I am excited to be participating in the Teddybear Extravaganza Online Show, which will run March 21 - 23. There will be 75 international bear artists participating.
Here is Remy, my preview bear. He is a OOAK (one of a kind) 6 1/4" tall jointed bear and is made of Schulte mohair that I hand dyed. You can vote for him or any of the other preview bears as your favorite here.
Emaline, a new Ellifolks miniature mohair teddy bear is now in my Etsy shop. Emaline is 2 1/2" tall. She is wearing a handmade skirt of lace trim and a bead necklace of vintage glass beads. She has a peach-colored vintage millinery flower by her ear.
She is all hand stitched, and I dyed and shaded her red mohair. You can see her here.
Wookie, a whimsical mohair panda in now in my Etsy shop. Wookie is made of sparse hand-dyed mohairs. He has one glass eye bordered with a wool felt flower and one orange vintage button eye ringed with a red embroidered circle. He is about 4 3/4" tall and is wearing a linen cord collar with a rusty jingle bell.
You can see Wookie here. Please come visit if you get a chance. Wookie has been adopted.
I have added my new little Sullivan, a hand dyed and hand shaded miniature mohair bear, to my Etsy shop. Sullivan is 3 1/4" tall and is dyed a pretty ochre color. He is made of a sparse Schulte German mohair with hand shaded detailing.
Sullivan has big brown glass eyes and a distressed grey-blue silk ribbon scarf. He would love for you to visit him on his Etsy page here.
I have added a new bear and bunny to my Etsy shop. They would love for you to come visit. :)
Sadie is a 6 3/4" hand dyed and hand shaded mohair bear with glass eyes and embroidered nose, mouth, and claws. Sadie is wearing a vintage rayon ribbon headband. She is made of an aged, sparse Schulte German mohair that I dyed a dusty rose color. You can visit her here.
Olivia is a 7 " hand-dyed wool bunny with glass eyes and embroidered nose. She is made of a lovely short Schulte German wool that I dyed a nice tangerine shade.
She has long, curly whiskers and is wearing a vintage flower by her ear. She can stand by herself. You can visit her here.
Here are two new critters, works-in-progress. The first is a hand-dyed mohair teddy being stuffed with excelsior.
And here is a hand-dyed wool rabbit that I have pinned together to get a better idea of how it will look when finished. I have eyes temporarily placed and am trying out nose thread colors.
It's so much fun when the pieces get to the place where their personality begins to show through. :)
I have just added Poof, a hand-dyed mohair elephant to my Etsy shop. She is 7 1/2" high and is holding a vintage fabric viola with her trunk. She has glass eyes and is stuffed with excelsior and cotton batting. She is wearing a collar made of vintage lace and a skirt, also of vintage lace. You can visit her here.
I have listed Gregory, a 9" primitive-style mohair bear in my Etsy shop. He is hand-dyed and shaded with glass eyes, embroidered nose, mouth, and claws of pearl cotton and is stuffed with a mixture of excelsior and cotton batting. You can visit him here. Gregory has been sold.
I have also listed Brioche, a sweet fluffy 7 1/2" mohair panda bear in my Etsy shop. He is hand-dyed and shaded ith glass eyes, embroidered nose, mouth, and claws of pearl cotton and is stuffed with a mixture of excelsior and cotton batting. He is wearing a vintage cotton lace ribbon scarf. You can visit him here.
For the Studio Shots - Tuesday this week, I am showing some of my bear collection that lives on a shelf of my computer desk.
Here is my computer desk with the teddys on the top shelf. At the top of the shelf unit, I have five bears, an elephant, and a dog. The two animals on the right are a bear and a dog I made as samples for classes I taught. The others are artist bears and an artist elephant from my small bear collection. I bought them at bear shows before my now teenage daughter was born.
Here they are from left to right:
This is a mohair elephant by Steve Van Houten. He has hand painted details and feels wonderful to hold.
The second bear is "Artic Bear", a mohair bear by Clare and Matt Herz. I love his pointy snout.
The smallest bear is hand-dyed llama by Grandma Lynn (Lynn Lumly). She has clay flowers on her chest, hat, and purse. She also has an embroidered rose on one foot.
The white polar bear is Clara, a limited edition by Linda Spiegel-Lohre of Bearly There Company. She is wearing a ruffled felt collar.
Irma is an "old-fashioned type humpback bear" by Louise of Bear Witness. She is made from an old coat lining and has shoe button eyes.
The last two critters are the ones I made as class samples. The crocheted bear was made as a sample for the Creative Crochet class I taught at our homeschool co-op. In the class, the girls learned how to do basic and fancy stitches, do shaping, and create three-dimensional shapes. Suzy has a blue dress that is incorporated into her body. The top of the dress is part of her actual body, and the skirt and sleeves are crocheted to come away from the body.
Riina is a sock-dog that was made as a sample for the Renegade Sewing class that I also taught at our homeschool co-op. She was based on a design from a Japanese Craft book about sewing animals from gloves and socks. You can read more about her here.
I finished three new bears. All were hand-dyed .
Thibaut is a dusty purple mohair bear. He has a traditional, vintage feel with shaded and distressed fur and a collar of rusty jingle bells.
Isabel is a deep orange mohair and is wearing a handmade lace collar and a flowered head band.
Here is Ruthie Ann, a miniature mohair panda (2 3/4"). She is hand-dyed and shaded. Ruthie Ann is wearing a lace skirt and has a cotton floss bow by her ear. I sewed Ruthie Ann by hand while we were on vacation.
While working in the studio today, I started seeing photo compositions of various objects that struck me as funny or just interesting. I ran and got my camera and quickly shot them so I would have a record of the images. Makes me think I'll start taking my camera around more when I go out.
Hangry Dal doll
Teddy w.i.p. - in baggie
Assortment of mohair pieces from mohair gift rolled up to go into supply closet
Micro doll sneakers
Teddy leg w.i.p. with alligator clip toes
- Mohair - fabric rectangle, cut pattern pieces, or cut and sewn pattern pieces
- White vinegar
- Casserole or microwave-safe bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Rubber gloves
- Plastic Wrap
- Paper towls
- Plastic drop cloth - optional
Please note - any containers and utensils used with dyes, even Kool-Aid should not be used for food. Fabrics or yarns may also have chemicals that shouldn't be ingested.
Here are the steps I take to do the dyeing for smallish bears, 10" tall and less.
1. Lay plastic wrap on counter. I also cover floor with plastic drop cloth to protect it from dye.
2. Prepare the mohair:
A. Piece of uncut mohair large enough for all pattern pieces - You can dye enough yardage for your project by laying out the pattern pieces on the mohair, then cutting out a shape that is big enough to incorporate all the pieces.
B. Cut out mohair pattern pieces - You can cut out the individual pieces for the pattern and dye them.
C. Sewn but unstuffed mohair pattern pieces - You can cut out and sew - but don't stuff before dyeing! - the individual pieces for the pattern and then dye them. This will give the seams a little extra darkness which can be nice.
2. Fill a large microwave-safe bowl with hot water. I use a casserole.
3. Put the mohair fabric or cut pattern pieces into the water. Stir with a spoon, and let the mohair sit a few minutes to absorb the water.
4. Take the mohair out of the water and set aside.
5. Open and pour out 1 to 2 pagkages of Kool-Aid into the water-filled bowl. Stir to distribute dye evenly. I am using one package here because I am only dyeing a few small pieces.
6. Add 2 tbs. to 1/4 c. white vinegar. I used 2 tbs. here because I don't have a lot of water. Stir.
7. Put the mohair back into the bowl and stir again.
8. Cover casserole with plastic wrap, leaving a small opening to release any steam. Put bowl into microwave and microwave for 2 minutes.
Here is mohair in Koolaid dye bath after dyeing:
9. Take out a piece and check the color. Note - I'm wearing rubber gloves for this.
Wool felt dyed in Kool-Aid:
10. If you want a darker color, repeat the cooking for another 2 minutes. Then check mohair again. I repeat this until I get the desired color. Remember, the mohair will dry a little lighter than it looks wet. Some colors are stronger than others, so the first time you dye with a color, it is good to be conservative with the time, checking often so the color doesn't get too dark.
11. When mohair is desired color, remove it from bowl and rinse until water is clear. I then wash gently by hand with dish soap or Woolite.
Washing mohair after dyeing:
12. Cover plastic wrap with paper towels and lay mohair on top to dry.
Photo below shows: mohair drying on paper towel - The sewn pieces are a deeper shade because they were beige before dyeing. I also microwaved them twice. The cut pieces were white before dyeing.
I found that the wool felt I used took longer than the mohair to absorb the water well, and also took longer to reach the desired shade.
You do not have to start with a white or cream colored mohair. Medium shades will look beautiful over-dyed, too. You can add more than one color of Kool-Aid into the same dye water in order to expand the range of possible colors. You can also dye a color, then overdye with a different color.
Have fun experimenting!
Here is Henry with his aviator hat and boots. He is a 4 3/4" panda (6 1/2" with his hat and boots on). He is made of German mohair, a short beige mohair for his head and body and a bluish grey slightly longer mohair for his arms, legs, and ears. I hand-dyed and distressed him for a well-loved look. His hat and boots are 100% wool felt. His hat has wool yarn trim and cotton floss tassels. His boots have a vintage glass bead embellishment. I especially loved doing the distressing and detailing, and designing and making the accessories. Henry is now living in his new home in France.
I have listed Sylvie with Dolly in my Etsy shop. She is made of a sparse champagne beige German mohair that I hand shaded. I made her silk hand-dyed ribbon flower with vintage stamens which she wears over one ear. She is 7 1/2''.
I designed and sewed her dress and undies.
I needlefelted Dolly out of cream wool. She has red and blue wool details for her face and shoes and red wool hair. She is 1 3/4'' and wears a cotton lace dress with tiny glass bead accents.
I hope you can come visit!
I just listed Celie in White Linen Dress in my Etsy shop. She is made of a soft, beige German mohair that I hand shaded. Her dress is handmade of handkerchief linen. She is also wearing an antiqued copper necklace that I made with two handmade charm pendants, one of fine silver and the other a vintage mother of pearl button. She is 8 1/2" tall.
I hope you can come visit!
I have just listed Merilotte with Elliphant in my Etsy shop. Little Merilotte holds a special place in my heart as she was hand sewn in our Paris hotel room in the early mornings of our European trip. When we got home, I decided she needed a companion and created Elliphant. Merilotte is made of a soft dusty pinky peach German mohair that I hand shaded. I made her a sterling silver chain necklace with a freshwater pearl pendant. She is cotter-pin jointed and is 2 3/4" tall.
Elliphant is a patchwork wool elephant with a vintage brass bell around her neck and little freshwater pearls on the ends of her reins. She has thread-jointed legs and is 2 1/2" tall.
I hope you can come visit them.
Mohair momma bird Beratrice and her two sons,Lloyd, and Flit, are now available in my new Etsy shop. The design for Beratrice was taken from one of my computer doodles. I had a lot of fun designing and making her little hat. I draped felt into the shape I wanted and made a pattern from that. I used woven wool fabric for the hat that had been felted and stitched the hat by hand. The little flower on a stalk is a combination of wool felt and woven cotton and has a vintage stamen.
Well, here are some works in progress. The first little teddy made of the the softest, yummy German Schulte mohair is waiting for his stainless steel shot tummy ( in a little muslin bag). I had to redo the little tummy bag for a shape that gives him better balance for sitting nicely. The rest of his body will be stuffed with excelsior and cotton batting. He also still needs to have his paws trimmed and his claws embroidered. He does have ears -- but, they don't show well from the angle I shot the photo.
And here is a sweet little kitty made of a sparse, matted German Helmbold mohair. I hand painted her glass eyes, and she is waiting for them to be sewn in (and have her head jointed to the body!) Her tail will be wired and sewn on also and her claws embroidered. Her arms are wired for holding things and her ears are hand-shaded wool felt.
Mohair -- I love the stuff! It's the fleece from Angora goats, sheared like sheep's wool. In another life, it was my favorite fiber for spinning, my favorite hair for dolls, and now I use mohair fabric for my bears and critters. It is soft, fluffy, stiff, matted, long, short, curly, straight, dense, sparse. Like most bear artists, I have a stash of it. (A big stash) I have found that it's not the easiest thing to store, as the fabric is wide, takes on creases where it is folded, and has a pile that I don't want to crush. My mohair is stored on a shelf in my studio closet, each piece rolled (nap outward) into a tube.
When I go to select a piece of mohair for a project, I usually have an image in my mind of what I want to make and have sketched a drawing for reference. I go into my studio closet and start pulling out pieces I think might work well for the design. Soon the floor is covered in various shades of mohair. Then I take 3 to 4 pieces to my work table where I play with and manipulate them into semblences of three- dimensional shapes. I want to see how they react to being curved and bent, how the pile moves and changes, and if the base fabric is visible when the fabric is curved, do I like the effect. I pick one, but the others may be tucked into the back of my mind as possibilities for future projects.