Monika Kucel, the founder of Warsaw-based knitwear brand Córka Rybaka (Polish for Fisherman’s Daughter), got in touch with me last week about her lovely work. Kucel knits beanies from 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, you can buy them here.
Her knitwear is inspired by an interesting encounter with an old fisherman:
“In 2011 my boyfriend and me were on holiday in Sicily, where we met this wonderful man called Ziu Paolo. He was 74, had a white beard and wore a red beanie. He looked like the fisherman from Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, and in fact he used to be a fisherman when he was younger. He had a lot of stories to tell. One of them was the story of his beanie.
In 1976 he came down with sinusitis after being exposed to gale for the whole night during a tuna fishing cruise. He spent two weeks in a hospital and had to wear a hat ever since, even on warm days. Ziu Paolo’s first beanie was handknitted by his neighbour – he chose the colour and she did all the manual work. He paid her with fresh fish he caught. So far Ziu Paolo has worn out about 50 beanies that he never throws away. Instead, he collects all of them for his wife to put them in his coffin when he dies.
Ziu Paolo says young people nowadays wouldn’t be able to knit a beanie. Everybody wants to be a professor at a university or work in show business. Everybody wants to buy everything and real manual skills die. I wanted to prove Ziu Paolo wrong. This is how Córka Rybaka began.”