When I created Birdham Bear I knew people would want their own bear to go with their books and pondered long and hard how to make this possible.

I did a lot of research and soon discovered just how much legislation there is attached to making toys for sale; and how limited the options are to have them made in the UK. Too much for me at this stage!

Then I had what I thought was a brilliant idea … people can knit their own. I set about doing something I never imagined I could do – design and write a knitting pattern. Another ‘first’ for me on my Birdham Bear adventure. It took a while … quite a while, and I was so delighted when I finally had my very own knitting pattern. I was happy that anyone who wanted their own Birdham Bear could now knit him.

I duly made it available for download in my online store. What I hadn’t anticipated was how many people said they couldn’t knit and didn’t know any knitters. I have to say I was very surprised by this, given the massive resurgence in knitting and how trendy it is now.

I considered making them to sell but it really isn’t financially viable. I love knitting my little Birdham Bear but to have to keep churning him out would take the joy out of it and, more importantly, I wouldn’t have time to write.

So I’m still playing with ideas for this one … watch this space.

In the meantime I had another idea – they just never stop coming! As you may well know by now I love Herdwick sheep, indeed they were the inspiration for Birdham Bear. I haven’t yet found a way to adequately describe how deeply and profoundly moved I am when I knit with this yarn. It feels like I am knitting the amazing magical energy of Cumbria into each piece.

But I digress … back to my idea. I am excited to make available the opportunity to commission your very own Herdwick Birdham Bear.

These will not be ‘mass produced’ bears. I will not be making them in advance; each one will be knitted specifically for the person ordering it (or the person they are gifting it to).

Being handmade means that each bear is truly unique. Being knitted in Herdwick yarn means the special magic of Cumbria is woven into each one. Being knitted specifically for you by me means it is knitted with love and intention. These are high energy bears and yours will be your companion for life! More information available here.

What makes Herdwick fleece perfect for the sheep to survive the harsh weather conditions of the fells makes it unsuitable for young children. The short fibres produce a thick, tough yarn that can shed fibres. Therefore these Herdwick Birdham Bears are intended for adults or as keepsake gifts for children rather than toys.

I’m having such a blast learning about this new world of being an author. Self-publishing means I have the fun and freedom to grow my business how I want but I do wonder how it would be to have a publisher. Would it mean more time to focus on writing more stories and creating more materials? Perhaps I’ll find out … anyone know any children’s publishers?