I have been reading about how to inset the eyes by pushing hard on them (or having someone do this for you) and then tying a knot. I have a few problems:
1. What do you do if you don't have any one who can push the eyes in, it is very difficult to do yourself so it stays indented and then trying to tie the knot.
2. When I push the eye in and then tie it off, it does not seem to hold tightly and comes forward a bit so it is not indented any more.
I have been doing the eyes like Monica Spicer recommends - which is with the loop and pulling it through that way which is great but that intends the eyes sort of sideways and not front on. I am not explaining myself very well.
Monica Spicer bear eyes
What I am trying to achieve:
Hi Fairybear, Everyone will have a different way of inserting eyes for the indentation look you are trying to achieve. My question to you is what thread do you use? I use waxed supreme sinew, this is fantastic in pulling the eyes into the head giving it a firm indented look and you can do this yourself easily as the thread does not slip when tying the knot! also you can sculpt the eye socket also with waxed thread before placing the eye which will also give you the indentation. I hope this helps you! Sarah.
I like the German way of setting eyes. You determine where you want your eye and go in at that spot with your needle which has the sinew in it with the eye attached to the sinew. Use your needle to wiggle the threads apart so that you have a slight hole in the backing of the mohair. You can also use and awl to make this hole larger. I like to put both eyes in at the same time so that you know you have them both in the same location. When you are happy that the eyes are positioned correctly then you take your long needle to the base of the back of the head or to the back of the ear or cross them to the back of the head or under the chin and come out. Where you go will determine the direction the eyes are looking when you are finished setting them. Take a small stitch about 1/8 inch or slightly more and go back to that hole you spread in the backing where the eye is sitting. I usually pull the eyes back out so they are hanging from the sinew so they aren't in the way when I try to find the hole that I went in. You are coming out the same hole you went in. I usually will hold the thread at the base of the neck from getting tight against the fabric until I have done both eyes. When I have the sinew back out the face of the bear then I put both the eyes back into the hole and pull the thread at the base of the neck or where ever I took it out and pull them tight to sink them in and see if I like the direction they are looking. If I'm not happy, I pull the sinew out and start over. If I am happy then I pull the sinew that is hanging out the eye socket on the front of the face tight. With the bear facing you, you can see if you have the eyes sunk the same depth. When you are happy then take your needle off the sinew if it is still there and use the two ends of the sinew to tie off behind the eye while you are also holding the eye tight. I tie above the eye, bring a sinew piece down to the bottom of the eye with the sinew going on each side of the eye and tie another couple knots. Then I tie a knot on one side of each eye and then bring the sinew to the other side of the eye and tie another knot or two. Then I sink my last knot behind the eyes and I am done. I hope that makes sense.
Hi Leanne, The splitting thickness of threads really depends on you and the tension you want. There are 2 types of sinew on Gerry's teddy and craft designs website the artificial can easily be split if it is easier for you and the supreme which I use can be split but I find it to be a good thickness for what I do. If it hurts your fingers which does to mine also, cut a double length so you can wrap it around your whole hand and pull, it takes a lot of pressure off the fingers, just be careful not to pull too hard as it can break your eye!! I hope that helps you! it does get easier with each bear you make and you will find a way that suits you.
I use a leather thimble that comes up past my knuckle for pulling thread or sinew. I know artists who will cut the fingers off of gloves or just wear a leather glove to do that pulling part. My leather thimble that I like has a metal spot so that my needle does not go through the leather so I pretty much wear it the entire time I am working on a bear with a needle in my hand. Do be careful, I have seen people cut their fingers open pulling thread etc. while working on bears.