You may have already gathered from this blog that I love mohair.
Dark copper Schulte mohair
Mohair is the fur-like fabric I make most of my Crew members from. It has a beautiful sheen and a soft, silky texture, and it comes in many different colors and finishes. There are only a few major mohair mills in the world that make fabric for teddy bears: Schulte and Helmbold are both in Germany. There was also a mohair mill in England, called Norton, but I am not sure if it is still producing mohair fabric for teddy bears. Apparently, there is mohair fabric made in South Africa, also. In fact, I just received a small remnant of South African mohair yesterday, and a small remnant of Schulte mohair the day before.
Blue South African mohair
Now, you may be wondering what mohair teddy bear fabric is made from. Angora goats, who thrive in only a few regions (Texas, South Africa, and Turkey) have lovely white curly hair that is sheared and carded much like wool from sheep. The hair is then spun into yarn that is woven on industrial looms into cotton backing fabric. The mohair fabric can be dyed (the hair takes dye well), waved, distressed, curled, and finished.
Image source: Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University
Mohair has been used to make teddy bears since the early days of teddy, who was created in 1902. There are many bears whose fur ages very well...and many others whose fur has been loved away completely.
Did you have a teddy bear when you were young? One of the bears I played with was a bear from the 1930s who was passed down to me. I remember taking him out to the sandbox to play with my other stuffed animals. Much of his mohair has been loved off and is probably sun damaged; it feels a little stiff. And I always thought that the rip on his muzzle was his mouth; I had never seen his embroidered mouth because it was probably loved right off. He is the large bear on the shelf below.
A collection of vintage and antique toys:
Big bear from the 1930s with plastic Mickey, small white Steiff bear, Steiff Jocko, German doll, and fabric Mickey
I played with all of the toys in the picture above except the white bear and the Steiff truck, which I got when I was in my 20s. The Jocko chimp and the doll were my mom's, and I think the two Mickeys were mine. It's hard to say; I don't remember that far back! But you can see that I've loved teddy bears a long time. And that I grew up with Disneyland nearby.
I hope you've enjoyed this Fun Fur Facts Friday! I'll leave you with a picture of me and some of my mohair. (If you have a good eye, you can probably spy the odd piece or two of alpaca in the stack.)
Me and my mound of mohair (with alpaca, too)