as I wanted it to be. I am perfectly happy with everything: the colors, the yarn, the pattern, the fitting.

However, if you are familiar with the pattern you may have noticed that I have changed one thing: instead of knitting top-down, I chose bottom-up. Why? For no particular reason. I just like it better. That’s all. Plus, towards the end, finishing seems to be faster. And, in addition, I think it suits the stars’ tips a lot better.

Bright-Above-Me HäkelmonsterAll else was done according to pattern.

I am still not looking forward to the oncoming cold in fall and winter (not yet summer, I know), but once it’s here it will be a lot easier to endure ; )

Bright-Above-Me Häkelmonster

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Travel knit

I have been travelling quite a bit lately. Short trips here and there. To Czech Republic over Easter, to France for family affairs. Enriching and exhausting at the same time.

Ostrava was beautiful. Basketball (what else?) made us go there and I am happy we went. Very impressive architecture, whether old, socialist or modern. Not necessarily beautiful but making a strong visual impact (at least on me).

And – of course – great games. The boys played against teams from Lithuania, Hungary, the Ukraine and the host country. In the end they won gold (well deserved. Yes, I am proud!).

Paris was unexpected. As unexpected – however foreseeable – as the death of my dear friend of 35 years. The church service affectionate and light-colored (if that makes sense), outside the first day of spring, the sky so very blue.

All of it unreal. Little more than 12 hours between arrival and departure. The evening with her family, her husband, daughter, grandchildren; a restless night; seeing her for the last time in the morning. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Because of the strike I had to go home by train: 10 hours to let my mind wander while knitting the time away.

Bright above me HäkelmonsterEven though winter is (finally!) over, I have another yoke sweater on my needles. Not that I needed another, but when Dutte called out for test knitters I could not resist. A beautiful pattern, somehow reflecting my spirit: Is there anything Bright Above Me – sometimes I wish it was. If only to welcome my friend.

Pictures of finished sweater to follow. Hopefully soon.

According to the designer, the pattern will be out any day from now.

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