Now, I am not a bear person. I know many people who are, but I'm not one of them. But I do have to admit that sometimes than can be somewhat cute. SAGA, to which I belong, has a wonderful Wee Care project in which members make baby gowns for seriously ill infants. At the annual convention there is a big display of all the donated gowns, many of which are on bears. And they do look nice, especially since they are wearing such lovely embroidered gowns. But I am just not one of these people who get all gushy about stuffed bears. So I really surprised myself by signing up for a bear class at the last Beating around the Bush Needlework convention in Adelaide, South Australia, last October. Yes, I went to Australia! And what a fantastic place it was. But more about that in another post. I took a class called "Mother Bear and Baby" taught by Beth Allen. It was a one day class on the first day of the convention, and it really caught my eye.
Beth is an absolutely wonderful teacher. She gave us a kit with all of the fabric, felt and different DMC flosses, which were wrapped around cardboard bobbins with bear heads on them. She also provided the crocheted hat, handbag handle and knitting sample to go into Mother Bear's handbag. This was way too cute. And very inexpensive, as the kit cost only $30 AU. This was a real bargain, especially since the US dollar was down at that time (it's doing a bit better now, but not much - I monitor these things). One of my classmates was a bear enthusiast who took every class at the convention from Beth. She ended up making three bears, including this one.
This looks as though it is difficult, but in fact it was fairly easy. The felt pieces went together using a glove stitch, and the embroidery was for the most part fairly simple. The bullion roses would be a bit difficult if you are new to them, but I've been making them now for a few years, and enjoy them. Probably the hardest part was putting the Mother Bear's dress together, although starching and pressing the fabric made it easier to handle.
After I got back from Australia Inspirations #640 arrived, with another of Beth's bears. This was a tea cozy, and I decided that I just had to make it!
I made a few changes, using whatever materials I had on hand. The original pattern called for Colourstreams snowflake sequins, but I just used whatever beads I had on hand to make the flowers. I also substituted bullion roses for the cast on roses Beth recommends. Being somewhat lazy, I skipped making the purse w/ tea bag. According to the article, the cozy will fit a teapot 20 inches in circumference and 4 3/4 inches high. Mine is a bit bigger than that, so I adjusted the skirt to fit. As you can see, the fabrics nicely complement my china pattern. I may start looking through old Inspirations issues to find more of Beth's lovely projects to make.