I've been lurking at Edinburgh's message board, and someone brought up this topic. I am one who does stuff the muzzle firmly with excelsior . . . I like for it to be hard so the embroidering goes more smoothly. I know that some people like to dampen the excelsior before stuffing so that it will be easier to "manipulate" and I did that when I first started bearmaking; however, I learned the hard way that as the excelsior dries it also shrinks leaving the muzzle NOT firmly packed!! So my solution was to cut up the excelsior into small pieces so that it's easy to stuff. I have a pair of sharp scissors dedicated just to cutting the excelsior and it doesn't take long to cut up enough to stuff several noses. This info just in case anybody has had the same experience with wet excelsior!!
I use "Firm Pack" from Spare Bear Parts. Only now they are shipping out 'Simplicity' polyfil. It's dense stuff, not very lofty so it packs very firmly. I've found that some of the less expensive poly fil at craft stores is similar. I pack the nose rock solid with this, then stuff the rest with a loftier, soft polyfil like I use in the rest of the body (I order this stuff straight from the manufacturer).
I had a hard time with the excelsior although I love the finished nose but I could never get it packed well enough and then had a hard time getting the needle through if I did get it packed hard. Never mind the mess I made with the stuff!!!! Yikes!!!! So, I admire those like Sue Ann who can work with it make such wonderful noses!!!:)
I purchase a different polyester fibre filler for my heads, than the one I use for my bodies. It packs compactly, but still enables easy nose stitching. I've never tried excelsior - it seems like very hard work to use and pretty messy too?
Mind you, I love the old-fashioned feel of bears filled completely with excelsior. My old Chilterns have a little excelsior around their joints and it gives a lovely crunchy feel to them.
I agree with Danni I too had a severe asthma attack using the excelsior. I recommend to stay away from excelsior if you have any lung problems. I have several old bears taht are completely stuffed with excelsior and they are wonderful to hold, very heavy and as Paula said crunchy! I stuff the noses of my bears with a dense polyfil and then fill the rest of the bear with a fluffy polyfil. I do stuff the whole bear quite firm but I find the dense polyfil enables me to keep the bear's nose firm and enables me to sew a good nose.
Well, for my two cents, I have tried both ways. The excelsior and non-squishy polyfil. I have to say I like both ways. The brand of polyfil that I use that packs down very tight and hard is called Mountain Mist. I like my bears heads to be very firm, especailly the nose.
I just tried Jelly Pellets for the bellie of a few bears and it is really neat. Quite a different feel from plastic pellets. Has anyone else tried these?
Judi - I tried to order Jelly Pellets almost 2 months ago and they were on back order and supposed to ship to me when they got more in... haven't gotten any yet................... glad you like them. Thanks for mentioning them as I'm going to go send an email right now to find out the status.....
Has anyone tried the tiny, tiny steel beads?? I LOVE them for adding A LOT of weight to smaller bears! The only place I've ever been able to buy them is from Luann Bowen of LuLu Bears. She is also a show promoter. The steel beads are about the same size as glass beads, but add more weight. I also use them in feet to help a teddy stand alone. Her e-mail is email@example.com and her website (you can order them from here, but shipping charges are pricey!) is www.lulubears.com
My bear mentor gave me some steel shot as she literally has gallons of them that I think she got from a hunting supply shop..... they are so rusty though - I have to be sure to make a muslin pouch for them first. They are tiny and it doesn't take much to really weight the bears!!! A new source would be wonderful!! Thanks, Sue Ann!
PS. I've just gone searching for stainless steel shot online with shocking results. It seems this is used for tumbling in jewelry making as well in the medical field. And it costs like $40 for a couple of OUNCES online!! Lulu's prices are GREAT - haven't gotten shipping $$ from her yet but I'm sure it'll be less than than sources I found on line!!
Anyway, if it's not stainless it WILL rust, trust me!! Just a tip.
Here's the item link: http://www.edinburghimports.com/shoppin … 38=0200006
CR's Crafts also has the jelly pellets for $3.95/lb. www.crscrafts.com Look under bear supplies, then stuffing materials, then plastic beads, then silicone pellets (or something like that! :P)! When you get on the site, it will become easy to find, I think. Speaking of stuffing materials and CR's Crafts . . . since I use huge quantities of fiberfill, I buy a 25 pound box of it from this place. It lasts me quite a while (one would hope!!) and I think it's probably the most economical way to buy it. They have several qualities to choose from, but I always get the economy white because it stuffs tightly.
Thank you Daphne and Jane.....I do have serious asthma that I keep in check rather religiously...I had no idea, andlast night ordered some from Edinburgh.... :lol:
Hmmm......I was going to split it with a friend...guess she just got a windfall. We were just going to use it for noses....I don't think we could make enough bears if we did one a day for the rest of our lives and use it up.
Thank you so much for the heads up....you can not possibly know how grateful I am
You can use them in your bear alone or with stuffing.
I put a bit of stuffing in the bottom of the body of my bear then fill about half full of plastic pellets then more stuffing up to the neck joint. You could use all pellets for a very squishy feel and slumpy (that's not a negative - just can't think of a better word) look.
I can't wait to get some Jelly Pellets!
Don't know where I read it...but someone said that they use the 'pluckings' (is that a word??) to stuff the nose...y'know, the bits of mohair we pluck off the muzzle or trim from the seams. Apparently it packs really well and make for easy nose embroidering.
Danni, I haven't used Kid Mohair before.....but have had a few mohairs that have been a little bit stubborn as far as plucking goes. I find if you just use a needle, you can lift the bits that are stuck in there and use tweezers or haemostats to grab them once you've lifted them.
I have heard of a friend having a severe asthma attack using the excelsior - so I'd suggest that anyone who has difficulties in breathing to be careful, or to stay away from it!
Thank you for bringing this up! I don't usually have problems with my asthema but it only takes one little thing to bring on an attack!!!
Thanks Daphne and Sue Ann - for your comments about the stainless steel. I realize that the cost to ship them is high, but everyone that has used them has just loved them. With the new flat rate boxes available through the Postal Service, it is finally a little more economical to purchase larger quantities and have it shipped, as the price is $7.70 regardless of the weight of the box. I always try to check for the best shipping price to help keep costs down.