Friday, May 31, 2013

Rhubarb the Pig

Remember that Rhubarb dyeing I experimented with on the weekend? (you can see the finished coloured mohair below) .... well, I decided the colour was too perfect for a pig to make anything else.

So I set about designing a pig pattern.

Meet Rhubarb - the pig. I am in LOVE with this little guy. He just worked - and I really do feel very grateful when that happens. It saves so much time messing around making adjustments and alterations. I think it gives me a lot of confidence that I'm finally getting this 3D soft sculpture thing too!

Rhubarb stands in at about 9", and with his over-sized head and cute little nose, is just the kind of critter I'd like to keep for my own collection... but we put him up for adoption and he found a home immediately! lol.

I will probably try working with this pattern again, maybe in a not-so-real piggy colour to see how it comes up? I don't know if I'll be able to better Rhubarb though. There was just something about him!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Experimental mohair dyeing - using Rhubarb

I was chopping rhubarb for a couple of apple-rhubarb crumbles I was making yesterday when it occurred to me that there was a fair amount of colour staining coming from the skin on the stems. I decided to see if the colour from the rhubarb could be used to dye mohair (I've used brown and red onion skins successfully in the past, as well as beetroot and kool aid... so this was just another thing to have a play with!)

The crisp white mohair.

adding the rhubarb.

We also added a dash of vinegar to help set the dye (as it was a plant-based dye. When using berries apparently it's better to use salt)

After about 20mins bubbling away on the stove all the colour had leached out of the rhubarb .

You can see how yellow the rhubarb ended up! The liquid was a murky pinky colour.

The mohair didn't get quite as dark as the liquid, but it did soak up a pretty pastel pink tinge.

(at this point my crumble was ready to cook as well!) 

Even after rinsing it was still a really lovely pink. This is the fur still wet. We hung it to dry outside for 24hrs

This is the dry-result. Only a very pale colour, and not quite as 'clean' a pink as it looked when wet - but I still think this will work quite nicely for an antique looking bear, or even some cute little pigs? Stay tuned to see the final product! 

(and I had fully intended to take a cooked photo of the crumble... but we started eating it before I remembered to!) 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Two sets of Twins!

Normally we don't make more then one of the same bear. Mostly because I get bored easily. 

But lately I've been in the mood for twins!

These two are made in our black and chocolate kid mohair lines using our FREE pattern (see link on the upper left hand side of this blog). And I'm just in awe at how cute they've ended up. And how similar!

It's actually REALLY hard for me to get faces the same - even when using the same pattern and fur.

Jude 1 of 2 has found his new home, but the cutie shown below - Jude 2 of 2 is still available.

Then - to just flip over onto a whole other direction, we thought we'd do twin rainbow bears. 

These guys are also made using the FREE pattern. 

The differences are a little more obvious between bear 1 of 2, and bear 2 of 2 here  - mostly due to cutting the pieces from different areas of the hand-dyed quarter. One bear is mostly gold/yellow while the other has more blue/indigo. The faces are also both slightly different as well.

I've called this bear 'Orion', and both of the editions are currently available. So if you prefer one over the other (or if you want to keep the duo together) you get first choice!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Finishing a bear

I was recently contacted by a collector who had a partially finished bear she was wondering if I could complete for her. Her mum had been making this amazing hot pink sparkle bear for her before she passed away. The photo below shows how far her mum had gotten. The body was sewn and jointed - it was just some stuffing, a face, ears attached and head jointed to the body that needed doing.

It was a pleasure to be able to finish this gorgeous bear off. She had been so well made that my job was very easy. And the fur was just divine. These photos really don't do the colour justice.

We gave her a pair of our hand painted glass eyes in a violet/pink tone, and scissor sculptured big puffy cheeks. She really is a gorgeous bear, and it was such an honour to be able to give her the last little bit of life she needed, and to finish the work that sadly was unfinished.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another trio of bears - Sawyer, Eloise and Belarius

This little colour-ball came about after a collector asked if we could make one of our previous blue/purple tipped large bears in a smaller size. I knew we could, but also knew the look would change dramatically - but was curious to see this fur made up in our 10" Osias pattern, so whipped this boy up. We called him Sawyer, and while he wasn't adopted by the original collector (he was too different!), he quickly found a new home!

I had planned to offer some kits for Sawyer, but realised that I only had a small amount of the gorgeous cotton-print butterfly fabric used for his paw pads - so can only offer TWO! The kits are currently available in our etsy store until sold out.

Then, while we were on the roll of trying things for the hell of it, we thought we'd try using one of our plush lines to make a small-ish 9" bunny. Chubby Eloise is the result! I actually was SO motivated to make this girl that I started her (ie. got my pattern out and found a piece of this fur) at 9:30pm on friday night. She was completely finished - toes, shading, accessories, whiskers, seams closed etc, but 12:30am saturday morning. THREE HOURS! I have no idea how I managed that - I usually take at least 5 hours per critter.

I'm going to put it down to the gorgeous fur.

It is quite a silky/slippery pile to work with, but the trick i found was that if i made sure my seam allowances weren't stingy, i didn't have a problem. Stuff gently to give the softness of the pile a chance to really shine, and you'll end up with a gorgeous little plushie!

Eloise is currently available for adoption, and you can also purchase her pattern, her fabric (and her lollypop pendant!). We haven't made up kits for her yet because we're running seriously low on paw pad materials though! :P

And lastly, this big boy is 'Belarius'. He is another bear made up in one of our fabrics, just to see how it would work. The fur is 'Baby Owl' and is from our original import back in 2012. Surprisingly I hadn't used it on a bear like this yet. I wasn't sure how it would go being sculptured for the face - would it be too dark to see any detail, or would the cheeks be too full - but it worked beautifully and was a delight to play with! It's a long pile, but not over the top. And the length is quite uniform so you don't get wispy fly-away bits that tangle in your sewing thread.

Belarius is currently available for adoption. He will be a one of a kind, even though I did enjoy making him so much - I just have too many other ideas to try (and too little time to try them all!).

We don't have a kit for him either, as his pattern is one we haven't released yet. And may not ever release... it's one of my favourites. And a girl's gotta have some mystery! ;)