Category Archives: crafting for charity

A Yarn Baby Doll that Hugs Your Finger

Today, I figured out how to make a Yarn Baby (Yarn Tassel Doll) that hugs your finger like the Comfort Bears.

We all need a little extra comfort these days, so having a small yarn doll in your pocket to give you a hug when ever you need it is a good idea!

Take good care of yourselves!

Here’s the how to video

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100 Little Comfort Bears in January 2020

I have been making Comfort Bears for a community in Northern Saskatchewan.

One of our close relatives has been working with people in the town because of his job.

When he heard that there is a high stress level there, he mentioned to a front line care person there that I make Comfort Bears, and so they asked if I would be willing to make some Comfort Bears for them.

I couldn’t get to them right away because at that point in time I was working 24/7 to deadline on the 2 new books that I have coming out this year as well as a solo show that was here in Edmonton before Christmas.

Once those deadlines were met, I set in on making Comfort Bears for them.

I sent  a box of 30 Comfort Bears off to them:

The timing of sending them seemed to be powerfully right… as  a teenager had died of suicide and that the box of 30 bears had arrived soon after and had been given to his grieving classmates.

I was deeply saddened, and was grateful that the little bears had been there at the right time to do their job.

When my contact person told me that there were other people waiting for Comfort Bears, and that their need is great   (I  don’t want to say why, as that would be a violation of their privacy) I cried.

I was galvanized to get more Comfort Bears to them as quickly as possible.    I had been working on more bears for other groups, but I chose to re-direct them to my contact person.

I set myself a goal to weave 100 Comfort Bears before the end of January.

This meant that I had to put aside everything else that I was working on, but that’s okay.

I DID IT!   Hurrah!

I have sent another 50 bears off to my contact person and I hope that they will bring all kinds of happiness with them.

Sometimes people just need to know that someone that doesn’t know them still cares about them.

There are 50 Comfort Bears in this box.

With love in every stitch.

It helps me to sleep at night to know that I am doing this small thing,  when otherwise, I would be worrying about people who are going through ghastly things.

A few things that I have discovered as I have ‘marathoned’ on the Comfort Bears-

1- Wow, have I ever gotten fast at weaving them! The more I weave the more streamlined the process has become!

2- No 2 bears are alike. Even the ones who were born out of the same ball of yarn have totally different faces.

3- The faces on the little bears seem to be ‘destined’ – a couple of the bears look distinctly grumpy.  I was not pleased about that as I was aiming for them to be comforting after all.  But, as much as I tried to cheer their faces up, they solemnly refused my efforts.  Okay.  Maybe some people need a Comfort Bear that isn’t going to be grinning at them.

4- I usually have a hard time with January.  Yes, the days are getting longer, thank goodness, but for crying out loud, when an Arctic cold front lands on us for record breaking days and days and days, it’s truly brutal.

And, the political situation…. sigh….  and worries about the planet……  sigh/sob….. and awful things that people are dealing with…. oh my word…..

BUT… I have found great joy in the making of these 100 little bears, and respite from the worries and woes about the state of the world.

Yes, it’s such a small thing that I am doing, but it has helped me to feel better.  And, that matters.

5-  People are so kind!

I have talked about this on facebook and youtube, and people have offered to make some Comfort Bears and send them to me, but I am asking them to please make Comfort Bears for the people who come into their lives, wherever they live- whether it’s a classroom full of special needs kids, or a neighbor who is having a tough time or a stranger that is obviously in need of a little kindness, or someone is sick or scared or lonely or working really hard or studying for exams…….

The pattern for the woven Comfort Bears is in my book: Potholder Loom Weaving.

Free patterns for crocheted and knitted Comfort Bears are on this link: LINK

Please won’t you join me in making Comfort Bears?

Thanks ❤

 

 

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Comfort or Blessing or Pocket or Prayer Bears- Crocheted Knitted and Woven

Knitting, crocheting and weaving Comfort/Compassion/Kindness/Pocket/Prayer Bears is really important to me.

I have crocheted, knitted and woven thousands of them over the last 20 or so years, and have given them all away.

I designed my first Comfort Bear in response to 9/11 in the hopes of soothing frightened, grieving hearts.

The first version was a crocheted Comfort bear, and was the front page of the Craft Yarn Council of America website for a couple of years.  The link is still there: LINK

And, here’s the link to the Crocheted Comfort Bear that I tweaked slightly for my blog: LINK

A few years ago, I designed a knitted Comfort/Blessing Bear that has a ‘hugging’ single loop for the arms so it can hug you back:  LINK

Last year, I designed a very simple little knitted Pocket Bear with Stitched Arms: Here’s the Link to the video:

https://tottietalkscrafts.com/2018/12/25/easy-to-knit-comfort-or-pocket-teddy-bears/

The most recent member of the Comfort/Kindness/Compassion/Blessing/Prayer bear is a crocheted Panda:

LINK

Note that you don’t have to make it as a Panda…. crochet it in blue yarn to make a Blue Bear of Happiness, or in more traditional brown yarn…..

Another kind of Blessing Bear or Compassion bear is to make them for people who are grieving the death of someone they loved.

Use garments that the person used to wear and either cut the garment into fabric strips and knit, crochet or weave a Memory Bear, or unravel one of the person’s sweaters and knit, crochet or weave a Blessing/Memory Bear with that.

Here are some links for Memory Bears:  LINK   and LINK

I did mention that I have woven Comfort/Blessing bears didn’t I?

One of my favorite projects in my new Potholder Loom Weaving book is a Blessing Bear woven on the potholder loom:

Here it is, peeking out of a little pocket on one of the baskets that is in the book:

Here’s the cover… it’s available to pre-order and will be in stores and online in a few weeks:

 

 

 

 

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Crocheted Panda Blessing Bear

For the last almost 20 years or so, I have been crocheting, knitting and weaving little bears and giving them away as my way of spreading kindness, comfort, solace and delight.

I have made thousands of them, and I have never had anyone say no when I offer them one.

And, the lovely stories that people tell me about their experiences with them are so special.

(LINK to the Craft Yarn Council of America Website for the explanation about how I was inspired by the events of 9/11 to design the first Comfort Bears and the pattern for the very first one.)

So, anyhow… back to Panda Pocket/Comfort/Blessing Bears……

Last week, I had an ‘Aha’ moment…  I thought….. I should design a Blessing Bear that is a Panda!

After all…. who doesn’t love a Panda?

I set to work on it and came up with this little darling:

I’ve seen that people love the ‘hugging arms’ that allow the bear to hug them back, so I designed the arms to be all one piece.  Perfect for giving hugs.

Although, the little huggetty arms can also cleverly hang onto things….

A dear friend came for tea today and fell madly in love with the Panda, and she was thrilled when I gave the prototype to her.  It immediately jumped onto the clasp on her bag:

I thought that that was very clever of her!

Even though I designed the pattern to be a Panda, it doesn’t have to just be a Panda….

Crochet it in blue yarn, and it’s a Blue Bear of Happiness.

Crochet it in brown yarn, and it’s a dear little ‘Regular Sort of a Bear’.

No matter how you crochet it, please put love into every stitch.

Please DO NOT SELL THEM.

Please make tons of them and carry them in your pockets, because you’ll be amazed at how much joy you can spread by giving them away.  You will bring kindness and happiness and goodness knows, we all need that.

I make Blessing Bears as often and as much as I can and give them to the ministers at our church, and they give them away as part of pastoral care.  Please feel free to do the same.

I love that these  bears bring a ray of sunshine.  I hope that you’ll enjoy making and sharing them, too!

HERE’S THE PATTERN- IT IS MY ORIGINAL DESIGN, SO PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHT AND SEND PEOPLE TO MY BLOG (AND YOUTUBE FOR THE VIDEO)-  PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR SHARE THE PATTERN.  

Scroll down the page for the video of how to crochet the Pandas.

CROCHETED PANDA BLESSING BEAR
Designed by Noreen Crone-Findlay (c) 2019
The size of your hook and weight of your yarn will determine the gauge of the crocheting, and the finished size of your bear. When made with worsted-weight yarn, the Panda Blessing Bear is approximately 3 inches tall. When made with thicker yarn and a larger hook it will be bigger.  When made with thinner yarn and a smaller hook it will be smaller.    To make this bear, you will need to know how to make a chain, slip stitch and single crochet.

MATERIALS:
The bears in the photos were made with less than half an ounce of worsted-weight yarn or bulky weight yarn. Hand spun is wonderful.
Black embroidery floss for embroidering the features.  2 tiny beads for eyes- but embroider the eyes if you are going to give it to a child who is younger than 3 years old.

Crochet Hook in a size slightly smaller than you would usually use for the size of yarn to give a denser fabric

A tiny amount of stuffing
Darning needle for sewing seams
Embroidery needle for embroidering features
ABBREVIATIONS:
Ch= chain
Sc= single crochet  Turn= turn the work over and start the next row in the last st of the last row
* to *= you will repeat the instructions that appear between the two”*” signs however many times stated in the pattern.

DIRECTIONS

BEGIN WITH THE FIRST LEG: With Black Yarn: 
Ch 5, leaving about 4 inches of yarn at beginning of ch. This tail will be used to sew the legs up later.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch to end. (4 sc). Ch 1 and turn.
Row 2: 4 sc, ch l, turn. Cut yarn, and draw end through last ch l.

SECOND LEG: Repeat Rows 1 & 2 for the second leg.  Tie white yarn to black yarn end, leaving a 4 inch/10 cm tail.

NOTE: If you are doing a bear in just one color, don’t cut the yarn at the end of the 2nd leg.  Just continue working with it.

BODY: With White Yarn:
Row 3: Work l sc in each of the 4 sc of one leg, then work l sc in each of the 4 sc of the other leg. (8 sc). Ch l and turn.
Rows 4 & 5 & 6: 8 sc, ch l, turn.

HEAD:
Row 7: 2 sc in each sc, (16 sc ) ch l, turn.
Row 8: 16 sc, ch l, turn.
Row 9: (l sc , sk next sc) 8 times, 1 sc in last sc. (9 sc) ch l turn.                                                                                               Row 10: *1 sc, skip next sc* Repeat from * to * 5 times. (5 sc).

Cut yarn, leaving a tail of about 10 inches, pull yarn end through last ch l.

ARMS: Make 1: Note: The arm piece should be about 2 1/2 inches/6 cm long, so depending on your choice of yarn and hook, you may have to change the number of stitches you use to make it.

Row 1: Ch 10, slip stitch in 2nd ch from hook, and in each remaining ch. (9 slip stitches).  Cut yarn, leaving a tail of about 4 inches, pull yarn end through last ch l.

FINISHING:
HEAD: Take the yarn end into the needle and then go through each of the 4 sc at the top of the head to gather the upper edge of head, then pull up tightly. Stitch to anchor.
-Sew center back seam of head.
-Stuff head.

NECK: Wrap yarn end around neck of bear 3 or 4 times, and pull up tightly.
– Stitch over the neck wraps 2 or 3 times to lock in place.

BODY: Stuff body and sew shut.

LEGS: Fold the leg edges together. With the starting yarn end, sew the leg seams. Tie the yarn ends in a tight knot and take all ends inside body.

 

ARMS: Take one yarn end of the arm through the shoulders of the  bear. Pull up to lock the arm piece to the bear.  Use the end to stitch the other end to the bear’s shoulder.  Take the ends inside the bear.

Stitch the other end of the arm piece to the bear and then take the ends inside the body.

EARS: With Black yarn: Push crochet hook into a stitch in the top of the head, yo, pull up a loop onto hook.  Ch 4.
-Cut yarn, pull end through last loop on hook.
-Tie a knot with first yarn end, then thread yarn end into darning needle, and hide yarn ends inside
head.
-Repeat for other ear.

FEATURES: With Black yarn: 

EYE PATCHES:  At the midpoint of the head, take 2 or 3 stitches that cover 2 sc for the first eye, then 2 or 3 stitches that cover 2 sc for the second eye.   Note, if you are making a bear that isn’t a Panda,  skip the eye patches.

NOSE: take one stitch slightly below and between the eye patches.

MOUTH: Take 2 stitches slightly below the mouth.  Take the yarn end inside the Panda’s head.

EYE BEADS: Stitch one small black bead at the center of each eye patch.  Start at the back of the neck- take the needle in through the body and out at the neck, then make a securing stitch then take the needle to the front of the face, stitch one bead on for the first eye, then go to the second eye and stitch another bead on.  Take the needle back through the head and out at the back of the neck. Make a tiny securing stitch and then take the needle into the body and out, pull up and snip the end close to the body.

 

Here is a link to  a bunch of posts for patterns that I have designed.  Sometimes, I call them ‘Comfie Bears’,  sometimes, ‘Blessing Bears’, sometimes, ‘Pocket Bears’, sometimes, ‘Prayer Bears’ or ‘Compassion Bears’.   LINK

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Easy to knit comfort or pocket teddy bears

I love knitting and crocheting comfort/compassion/pocket bears.

Here’s Tottie Tomato with a batch of bears that I just knitted.

By the way, in the video, I explained a little about where ‘Tottie Tomato’ came from.

Back to Comfort or Pocket Bears…….

Over the years, I’ve made thousands of them and given them away.

Here’s my newest version… knitted, and then folded and stitched, and oh so sweet!

The pattern is: Knit 20 stitches for 22 rounds and then follow the instructions in this video:

Happy knitting!  And, may the little bears bring you delight in the making, and joy in the giving!

For more patterns for Comfort bears, please click:

Knitted comfort bears

Crocheted comfort bears

 

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Cutting garments into fabric strips to weave and knit

The flu knocked me for a loop, and as I have been slowly pulling myself out of it, I haven’t had much energy, so my blog has slipped off the rails.

I did want to mention, however, that I made a video about cutting up garments to upcycle them by weaving or knitting with the fabric strips.

In early October, my son in law’s step-dad passed away.

This was, of course, very hard on our grandson.

I talked with him about what it meant to him to have his ‘other’ grampa (not my husband) pass away.

I asked him if he needed something of his grampa’s to hold onto, and he said yes.

So, I asked for a couple of Bill’s shirts so I could make comfort critters with them.

I cut them up and wove them into kittys, as that was what my grandson asked for, so he has one, and other family members have them too.  (I didn’t photograph all of them).

I also knitted a teddy bear for one of our relatives, as he is definitely a teddy bear guy 🙂

The bear and kittys have been well received and they do carry the love that went into every stitch of making them.

I’ve done this before, and have found that ‘compassion critters’ made from upcycled clothing of a dear one is very comforting for people in grief.

Every little thing helps….

Here’s the video:

The woven kitties and knitted bear are made from the following patterns:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/88710…

and https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/27430…

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Memory Bears

Last summer, Marie,  a member of our extended family (through marriage and love) died.

I asked her daughter for one of Marie’s sweaters so I could upcycle it to make little bears for Marie’s close kin with it.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I unraveled the sleeves of the sweater and used the  Comfort Bear pattern LINK to pattern

It’s taken awhile, because, I think that I needed to design the Comfort Bears first.

I was so pleased when I had an ‘AHA!’ that I could use the Comfort Bear pattern  to make the Memory Bears for Marie’s daughter and her partner, her son and grandson and her grandson’s Mum.

They’ll be able to cuddle a little of their Mum and Grandma whenever they need a small bit of comfort…..

I am finding the Comfort Bears to be very inspiring…  They have many aspects, and more keep being revealed.

Tiny bears, made with love.  ❤

 

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Whee- 40 teeny Comfort Bears- I did it!!!

Originally, I designed these little bears for Syrian refugee children, but I wanted to address the critical comments that some people had made. They said that we should be taking care of people who are already here and are suffering.

Well, I agree: We do need to care for those in pain, but it is NOT an either/or situation: It is AND.

I had recently read an article that spoke of acts of compassion and ended by saying that the heart must stretch, or it will break.

I thought: Alright… let’s stretch the heartstrings.

I thought: Who is here that needs me?  Immediately, the answer came up: The Women’s Shelter.

So, two weeks ago, I asked the Women’s Shelter if I could donate some of the tiny Blessing/Comfort/Kindness bears to the children in their care.

Confession time: Truth be told, I was still in the design stage at this point… how bold of me to phone them up when I hadn’t even finished the workable prototype! LOL

They said, ‘YES! Please make us 40!’

When I recovered from my astonishment, I said: ‘Of course I will’.

And, so, for the last 2 weeks, I have gotten up early (very VERY early some mornings!) and gone to bed late….

and …. tadah!!!!

40 little Comfort/Blessing Bears in a Basket! (made with love by Noreen Crone-Findlay)

I knew that I could not possibly get them all knitted by hand in only 2 weeks, so I knitted the bodies of most of them by machine, but some of them, I knitted on 2 sets of circular needles (cumbersome) and some on 4 dpn’s… which is much more doable than the 2 circs.

(I have my dpn’s and yarn with a bear on it in my ‘going out the door’ knitting bag… more about that, later).

The hand work of sewing the back seam, stuffing the bear, sewing both ends shut then making the necks, legs, ears, stitching on the arms and embroidering the faces is what takes up most of the bear making time.

It’s slow, but contemplative work, and it brings me such great delight as each little face smiles up at me when I finish embroidering it!   Such joy!!!!

I have to race to finish family Christmas presents now, but I will be casting on lots more stitches for more, more, more bears- for Syrian refugee children, and more for the Women’s Shelter to have on hand, and more because I keep meeting people who need them….

This makes me sooooooooooooo happy!   ❤     😀     ❤

Yup, this has been a real heart stretcher… I have so much more room in my heart than I ever thought possible.

I think that the extra room is bear shaped….

copyright  Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

My dream is that people will be inspired to knit or crochet all kinds of wonderful wee comfort/kindness/blessing bears to give to anyone who needs some compassion and healing.   Won’t you join me?    🙂

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Tiny Teddy Bears that hug the hand that holds them

The past few weeks have been a flurry of knitting tiny bears .

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I designed these Comfort Bears (also known as ‘Kindness Bears’ , ‘Compassion Bears’ and ‘Blessing Bears’) for people of any age who need to feel loved and comforted.

It was important to me that they fit in a pocket, so they are less than 3 inches tall.

It  also felt important that the wee bears be interactive, so I designed their arms to be knitted in one piece, so they could hug the finger of the person who owns them.

They bring me so much joy to make!  I hope that those who will be adopting them will feel all the love in each tiny teddy!

I’ve found such joy in making them, so they really do hug back to their maker, as well as whoever will be their owner.  😀

Here’s the link to the pattern so you can knit them, too:

https://tottietalkscrafts.com/2015/12/11/knitted-comfort-bear-by-noreen-crone-findlay/

If you don’t knit, but would like to make crocheted comfort bears, here’s the link to the pattern for crocheted comfort bears:

https://tottietalkscrafts.com/2015/12/18/crocheted-comfort-bears-by-noreen-crone-findlay/

I have been thrilled to hear from people how then intend to use the Blessing Bears.

One woman brought tears to my eyes by telling me that she’s making them to give to her children so they can give them to children at their school who have been bullied.

I’d love to hear who you are making Blessing Bears for….

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Crocheted Comfort bears by Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts. com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts. com

I designed these wee crocheted comfort bears many years ago.

I’ve had requests for a pattern for crocheted comfort bears, and so here is my pattern for crocheters to create wee bears to give to charities and individuals who are in need.

May they bring joy to those who make them and to those who receive them.

❤ Noreen

CROCHETED COMFORT BEAR
Designed by Noreen Crone-Findlay (c) 2001
The size of your hook and weight of your yarn will determine the gauge of the crocheting, and the finished size of your bear. When made with worsted-weight yarn, the Comfort Bear is approximately 3 inches tall. When made with Embroidery Floss, it is approximately l inch tall. In order
to make this bear, you will need to know how to make a chain, slip stitch, single crochet and double
crochet.
MATERIALS:
Larger bears in photo were made with approximately half an ounce of worsted-weight yarn. Smaller bears were made with 1 skein of embroidery floss or lace weight yarn, using one strand. I experimented with copper wire. Oh ugh! I don’t recommend it!
Black embroidery floss for embroidering the features.
Crochet Hook in a size appropriate to your size of yarn
(For larger bear: “H”
For smaller bear: Steel Size 9 (l.15 mm))
Darning needle for sewing seams
Embroidery needle for embroidering features
ABBREVIATIONS:
Ch= chain
Sc= single crochet
Dc= double crochet
Sl St= Slip stitch
Turn= turn the work over and start the next row in the last st of the last row
Y0= yarn over the hook
* to *= you will repeat the instructions that appear between the two”*” signs however many times stated in the pattern.
BEGIN WITH THE FIRST LEG:
Ch 5, leaving about 4 inches of yarn at beginning of ch. This tail will be used to sew the legs up later.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch to end. (4 sc). Ch 1 and turn.
Row 2 & 3: 4 sc, ch l, turn. Cut yarn, and draw end through last ch l.
Repeat Rows 1 – 3 for the second leg, but do not cut the yarn. Ch l and turn.
BODY:
Row 4: Work l sc in each of the 4 sc of second leg, then work l sc in each of the 4 sc of the first leg. (8
sc). Ch l and turn.
Row 5 & 6: 8 sc, ch l, turn.
HEAD:
Row 7: Sc in lst sc, (ch 2, sc in next sc)7 times. (7 ch 2 spaces formed) ch l, turn.
Row 8: 2 sc in each ch 2 sp (14 sc) ch l, turn.
Row 9: (l sc in first sc, sk next sc)7 times. (7 sc) ch l turn
Row 10: sc in lst 2 sc,(insert hook into next loop, yo, pull through st)3 times, yo, pull yarn through all 4
loops on hook, sc in last 2 sc. (5 sc) ch l turn.
Row ll: 5 sc, ch l. Cut yarn, leaving a tail of about 10 inches, pull yarn end through last ch l.
ARMS: Make 2:
Row 1: Ch 4, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each remaining ch. (3 sc) ch l, turn.
Row 2 and 3: 3 sc, ch l, turn. Cut yarn, leaving a tail of about 4 inches, pull yarn end through last ch l.
FINISHING:
Head: Gather upper edge of head and pull up tightly. Stitch.
-Sew center back seam of head.
-Stuff head.
Neck: Wrap yarn end around neck of bear 3 or 4 times, and pull up tightly.
– Stitch over the neck wraps 2 or 3 times to lock in place.
Legs: Fold the leg edges together. With the starting yarn end, sew the leg seam up to the center back.
Body: Stuff body and sew shut.
Arms: Sew arm seam, and sew arm to bear. Repeat for other arm.
 Ears: Push crochet hook into a stitch in the top of the head, yo, pull up a loop onto hook.  Ch 4.
-Cut yarn, pull end through last loop on hook.
-Tie a knot with first yarn end, then thread yarn end into darning needle, and hide yarn ends inside
head.
-Repeat for other ear.
Features: -Embroider features by stitching with straight stitches approximately 6 or 7 times for eyes and nose.
– Embroider mouth by making a single straight stitch at each side of the nose.

If you would like some help embroidering the features, please check out:

or: https://tottietalkscrafts.com/2015/12/11/knitted-comfort-bear-by-noreen-crone-findlay/

-Thread yarn ends into a darning needle, and take them inside bear’s body. Trim excess ends.

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