Saturday, 28 April 2012

Otto- the using up bear

Otto -who could have been Moto, Toto or Michael Henry ( long story) is as i said above a using up bear.
He was made out of some remaining scraps of a mohair, a couple of eyes i ordered by accident and his scarf from the last of a ball.
It always makes me feel good using things up , getting as much as a i can from the last remaining bits of mohair, partly because it's so dear, and partly as I hate wasting things. ( Same with food) It always makes me feel very frugal and like I'm saving money, which is ridiculous as just because it wasn't bought this year, doesn't mean I didn't spend the money on it.

Otto by the way has a good sense of humour , likes table soccer, paw wrestling and anything to do with brownies, Funnily he reminds me a bit of Moby ( ?) even though he's a completely different sort of bear and completely different colours. I think perhaps its the slightly large upturned nose, that makes them both look as if they like to smell flowers and nature smells in the air.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


 a couple of weeks ago a lovely lady asked me to make a bear for her upcoming little bears 1st birthday.
She was after a Wally or Egbert, and when I had neither, but asked her which one she would prefer so I could make them for her, she gave me the dream answer- " Make whatever bear you feel needs to be made"
Not quite being able to quite believe, or fathom the freedoms this meant and kept to the bears she asked for.  I started on a bear like Wally, but something about the first head bothered me around the left eye, and then when I adjusted the pattern I felt the nose was too wide. SO I started to make a bear like Egbert  - thinking perhaps if I made her both of the ones she asked and gave her a choice it would be best.

But in the meantime before had i received the order, I'd started on this little white bear head. And while I was working on the two bears mentioned above, I also just couldn't leave this head alone. I felt it really had something, and was feeling less inspired or in the mood for the bears above. I kept getting completely distracted by whitey , and  I was feeling that this little -at that point earless-bear head was the bear that I felt needed to be made.
So I posted a pic of white head on instagram and hoping she might see him, and then I would know where to go from here.
Luckily she did ( and as it turned out was hoping he was the bear for her littlie) so it all worked out perfectly. And Snoot was born.

for more creative spaces....

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Never say never

I honestly never thought I would knit again . I gave away most of my knitting needles ( something I do not regret - hear that Kate?!) and only kept a couple of pairs just in case.
Once I discovered crochet, there was no turning back for me. Knitting had been lovely but crochet was a different story altogether - love at first hook. My yarn craft of choice.
And crochet suits/suited much more my passion for making toys, with the whole amigurumi thing, the tubes and the circles , and no horrible sewing up that knitting and knitted toys always brought. That almost took away the entire pleasure of making as I was so bad at it.
So I did not knit for 10 years, my only use for a knitting needle in those ten years as a stuffing stick for tiny limbs when I couldn't find a chopstick.
But then suddenly, recently I began to get the desire to make some clothes for some of my mohair bears.
And while crochet makes far more sense in actual toy and animals, knitting makes more sense in terms of clothing. For me at least.
To be crochet clothes not have the same effect or look that knitted ones do, or maybe it's my brain cannot think of crochet in terms of clothes, but can easily for knitting I don't know.
So last week I picked up my knitting needles and with a simple pattern I started.
Things I love about knitting.
How after 10 years i had not forgotten a thing, the symbols, the signs, how to increase , cast off , cast on etc.
How after all this time with not doing it my tension hadn't gone back to beginners standard, and was well pretty reasonable.
How easily i feel back into the rthymn of it.
How even after using a simple pattern all my knowledge and rememberings of how to make my own patterns returned.
And how it really is the perfect craft for watching the footy.

Things I didn't love so much ( and only remembered as I started)
how if you make a mistake it's much harder to see it ( for at least) and much more of a pain to undo as you basically have to un knit each bit til you find the bad spot. where as with crochet I find it much easier to see, and easier to unrip without losing stitches.
How it can be a little awkward at times on public transport elbowing people while you knit.
How easily it is for all those 30 or so stitches to come off your needles and how hard it is to rethread them.
And of course the dreaded sewing up.

So don't worry for a moment , I've not abandoned my beloved crochet. But I'm happy not to be one or the other . Using which one suits my purpose or desired outcome best.
 so my advice , never say never or at least be open to an old friend coming back in a new form.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Teddy Bear....

Teddy bear, Teddy Bear,

Turn around

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear touch the ground

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear tie your shoe

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear that will do.

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear go upstairs

teddy bear teddy Bear say your prayers

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear turn out the light

TEddy Bear Teddy bear say goodnight.

for more grown up spaces ...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Jess McCaughey's rules of bear making ( that i constantly break)

1. Do not start to obsess or work on a bear head ( especially eyes and nose and ear placement ) late at night, this causes for many a late night and little sleep, and mondo regetso the next morning.

2. DO not obsess/check bear head first thing in the morning as bears and bear heads like their maker never are at their best first thing in the morning. And is only cause for much angst and wobbles which even within an hour they are looking altogether a different ( and much better bear)

3. Do not check/obsess over/start to work on bear head or bear with five minutes to go before having to leave work or head out the door to something "important" , this leaves for much rushing and panic and late arriving.

4. Do not travel with bear in progress which is still in bits ( especially the head, if you are pretty happy with it) as things go missing on public transport and bear heads aren't often turned into at lost and found. Also to save self embarrassment of having to ring lost and found enquiring for lost bear head.

Are we sensing some sort of pattern here?
i think so.
Constantly set, constantly broken.
Rules are made to be broken right?
PS this was written in an attempt to stop myself from #1.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My creative space

You know me, i always love making bears, but there is something particularly special or lovely about making a bear for someone you know, care about or love.
Do you know what i mean? it's like you can put extra special love into it, although I that makes it sound like I don't usually, which I do, but it's a different sort of care. I don't know i'm not explaining it well
This guy is for someone a lovely friend, whose been waiting for her right moment for him for a while and now all of a sudden she can no longer be Dougless ( no pun intended) I do hope she feels he was worth the wait.
Sorry I haven't been around much of late, I hope to remedy that soon.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

My creative space

Like alot of people I'm also an Instagram lover, I love the ease and fun of it, that's it's somehow more personal or intimate than Twitter ( and easier for us non witty funny types) in keeping in touch with or being in touch with friends and like minded souls.
I also love that through it like blogging i've met some great new people. But this isn't actually really a post about Instagram- even though it sort of is.
In my shop on etsy i have a handfull of very special customers, who I haven't met ever, aren't bloggers aren't friend but are regular adopters of my guys. They are more than customers but not friends. I always get a thrill when someone wants one of my guys, but when they come back again and again, it's pretty damn special.
And these people are just lovely as well as that. Anyway somehow someway two of my specials "customers" Claire and Hayley found me on etsy - " is that you Jess of teddybearswednesday???? etc" and as you can imagine i pretty excited too " is that special Hayley from etsy???"
And then it got even better. A couple of days ago Claire asked me if I could make something special for her dear sister HAYLEY!! Yep two of my specials not only knew each other but are sisters.
Ok perhaps its a bit daggy, but I love it when worlds come together in nice ways and things happen like this.
SO anyway the Polar above is for Claire for Hayley. Claire wanted a girl polar with perhaps a pink or green scarf so I made both . Though you know for me it's still a boy polar in a pink scarf, but I'm a bit sexist when it comes to bears, and who knows I could be wrong as sometimes I don't even know what sex my creations are.

For more sane creative spaces.....