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Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Australia
Posts: 3,518

Hi Everyone,

I recently purchased some Helmbold Kid Mohair.  I loved it, and it made a beautiful teddy and I was really suprised at how nice the Helmbold Mohair is.  I've only ever used Schulte, so in future, I'd love to try more Helmbolds.

However, I was a little disappointed because the Mohair didn't pluck away from the face completly, and it has left little mohair squares on the backing....

My question is, Is this a normal thing to happen with all Helmbold mohairs, or is it just something to do with the way the Kid Mohair is produced??

Looking foward to hearing from you!
Thanks,
Danni

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I don't have an answer to the Helmbold part of your question, but if you're left with a "stubbly" look that you're like to make smoother, I can recommend using oil paint on your "bare" face areas, to smooth out the color and texture there and get that sleeker look I'm assuming you're after (and disappointed you didn't get.) 

I'll elaborate more if you're interested but sometimes I need a smoother, more one-color look on my faces and using a very dry brush loaded in oil paint makes for a wonderful application of color that's very blendable.  If you get it too dark you can go over it in white.  Using a stiff, CLEAN brush to finish blends everything togehter nicely, and you end up with no stubbly look at all... even when stubbles remain!

I find the stubble look particularly obvious when the backing is dark and the mohair is lighter.

Let me know if you want more details.  I'm an avowed oil paint lover for ease of application and low, low cost (small tubes are a couple of dollars each and last for an eternity.  I'm no where near running out after 50+ bears and a year of working with them.)

I should add, by the way, that these paints blend right down into the fabric and leave no crusty, crunchy residue at all.  The last step -- using a very stiff, CLEAN brush to blend -- is essentially a way of combing any paint you applied through the mohair for a completely blended finish.  It blends well on the fabric backing as well.

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Flower Mound, Texas
Posts: 20,608

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Hi, Danni.  Have you ever tried shaving the muzzles with a razor?  Also another way to get out the remaining hairs is to slide your awl or a large needle underneath the hair and lift it out.  I've worked with Helmbold furs a lot and find them to perform quite well.  Hope this helps. bear_original

Dilu Posts: 8,574

OK Shelli,

quess I need to get some oil paints to try this....do have a particular brand that you like?

Dilu

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I don't have vast experience with paint BRANDS but I can share the ones I do use:

WINTON -- which I bought in large-ish tubes in a variety of neutral colors.  I think this is the more "professional" of the two; and

REEVES -- which came in a kit of many tubes (twenty or so.)  I wanted a mix of fantasy colors and this was the best and most economical way to get lots of non-neutral colors in one shot.

You literally need a dab of paint about the size of 1/4 of a pea to do this work.  It will last you forever... almost.

Let me know if you'd like more input or guidance.  I think it's a great way to shade bears and you have incredible control.

PS  I find the best brushes to use are either SCRUBBERS about 1/4" in diameter, or STRAIGHT FLAT in about a 1/2" edge size.  Make sure you get brushes for OIL PAINTS and that you buy some TURPENIOD or TURPENTINE for cleanup.  Brushes not made for oils/solvents will literally dissolve when you try to clean them!

Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Australia
Posts: 3,518

So, should I take it from the answers I've received that Helmbold, never plucks completly away from the backing?  I'll try the needle or awl trick with the bear I've made...but if it doesn't completly pluck away, I think I will just stick with the Schulte mohairs...

Thanks for the offer Shelli - but at the moment, I don't really feel the need to HAVE to get into the Helmbold mohairs when I really love Schulte, and that plucks away competly and with no fuss anyhow.

Danni

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

You know, I don't pay a whit of attention to the mohairs I'm using in terms of "English" or "German," "Helmbold", "Norton (no longer an open mill)," or "Schulte."  So I can't say -- and didn't mean to somehow suggest! -- that Helmbold never plucks clean, because I have absolutely no experience with that. 

I have a longer and more frequent history of ordering my mohair from Intercal, but I occasionally order mohair from Edinburgh too (they're my two supplier mainstays because they're in California, like me, so shipping is reasonable) and, in either case, when I order mohair, I order what I like based only on color, texture, pile length, and pile density...  because those are the factors that determine the final "look" or outcome of my teddy product. 

I have noticed differences in how different mohairs behave (some backings are tighter, some fray more, some are too stiff to be ideal, some are too floppy to be ideal,) but I've never associated those differences with one brand vs. the other, as much I've associated them with one STYLE or LENGTH or BLEND or PILE TYPE or FINISH of mohair vs. another. 

Since I don't ever pluck mohair for a totally clean look, I'm less qualified than some to address this problem, but it occurs to me -- and this is just an idea here, don't shoot the messenger! -- that maybe if you're having a problem plucking out the hairs that means they are especially tightly embedded in the fabric... resulting in less fur loss over time.  So that might even, in many ways, be a good thing.

Still, if you are having difficulty with a particular type of mohair getting in the way of the "look" you're after, then of course use what's familiar and what works!  There are so many types of mohair, though, and speaking as Shelli the bearmaker here -- and not as an Intercal Volunteer Help Advisor -- I think you might be really limiting your possibilities if you choose to exclude an entire factory's worth of productjust because one particular style/density/pile/blend/type/finish of mohair from that factory didn't perform as you'd ideally have liked.

I like to keep my options open and I have to say that, while some mohairs are easier to work with than others, I've never had a "bad" result -- one I absolutely hated, or had to toss out -- from any of them.   It's all just an excuse to find that happy accident and create a truly unique, new, and terrific creation.

Anyway, not remotely wanting to get in your bid-ness about this, Miss Danni (who I adore.)  Just encouraging you to keep your options open, and not let one bad apple spoil the bunch.

Big hugs,

Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Australia
Posts: 3,518

Shelli, Okay I can see where you're coming from, of course!  You make complete sense...  of course .. and I know what you mean.. of course!!!!....

I am on a very tight budget (not being well enough to work) so I don't want to have to try other fabrics just to find out that they aren't suitable for my style of bears...  I am just not into the faces dotted with little bits of mohair that's left in the fabric.  It looks like blemishes.... :D
I guess I was just wondering if it had to do with the kid mohair, or if they are all like that....

You know that I adore you too, and I appreciate your help.... I just wanted to find out before spending money on something that I wasn't going to be totally happy with!

Listing Service Listing Service
My Mother
Posts: 85
Shop

If you pluck the noses before stuffing the head, you can turn the head inside out and clean the remaining tufts from the back.   Give it a try on a 1/2" corner of the mohair before cutting and sewing the bear to see if it works to your satisfaction.

Dale

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