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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How to make clean finished ends on twisted cords

Schacht Looms kindly supplied me with an Incredible Rope Machine for a book that I have written (there’s no other compensation involved by the way).

I love it- it makes wonderful twisted cords.

There are times that you want knotted cords with yarn strands at the end, but there are other times in other projects that you definitely don’t.

So, I figured out a way of making clean finished ends on the twisted cords, using the machine.

And, I forgot to say in the video that the yarn ends can be woven back into the cord and even felted in with felting needles if desired.  Sigh.  So I am telling you that now.

Here’s the video:

 

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Questions about Potholder Looms


I was asked a couple of good questions about potholder looms and potholder loom weaving in the last few days.

One question was about how to decide what size of potholder loom is best.

The other question is about  loops?  yarn?  fabric strips?

Here’s the video:

 

The book is available for pre-ordering from all the online booksellers and will be available in bookstores in early 2020. Here’s a link: L I N K

And here are links to order potholder looms:

Harrisville Designs

Dewberry Ridge

Wool Novelty Co

The book is available online for pre-ordering and will be available worldwide in bookstores and online in January 2020.

Happy Weaving!

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Potholder Loom Book- Baskets

I love baskets.   I love weaving them and I love using them.

These soft baskets  hold a lot of stuff, and fit great on shelves and into cube shelving.

When they are  empty, they are easy to store, because they fold flat.  You can fill a soft woven basket with other soft woven baskets until they are needed.

I designed a whole bunch of them for my new Potholder Loom Weaving book.

The baskets are a compendium of a slew of techniques (some of which I figured out for the book) that can also be used in all kinds of other ways- the sky’s the limit on the creative possibilities!

By the way, the baskets work great as market bags or project bags.

 

Here’s the video:

 

 

The Potholder Loom Weaving book is available now online for pre-ordering and will be available in stores and online worldwide in January of 2020.

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Potholder Loom Book- Scarves Shawls Stoles

Here’s another sneak peek into my new Potholder loom book:

Scarves, stoles, shawls…. all to weave on  potholder looms!

For now, the book can be pre-ordered online  and then in January 2020, it will be in bookstores worldwide.

Here’s a little video that shows scarves, stoles and shawls from the book:

Happy Weaving!

 

 

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New how to pdf for Star Loom instructions

 

I have completely re-done the how-to instructional pdf for the Star Loom that I designed and Dewberry Ridge Looms makes and sells.  LINK

You can contact Donna McFarland if you would like the snazzy new pdf.

Or, if you send me a pic of you with your Star Loom as a pm, and your email, I can send you a copy of the pdf.

Why would I want a pic of you and your loom… well… I don’t have anything to do with the making and selling of the looms and I have no access to records about who bought them, so if you show me a pic of it with and you holding it, then I know that it’s a legit request :o)

I’ll delete the photo as soon as I send the pdf- I don’t have room on my computer to save extra pics!

One other thing- the new PDF is expanded, and is 13 pages.

I figured that since it was so big that there wasn’t enough space to re-do the wire star instructions.

Besides, so many people went: Blech to the thought of weaving with wire that I figured that there was no point in spending more days (it took me 2 days and one long evening to make this new pdf) making a pdf for something that people don’t want.

Anyhow, I hope that the new instructions will make everyone happy happy with their Star Looms!

Happy Weaving,
Noreen

 

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Potholder Loom Weaving book- preview- Wall Hangings

I was asked by someone yesterday what loom to buy to learn how to weave wall hangings.

What a great question!  Why?  Because I designed lots of wall hangings for my new book: Potholder Loom Weaving

The book is available for pre-ordering from all the online booksellers and will be available in bookstores in early 2020. Here’s a link: L I N K

And here are links to order potholder looms:

Harrisville Designs

Dewberry Ridge

Wool Novelty Co

And, here is a video showing a sneak peek at the Wall Hangings in the book:

 

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My new book on Potholder Loom Weaving

For the last couple of years, I have been working 24/7 on 2 new books as well as a solo show of my mixed media wovenworks.

I am so delighted that both books will be released in 2020 in bookstores worldwide.

My publisher, Stackpole Books/Rowman/Littlefield has made ‘Potholder Loom Weaving’  available online worldwide for pre-ordering.

It will be on bookshelves worldwide in January of 2020.  😀

It’s a BIG book!   It is 264 pages of tons and tons and tons of techniques and projects and I am thrilled to bits with it!

You can pre-order the paperback version of it now from all the online book sellers, and here’s a link to the Book Depository, who ships worldwide for free: LINK

The electronic versions of the book will be available in January- I don’t think it can be pre-ordered for Kindle etc yet.

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Follow the Thread Mixed Media Weaving- Terpsichore

The last couple of years have been really intense as I have been working night and day on two new books as well as new tapestries and woven works.

One of the books is now up online available for pre-order (I’ll post links asap) and one of the series of tapestries is now in the gallery (Harcourt House Gallery in Edmonton), awaiting the opening on October 18.

This piece is from my ‘Follow the Thread’ series of mixed media weavings:” Terpsichore- Carmen’s Birds”.

Terpsichore is the muse of the dance.

This piece is definitely influenced by my husband, Jim Findlay‘s commitment to playing flamenco.

I was having trouble resolving the piece, because I knew that she needed something to lift her to completion.

Then, my friend, Carma, who sings and dances with Jim and Susan and Barb in Corazone del Flamenco gave me a beautiful little black necklace with tiny birds, and Voila! Done! The birds were exactly what Terpsichore was needing (demanding!)

She’s at the #HarcourtHouseGallery in Edmonton until November 23.

I’ll post more pics of pieces from ‘Follow the Thread’ soon.

#YEG #YEGflamenco #YEGart #YEGweaving #YEGtapestry

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My Book is Done! Time to teach some Dragonfly Workshops

The last couple of years have been the most intensely hard work as I have worked day and night to complete 2 books.

And, now, Hurrah! they are both done.   Well…. they are in the hands of my publisher and one of them is at the type-setters, which means that I will have a last chance to run my eyes over it soon before it goes to the printer.

The book that I have just finished (ahead of schedule! ) is now in the hands of my editor, which means that she will do hard work on it, and then more editors and other clever and gifted folks will work on it too.  Then, it will be time for revisions and tweaking and all manner of this-ing and that-ing before it hits the shelves.

So, to celebrate the ‘done-ness’ for now-ness of my books, I am going to teach some workshops in my studio in September.

I love dragonflies, so I have opted to teach workshops on weaving dragonflies on little looms that I designed and make.

I’ve been busy as a bee, sewing up pouches for the kits:

and making up dragonflies in interesting yarns and not-yarns (hand spun paper, t-shirt yarn and other upcycled things)

One of my favorite dragonflies is made from silk fabric from a scrap left over when my daughter made her wedding dress years ago- I’ve been waiting for the perfect project for it, and have just torn some strips from the scrap so I could weave a dragonfly with them.   It’s gorgeous!

Silkworms worked so hard to spin the silk for this dragonfly!  Bless their little hearts!

It’s such a delight to be changing gears and re-directing my life away from relentless book writing!

I’ve posted information on Facebook for Edmonton AB folks who want to join me in my studio for some delightful weaving.   facebook.com/NoreenCroneFindlayDesigns

And now that I am re-entering a more normal life, I plan on blogging more frequently.

I’m busting my chops working on new tapestries for an upcoming solo show of my work, so I’ll post pics of them soon, too.

Until then, big hugs all round! 🙂

 

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