Tag Archives: bear

What If?

Sometimes when I’m working on a particularly slog-y project, I start playing “What If” with my knitting.  (When I was an office drone I also played “What If” with my job.  What if I was a barista?  What if I started working for the postal service?  What if I went back to school?)

I’ve been thinking “What If” I didn’t have to finish the Vampire project?  What would I be doing instead?

And, since my calculations tell me that I’ve got a little over a week left before I finish (assuming I haven’t made any major mistakes/don’t have to rip back the whole thing/am able to stay on schedule), it’s just about time to start thinking about the next thing I’m going to do.

First, I think I’m going to finish up my Papaya Sweater.  It’s been sitting, abandoned, on an end table in my studio for more than a month now.  Poor thing.  I’m really looking forward to getting it finished.  (And I’m really looking forward to a simple project that doesn’t involve any cables.)I’ll probably work up a handful more Christmas Balls, or at least take some time away from actual knitting to finish up the ones I’ve already knit.  I’ve got a stack that still need to be stuffed, and almost all of them need their tails woven in and their hangers added.  (I feel like “hangers” isn’t quite right, but I can’t think of the right word.  I mean the dangly loop they’ll hang on the tree from.)I also need to spend a weekend finishing up my Mother Bears before the end of the year.  I’ve got 4.5 bears that need to be stuffed and assembled, plus another 6 more that need their faces sewn on.  Maybe that’ll be a Christmas Vacation project?And, I think I want to do something new, something fun, and something that uses up some of the yarn I’ve already got in my stash.  Maybe a new pair of socks, or some sort of shawl that uses the last few mini-skeins of fancy yarn I got last year for Christmas.  Options!What are you working on now?

Mother Bear Update

So, I’m not doing a great job with my New Year’s Resolution to complete one mother bear every month this year.  So far my MO has been to do nothing with my bears for a good three or four months, then panic and knit up a bunch of bears in a weekend.

And this month has been no different.

I spent last weekend sewing up the half-dozen bears I had knit and stuffed back in June, and the first half of this week has been focused on knitting up three more bear bodies (I still owe an arm and a half to finish my September bear).

None of my bears have faces yet, but that’s OK.  I’m currently planning on doing all the faces in one fell swoop over the holidays.  That seems like a nice Chrismassy activity- sewing faces onto charity teddy bears while listening to Christmas carols and munching on gingerbread.  It feels very much like something out of a book from the 1940s.

Have you been making any Mother Bears?  Or are you busy doing other charity knitting?

Too Many Bears

Oof.

These bears are going to be the death of me.  There’s just so many!

I thought I’d done this before, but I must not have made this many all at once.  Because stuffing and finishing six bears takes. For. Ev. Er.

I put on a nice long movie last night and sat down with my box of bears and a big bag of fluff.  I figured two and a half, maybe three hours would be plenty to get all the bears put together- maybe even enough to put on faces.

Well.  I was wrong

It literally took TWO HOURS to stuff all six bears- I didn’t even get to start sewing them up during that time.So now I have a big box of bears/bear arms with stuffing popping out the tops.  (It’s actually kind of morbid… like I can see the bears’ brains!  Zombie bears!  Aah!)

It took another half hour to sew up one bear- closing the top of the head, attaching the arms and making the neck.  That means I’ve got another two-plus hours of work ahead of me before I even start sewing on faces.  Ugh!

I wish I could just send in the un-stuffed bears to the Mother Bear Project and have them finish them up.  I could make so many more bears that way!  (Although, then the Mother Bear folks would have to spend all their time stuffing them… They probably have better things to be doing.)

Have you been working on anything lately that’s taken longer than expected?

Bare Bears

It’s been a minute since I talked about my bears!

And… that’s mostly because I have kind of been slacking…

Well, not slacking exactly, but getting busy with other things, so I haven’t been working on my bears as much as I had hoped to.

If you remember, I resolved to make one bear every month, so that I would end up with a nice even dozen to send in at the end of the year.  So far, unfortunately, I’ve more or less been doing one bear every other month, then three bears last week when I realized how far behind I was.

So, at least now I’ve got six bears all knit up (except for one arm, but I’ll take care of that this afternoon) and ready for stuffing.

It feels good to be more or less back on schedule.  Unfortunately, now I’ve got to do all the finishing still…

I guess it’s time for a good TV binge-watch and marathon stuffing/arm attaching/face embroidering session this evening.  Oh, but they’ll be so cute when they’re done!

Are you making any Mother Bears?  How many have you got going this year?

Bears in the Air!

It’s time.

(OK, actually I had meant to take these guys to the post office before Christmas… but the post office at Christmas should be avoided at all costs, so I procrastinated like a champ.)

It’s time for my bears to get all packed up and head up north, then to be sent out to all the corners of the world to meet up with their kids.

I’ve managed to finish 11 bears this year, all with leftover yarn and sweet little (grumpy) faces made out of felt.  I’ve tied the little tags onto their wrists, and they’re packed up snug to fly to Mother Bear HQ in Minnesota.img_4480Once they get there, I’ll keep my eye out on their photo gallery to see if I can spot these little guys when they finally get where they’re going.img_4493Now I have to find another box and start making more bears for next year!

Bears (Almost) in the Air

I’ve got bears coming out of my ears over here!

I spent the weekend finishing up about one million bears.  (OK, it was 4 bears, and I’m not totally done yet.  A few of them still need faces.)

I  was up to my elbows in stuffing, and my couch is covered in little bits of leftover yarn from weaving in all those ends.img_4455That’s the problem with knitting up a bunch of bears at once to “finish later.”  It seems like a great idea as the bears pile up.  But, then you have to spend six hours stuffing and seaming, which I do not love doing.

And this morning I’m putting on faces.  Cute little faces with bits of felt and embroidery floss.  I’m dozens of bears in, and I still can’t figure out how to make a non-grumpy bear.  Oh well, what can you do?  They’re still pretty cute.img_4438When these guys are finished, I think my bear box will be full and ready to send off.  I’ll be sad to see them go, but happy knowing they’re going to be well appreciated.

Have you been making any bears? I’d love to see yours, too!

Christmas Bears

Phew!

My goal was to finish my Christmas knitting this weekend, and after a weekend-long knitting marathon, I did just that.  Barely.  I may have been up on Sunday night until 11:00 weaving in ends and blocking.  And the last piece of knitting might still be quite damp, and sitting in front of a heater with a fan blowing on it (behind closed doors so that Ollie won’t decide to take a nap on it).  But, other than that- everything is done!

And that means one thing:

It’s bear time again!

My goal was to make at least 10 bears this winter, and I’ve been so busy with presents for my family, my bears have been neglected until now- I think I have 8 or so in my bear box in the closet. (What? You don’t have a bear box in your closet?)  So, I’ve got to get cranking.

Luckily, since I just finished up my Christmas knitting, I’ve got lots of half-skeins of yarn laying around, perfect for making bears.  And, sure, you could use whatever worsted weight yarn you have at hand, but I like using Knit Pick’s Swish Worsted.  It’s pretty inexpensive (especially if you wait for one of Knit Pick’s big sales), it comes in a ton of colors, it’s lovely and soft, yet is surprisingly strong and washable.  Also, I happen to have a bunch hanging out in my stash.

This morning I got on a roll, and I worked up this grey bear (with a pink top and purple pants) from the top of his head, almost to the leg split.  (That’s why this post is up a little later than usual- I got distracted.  Also, the couch was very comfy.) img_4381

How have your bears been coming along?  Have you been using up your leftover Christmas yarn, too?

Pattern: Bunny and Bear

Last week, I told you about the kids I teach in my knitting class.  They are all doing an amazing job, and they all like making different things.  Some want to make tiny little projects they can finish in a day, some want to spend weeks working on a single item.  Some only want to make garments for themselves, and some make garments for their stuffed animals.

But all kids love a new stuffed animal. (Or “stuffie” as my students say.  Is that a regional thing?  Or is it a generational thing.  I never called them “stuffies” when I was a kid.”

So, I designed a pattern for two new stuffies, a bear and a bunny, that is easy enough for even an early beginner knitter.  img_3474These two little guys are totally adorable (if I say so myself), and are made without any shaping, purling or other “complicated” knitting.  If you can knit garter stitch, you can make yourself a new little friend.  And, I’ve included step-by-step instructions, including pictures!img_3442But, I think my favorite part of this pair is their tiny little tails!  (The bunny has a teeny pompom and the bear has an even tinier little nubbin.  Adorable!)img_3489Are you a very beginning knitter looking to make something more fun than a potholder or a scarf?  Do you have a kid itching to take up needles and yarn?  Give these two a try!

bunny-and-bear

Bears

Well, after this week, I think it’s a good idea to do something nice for someone else.  I always feel a bit better when I have work to do, and when it’s  adorable work to help cheer up adorable kids, it’s even better.

So, this morning, I drank my tea and did the finishing touches on my two newest bears for the Mother Bear Project. (I had knit them up already- I’m not that fast!)

I love the color of this guy’s sweater- it’s even prettier in person.  A dark red heathered yarn, with shades of ruby and garnet.  Gorgeous.  It almost makes up for how cross-eyed he looks. (I’ll just pretend that the cross-eyed-ness gives him character.)img_3769And this guy is ready for summer, with his T-shirt and stripey shorts (and scarf, for some reason).  The shorts and T were because I was using up the last little bits of my yarn, but he actually ended up pretty cute.img_3774And, I found out that the MBP posts pictures of all the kids with their new bears, so you can go back and look for the bears you made with their new owners.  I found a couple of mine!  Super exciting.

Have you made a bear?  Join me!

Let’s Do This- Again!

It’s two months until Christmas (sorry to keep mentioning it), and there’s something I want to do.   Let’s do another (very informal) Mother Bear drive!

Last year I made and sent a half-dozen bears for the Mother Bear Project.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you missed it or forgot, the Mother Bear Project collects hand-made (knit or crocheted) teddy bears and delivers them to children living in emerging nations whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS.  It’s a great foundation with a simple message that I think all knitters can understand: sending comfort and love through the gift of something handmade.

(Plus, the bears are crazy cute, easy to make, and a great way to use up leftover bits of yarn.)sizeI’ve made 7 more bears since last Christmas, and I’d like to make another 3 before I send them to Mother Bear HQ this Christmas (to make a round 10).

Will you join me on this bear-making adventure?  Will you pledge to make a bear (or 2 or 3)?  Even one bear can make a big difference in these kids’ lives and let them know someone is thinking about them.

How many bears will you make?