Let's face it. Finding the perfect holiday gift for a picky "customer" can be frustrating. Children can be the pickiest of them all. But these bears are sure to please. They're irresistibly cute and cuddly, and the recycled materials, including organic stuffing you can feel good about them cuddling up to, can teach the recipients a little something about caring for the planet. What's more, they're incredibly simple to make--for parents and children alike. So, you and your child can even work together to make gifts for their friends and create a special holiday moment. Don't have any children on your gift list? Make a smaller version of the bear (or use the sweater's sleeves for a different shape) with a little heftier stitch for reinforcement, and pass it along to the canine or feline in your family. You can even sneak some catnip in there for your kitties. They'll appreciate getting something you made out of materials you had lying around rather than a new toy you'll be sad they tore up so quickly!
Materials: An old sweater, sewing scissors, a needle, thread, felt (for eyes, buttons can also be used), embroidery floss, and wool batting for stuffing (preferably organic wool)
Cut a square approximately 16 inches by 16 inches from your sweater. (The size of the square can vary depending on the size of the sweater used and desired size of your bear.) Cut off the ribbing to use later. Fold your square of sweater in half, knit side facing in and purl side facing out, and hand sew up the top and sides using small straight stitches.
Turn what's now a rectangle inside out and stuff with your wool batting. You can find great unbleached wool stuffing and plant-died wool felt online at...