The paws are finished. I still don’t have long enough arms to get a decent photo and I would have waited for some bigger hands but I wanted to get the paws into the post. It’s as cold as a witch’s wotsit here (by my standards anyway. Standards of tolerance to the cold, I hasten to add, not standards of coldness of wotsits…) and the paws need to be sent to the Wild North where it must be even colder so I thought the Bear might appreciate having his paws sooner rather than later.
I’m really pleased with how they turned out because it was only a vague idea and I thought there would be more patterns already written for bear paws but they all just looked like mittens with pads on which didn’t seem quite right. In the end I used this one which I think is supposed to be a webbed foot but it looks like a paw to me, it has sort of fingers but they don’t come right down as far as fingers on a normal glove do. I added some extra stitches to make a bigger size and the cuff seemed really tight so I did the increases slightly differently. The Man in the Shed tested them out for me because he has almost the same size hands as the Bear (just a little thicker) and he said the paws were enormous. I thought they looked ok and he doesn’t like the way his fingers rattle around inside mittens anyway but I thought I would humour him and have a go a making some linings to take up some of the slack – I had some offcuts of fleece left from something else (me, a hoarder?! No!) which I used for the pads so I cut some hand shapes out which I thought would be plenty big enough but by the time I had sewn them together they were pretty snug even on my twiggy fingers. The second attempt was much more bear sized so now they have cosy linings which help keep your fingers in the right place a lot better and they are lovely and snug and warm and going in the post this afternoon.
The puddings look reasonable although one of them crunched up the plate it was cooking on and they formed a really thick skin which we weren’t sure whether you were supposed to take on or leave off when you changed the cloth. When it came down to it half the skin had welded itself to the cloth anyway so we peeled off the rest to even it up and are munching our way through rubbery, floury Christmas pudding skin (like Victoria Wood eating tofu, I was going to put a link to a video of it but I can’t find one so you’ll have to use your imagination) because it tastes ok and it seems a shame to throw it out. We put clean cloths on them with less flour this time and hung them back up in the cupboard where, for some reason, out of the corner of my eye I keep seeing them as a nice brace of pheasants lurking in the corner, must be something to do with ancient memories pootling about in the back of my brain somewhere. This picture is before we changed the cloths so they are about half an inch smaller all round now.
The other Christmassy experiment I am doing is I dried out a bunch of slices of all the different coloured citrus fruits I could get my hands on. The idea is when they dry out they are less sticky and a bit translucent so you can hang them up on a string and they catch the light and look pretty. I only burned a couple (oops!) and I am waiting for them to air dry the last bit before I try and hang them up but at them moment the all look a bit brown and the room smells vaguely of festering oranges so I’m not quite sure how it’s going to turn out yet…