My name is Sandi and I'm being retired from work due to both hand injuries.
As I have a lot of time on my hands now (no pun intended), I have been searching for craft type things that I can manage, to help save me from boredom, but also to try to strengthen my hands & found teddy bear making. Although at times it's very painful for me to make them I want to push through the pain & keep going if possible.
I started about a month ago using faux fur & have made 5 bears so far. I think they are adoreable but of course nothing like the amazing quality of bears I have found here (congrats to all of you by the way, you are very talented & one day I hope to be creating as good as you).
I have found a few tips/tools to use to make it easier for me (machine sewing, tweezers to pull inside out, cordless screwdriver to do up bolts/nuts, chopstick used as stuffing tool & I bought a special tool to help insert eyes/noses & limbs, but if you have any tools or tips that will help. I will greatly appreciate it.
Also I'm a bit lost in the world of mohair. I want to try making a bear using mohair but where do I begin? I use long pile faux fur because its so soft & just makes you want to touch it & pick it up to give it a huge hug. I would like the mohair to be as soft & hug inviting as the fur. Can you suggest a "density" for what I'm looking for?
Thanks for taking the time to help me.
Take care & enjoy the rest of your day (its 3-12pm in Aussie land)
Hi Sandi and welcome to TT! :rose:
It's great to hear that you started making bears despite your hand injuries and I would love to see your creations (even if they don't match up to some of the ones you see here; everybody's got to start somewhere). :thumbsup:
I can't give you any advice on what type of mohair to use (I am "just" a collector ), but there are plenty of TT'ers here who will gladly give you the benefit of their experience.
Welcome, Sandi! I'm looking forward to seeing your adorable bears (sometimes the cuteness of a bear from a relative beginner is unsurpassed).
For the sake of your hands, I'd recommend getting a nice, long stuffing tool with a forked tip. That will let you place stuffing where you want it without using a lot of force. (This example is for minis, and the supplier isn't in Australia, but you'll get the idea: http://www.edinburghimports.com/shoppin … 8=0150019)
I think you will love working with mohair fabric! The backing fabric is usually strong, and it has no stretch. You'll never get the pile density you get with faux fur, but that also makes it easier to work with! Try a kid mohair if you love a soft feel, or a feathered finish if you can find that. Stay away from the shaggy, scruffy kind of mohair (which is fun, but not necessarily the softest).
P.S. You might also enjoy a straight, dense alpaca fabric. I see that Gerry's in Australia has a nice selection of that: http://www.gerrys.com.au/home.php?cat=365
I think it is great that you use bear making to help your hands exercise. I would love to see some of your creations.
I myself have been making bears for almost a year and am still learning about mohair and other fabrics. I tend to order colours i like and see what it is like when it turns up lol I have found some really soft Schulte mohair in the process.
I have a little stack of fur now and tons of ideas on what to do with it, i just need more hours in the day!
I was making bears for years out of synthetic. I just wasn't game to cut up mohair. Now Im all for mohair.
I agree with Becky, alpaca is really nice to work with. There is so much mohair to choose from, I personaly love Alpaca.
And Gerrys is where I shop, they have some really lovely colours that have just arrived.
Looking forward to seeing some of your bears.
Hi Peterbear, Becky, Jen & Chris,
Thank you for your warm welcome & handy tips & links, very much appreciated. :rose:
I uploaded a picture of my first 3 bears made, the white one was the first & is the one that begs for the majority of hugs with his sad features (havent been able to think of a fitting name yet), the middle red & black one is "Oggie" & is fun & loving & will do anything for a hug & the 3rd (brown one) is Benny who is so shy that you just want to give him a hug everytime you go near him.
Chris I can understand your previous hesitation in cutting up the mohair, compared to the fur its expensive, it's also been one of my reasons for not using it, but after reading what other makers are using, it appears to be the rolls royce of teddy bear material. I decided to try it a week ago & bought a fat 1/4 of mohair online in a lilac & pink shade, although I love the colours I didn't like the "flatness/roughness" of the pile. It looked soft & fluffy in the picture but isn't. I don't have any material shops close that sell bear making materials/accessories therefore I have to buy them online & hope they are what I'm after.
I'll have a look at the the alpaca & Schulte. Has anyone bought their material from Lou bears? I stumbled accross this website while searching for cheaper than Aus material & found their prices to be very reasonable.
Thanks Becky for the link to the stuffing tool, better than the chopstick I was using.
Thanks again, Im off to have a look at the new websites you've given me.
Take care & enjoy your day
Big welcome to Teddy Talk, Sandi . . . so glad you decided to join us! I also started out using faux fur, but when I finally got up enough nerve to use mohair, I was really pleased at how much easier it was to work with. Our TT sponsor, Intercal, sells beautiful mohair, alpaca, Tissavel synthetics, plus the whole range of supplies necessary to make lovely bears. If you decide to buy online, just click the links Intercal . . . . your mohair supplier and Johnna's Mohair Store at the top of the page, just underneath the Teddy Talk banner, and take a look at what they have to offer.
Hi Sue Ann
Thank you for your warm welcome & suggestions. :rose:
I've had a look in Intercal & went crazy, spent hours there. :wacko:
I was like a child in a toy store & before I knew it I had totalled up over $1000 in supplies that I wanted, so I've had to take a step back & try to work out the most important things first, then gradually get the rest.
Intercal has just become my new best friend LOL :lol:
Welcome Sandi, good to see another Aussie on board I see you're in Sydney, are you anywhere near Teddy's Bits in Baulkham Hills? Valma is wonderful and has a huge range of furs you can see in person. I'm a huge fan of Intercal ( and the community they've built for us) but as a newcomer, sometimes you have to see stuff in person to Get a feel for the different types of fabric
Good luck with your teddy making!
i would love to use the scruffy looking mohair,do i ask for something in particular? there is a lady who does scruffy little miniatures her web site is:
i would be very grateful for any help,been making bears for a little while and have done a few classes but it was only recently i found your site
im now in my element
thanks mandy x
Hello Sandi and welcome to TT I think there is a lot of here who came to bear making through health problems it must be the natural healing powers of bears Once I get totally absorbed in bear making any pain takes a back seat that has to be an extra bonus There is a well known UK bear artist who also started making bears through an issue with his hands and he has a huge following and makes the most wonderful tiny bears. Here's a link if you are interested
As for the mohair it is so much easier to use than faux fur and it sounds like you have found a good supplier so I will look forward to seeing your creations