Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3: MUST-KNOW TIPS for Crocheting Amigurumi

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Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 is full of the cutest amigurumi patterns, and using my BEST tips will help you crochet better amigurumi toys every time.

The brand new Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 book is out and it is full of the cutest amigurumi critter patterns!

Today we are going to talk about my best tips for crocheting amigurumi, but in particular the Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 patterns!

I have been a huge fan of Yan Schenkel, the designer behind all things Animal Friends of Pica Pau, since I saw her adorable Victor Frog on the cover of her 2017 book.

From that moment forward I have fallen head over heels in love with amigurumi and have made many of the patterns from her previous books Animal Friends of Pica Pau 1 and 2.

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Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 Patterns

Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3

There are twenty absolutely adorable patterns in Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 and each one has so much personality.

The book has a star system rating for each pattern for level of difficulty. One star is the easiest and three stars is the most difficult

  • Lucas Red Fox (one star)
  • Gilbert Rabbit (two stars)
  • Olivia Rosemary Mouse (two stars)
  • Horacio Polar Bear (one star)
  • Ron Red Panda (two stars)
  • Angus Squirrel (one star)
  • Humboldt Penguin (two stars)
  • Tina Lemur (three stars)
  • Ramona Cow (three stars)
  • Peggy Hippopotamus (three stars)
  • Mabel Hedgehog (three stars)
  • Indiana Moth (two stars)
  • Alberto Seagull (one star)
  • Astrid Ostrich (two stars)
  • Greta Hen (two stars)
  • Cosmo Snail (two stars)
  • Angelica Whale (two stars)
  • Roberto Dachshund (one star)
  • Amelia Giraffe (one star)
  • Eduardo Cutesaurus (two stars)

The star rating is a very helpful tool for beginners to help choose which patterns will likely be a bit easier and mored difficult to crochet.

Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 Tips

These are my ten best tips for crocheting the Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 patterns.

Some of these come directly from the book and others are tips that I have developed over the past five years crocheting these patterns.

Yarn Under

One of the biggest differences you will find in the Pica Pau patterns is that Yan Schenkel uses yarn under instead of yarn over to make single crochets.

If you aren’t sure what yarn under (yu) and yarn over (yo) are, check out this post:

Yarn Over VS Yarn Under for Amigurumi

Yarn under creates an “X” shaped stitch while yarn over makes a “Y” shaped stitch.

That isn’t the only difference.

Yarn Under

Size Difference

This stich is more compact because you twist the yarn when you make that first yarn under. Your result will be a tighter and smaller stitch, and thus a more compact toy.

Yan Schenkel, Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 (pg. 9)

Yan goes on to explain that a toy made with the yarn under technique will be a little longer, less wide and less squishy.

Yarn Over

She went on to explain a test she made using yarn over vs yarn under. She made two circles, one with yarn over and one with yarn under, using the same yarn and hook.

With yarn over the circle measured about 4 inches, while the yarn under circle measured 3.3 inches. That’s a pretty big difference.

Color Change Difference

The other major difference is during the color changes.

There’s also quite a difference when making color changes. The X-shape is much like a square, like a pixel, and sometimes these stitches seem to align better.

Yan Schenkel, Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 (pg. 9)

On page twenty-four, there is also three comparison photos of two penguins with stripes. You can really see the difference yarning under makes with those color changes.

“V” shaped stitches naturally lean to the right (if you’re right handed), while X shaped stitches sit a little more neatly one on top of the other.

Yarn Weight/Crochet Hook Combination

There’s a general rule for amigurumi that you should always go down two crochet hook sizes from the recommended hook size on the yarn label.

But Yan has found a combination that works well for her regardless of what yarn she is using.

But there is always one combo of yarn and hook that works bes, and in my case, this is worsted weight yarn with a 2.75 mm crochet hook.

Yan Schenkel, Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 (pg. 10)

Yan explains that she did some experimenting with her tension to get nice size stitches, but that it was causing her hand pain. She eventually started going down on her hook size until she found what felt comfortable as well as looked nice. Her goal was to never have stuffing showing through.

Crochet Hook Material

One of my biggest tips is to use the metal crochet hooks for making amigurumi.

You want a crochet hook that slides easily in and out of your stitches, while also being strong enough to withstand some of the bending and maneuvering we do to make adorable crocheted toys.

I have found that metal is the only way to go. Wood and plastic drag on the yarn whereas metal slides easily through.

One of my favorite crochet hooks for crocheting amigurumi is the Clover Amour hooks.

Clover Amour Crochet Hook Set

The Clover Amour Crochet Hook Set comes with ten different crochet hooks in the sizes 2.25 mm all the way up to 6 mm.

Safety Eyes

There are so many different types of safety eyes online that it’s hard to find ones that are good quality and at a good price.

I have two places that I recommend people purchase safety eyes from:

Both of these companies have a wide range of quality safety eyes to choose from. The biggest difference I have found are the backs.

The Glass Eyes Online have flat plastic backs that I really like. They are easier to put on and they are the ones I regularly use.

The 6060 Eyes are also very good and have metal backs that I found a little more difficult to put on.

But whatever safety eyes I am using, I have started using this tool:

Safety Eye Tool

Amigurum Gallery

What’s really nice about the book is at the beginning of each pattern there is a QR code that will take you to a gallery where you can share your finished projects from the book.

But you can also look through the gallery to find color inspiration from other crocheters who have already made the toy.

Reworked Patterns

Yan published her first book El Mundo de Pica Pau back in 2015 (to my knowledge it was never published in English). She has since reworked some of those patterns and updated them.

  • Lucas Red Fox
  • Amelia Giraffe
  • Humboldt Penguin

I think it really interesting to see her evolution as a designer and maker. Even in her earlier patterns you can see hints of the designer she would someday become.

What I have always found so incredible about Yan’s creations is her ability to design something fairly simple, but yet it has so much personality and whimsy. I guess that’s what makes a truly gifted toy designer.

Favorite Patterns from Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3

There are so many adorable patterns from Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3 and I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites.

  • Peggy Hippopotamus – I am in love with her little bobble edged cardigan and her little duck egg blue leggings. She has such a sweet expression on her gentle face.
  • Greta Hen – this is possibly my favorite pattern from all of Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3. Look at those oversized feet and her little striped tail feathers. I’ve never seen a hen wearing a shawl before, but I think they all need one now! How sweet.
  • Cosmo Snail – wow! This adorable little guy stole my heart from the moment I saw him on the cover of the new book. He has the sweetest little smile and I love the combination of mustard yello and aqua blue. His spiral shell on his back looks like a perfect orange slice! Adorable.

Animal Friends of Pica Pau Projects I Have Made

  • Victor Frog – I’ve made Victor Frog more times than I can count. I’ve made him in the traditional way, but I also transitioned to making him a her and putting a tutu on her. You can find the tutorial for that here: How to Add a Tutu to Amigurumi Toys. I still have the original Victor Frog I made but I gave away and sold all the rest.
  • Harry Wolf – this was the next Pica Pau toy I made. I still have my original one, but I made him several times as well. He stretched my skills in many ways and I credit him with learning so much about amigurumi and the importance of getting the facial symmetry right.
  • Robin Unicorn – the unicorn is a project that I only made twice. I found the way the underside of the body to be very challenging, but I learned so much.
  • Hans Grizzly Bear – I enjoyed making this little bear so much and made him several times. Each time I learned something new and my skills improved each time I made him.
  • Lola Panda – I only made this pattern once and this is when I began to learn about crocheted colorwork and how difficult it is to use black yarn!
  • Pedro Von Ditto Pig – this became one of my favorite projects ever. I enjoyed making this little pig so much and continued to make him and also making a girl version with a tut as well. I so wish that I had kept one of these little guys and gals!
  • Bonny Puffin – another favorite of mine is Bonny. This was a big challenge for me, but boy did I learn a lot from this pattern. I also made her a few more times and enjoyed each opportunity to improve my skills. One of the biggest lessons I learned was the importance of making sure there was enough contrast in the colorwork sections around the neck. In the first puffin, I used a light yellow and I felt like you could barely see all the work I had done to make that section. I fixed that mistake the next time I made her.
  • Gertrude Dragon – I only made this girl one time. It was the biggest amigurumi project I had ever made at that point and all those little spikes up and down her back were a challenge.
  • Murray Sea Otter – this was such a fun project and found him fairly simple as I had learned so much from amigurumi by this point.
  • Marcia Alpaca – this was one of my favorite projects and I also learned how to make pom poms for the first time! How cute is this pattern!
  • Marcos Coati – I really loved making this pattern but I was able to put a lot of skills together that I had learned. And he turned out really cute!
  • Rosa Cheetah – I loved making this little girl! I was beginning to be interested in clothing for amigurumi toys and enjoyed making her little dress.
  • Rene Yacare Caiman – oh how I love this pattern. I made him several times and eventually turned him into a little girl with a tutu as well.
  • Hector Rhinocerous – this was one of my favorite projects as well. So much so that I ended up keeping her. I love the colors I chose for this project in those baby pastels. So cute.
  • James Duck – this was the one of the only toys that I made from Animal Friends of Pica Pau 2. Her designs had evolved so much from the first and second books and I was so impressed with her growing design skills.
  • Philip Lobster – one of my favorite toys of all of the Pica Pau creations. Love this adorable pattern so much!

Animal Friends of Pica Pau 3

In all I have crocheted sixteen different Animal Friends of Pica Pau patterns and enjoyed each and every one.

Finally, I feel like Yan Schenkel taught me how to crochet amigurumi and for that I will be forever thankful.

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  1. Thank you for letting me know the third book was out. I ordered it today. I LOVE those patterns and I wish I had time to make more but my Etsy shop keeps me so busy that I feel guilty working on something that is not an order! It’s a good and bad thing!