Monday, 19 August 2013


It's been a long time since my last post.  I have just finished my study - at last - and will be going on holidays soon.  When we return home I will be able to pick up where I left off, with a bright new look, and fresh ideas and projects.

My Etsy shop will also be closed until the middle of October.  I'm looking forward to finally being able to spend some time on the things I love most, and hope to pick up some inspiration on my holiday.

See my travel blog to follow our adventure.

I can't wait to get started - speak to you soon!
Cheers, Jan

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Cross stitch

One of the other crafts that I love is cross stitch.  I love the way the image gradually takes shape, and appears on my fabric.  I also love a challenge, so my favourite pattern designer is Teresa Wentzler.  Her designs are so detailed, and her use of many colour combinations bring the pictures to life.

Castle Sampler

One of my best achievements is finishing this Castle Sampler.  It was a challenge, but very satisfying.  I have had bad experiences with framers in the past, so I completed a course, and framed this one myself.  I didn't want my many hours of stitching to be ruined.  It now hangs on my wall.  Please excuse the light reflections.

Another TW design, the Fruit and Floral Wreath (spring/summer) is my other favourite.  I have the pattern for the fall/winter wreath, but am extremely time poor these days, so can't see myself starting it any time soon.

Fruit and Floral Wreath

These designs have been discontinued now, but there are still some other designs available online.  The website is .  You will find some complimentary charts on the website, too, but please respect the copyright.  I will make some Christmas decorations out of these designs, which include some beading, eyelets and various other stitches. 

If you are looking for a less detailed, and therefore, quicker design, take a look at Donna Kooler's books.  I have made many decorations and gifts using her patterns.  She also has a website, with freebies -

I think this Christmas sampler is by Donna Kooler - the book was borrowed from the library some time ago - if it's not her design, it's typical of her style.  If I have given credit to the wrong person, please let me know, so I can correct my blog. 

I find myself very busy these days - family, part-time work, and now study, so unfortunately my teddy bear making has been pushed to the back burner.  Hopefully, I will have the next instalment of the bear making process in a few days!  I'll do my best!

Take care everyone, bye for now, Jan

Friday, 23 September 2011

Mini Bear making - Ladder stitch

At last I have some time for another post.  This time - Ladder Stitch.  After your bear parts are stuffed, it's time to close up the openings.  Ladder stitch is very secure and invisible, if done correctly.  I have used a contrasting colour thread so the stitches are visible in the picture, but of course I use a matching colour on actual bears.

The important things to remember are -
  • Stitches should be evenly spaced - one stitch length
  • They should be an even distance from the edge of the fabric
  • The rungs of the 'ladder' should be parallel to each other

Ladder Stitch

Start with a large knot in your thread - you don't want it to pull through when you tighten the stitches.

Take stitches from alternating sides of the opening, back and forth, until you reach the end.

Ladder Stitch 2

Try not to disturb the backing threads on the fabric too much, because this will weaken your seam.

Stitching complete

For larger bears, the seam is closed gradually, as you stitch, but in mini bears, there will be too much stress on the fabric. In any case, the opening is too small, so I prefer to close the seam after I have completed all the stitching.

The seam pinched and stitches pushed in

I pinch the limb firmly to take the stress off the seam, and use the side of the needle to push the stuffing, stitches and sides of the fabric into the limb.  While still pinching, I slowly, but firmly, pull up the stitching, until the seam is fully closed.

Closed seam

The picture shows the closed seam.  Even the dark thread is difficult to see.  Those last few stitches will disappear after I have tied the thread off, and buried the end inside the limb.

Just a quick word about stuffing.  Please don't use ginned cotton to stuff mini bears that will be string jointed - It is nearly impossible to get the needle through.  Even noses and eyes are difficult to attach if using cotton.

We're nearly there!  Next time, ears, eyes and noses. 

I promise to post sooner next time.  Happy Crafting!  Bye for now, Jan

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Organic Baby Socks

Hello to everyone.  I have discovered some beautiful certified 100% organic knitting yarn, that is just asking to be made into baby socks. 

Pale Sea Blue Baby Socks
This yarn is made from fine micron Australian Merino fleece, taken from sheep raised by organic growers who must use sustainable, low impact processes on their land and sheep, and cannot use any synthetic treatments.  No artificial chemical treatments may be used in the washing and processing of the wool, and it is dyed using low-impact metal free dyes.  It is even spun on machinery that has been cleaned to prevent non-organic fibre contamination.

Importantly, the wool comes from farms that do not practice mulesing.  This alone is enough reason for me to endorse the yarn.

Although the wool is not machine washable or moth proof, it has a natural, snugly, baby softness that is beautiful to work with, and to wear.

Pink and Blue Socks with teddy

My baby socks will fit a 3 month old - foot length 8cm (3 1/4 inches) 

Sock Features - hand crafted, very soft and snuggly organic merino wool, no uncomfortable inside seams, snug but stretchy ankles for stay-on-ability, simple and practical design, some with cute stripes. 

On my Etsy shop, I have just listed a few pairs in red and green stripes - Christmas is not far away!   More colours coming soon.

Christmas red and green baby sock with teddy

Please feel welcome to contact me for more information.
Bye for now, Jan

Thursday, 4 August 2011

More Bears from my Collection

The bear that was used in my logo is called Thomas.  I originally made him to sell, but he had a wonky leg.  I only sell bears that are as perfect as I can make them.  I keep the others, and sometimes make them into patterns.  I had more of the mohair, so I made a smaller version.  Both have wobble neck joints which allows them to be posed in different ways.  Thomas is 23cm (9") tall, and Tommy is 18cm (7") tall.  They look like a father and son, and enjoy each others company. 

Thomas and Tommy
I used Schulte Antique Sparse Mohair in the Burnt Gold colour, that I bought from Gerry's Teddy and Craft Designs some years ago.  The reference number is AspG24.  I have bought some more of this fabric since then, but the new mohair does not have the lovely rich golden colour.  There has been a lot of interest in these bears, so if anyone knows where I can get this fabric, in it's original colour, I would be very interested.

Gerry had a bear making challenge about 7 years ago, before I started selling my bears.  I entered 5 bears, and was awarded 5 blue ribbons.  One of my bears, Sarah, also won the 'Best in Section' rosette.

All her clothing and accessories were also made by me.  I remember being very proud of her standing on the display with her rosette.  I won a Merrythought bear with another of my entries, so over all, a very successful day for me.  The feedback alone is invaluable, and a great boost to the confidence! 

Cheers, Jan

Mini Bear making - all stitched up

My first micro mini teddy bear was made about 9 years ago.  I've called him Teeny Ted.  I made him without magnification so some of the stitching is visible, although he's is so small you still have to look closely.   Teeny Ted is about 2.5cm (1 inch) tall, and made from a very short pile, paw pad fabric.  I didn't have access to all the other lush plush that is available these days.

Teeny Ted sitting on a Doll's House table
I still have some of the fabric, and I like the teddy yellow colour, so I am making another one.  These pictures show the pieces all stitched up, and then turned through, next to my thimble. 

The little ted's parts are not stuffed or jointed yet - that will be in my next bear making post.

Thanks for your interest, Bye for now, Jan

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Mini Bear making - Back stitch

My mini bears are best sewn together using back stitch, in the stabbing method.  This means that the upward stitch is made first, and then followed by the downward stitch - not down and up in the same stitch.  This method is a bit slower, but the result is a firmer, stronger seam that can withstand some pressure during the turning and stuffing process, and enables you to sew smaller stitches.

I hope  my photos can demonstrate this clearly. 

Come up, one stitch length away from the
previous stitch

Take needle back down again
 where the previous stitches end.

The backing threads on the fabric are a good guide to keep your stitches the same length, and the same distance from the edge.

The following picture shows the method of back stitch used on surface embroidery.

Traditional back stitch

I have stitched some felt together using both methods in a contrasting colour thread-
The stabbing version on the left and traditional back stitch on the right. 

Notice the difference when the fabric is stretched open - this happens during the stuffing process.  I highly recommend the stabbing method for best results - you want your bear to look his best!

The next post will show a mini bear all stitched up and turned.
Cheers, Jan

P.S.  I'm not sure what happened to the colour in my last photos!  I might need to talk nicely to my camera for the next pics.

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