Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Hubble bubble!

As I couldn't make my mind up about which colour to use for my latest show bear's paw pads, I decided to create a little hocus pocus in my kitchen ... (bear with me, this post will come clear I promise!)

My plan was to colour match the yarn planned for my newest bear's outfit, so I kept the yarn to hand, while I hunted through my cupboards for some useful equipment ... a saucepan, a couple of bowls, a sieve, a spud masher and a leftover tub of blueberries ... !

First I boiled up the blueberries in a pan of water ...

As the mixture boiled, I gently mashed the fruit to release the rich natural colour.

After leaving my mashed blueberries to simmer for a while, I strained the hot blueberry juice into a bowl.

Then added table salt to the juice bowl to help set the colour.

Next I plunged my square of white wool felt into the bowl, stirring regularly to ensure even coverage. I covered the bowl with cling film and left it to stew for about an hour.

I read somewhere that plunging naturally dyed fabric into a bowl of iced water helps set the colour when stewing is complete, so I did that too! Lastly, I rinsed the fabric to remove any little fruit particles and left it to dry flat.

And these paw pads are the finished result - a very pretty shade of blueberry lilac!

Unfortunately, when they had dried I decided the lilac blueberry paws weren't the right shade for the bear I was working on (pic below) but I'm really pleased with the outcome of my hocus pocus session and will store these paws in my felt box for use another time. Natural dyeing with fruit has been great fun and now this curious witch is keen to discover what other magical colours she can conjure up!

Oops! Nearly forgot to mention my finished bear! Here she is ... this is 'Clover,' a lovely mauve Miss!

'Clover', a centre seam bear, will make her debut (complete with velvet paw pads!) at the 'Winter Bearfest' show on in London on 22nd February. For full details, please visit www.allbear.co.uk


  1. How clever! I thought you just bought a dylon fabric dye for such things. I am very impressed. Looking forward to catching up with you next week and photographing all your lastest bears before they head to their new homes!

  2. Ah, you mean I can still teach you a thing or two?!!!! LOL! I'm very excited about our little photo shoot next week ... am hard at it trying to finish another couple so I can exploit you fully!

  3. What fun! I've fruit tea dyed, but never fruit on its own. I used Kool aid last week, really good but hard to obtain some of the flavours/colours. I must say it is a nice shade. The bear does work well with the colours you chose.

  4. What fun! I've fruit tea dyed, but never fruit on its own. I used Kool aid last week, really good but hard to obtain some of the flavours/colours. I must say it is a nice shade. The bear does work well with the colours you chose.

  5. Paula she is gorgeous. I am just doing the same thing as you by dabbling in natural dyeing at the moment, I hate the thought of the chemicals in the other dye, I know mohair is dyed anyway but much prefer fruit, tea/coffee and drinks etc. Didn't know about the ice after, good tip


  6. I absolutely love Clover. Wat a pretty shade of mauve. I have just visited your Hugglets preview and must say I am deeply impressed by your latest bears. Well done you! I have never used fruit to dye and the result is actually much brighter than I expected. I love brewing fabrics in the kitchen too. You never quite know how things turn out :o)

  7. Clover is yummy, as was the blueberries until you added the salt, blurgh!

    I'm sure if I kissed Clovers head she would taste of blueberries. Gorgeous.

    Hugs, Sarah x

  8. Oooh! Clover is a gorgeous bear! Her paw pads are the perfect colour - it matches her eyes.

  9. Paula I loved that post! I'll have to try fruit dyeing sometime too.

    Absolutely in LOVE with Clover!!! I'm sure she'll find a home quickly at Hugglets!

  10. What a lovely colour Paula,
    I seem to remember doing some dyeing at school with onion skins. It made some lovely natural earth toned colours, but you might have a problem with the oniony smell!

  11. Paula.
    I;ve always shied away from making coloured bears, but on seeing Clover, I don't know why. She is absolutely stunning!



  12. just been having a cruise and found your beautiful bears...and needed to say i think there fabulous especially the lilacy with velvet paws how stunnig and cuddly.....wonderful blog... regards sassy

  13. Paula- Your bears are so precious. I enjoyed reading your experiment on coloring paw pads. Very clever. :)

  14. You totally rock. I love you! I have been searching for picture-rich tutorials on bearmaking, and yours are the BEST ONES YET!!!


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