All of my crochet bears are made free hand. I literally grab some wool and my hook and just see what little personality forms. I never use a pattern, which is always problematic when I have days in between working on limbs and trying to remember how many stitches on the other side.
I always begin with the head and face.... probably because I am just so impatient to see who will look back at me. I then create the body, for Becky I shaped a little pot belly. I then work on the legs and feet. I love them a little oversized.... I think because as a child I had a bear named Honey Bear who had such substantial feet, I now have a lifelong love of thumpy feet. And finally the arms are finished, created with a slight curve to give lovely bear hugs.
I hand shade each bear to emphasise their features. For Becky I worked with soft browns and pinks. I brush on colour fast pigment and slowly build up layers, adding some embroidery stitches to the nose and paws.
The final stages is playing with laces and flowers to costume each bear. I have box of small pieces of antique laces and netting tulle and really I just fiddle with them. I think the bear will tell you what they want or don't want to wear, you just have to listen.
My love for creating these little crochet bears has really started me rethinking Miss Molly's Dolls, perhaps a name change is in order. For although I will always make and adore creating dollies, I have a new found obsession in crocheting bears. Is it wrong that I am now thinking Miss Molly's Dolls & Bears????