About us – well, it’s actually about the bears!
I knitted my first bear many years ago and then knitted a few bears for friends and family but it was my Dad who really encouraged me. I couldn’t have started the business without his support, he really believed in what I was doing. He has sadly since passed on but The Knitted Bear Company lives on in his memory, creating small numbers of the hand knitted bears he found so appealing and with the wish that they should bring so much pleasure to others.
Working from a little village in West Sussex, I hand knit small numbers of teddy bears and animals all being made using hand spun wool from rare breed sheep sourced within the UK. Sadly many of these sheep breeds are now disappearing and some are close to extinction. So each little bear is really quite special.
I spin my sheep fleeces by hand on a traditional spinning wheel and always hand spin straight from the raw fleece, reflecting the many different natural colours and distinctive wool types, from the hardy, water-repellant near-black Hebridean to the soft wool of the distinctively coloured Jacob.
The sheep range from the tiny seaweed eating North Ronaldsay to the huge Wensleydale with its long, silky fleece and I source my fleeces from the Shetland Isles, Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales, the Welsh hills and, of course, here on the South Downs.
Each bear is entirely hand made, from selecting the fleece, to spinning the wool and hand knitting the finished very huggable little bear.
Why knitted bears are better…….
There is something about a hand knitted bear that really makes people feel good. It takes me between eight to ten hours to make each bear. I think the fact that they are hand knitted and took all that time somehow adds to their emotional value. A hand made bear is a better companion and comforter and there is a tactile quality to a hand knitted bear you don’t get from a factory-farmed bear. Also, of course, I am using wool from rare breed sheep. It is very pure, very natural and very soft.
Please let one of our bears look after you…..
As you know, your bear comes from a happy bear family in sunny Sussex (as opposed to a sad, broken home in Darkest Peru). He (or maybe she) is hand knitted here, by me, using my own handspun wool from rare breed sheep (so much softer and more natural and free from any chemicals).
One of your bear’s cousins is supporting the RNLI…..
Many of the bears raised by the Knitted Bear Company decided to devote their lives to voluntary work. “Skipper” the very handsome Hebridean wool bear, a trawlerman by trade and very brave volunteer Lifeboat bear, has decided to make a donation from his earnings (from each Skipper bear sale) to support the RNLI. The bears also support Cancer Research UK and I make a donation from every bear sale.
The bear facts of life…..
You may be interested to know a little bit about how your bear is made. As already mentioned, the first step is sourcing the finest rare breed wool (so much softer and more natural and from happy, healthy, organic sheep). I then carefully hand sort each fleece into colours and wool quality before hand spinning. Once I have spun the wool it is then gently hand washed and dried naturally.
Next comes hand knitting the little bear. This takes about five pots of tea and biscuits or six to ten hours – depending on the breed of bear. Then I have to – well – pull the bear together. You can’t say to it: “Pull yourself together, bear!” that would be unkind. It’s all done very lovingly with needles and yarn. It’s a painstaking operation that takes a further two pots of tea and a piece of cake. Say two hours.
Finally, the bear has to be cuddled a bit and made to feel wanted. Basically, believing, like Freud, that what happens in a bear’s cubhood influences it’s whole life – so making each bear takes time and affection.
Please pass the word…..
The bears depend on word of mouth to find new homes so please let your friends and family know about us.
Welcoming your new bear…..
All bears raised by the Knitted Bear Company will be well trained before leaving home and tucked up in their gift boxes, with a snack prepared for their journey. Of course our bears always insist on traveling by Royal Mail Special Delivery, a guaranteed next day service within the UK and International Tracked and Signed for bears traveling worldwide. Our bears all come with a signed certificate of authenticity containing their details and care instructions.
The bears are all photographed by myself on location in West Sussex.