Friday, November 5, 2010


On my last entry I showed some of my Teddy Bear collection and mentioned that my daughter Joan makes stuffed toys. This picture is a sampling of some of her work. Two Rabbits and one Teddy Bear.

This is Barnaby. He is mohair and ultra suede.
A lovely boy!

This closeup shows his nose and cheeks.
They are done with needle felting.
He wears his hat but his vest is still on the
sewing machine.

This is Roxanne - she is mohair and
velvet - unfortunately her clothes are not
ready for her to don.

This is Murphy. He is made of Alpaca and
has a needle felted pink nose. He gets a large top hat
that his ears fit through.

Joan has been unable to find dyed roving in the colors that she needs to complete the needle felting of noses, cheeks and embellishing items for her bears. She has solicited my help with this problem since I am the dyer in the family. I in turn asked my friend Pat Wenger about the use of roving and she kindly offered to give me roving to experiment with.

The large ball of roving is what Pat graciously
gave me. The packet, which contains 12" of
is what Joan purchased on the internet
for $2.25. Big difference!

I was told that the trick with dyeing roving was not
to let it felt. That it is much more "tender" than
woven wool. Sooo, I soaked it overnight with a tablespoon
of salt in the soak water, in the hopes that the
pores would open,

The end result was to be pink that could be used
for noses and cheeks. I decided to treat the roving as tho it was
wool strips that I was dip dyeing. I used a shallow pan
and very little dye since I wanted to make four
shades of pink.

Dipping a piece in the shallow pan.
After dipping and getting the desired shade, I removed the
roving and put it in a pan of clear water with vinegar. When all
four shades had been dyed I then simmered the four shades
together for 30 minutes. When I say simmer, I mean just barely a boil bubble in the water. A very low simmer!
After 30 minutes I turned the burner off and let the wool sit in the pan 4 hours until the water was completely cold. I then rinsed it using
the sprayer hose on the sink and using the "smell test" to make sure
that all of the vinegar was rinsd out.

Here is the finished product. I did not squeeze the roving dry - instead I let it drip by laying it across the bars of my drying rack
out in the yard. After a few hours on a sunny day
I brought it inside and let it finish drying in my laundry room.
I am pleased to note that it did not felt and that Joan
was very pleased with the results.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to know more about needle felting. This is a skill that I have little knowledge of. I am now aware of how little is used to make noses and cheeks. I probably dyed enough pink roving for 100 noses and cheeks! I realize now that I was thinking in terms of dyeing swatches for rug hooking and I need to change my perspective if I am to continue to dye roving. Joan has asked me to dye "flower colors" so that she can do some nice embellishment for the bears and rabbits. This is a new experience for me and one that I am looking forward to perfecting.
If anyone can recommend a good book on needle felting I would appreciate it. After all, we are never to old to learn!
Have a great weekend everyone. This is the Saturday that the Boonsboro chaper of ATHA meets at the library and I plan to attend. Hope everyone is having a hooking good time!


Kim said...

Ohhh, I am in love with Roxanne! She is so adorable and huggable looking.
Nice dyeing with the roving. I see some very nice cheeks and noses. I have only needle felted carrot noses for snowmen. Be careful - I drew blood within 30 seconds!!

Orange Sink said...

You did a wonderful job dyeing that roving and also explaining it so thoroughly! I am curious about needle felting also, just haven't done anything about it! Let us know if anyone recommends a good book on it.
Your daughter is an expert teddy and rabbit maker! I love how each of her characters has their own unique little personality. Now with all that new pink roving she will be getting some really cute cheeks and noses!
Cathy g

weaverpat said...

The needle-felted noses and cheeks make the bears so much cuter. Just one great way to add that special personality.
Your dyed roving came out great! I wouldn't have had that much patience!
I still have several more huge balls of roving!!!

Vicki said...


I love your blog....Looks like you are very talented to say the least!

Julia said...

Doris, it looks like you're embarking on a new hobby.

Your daughter's bears and bunny are so cute and soft looking. I've made two black teddies with movable parts from an old black persian lamb coat.a few years ago. I still have fur left but had to put that hobby on hold for a while. One was given to a little girl in California and the other was given to my oldest grand daughter.

My daughter and grand daughter both do felting sculptures but I never tried it.

Your dyeing job on the roving looks perfect. JB

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You need to visit the very talented blogger, Gretel Parker, at her blog...

She makes the most amazing felted animals ever!

And I love your collection of bears. Especially their names!

Rugs and Pugs said...

Doris ~
Your daughter is very talented ~ obviously take after her mom :) Her bunnies and bear are wonderful.
Beautiful job on dying the roving. I have not yet tried needle felting. I was going to try it a couple weeks ago at hooking but decided to pull a few loops instead.
Hugs :)