Sunday, 24 August 2014

teddy-bear making

My (not-so-secret) dream is to one day design and make from own range of toys. One of the main reasons that I was spurred on to learn knitting and crochet was for this very purpose. Other than the bright pink scarf I made from the excellent Purl Soho Learn-to-Knit Kit last year, I don't think I have yet completed one knit/crochet item that is not toy-related. The important word here being "completed", because I have plenty of work-in-progress, including the very very belated Valentine's Day scarf for my ever patient boyfriend.

This July I visited a dear friend of mine in France, and she very kindly gave me a one-on-one teddy bear workshop while I stayed with her family! I met Mimsy through Blythe collecting, and she is a talented maker who not only creates the most adorable teddy bear hats for dollies, but also is very talented in making bears! You might have spotted some photos in my previous post of some cute handmade bears and helmets, which are all made by her.

I have made toys and plush from felt and fabric before, but never before have I used mohair or learnt the unique 'craft' that is bear-making. And as it turns out, the 'craft' of teddy bear making is like any other hobby like knitting or crochet in that it follows traditional tools and techniques. As Mimsy said, once you learn how to make a bear you will never forgot how to do it! (Well I hope for my sake this is true...)

Any teddy bear is just a variation of sorts on a very basic pattern. For my first bear, I wanted to make a small one (less sewing!), and in the end I picked out a pattern from a Japanese craft book. It wasn't until I stitched the parts together that I realised that I must have translated the body pattern wrong, because my teddy bear is a very very skinny bear. More like a rat, really. This is a danger when I use Japanese craft books and can't understand them!

Despite all his flaws, I really do love my first teddy bear. He will always remind me of the wonderful time I had abroad, and my wonderful week with my dear friend who not only opened her home to me, but also shared her talents and skills with me. Here's hoping to many more teddy bears in the future!

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