About Our 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 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 my bears are all 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, 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 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 we make a donation from every bear sale.
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 carding it into rolags ready for hand spinning. Once I have spun the wool it is then gently hand washed.
Next comes hand knitting the little bear. This takes about five pots of tea and biscuits or six 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.
Some happy bear customers say....
"A few months ago I came across the Knitted Bear Company on Facebook and was intrigued to take a look. I discovered that Diana, bear knitter extraordinaire, is based in West Sussex, my home county. She knits all her bears (not to mention dogs and cats) from hand spun wool from rare breed sheep and fills them with more wool to make them plump and cuddlesome. When I realised one of the breeds she uses is Southdown sheep - I succumbed and ordered one of her adorable little pocket bears.
These were inspired by the home made pocket bears given to soldiers as mascots in World War I and they genuinely are pocket sized. My little one arrived this week so I thought I'd give a sense of scale by photographing him in my hand. It took a bit of juggling to get the lighting right then fire my camera while holding my hand out in front of the lens but I got it right eventually. All I need to do now is come up with a name for this little chap before he comes out with me in my pocket on the odd photographic adventure!"
"Just to let you know, Arthur arrived safely about 15 mins ago.. he is gorgeous.. he will be introduced on Twitter later today..."
"Little Pascal arrived in a waft of fragrance! Another beautiful bear, thank you." (Pascal is a lavender filled bear by the way.)
"They're here and I'm so very happy. I cannot tell you how much I love
both little Aldwyn and darling Dempster. They are well-crafted, gorgeous
bears and definitely worth the wait. And their clothes are too
adorable. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
I will keep you updated on my travels to Shetland Wool Week and Iceland with my darling bears.
Thank you again. It's like receiving a parcel of love!"
"This darling little North Ronaldsay bear arrived in excellent condition and in excellent time ! His very expressive eyes talk right to the heart and have brought much comfort and joy to a little girl. The knitting job is excellent ! It's so wonderful that you are making your bears so extra special by using yarn from rare breeds of sheep !
Thank you again and all the best !"
"My daughter, who is expecting her first child, picked this bear out specifically as it was made of pure Castlemilk Moorit wool, and being a knowledgeable " wool person" knew how rare this was. And to be handmade to boot, and so cute!! She was thrilled!! It is the first BABY item bought for her, and I know she (and baby) will treasure this for many years to come. Thank you so much!! (now one for me soon, as I am not knowledgeable about wool, but I am a bear collector!!!)"
"This bear has SUCH personality! He is So cute!! Made with such attention to detail - it will be the perfect gift for a dear friend - just a real treasure! Thank you !"
"It was wonderful to return from a long trip and be greeted by tho darling little fellow ! I' sure that the North Ronaldsay sheep would be happy to know that their wool was being made into darling bears and spreading more happiness around the world. This little fellow has a darling expression and a very cute scarf ! He will bring a lot of comfort and joy.
Best of success with your bears. It is a wonderful thing that you are using rare fibers.
The bears arrived in excellent time and excellent condition.
Thank you so very much and all the best to you !"