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How to Welcome an Estonian PÃ¤kapikk Into Your Home For Advent.
Submitted by Pam on Fri, 11/11/2011 - 20:36
Päkapikk! Delightful little elf like creatures that visit good little Estonian children every night during Advent! (See "mermaid's " comment below for the proununciation.)
Not much is known about Päkapikk! They started appearing in Estonia about 40 years ago and it seems they have been very secretive about where they come from or how they came to be!
What we do know however, is that unlike their cousins the Tomte, Nisse and Yule Lads, they do not have a history of playing tricks and doing mischievous deeds. They are very kind, sweet natured little elves whose only desire is to make good little children happy by rewarding their good behavior during Advent with little treats.
Just before the Advent season, Father Christmas reminds them that they are to report back to him before Christmas Eve regarding any naughty children discovered in their nightly travels. But there are hardly ever any naughty children in Estonia during December!
Every night during the Advent season, Estonian children place a shoe on their window sill and go to bed filled with excitement and anticipation thinking of what sweet treat they will find in the morning.
I am pretty sure the Päkapikk would willingly make the effort - even traveling across the ocean (which they can do in the blink of an eye) - to be sure any shoes left on window sills anywhere will be filled with treats! All you have to do is believe!
Admittedly, no one has ever really seen a Päkapikk! So when I decided to make a couple Päkapikk for my Christmas tree, I focused on the fact that they are still quite young and are very good hearted creatures and gave them a distinction not shared by their cousins - no beards!
Some people draw them with beards (Linda's beautiful daughter Annabel for one) and Ikea makes them with beards - see Linda's Advent calendar here - there are several tiny Päkapikk peaking our of the numbered pockets.
But I wanted mine to appear more innocent and childlike!
Because I just know lots of you are already enchanted and will want at least one Pakapikk on your tree this year - to help remind your children to be very good during advent - I am including a simple how-to for two versions - simple and even more simple!
Start with two felted balls - one for the body and a smaller one for the head! The felted ball used for the body - aprox. 2" in diameter; and the head - aprox. 1 1/4" in diameter.
Completely dry your felted balls and then attach the heads to the bodies. I used my new needle felting skills learned while making Donni's beautiful little toadstools! Her well written tutorial is right here. I used the same method she teaches for attaching the head of the toadstool to the stem.
Once the head was securely attached to the body, I added a couple tiny little eyes - again using Donni's tutorial for making needle felted toadstools.
If you do not have needle felting tools, simply attach the head to the body using needle and thread. Sew on a couple tiny button eyes or embroider then if you like.
So now clothes! All that is really needed is a hat and a scarf as the colorful body already serves as a suit!
For this particular Päkapikk, I knitted both.
The scarf is a series of purl and knit rows - but knitting every row to create a purl stitch would also work. Using fingerling or sock weight yarn and #2 (2.75mm) needles, I cast on 8 stitches so my little scarf would measure about 3/4 " across. The finished length including the fringe is about 10".
The Hat! (sorry forgot to take a photo before I seamed it up so had to borrow one!)
Using the same size needles and yarn, cast on between 20 and 30 stitches. (Head sizes vary - needle felting is not an exact science!)
Stitch a Knit 2 Purl 2 rib about 1 3/4" long. Change to stockinette stitch and continue knitting until the entire hat measures 4 1/2". Bind off. Should look similar to the picture!
Use a piece of matching thread to seam the side edges together. And then another piece of matching or contrasting yarn to gather the hat into a tight little bundle right near the bound off edge.
Fold up the ribbing edge and tack the hat in place with several little stitches into the head.
Add a little yarn loop to serve as a hanger and add any embellishment you might wish.
If you are not a knitter - here is a very simple way to create a Pakapikk! It should take you all of ten minutes once the body and head are created!
Make the body. head, and add eyes as previously explained.
Make a scarf using felted wool fabric from your stash or a piece of felt. Cut your scarf about 8" long and 1/2" to 3/4" wide. For fringe, cut a few half inch cuts in both ends.
To make the hat. Draw a triangle shape as shown - 3"' to 3 1/2" tall and 2 1/4" wide at the base. Connect the top and base with a diagonal line. Cut out the pattern on the lines drawn. Now pin the pattern to your felt, placing the vertical line on the FOLD of your fabric and pin and cut.
With the right side of the fabric facing out, place the two long diagonal edges together and stitch using Alice's tutorial for the overhand stitch. (You know everyone's favorite Futuregirl, right? If not, you need to get to know her - she is awesome!)
Tack the little hat onto the head and add a little hanging loop.
I promise, if you invite a Päkapikk into your home this season, he will bring smiles every time you see him peaking out at you.
I see no reason why visits from Päkapikk can't be added to your Advent celebration during December. Treats found each morning in shoes AND in calendar poskets! How much better can it get?
I am so grateful to Linda who is Estonian and who writes "Mermaids Making" to share the crafty adventures she enjoys with her young daughter Annabel because it was through her blog I learned about Pakapikk in the first place.
Linda will be graciously sharing Estonian Christmas customs with all of us on her own blog and also right here on Gingerbread Snowflakes in December.