Monday, September 26, 2011

Started Sewing Teddy Bears Today

More Teddy bear fabric is finished, but I still need to weave a few more.  This is number four from the Finnish Twill warp (Davison, pg 37, version IV).  This one is my favorite, and is very easy to weave.  Both sides are different, but both look nice. 

This is the final fabric from this warp.  It is plain weave, and I will use it for the paws of the bears.  I like the faint stripes from closer denting in the reed.  The warp was sleyed in the reed: 2-2-3-2-2, and then repeated, to give 22 ends per inch in a 10 dent reed.

Here is the line-up of five fabrics.
 Five fabrics fulled and drying in the sunshine.  Because of the different sett, these fabrics were a bit wider than my first ones.  They are all fused, using my new steam press, which I love!  The fabric in the center is mohair, and is very hairy.  I clipped the other mohair that I wove on the backside before fusing the interfacing, but I decided to try brushing this one first to try and bring as much of the long hair to the surface.  It seemed to work, so I was able to iron the interfacing to the backside without clipping.

I traced around my pattern pieces with magic marker, and here I am stitching just inside the marks to further stabilize the edges.  I have been worried that the fabric will start to unravel with the narrow seams, so the stitching is just added insurance.

I have been cutting out one piece, laying it on the uncut piece I'm sewing it to, and then stitching them together.
I'm cutting the underneath piece after stitching.
Here are arms and ears stitched and turned, and the rest of the pieces marked on the cloth, ready to cut and stitch together.  So far, everything on this first bear has gone together without problems.  I'm not looking forward to all the openings that will need handstitching, especially since my right thumb is giving me some trouble lately.

I will need to get to the hardware store to get the joint hardware in the next couple days.  I will finish this one before starting another, so I can see if I will have trouble with any of it.  If it's too hard, I'll look for another pattern.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Toy (Tool)

The steam press I ordered arrived today, so I put it through it's paces to test it out.  I have been wanting one for quite a while, and when I started working on Teddy bear fabric, I decided to start looking for one.  I ended up buying one called Steam Fast.  It isn't a super good one, so I'm hoping it gets me a few years of use out of it.  It's not like I will be using it daily, so it should. 

In order to stabilize the fabrics, I needed to fuse a lightweight interfacing to all of them, and I didn't think my shoulders would hold up to all the pressure needed with a conventional iron.

So far, after fusing the five finished fabrics, it has worked great.  It has several heat settings, so I set it on the one for wool, filled the steam reservoir with water, and got them all done, and my shoulders are not sore at all!  The interfacing feels good and tight.  I used a lot of steam, plus a damp press cloth, so they are all hanging to dry completely.

The turquoise twill is Teddy fabric number 7.  The warp is fairly thin wool, sett at 22 ends per inch.  It is woven in Finnish Twill, from pg. 37 of Davison's pattern book.  Both of these fabrics are version I treadling.  The turquoise is angora and wool that I dyed (color requested by a granddaughter).  The brown twill is mohair in a varigated color.  It is kind of difficult to wind a bobbin and weave with it because it is pretty hairy.  I tried a plain weave first, but I think my warp was too tight, so I'm using the twill.  The pattern won't show very much once the fabric is wet-finished, but I think it will allow the yarn to be a bit more fuzzy.  Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, you know, and this fabric will be soon!

This photo is fabric number 6 and 7.  The peach colored angora wool stripe (also dyed per granddaughter request) is version IV of the Finnish Twill.  It is one of my favorites of the bear fabric so far.  I think I may try it for some towels sometime.  I think it could look great with different colored stripes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dyeing Yarn Again

I'm back to dyeing more yarn for Teddy bears.  I finished winding off 5 more yards of warp last night, and dyed it tonight (Akk!  I mean last night!  I didn't realize it was so late.)  I tried a different dye this time: Cushing's Perfection Dye in a dark brown.  I tried presoaking the four warp bouts in water and vinegar after washing it.  I don't think I like the vinegar process very well, because the yarn didn't dye evenly.  I'm sure it was something I did wrong, but I'm not sure what it was.  So I have a varigated brown yarn, which can still look ok for what I am using it for.  No pictures tonight.  Maybe tomorrow.

The granddaughters picked out colors to have me dye the wool-angora weft, so I will get that done tomorrow.  Hopefully the warp will be dry enough tomorrow or Sunday to start winding it on the loom.

I'm still trying to decide which steam press I will buy, so I can fuse the interfacing to the fabric before cutting out the bears.  I'm leaning towards the Reliable, which is sold by the same company that sells Baby Lock sewing machines.