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Knitted teddy

Making teddy bears is one of my favourite crafty projects – I’ve sewn them (see this bear), knitted loads of them and I’m currently working on a crocheted bear (I’ll post again as soon as he’s finished).

I’d never made any toys or teddy bears before 2009. That was the year my eldest niece Jenny was born. At the time, I was working for a knitting magazine in Bristol and a few months before she arrived into the world, we had an adorable teddy bear pattern in the magazine – as soon as I saw it, I just knew I had to make him for our special little unborn baby.

Jenny's teddy

Jenny’s teddy

She still has this teddy (although he’s a little worse for wear nowadays!) and she called him ‘Eddy Teddy’. Making this teddy sparked a wave of knitting teddies for people and I can’t remember how many I made!

Of course, I made another teddy just like Eddy, for my youngest niece, Beth, and she called him Jacob. Although he wasn’t the original, special teddy, there were a vast number of improvements made for the mark 2 version (since I’d learned so much in the meantime) so he’s standing the test of time much better!

Anyway, I’m reminded of all this because I recently found some photos of Eddy Teddy from 2009, which I thought I’d lost. Back then, I didn’t often take photos of my makes, but because he was so special, I asked my photographer other half Jonny to take some photos of Eddy Teddy. This is what he emailed to me:

Photoshoot is going well… wait, I'm not done yet!

Photoshoot is going well… wait, I’m not done yet!

Where are you off to, little bear?

Where are you off to, little bear?

No, stop!

No, stop!

Bye! I'm really sorry, he was too fast… At least we have the photos.

Bye! Sorry, he was too fast… At least we have the photos.

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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Knitting

 

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Teddy bear

Given the royal baby news that’s been everywhere this week, I thought it was time to share some teddy bear news with you.

You might remember my previous post about Hug Me Bear, my beloved childhood teddy. Here he is:

Hug Me

Hug Me

Well, I’ve been working on sewing my own version. It’s been quite difficult, given that original Hug Me was obviously made from printed fabric, so all his features are detailed and quite life-like.

So I decided that my new teddy bear would be more of an homage to Hug Me rather than a replica – a cute bear that would be soft and hug-able for a little one. Here he is:

Teddy bear © Becky Skuse

Teddy bear © Becky Skuse

For various reasons, he’s turned out a little wonky in places! (But I’m hoping that just adds character?)

For his body, I used a lovely, soft fleecey fabric in chocolate brown (it was actually the last bits remaining after I made this pet bed for my cat).

For the appliqué patches, I used some small fabric scraps left over from cutting up an old pashmina for another project. Note to self for next time though: this fabric was gorgeously soft for small children, but totally wrong for appliqué! It started fraying away the instant I finished zig-zagging around the edges. I had to do some pretty delicate and emotional emergency surgery to rescue his eyes and mouth. (I think this is when the wonkiness occurred.)

I chose a cheerful yellow fabric for his little T-shirt, rather than trying to sew the words ‘Hug Me’ onto his chest. (The trauma of the appliqué patches had made me a nervous wreck by then!)

I backstitched his features with a chocolate brown thread to match the fleece fabric, and I really like his happy smile. His face didn’t quite feel complete at that point though, so I looked back at original Hug Me and, inspired by the heart on his chest, I decided to give my bear a heart for a nose. That’s actually become my favourite part!

Now that he’s finished, I’m in a bit of a pickle about who to give him to. My nieces are very young, at 2 and almost 4 years old, and I’m afraid they might be a bit too rough with him – his mended appliqué patches are still very delicate and might not survive much of their play. So I think he needs to go to an older child, while I make another one with some sturdier fabric!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Sewing

 

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Hug Me

Children are given so many toys, especially nowadays. And yet, most tend to have a particular favourite that they cherish over all the others. When I was a child, my absolute favourite toy was my teddy called ‘Hug Me’.

We were having a clear out in the attic recently and I found him! He’s a little bit battered (and stained), but even so, just one look at him brought back so many happy memories and made me feel all warm and gooey.

Here he is:

Hug Me

Hug Me

His neck needs a bit of sewing up, but this has always been a particularly fragile area – I remember my mum sewing up his neck several times, which was quite traumatic because it meant being without him overnight!

He was called ‘Hug Me’ for obvious reasons (the writing on his little sailor T-shirt) and he was a gift from my cousin Sally Anne when I was born, so I don’t remember a time when he wasn’t with me. I think she may have made him from a kit or in a special class at school – she was quite young herself when she made it (maybe 8 or 9) so he’s far from being symmetric, but I always liked that he wasn’t perfect.

He’s made of a very smooth cotton fabric, which feels cool when you first touch it, but gets warm and snuggly after hugging him for a while. And that’s mostly what I remember doing with him – hugging him and carrying him around with me, his head gently resting on my shoulder (maybe that’s why his neck was so fragile?).

It’s amazing to think just how much I loved this little teddy, and even more surprising for me is that my love for him hasn’t faded – he still means so much to me.

I’ve decided that he’s not going back in the attic – instead, I’ve given him a special place to sit in my craft room, so he can watch what I’m doing. Maybe… hopefully… he’ll help me while I’m crafting little teddies and other creatures for my nieces and other children in the family, who might love these teddies as much as I’ve loved Hug Me…

Do you have a story to share about your favourite childhood toy?

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Sewing

 

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