These little Magic Loop Teddies are so sweet, but much of the appeal of the finished teddy is accomplished in the finishing details. Knitted toy faces can be challenging, so I thought we’d cover some tricks together.
I designed these sweet little teddies to carry Grandma’s love to my littlest Grandchildren this holiday season. So, what’s a new best friend if they don’t have a heart? For these little guys, I needle felted a heart on the left side of their chest using small amounts of wool roving, a small heart shaped cookie cutter and a felting needle. The wool roving gets fused to the fiberfill within your bear and becomes a permanent part of the knitting.
For more specifics on needle felting, check out my Fall in Love with Needlefelting post. This is such an effective way to add details to knitting. On one of my bears that was destined for a new baby gift, I needle felted the entire face in place. Kind of a good thing when you consider that there’s no loose pieces of embroidery, loose applied felt pieces, or safety eyes to bite off and/or swallow!
To shape the eyes, I used a #12 Wilton’s icing tip to hold the roving:
Here’s some embroidery tips to get a secure bear-type mouth:
1. Bring your threaded tapestry needle from a point on the back of the neck to about one stitch below the nose and pull through – leaving a 3 inch tail visible on the back of the neck.
2. Create the bottom points of the mouth by inserting your needle about 2 – 3 stitches down and 2 stitches over from the center on each side.
3. Make the bottom center of the mouth meet in the middle by coming up through the center starting at the left center mouth and ending at the nose.
3. Finally, bring the needle back to the back of the neck by stabbing in where you started on the last step, where the bottom edges of the mouth meet in the center, and coming out one stitch away from the beginning tail on the back of the neck. Tie these ends together in a knot and pull the ends behind the knitting within the filling, coming out an inch or so away. Cut them off at the surface of the bear.
That little knot at the back of the neck should nestle in within the stitches so you could hardly find it again even if you wanted to!
When you’re satisfied with your bear’s face, you might want to dress him or her. Knowing how much children like to dress, (and undress) their little friends, I created a cute knit vest that’s easy on and easy off – even for chubby little fingers.
Worsted weight yarn
size US 5 needles
cast on 28 stitches and join in the round.
Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl
Round 3: (k3, kfb) around
Round 4: purl
Round 5: (k4, kfb) around
Round 6: purl
Round 7: (k5, kfb) around
Round 8: bind off 10 stitches purlwise. P13, bind off 10 stitches purlwise, p13
Round 9: cast on 6 stitches using backwards loop cast on, k14, cast on 6 stitches using backwards loop cast on, k14
Rounds 10 – 20: knit
Rounds 21 – 25: (k2, p2) around
bind off in ribbing.
fasten off and weave in ends.
It’s impossible to make two of these handmade bears the same. Maybe one’s face was stuffed a bit firmer, or it’s mouth was sewn just a tiny bit droopier. It’s interesting to me that every bear I’ve created took on their own personality and facial expression. The joy of toy-making – you never know who you’ll meet next!
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