Thursday, October 15, 2009

Useful Tools: Part One

In my bear making world, I’ve got a few tools that come in pretty handy. Some of these, I discovered on my own. Others were recommended to me by other bear artists. I thought since so many of you sew, do needlework, and make bears, I would share a few of my useful tools.

This is probably the oddest looking one I have. It’s a needle puller. It was new to me a few years ago. Maybe you already have one or have used one. I have found when I am handsewing through mohair that I need something to help me grip the needle and this works like a charm. The inventor is from Holland and you can find this tool on the Internet if you look around. The place where I purchased mine doesn’t seem to carry them any longer.

Many artists will testify how valuable a pair of hemostats can be. I use mine all the time . . . for lots of things: picking up small items, pulling needles, holding things in place. I have heard mini bear artists use them to stuff their bears. There are a lot of things you can do with a pair of these. I picked up mine for a couple of dollars at the flea market.

Not only do I rely on tools to help me pull needles through fabric and fur, I rely on thimbles to help save my fingers when I push them through. I like this flexible and sturdy Skin Thimble. Sometimes I wrap the strong thread around my finger when I’m sewing and the leather is invaluable in protecting my skin. They don’t last forever if you use them like I do, but they work pretty well for a few months before I have to replace them.

This is a new thimble I’m trying. I like the flexible body and the metal end but when I’m using it, I miss the coverage on the rest of my finger that the Skin Thimble gives me. I’ll keep using it occasionally, but I think it might be best for embroidery or fabric thread projects.

I’ve got other tools that I use, too. A lot of them wandered away from my husband’s tool box into the basket on my desk. They seem to like it better there.  Sometime soon, I’ll try to choose a few more of my useful tools and share them here. In the meantime, I’m always looking for ways to make bear making easier on the hands, so if you’ve got a tip, I’d be interested in learning what works for you.


  1. Hi,

    these tools are useful, I know only two. I will try to buy needle extractor, I usually use a pair of pliers to throw needle... I will now buy this!



  2. I love that thimble! Makes sense to me! I love a tool set my hubby gave me with all kinds of cutters!

  3. So those are some of the tools you use to make your delightful, adorable bears.

  4. Ooooooo! I'm going to have to look for that needle puller. How nifty (and helpful) would that be?!!!

  5. The tool I wouldn't be without is actually a round file I "borrowed" from my husband's chainsaw bag about 25 years ago! It's a great allrounder, for turning and stuffing and when you get those catchy tings on your finger nail it's right there to do service as a nail file! :)

  6. Your bears always turn out wonderfully. What great tools, they are the gifts that give you the beauty for the bears. :0)


  7. the thimbles are so useful to dont hurt the skin. i like the skin thimble.


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