Welcome to my Blog!

Hi there, nice to have you visiting! I'm Heidi and this is the blog for Heidi Bears. Here is where I post all the happenings in my work and daily life. Here and there you'll find info on things that have caught my attention as well as the odd tutorial. I hope you enjoy your visits. I love to have feedback, so leave me a comment!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bearmaking 101...any interest?

The Danish translation of the African Flower hexagon Tutorial is now up...initially I had lots of trouble editing the original post , with "Error 400" popping up frequently...not sure what that was all about, and I couldn't get much help from the Blogger Forums, so if anyone out there knows what this error is supposed to mean, please let me know ! Suffice to say, the tutorial is up and once again, Thank you, Irene :)

Today's post is about something completely different...
During my varied travels through the world of crafting, I came across a lovely book on how to make miniature Teddy Bears. I love Bears, collect them as well and wondered when I saw this book, if it would be very difficult. I bought it, read it and made my first bear in just a day.
Of course, being miniatures, the bear was completely hand sewn, and if I recall, was about 3cm tall! It was a round bottomed Roly-Poly Bear that was weighted , so when you pushed him, he bounced back and forth...very cute!

This led to eventually designing miniature bears, and at one stage I was selling them to a local Bear Shop (yes, believe it or not...a whole shop dedicated just to bears!). Sadly, the South African bear market for really well crafted, unique OOAK bears is pretty poor. It may be that (as in knitting and other handmade items), people don't realize just how much work went into creating them....
There is certainly a thriving and incredibly talented bear making community in South Africa, but unless you sell your bears internationally, you are being underpaid.

It was inevitable that I should graduate to designing and making larger bears, which from a purely practical point of view, are sewn my machine, but handmade the rest of the way. The biggest challenge was to develop a style of bear, which showed unique features that made the bear instantly identifiable as a certain Artist's. My biggest influences came from the early Steiff Bears, which are of course, now incredibly scarce and unbelievably expensive! Steiff is a German company (still operating today), that produced their first Teddy Bears in the early 1900's. The were a huge success (as you can well imagine...I mean, on consideration, what did kids take to bed for comfort and company when they were little, before the advent of the teddy bear?...sheep?...somehow not quite the same, Watson my dear...), and since those early years, Steiff bears (especially antique bears) have become coveted by collectors all over the world.

The history of Teddy Bears was one of my favourite reading past-times...if you are interested in such thing s, there are some excellent teddy Bear Encyclopaedias available on Amazon.

I used mohair fabric almost exclusively, although expensive, it is certainly the best "fur" imitation you can find. You can also find some wonderful long pile Alpaca fabric (unfortunately even more expensive than mohair), which makes the softest, fluffiest bears imaginable!
Don't be put off by the cost...you can make a small bear for a very reasonable cost, and once you have been bitten by this bug (again, just as with knitting and crocheting...), you will think of buying mohair, as you think of buying Kidsilk haze :)

I have been thinking about expanding the kinds of tutorials I post on my blog, and would like to ask my dear readers if Bear making would be something you would want to learn how to do?
My blog is mostly dedicated to knitting and crocheting, but perhaps it would be good to have some different stuff as well...please leave a comment if you are interested in this :)


Some other news...I am repainting the inside of the house, and will post some photos when it's all done!

Sweet dreams, folks!
♥Heidi

17 comments:

Karen Elisabeth said...

I would love to have a bear tutorial as well...

I love when I am able to give my daughter handmade toys!

springonthehorizon said...

I'd love to learn how to make a bear! My nanny made own for me as a child and I loved the look and feel to it. I still have it and think it's much more special than any other stuffed bear I had growing up.

Gale NoName said...

Please! Do the tutorial! Those bears are unbelievably gorgeous and I'd love to make one of a similar nature.

Barbara said...

I would love a teddy bear tutorial also!

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I think a teddy bear tutorial would be really great. I have a traditional-looking Teddy Bear that was given to me as a gift in Germany. So cute...and his name is Ole Brumm. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

linny said...

It's years since I made a bear, so a tutorial would almost certainly get me back into making them.
I also collect bears & have several Steiff bears(newer ones not oldies unfortunately) I would love a tutorial.
lyn.robyn.smith@gmail.com

Kathy said...

I would love to learn! Any kind of crafting and I'm in!! Just have to find a place to buy the supplies at..

Mereknits said...

Of course we would love to see a tutorial on bear making. You are so talented, and thoughtful for thinking about sharing your gift.
Meredith

Just Ming said...

Yes, would like to see a bear tutorial. Thank you.

Timi said...

I love bears :o)!

Helen said...

Yes, why not count me in!

Val + the Girls- BK +CK said...

Yes Please...!!!

AC said...

I don't know if I'd be brave enough to make one, but I'd love to see how you do it. They have so much expression in their faces, so lovely.

Laura said...

Yes, Yes, YES!!!! (said the vicar to the actress...) Definitely do a tutorial please!! I LOVE bears (hence I found your website) and would love to make one each for my boys ... well for me actually but they're a good excuse!! lol x

luvmyferretz said...

I would love to know how to make bears!!
Have you decided yet?

Donna Baker said...

I would love to learn how to make a bear--I adore them!!

Dana Snow said...

Yes I would love to learn how to make Teddy Bears. I have made then in the past and would love to be re inspired. Thank you for considering a tutorial on Teddy Bears. I look forward to seeing one in the future.