I use a leather thimble that comes up past my knuckle for pulling thread or sinew. I know artists who will cut the fingers off of gloves or just wear a leather glove to do that pulling part. My leather thimble that I like has a metal spot so that my needle does not go through the leather so I pretty much wear it the entire time I am working on a bear with a needle in my hand. Do be careful, I have seen people cut their fingers open pulling thread etc. while working on bears.
I like the German way of setting eyes. You determine where you want your eye and go in at that spot with your needle which has the sinew in it with the eye attached to the sinew. Use your needle to wiggle the threads apart so that you have a slight hole in the backing of the mohair. You can also use and awl to make this hole larger. I like to put both eyes in at the same time so that you know you have them both in the same location. When you are happy that the eyes are positioned correctly then you take your long needle to the base of the back of the head or to the back of the ear or cross them to the back of the head or under the chin and come out. Where you go will determine the direction the eyes are looking when you are finished setting them. Take a small stitch about 1/8 inch or slightly more and go back to that hole you spread in the backing where the eye is sitting. I usually pull the eyes back out so they are hanging from the sinew so they aren't in the way when I try to find the hole that I went in. You are coming out the same hole you went in. I usually will hold the thread at the base of the neck from getting tight against the fabric until I have done both eyes. When I have the sinew back out the face of the bear then I put both the eyes back into the hole and pull the thread at the base of the neck or where ever I took it out and pull them tight to sink them in and see if I like the direction they are looking. If I'm not happy, I pull the sinew out and start over. If I am happy then I pull the sinew that is hanging out the eye socket on the front of the face tight. With the bear facing you, you can see if you have the eyes sunk the same depth. When you are happy then take your needle off the sinew if it is still there and use the two ends of the sinew to tie off behind the eye while you are also holding the eye tight. I tie above the eye, bring a sinew piece down to the bottom of the eye with the sinew going on each side of the eye and tie another couple knots. Then I tie a knot on one side of each eye and then bring the sinew to the other side of the eye and tie another knot or two. Then I sink my last knot behind the eyes and I am done. I hope that makes sense.
I use both. Partly because if they don't have what I am looking for in one I am not patient enough to wait for the store to get it in. The liquid is easier to use because it does not require mixing and you need to use twice as much of the powder to get the concentration as the liquid. Rit has a website that has lots of information and a color mixing chart. I feel I have better consistent results with the Cushings if the backing is not an issue for me. So when it really matters I use the Cushings and when I am just playing around and don't care what I end up with the Rit is what I grab.
My experience is that the Cushings Dye does NOT dye the cotton backing. Sorry you did not get the effect you wanted. Could you try painting the backing with the dye on the backside of the fabric without getting it so wet that it would soak through to the fiber and see if that helps even up the backing to match the pile on the front?
I am having the problem with Rit now that they only make a limited colors and you have to mix it now to get the colors you want.
But isn't the experimenting fun!
Welcome to Teddy Talk. I used to live in Vallejo. You might want to check out come visit the Northern California Doll and Teddy Bear Show. The next one is Sept. 28, 2013. That show usually has a fair representation of bear artists and bear making supplies. It would be a great way to meet some of the artists in the area and to get to know some like minded people. Check out the info about the show at www.hermanshows.com.
I don't know if the supplies will be at the Sept. 28 show since there is another show in Kansas City, MO that same day.
Enjoy the bear-opossum world!
I also use the grub screw or set screw for all my joints.
Now for your glued disc....Are you holding the disc itself while you are tightening the nut? That is how I did it before I discovered the grub screw. If the glue is not holding there is nothing you can do but take it out and start over.
Valerie Rogers does an online orphans sale. There is one coming up shortly. As I understand it, you send her some bears. Ken Yenke (I hope I have the spelling correct) does an appraisal of each bear and then the bears are hopefully sold. Valerie takes a commission but I don't know how much. [url]http://[INVALID]/index.htm[/url] April 15 is the date for the next sale.
The Yukon pattern is designed by Jeanne Klein whose business name is Teddy Tailor. I believe she lives in Oregon in the USA but not sure. Edinburgh Imports sells her patterns also for $8.50. I'm guessing you have a real person. I have used that pattern and it makes a lovely bear.