View Full Version : Mother Bear Project KAL

01-27-2007, 03:57 PM
I thought we could get one of these going. The bears are SUPER easy to make. It usually takes me about 3 days to get one finished. It'd probably be quicker, but I hate seaming it up. When I saw it on Knitty Gritty, then read about it in Knitting for Peace, I really wanted to do this one.

For those of you who don't know what it is....

The Mother Bear Project is a grass-roots, non-profit group dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit and crocheted bears.

The Mother Bear Project (http://www.motherbearproject.org/)
Bear Pattern (http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/na_knitting/article/0,2025,DIY_14141_4826306,00.html)

So who's with me on this one? :)

01-28-2007, 01:53 AM
I'll do it!! It looks like a lot of fun and it will be my first non scarf or hat project. Hopefully everything will go okay. Now to pick out colors for the bear.... What colors are you doing??

01-28-2007, 03:45 AM
what a beautiful idea... i'm in :muah:

Jan in CA
01-28-2007, 12:36 PM
Awww those are so cute! After I finish the projects I'm on now I'll give it a try.

01-28-2007, 04:18 PM
I would love to make one... or five... who knows?? I just need to wait till after payday to get some yarn-- my stash is getting low, which must be a crime of some sort :)

01-28-2007, 04:47 PM
:cheering: Yayyy! I'm so glad you all joined. I was starting to think I'd be doing this KAL by myself. :teehee:

trublnde, I used Caron SS in Bone, Orchid and Light Country Peach. I made the girl bear and it took me about 2 days to get her done. This is the first time I've made a girl and I think I'll stick to boys. The skirt is a pain.

01-28-2007, 04:56 PM
I'm in, so long as we don't have a deadline.

01-28-2007, 05:02 PM
Nope, no deadline. It just seems that many people don't know about the Mother Bear Project. It's such a worthy cause that I thought this would be a good way to get more people involved. It can be an open-ended KAL. :)

01-30-2007, 12:02 AM
Oh your bear turned out really cute. The skirts do add more trouble what with more seaming but they are fun looking. You did really good on the embroidering the face. I find the knitting on these super fast and easy but he finishing a bit of chore.

I have the yarn I'm going to use on my next one sitting out. If I didn't have to work and attend to so many other things it be easier to get going on more of these. Like most knitting, life interferes!!

Jan in CA
01-30-2007, 02:36 AM
That bear is adorable!

I started one and have the body/head/legs done and started seaming. It seems like it's ridiculously tall though. :?? I know I followed the pattern exactly other than needle size. I'm down one because I can't find the 7's at the moment. That wouldn't explain it though. Is this bear really tall?

Oh and I'm making a polar bear because I didn't have any tan color.. :teehee: I know white isn't good so I will be getting some other yarn for the next one.

Jessica Cobb
01-30-2007, 02:57 AM
Oh, I love it! I hadn't heard of it either. Thank you for posting this! :cheering:

I'm definitely in!

01-30-2007, 07:42 AM
I'm in! I'm actually in the process of making one(but it's for my brother). So I'll start another one after this one.

01-30-2007, 11:16 AM
I find the knitting on these super fast and easy but he finishing a bit of chore.

YES! I've had another bear done since yesterday, but since I really HATE seaming them, he's not stuffed yet.

Jan, my first one was a polar bear too. No brown yarn. :teehee:

01-30-2007, 11:47 AM
I made 2 already but my embroidery could use a little help. I would like to do a KAL if only to learn some good embroidery tips! Oh and I bought some brown wintiuk that is really cheap in the first place then I got my 40% off coupon from Joannes and now I ihave enough brown to make a million bears so if anyone needs some brown gimmie a call and I'll send you some.

01-30-2007, 05:51 PM
I'm thinking about making mine a panda since I have black and white yarn, but no brown. Any suggestions about how to do the eye patches?

01-31-2007, 12:09 PM
I wish I had some suggestions for you, losnana. I tried to knit the face directly onto the bear so I wouldn't have to embroider it afterwards and it came out a mess.

Here's my 2nd bear. I'm not so pleased with how he came out. I thought it might turn out better if I used black yarn instead of embroidery floss for the face. It didn't turn out better. :-x I think on the next one I'm going to do the whole bear in stockinette and see how that works.

Jan in CA
01-31-2007, 11:41 PM
I'm almost done with my bear, but I don't know if I'll do more or not. I hate seaming and the thought of seaming bear after bear after bear is not appealing. :wall: I know this pattern is the only one accepted, but I'm going to play with it and see if I can come up with something.

02-01-2007, 01:21 AM
I saw somewhere on someones obscure blog about it being knitted in the round. They didn't say how they did it. It did occur to me to do this starting at the head, then at the arms knit back and forth for 6 or 8 rows then continue in the round to the legs. At the legs put half on a stitch holder and knit the leg in the round. Then pick up the stitches for the other leg. Then go back and pick up the stitches for both arms. Then just the head would need seaming. I haven't done this but I think it would work.

My only concern is that after all that would it look just like the original pattern and be accepted? Also the seam on the head wouldn't be so hot, unless one started with a provisional cast on then kitchenered it. But I can't do a provisional cast on to save my life, much less in the round...

But I still think it would work. One could also go up from just above the legs and then pick up stitches for th legs. The head could be kitchenered more easily if it was at the finish...May have to try this...

Jan in CA
02-01-2007, 01:48 AM
Amy, that's just about exactly what I was thinking of trying. I'll see if I can work it out and we'll see how it looks.

BTW... try using this site for provisional CO. I find it easier than the version here. This one is a snap!

02-01-2007, 11:34 AM

I admit that that cast on looks easier, I just don't know if it is. I only learned to knit a year ago and cannot crochet to save my life. I have tried very painstakingly to crochet a chain-- because some provisionl cast ons require one to do that first-it took me a very long time to do a 12 loop chain and I could make one faster with my fingers. The loops always fall off the hook. However- with the knitting needle there in the cast on it might be easier.

I have looked a easy sweater patterns where the last finishing step calls for crochet edges and have decided not to do them because I can't crochet. I sometimes can think of a knitted alternative but not always.--Still looking for the perfect sweater to make wehre I like the style and think I can do all the steps and don't have to crochet.

Oh I once did a practice provisional cast on following directions from Barbara Walkers book Knitting from the Top. It was easier than Amy's video, but I had to turn a page at a critical step and it was a bit of a struggle as well. I did succed but only for about 8 stitches.

Anyway, this doesn't have much to do with the bears- except for altering the pattern....

02-01-2007, 11:56 AM
If anybody figures out a way to do this that requires less seaming, PLEASE let me know. That's the worst part about doing these things.

Jan in CA
02-02-2007, 03:57 AM
So far so good on the seamless bear! I started at the top and I'm on the first leg. If it works out the rest of the way I'll share the pattern. I guess if it works out I should ask the Mother Bear Project if it's acceptable, too. :roll:

02-02-2007, 07:40 AM
Jan, that's great1 Would it help if you phrased your question to them as coming from this forum rather than from one individual? I'll pm you my name & address if you want.


Jan in CA
02-02-2007, 03:11 PM
Let me see how it looks first. If it doesn't look any different I don't see any reason they'd reject it. I'm using the same number of rows and design features.

02-04-2007, 11:17 AM
Okay, Last night I started a bear in the round- didn't get too far yet.

Jan, I tried your provisional Cast on from the video- the technique was easy to memorize but not easy to master!

I was able to do it, but I really thought I should make a video of how not to do it. I simply could not hold the yarn in my left hand and hold the knitting needle straight and keep some working yarn handy to pick up with the crochet hook. Then, here is why I can't crochet, I simply can't draw new loop through the first loop- I either catch both loops on the hook, or if I turn the hook both loops fall off, I have to manually lift up the first loop to draw the second through. So the whole time I'm propping the needle against my stomach. I could have seamed half a bear in the time it took me. Also the chain would twist around the needle.

But it was easy to knit off of and I think I made a decent join to knit in the round- that worried me, and it will be easy to unravel and kitchener later.

Maybe if I learned to knit continental it would be easier, but holding yarn on the left is very uncomfortable for me... I'm very right handed, I have to tell myself to do things with both hands sometimes.

Hopefully another bear is on it's way-- but I have to work today so not much else is going to happen to it today.

Jan in CA
02-04-2007, 01:38 PM
I finished the knitting part of the bear, but need to get stuffing. It looks a little different and I thought I counted all the rows. :?? I could have been wrong on the other bear though because I thought from the start that he was looking a little odd. :teehee: After I get the stuffing today and do the finishing I'll show you.

I guess you do sorta have to be an octopus to handle the provisional CO, but you did do it and it does get easier. ;)

02-06-2007, 03:42 PM
I'm about half way through a bear knitted in the round. It's not making it go any faster. I still will have lots of ends to weave in... This is going to be a girl and I wanted to make striped tights, so that's adding to the trickiness of it. I'm carrying the yarn up and alternating each row, but it just takes longer.

I started this one at the head but I think I will do my next round one by knitting the legs flat then joining where the legs become pants and working up to the head then adding the arms. Then seam just the inner legs.

I'd post a picture of how it's looking, because frankly it doesn't look much like a bear just now- more like a cross between a sock and a tree. But we are having some computer issues and I can't post pictures till my husband reloads that part...

Jan in CA
02-06-2007, 06:41 PM
Okay, here's my bear in the round with my instructions. Let me know if this works or needs something I forgot and I'll ask the Mother Bear people if it's acceptable.


Teddy in the round - by Jan Lewis

Size US 7 Double pointed needles - I used 4 needles
Worsted weight yarn

CO 40 stitches and divide fairly evenly on DPNs - CO normally to seam the top or CO provisionally to close with kitchener stitch.

Join and knit in bear color for about 3 inches

Change to sweater color and knit 2 rows. Now you will create armholes. Put half the stitches on a holder. Now knit back and forth in sweater pattern on remaining stitches on needle for 6 rows. Put these stitches on a holder and put other half back on the needle. Knit back and forth in sweater pattern for 6 rows leaving them on the needle so that your next row would be a right side row. Put stitches from holder back on the needles and divide among needles again. Join again and knit 14 more rows of sweater pattern.

Change to leg/trouser color and knit for 16 rows.

To split for legs, put 20 stitches on holder. Join to knit in the round for leg and knit 20 rows. Change to bear color for foot and knit for 8-10 rows and either bind off or close with kitchener stitch. Put stitches from holder back on needles and make another leg/foot. You may need to use a few stitches in crotch to close if there is a gap.

Pick up 16 stitches with sweater color around arm opening and divide on needles. Knit in pattern of choice for 16 rows and switch to bear color for paw. Knit 8-10 rows and bind off.. OR freivaldsj from knittinghelp.com suggested gathering the stitches with a tapestry needle and the end yarn for the paws like you do a hat. It works great! Repeat for other arm.

Stuff bear.

For top of head either seam or close with kitchener stitch. Make ears and embroider face.

Make scarf by CO about 60 stitches. Knit for 3 rows and then bind off. Tie on bear and attach at back of neck securely. Weave in any ends if necessary.

All done! :)

02-07-2007, 01:16 AM
Jan, he looks great! I don't know why that wouldn't be acceptable.

02-07-2007, 11:12 AM
He's really cute. I wonder if you could just send it without mentioning the alterations? If you look at the photos of bears on the site there are so many variations in appearance I can't think it matters too much.

I like how your bear looks like it has a waistband.

I just have to finish off a leg and add arms and the skirt. And stuffing. And face.

I also have to go to work....

02-12-2007, 01:06 PM
I just registered here, but have been lurking for quite a while. I was inspired by this KAL to knit this bear. I am sort of a newbie knitter. I have finished a couple of scarves. This is my first non-scarf project and the first time I used more than one color of yarn. I am almost finished with the bear except for knitting the arms, stitching the ears and face.

Now, my problem is, is that I am at a complete loss as to how to stitch up the ears? Do you use yarn or thread? Can someone please help me?

Jan in CA
02-12-2007, 01:30 PM
I used yarn. I think thread would or could cut through the yarn.

Welcome to the forum!

02-16-2007, 06:12 PM
Finally! Here is my 3rd bear. I knitted it mostly in the round, except the legs, it was easier to make smooth stripes by knitting them flat. I think the dress makes her look fat. But this is the best face I've made. I used Mission Falls Super Wash to knit her.
I'm going to mail off my three bears next week. I have other things I want to work on so I'm not sure when I'll be doing another bear.

02-16-2007, 06:26 PM
She's cute!

Jan in CA
02-16-2007, 07:29 PM
Awwww! That is so cute! Bears are supposed to be fat so it's perfect!

02-16-2007, 11:18 PM
She's cute, Amy! I love how it looks like she's wearing tights. :)

03-01-2007, 01:42 PM
I was going to say that I finally got my bears mailed Monday, I was sick all last week so it was delayed.

I hope they get there okay!

03-03-2007, 09:32 PM
I got a Thank you note in the mail today from the Mother Bear people. They complimented my bear and sent me 6 or 7 wrist tags so I can tag the next ones I make as made by me. I just don't know when I'm going to make more...
It was nice to get an acknowledgment though.

05-24-2007, 07:10 AM
I am knitting a bear too. I know it has been awhile since the last person has posted but just wanted to add my comment. :teehee: This bear project has been quite easy so far, i am very surprised. i hope to finish it really soon. :) i will post pictures!!!

05-24-2007, 07:48 PM
knitwit628, I look forward to seeing your bear. I should be doing more of these, but after knitting 5, I got a bit burned out. Now I'm trying to make a market bag I really like. I'm on my 4th attempt.

05-24-2007, 08:48 PM
Ya, since this is my first attempt I'm just seeing how it will turn out and whether or not this charity is right for me. :) I'm already half way done and am excited about finishing it. It might be awhile before I actually finish it though cause I currently am working on the fourth oddball blanket. We will just have to wait and see I guess! :happydancing: and yeah, I can see why you may get tired of them after awhile... sometimes you just need a change. :D Good luck on your market bag!!!

Cat Loving Knitter
05-24-2007, 09:27 PM
OMG I started one of these like a gagillion years ago and never finished it! I am so totally in. I just need to make the arms and sew it up. I like the seamless bear.:cheering:

05-26-2007, 10:12 AM
I'm glad to see this thread revived...I still don't have any more bears in the works but maybe other people will get on the bear wagon now...

05-28-2007, 06:28 PM
I agree! I am already halfway through my bear! Well, when I was knitting the second side of the sweater part of my bear I realized I knitted the sweater backwards compared to the rest of the pattern because the reverse stockinette stitch side was showing instead of stockinette. :pout: oh well, I guess I will just have to tear that part out and try again. :rollseyes:

05-29-2007, 01:28 PM
Count me in! As soon as I'm done with my current project, I'll get started on a cute little bear!


05-29-2007, 04:25 PM
Yay! Maybe we can get this thread up and runnin again!!! Tomorrow I have 3 hours of school and then its summer!!! That means more time to knit and work on my bear! Hopefully I can maybe finish it tomorrow :happydancing: do you know what colors you will use yet? I'm using Caron Simply Soft in a tan-ish color, marroon, and a pretty blue :)

05-31-2007, 11:18 AM
I have a question, can somebody help me?
I have finished knitting my bear, except for the arms. how do i pick up 8 stitches and make it 16? here is what the pattern says:
With sweater color, pick up 8 sts along the edge from front (A to B)and back (B to A) for a total of 16 sts.

Sorry, it's just that I dont pick up stitches very often and am not sure...

Jan in CA
05-31-2007, 11:47 AM
You are picking up 8 from the front and 8 from the back. That equals 16.

06-25-2007, 12:50 PM
Does it work to make the arms separately and then sew them on?

I've finished my first bear and I have two in progress. I'll post a photo when they're done. The pattern is easier to do than I first thought.

06-26-2007, 03:48 PM
Here are my first bears: http://s60.photobucket.com/albums/h3/salos/?action=view&current=Bears1.jpg

They're cheerleader bear, momma bear, and praise bear.

Jan in CA
06-26-2007, 05:34 PM
I hate clicking outside links, but I had to see the bears. They are adorable!

06-29-2007, 02:46 AM
Cute bears, salos! :)

08-15-2007, 12:41 PM
I hope this goes well,my first time posting but I just had to thank Jan for her awesome seamless bear in-the-round pattern for the Mother bear project.
Our community knitting group decided to do some bears for the Mother bear project, but a few of us were less than excited at all the seaming required by some of the patterns we found online. Happily, I came across Jan's pattern and shared with a couple of friends in the group. Attached is a picture of the first two a friend and I made using Jan's pattern.
We made a couple of tweaks to Jan's posted instructions.

1. We gathered all stitches with a tapestry needle and yarn on last row of each hand and foot (like you could do to close the top stitches of a hat) This rounded our hands and feet rather than casting them off for a flatter hand and foot.

2. We decided to forego the scarf (I guess our Montana summer is still too hot to think about scarves) :shrug:. On the bear I did (green sweater), I also made his head slightly longer than the pattern stated and I gathered around the bear's neck using the tapestry needle threaded with some yarn from bear's green sweater. Gathering the bear's neck created a more rounded head. This neck gathering also made bear's arms raise up a bit, but I think it makes him look like he's reaching for a hug.
Thanks for the pattern Jan, this is a great way to use left-over bits and pieces of yarn from other projects and end up with something really cute. I'm also planning on making a couple of these bears matching the sweater yarn to sweaters I make for special little people in my life for a fun coordinating gift.

09-01-2007, 09:14 AM
freivaldsj - your bears are awesome! :cheering: I want to try Jan's pattern sometime too. Thanks for the tips you included. I started a girl bear but she has been put on hold for a while. Most of my projects have been in the round, so I feel intimidated by the thought of seaming, which I've never done. I wish I had seen Jan's pattern sooner!

mom 3
11-29-2007, 09:02 PM
Does anyone know if the Mother Bear project accepted the bears using Jans pattern? I'd like to make a bear and would love to use her pattern.

Jan in CA
11-30-2007, 01:21 AM
You're all welcome! I'm so glad you liked it! The gathered hands look like a great idea! I will amend my pattern to reflect that it was your idea. Unfortunately I have no idea if they'd accept it. I guess I will submit it to them and let you know.
BTW.. They used my bear on the Mother Bear project page in Ravelry. :teehee:

ETA: pattern has been amended and I've sent an email to the project coordinator for Mother Bear. I'll let you know when I hear anything.

Jan in CA
11-30-2007, 02:16 PM
I got a reply from the Mother Bear project coordinator or whatever she's called. She said my bear was wonderful and that bears made with that pattern were acceptable! :yay:

She did have a request though... she doesn't want me to put "out there" on the internet as a Mother Bear Project bear. The money they receive from the pattern on their site is money that goes to storing/packing/shipping costs for the bears so a free bear pattern provides no income for them.

I told her I was going to put in on my blog as a free pattern, but would make no reference to the fact that it was acceptable for Mother Bear. I also said I would ask you all to donate some money when you send your bears to help offset the fact that you didn't buy the pattern. The original pattern is $5 so if you sent a few dollars it would help I'm sure.

Thanks! Now I know I can make some more cute bears that will have a home in some little child's arms. :)