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March 10, 2013

Skill level: BEGINNER 

Kool Aid is GREAT for dyeing mohair. It's easy to afford, easy to find, easy to store, and easy to work with. Be sure to wear rubber gloves, though, because it's ALSO easy to dye your hands with. Not that I know anything about that. Ahem.

Kool Aid is ready-to-dye straight from the packet because it already contains citric acid, which helps color bond. As a protein (acid) dye, Kool Aid will readily tint animal fibers like mohair, alpaca, and wool. Plant (cellulose) fibers like cotton or linen will dye with Kool Aid too, but to a much lesser degree. So don't use Kool Aid to target-dye just the mohair backing and NOT the hairs; to achieve that result, choose a dye meant for the plant fibers that make up the backing.


Kool Aid is a non-toxic, forgiving dye method, and the irregularities of mohair plush forgive any dye inconsistencies even further. So relax and have fun with it! 

HOW TO MIX AND STORE DYE:

 

  • Pour the c...

March 9, 2013

No. 2 was my second offering yesterday. I made her from a vintage wool/mohair sweater, hand-dyed to a fresh shade of spring green with gold. I don't historically dress my bears but she seemed to want a little something simple, so I made her a dotty dress that ties at her shoulder. That "chocolate" bunny she holds is made from an incredibly lush cashmere textile needle-sculpted into a familiar, Easter-y shape.

I hand-dyed No. 2 using several colors of Kool Aid overdyed atop one another, and I LOVE the end result. Just the fresh gold with green I was hoping for in this piece. Good thing I took notes! I also felted the material a bit after dyeing, to close the weave in preparation for stuffing.

March 9, 2013

Yesterday's offerings (Cadbury & No. 2) sold in a flash, and once again I am humbled and grateful, thanks to the lovely folk who collect my bears. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for making my artist life possible, and for liking my bears!

Cadbury was my "typical" offering yesterday, with big, hand-painted green eyes and a satin-stitched nose. I enjoyed making his fringed neck ruff and that little egg wand, perfect for spring. 

Sometimes I like to give my bears gentle but also silly expressions, and Cadbury wears a smile that's just the littlest bit goofy. How do you not smile back? He makes me happy. I used a wool/mohair blend for his head and I hand-dyed mohair for his body with Kool Aid. Did you know Kool Aid can tint mohair? I love the dusky lavender shade it produced. 

March 5, 2013

Since 2004 (when Potbelly Bears began) I've dreamt of creating care-worn bears with a vintage look and a charming folk art feel. After lots of trial and error developing aging techniques, practicing hand dyeing, and designing long-nosed, antique-inspired patterns, I'm thrilled to bring that dream to life in 2013 in the form of Potbelly Bears "Old Timers." Instead of names these teds are numbered, starting with this guy -- No.1.

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