Wow! Hi Deb!
A little star-struck here too. Your book was the first one I ever bought and it totally got me hooked! As a matter-of-fact, it was the sheer frustration in finding the stuff needed for minis that got my 'little business' going!
I still recommend your book to anyone who asks. I have several but yours is the best!
I sure wish they were still being printed - would love to have them available in my shop.
Awww, thanks ladies!! I try my best to get the good stuff. I know what works for me so know what to look for.
Now for some good news! I've been working with a textile mill for over 6 months now to get a new fabric made. They had to make a few samples before they got it right. I am soooo picky! Anyway, they made a trial run (several yards) and sent them to me. I've hand-dyed some colors for sale.
They are having a problem making it. It just doesn't want to come out right on their machines - even though I think it's perfect. So I don't know if they will be able to make more for me. If they can't, then I'll find someplace else to do it. I'm working with a couple textile mills in China too.
Here's some photos for you. I call it Sassy Cashmere. It's the super-soft cashmere type fabric with 1/8" (3mm) pile. Do any of you remember Vintage Long Cashmere? I've wanted to get this made since I started my business, it's my dream fabric! Right now, I only have a very limited supply but am crossing my fingers I can get more made.
The 2 bears I made from it are 4" tall.
Well, after several months of working on him, my Ewok is finally finished! He stands 5" tall and has fingers.
I can't even remember how many times I had to rework the pattern until I was happy with it. Believe it or not, regular teddy proportions are NOT like an Ewok!!
Anyway, thank goodness he's done. He was a special request for a big Star Wars fan. I don't think I'll take something like this on again. At least . . . not real soon!
I use chenille stems (pipe cleaners). I make the shape of the arm in the wire and slip it into the arm before I stuff it. A lot of people like to use these little crimp rings. If you poke the wire into it and then slip the hole over the cotterpin, it anchors the wire.
It's a little fiddly stuffing with that wire in there, but not too bad.
Voilá - bendy arms!
I like to design my own patterns but when I use another's pattern - I GET TO KEEP THE BEAR!!
Both these patterns are by Andrea Brewer. They went together so well and I had loads of fun with them.
I must say I'd love to take Lazy Susan to bed with me but she'd get lost in the blankets. The little ones are so hard to snuggle with.
I've also never done an anime-style bear. This pattern was a snap and I like the looks of her. Anime is not my style and I don't usually care for them. I couldn't resist this one and it's always good to broaden your horizons - try something new.
Gijzette: I paint the noses with nose gloss. Any clear glossy sealer will work. It gives them a very shiny/wet look.
Amanda: I call it extra-long cashmere (brown). This one has NO stretch so it's my favorite to use. It doesn't look like much at first because the fur lays down. But a little brushing fluffs it right up. It's so whispy looking. I really wish I had this one in lots of colors!!
Bobbie: That was the plan! They had to make several samples for me before they got what I was looking for. I figured if I was going to have fabric custom-made, then I should get EXACTLY what I wanted.
I've been a busy busy girl!!
I've been dying fabric like mad and now will be starting on the Frosted stuff.
I've made a couple new bears (big ones) and am working on a new mini pattern.
Toss in the year-end paperwork and inventory count and I don't even have time for sleep anymore!
It seems there's always something that needs to be done. Don't worry, I make sure to leave time for making bears. They are my rest, relaxation and therapy all rolled into one!!
I'll be happy to take a look. Email them to me as I don't check in as often as I'd like.
I find designing minis a lot different. The proportions are definately different than for big bears. Arms and legs need to be fatter, everything needs to be exaggerated for them to come out well.
The kids are having so much fun! They come in every once in a while to toss their coats and snow pants in the dryer and have a snack and warm up. Then back out there again.
The snow in our yard is about 3 feet deep, even deeper in some places.
Here's a pic out my dining room window. The snow is up to the windows and you can see it hanging off the roof.
Yes, that's our hot tub out there. You can see this side of it, but the other side is completely under snow.
I'm sooooo tired of shovelling!!
There is a guy in his truck pulling another guy down the street on his snowboard! He's hanging onto a rope and having a great time!!
By the way, anyone that had an order this week . . . .
I'm sorry, it will be a while. The post office is closed.
I'm going to go sit by the fire and work on a bear!!
Super Lon is actually a beading thread so it's pretty strong. And it's very thin. I carry size A, which is the thinnest they make. It is fine enough to fit through a beading needle.
It is called 'parallel nylon' which means the long strands are bonded parallel to each other, making it very strong, unlike a regular nylon filament (fishing line).
Basically, it is just like a fine dental floss in colors.
I have asked about bigger spools. They only make black and white in spools. That doesn't help much!!
Some people can just 'see' it while others have to learn it, and then some just can never get it.
I suggest getting lots of patterns with completely different looking parts. Cut them out and play with them. Use cheap felt and just baste them together.
You should get an idea of what happens when you do this here, or that there.
Or you could just take 1 pattern, make several copies of it and play with them. Make this dart bigger on one, the belly rounder on that one, etc. You'll get a good feel for what's going on.
Before you know it you'll be designing your own original bears.
Remember, you are learning a new skill. It takes time and patience. If it were really easy, anyone could just pop out a perfect, beautiful bear!!
Nothin' wrong with a plain bear. I prefer plain bears. You can see all that hard work better!
Job well done, it looks a lot better than my first bear.
Each one will get easier and of course each one will teach you something. THIS bear decided you needed to learn all about jointing!
In my experience, you can shrink a pattern down a few inches and it should be OK. But taking a big bear and turning it into a mini is not likely to work. Well, it may work, but it won't look like a small version of the big bear.
Proportions are different on minis. The muzzle needs to be a little bigger and the arms/legs fatter for them to look right.
I do like Amanda. Shrink it down a bit at a time and tweak it as I go.
My best advise is to just try it and see what comes out.