Burra Bears Part 1

Why do I want to have my own burra bear as a keepsake for our visit to Shetland? Mainly, because they are absolutely the cutest bear I have seen in a very long time.
I’ve been dreaming about my burra bear over the last few months while I’ve been sorting through all the gorgeous shetland wool I brought home with me from Shetland… I emailed Wendy Inkster who makes these gorgeous bears, in early November and then, I had to embark on Christmas present knitting and my Burra Bear project ended up on the back burner. But I have not forgotten this bear.


I’m not in a huge rush for my burra bear to arrive and I wondered what size the piece of fair isle knitting would need to be, to make firstly, the button back middle sized burra bear and secondly, the larger burra bear?
I received a helpful reply from Wendy Inkster letting me know that the small bear with the buttons needs a piece 50cm square. The big bear would need a 70cm square. Rib 60cm long by 8cm deep is needed for coordinating feet and ears.
I’m really inspired by the colours and beautiful photographs we took on Shetland and I’m thinking of knitting the fair isle fabric for my burra bear. That way, my burra bear will be a reminder of many happy hours spent walking, wandering and looking at the beautiful scenery and places we visited on Shetland.
I’ve been looking at all of the gorgeous Burra Bears on their Facebook page and have lots of ideas for my fair isle. I love the ones made with the star patterns and smaller peeries. I wondered if plain rows in-between the larger motifs and the smaller ones look nicer when turned into bears or if it is better to have the larger patterns and smaller ones closer together?
Wendy helpfully gave me some hints as to the type of fair isle pattern that would work best for the small and big bear.

“Yes thats a wonderful idea, it will make your bear completely unique and very special! The small patterns all together do work better on a small bear, if you are having a large bear then plain rows in between would work.” Wendy Inkster

Fair Isle Burra Bear Group

I usually knit my fair isle hats and mitts using 3mm needles and jumper weight shetland wool and I wondered if that would be okay for the burra bear fabric or if you’d prefer the fabric to be knit on finer needles such as 2.75mm? She replied that it would be better to have the fabric looser rather than tighter to allow for the felting process.

Fair Isle Burra BearSo I am back onto my Burra Bear project and have started choosing colours that I think would look beautiful together.

About Nicolette


  1. Rebecca Hamilton says:

    Thank you so much for this! I too would like to custom order a Burra Bear to be made from my own knitting. You and Wendy have answered all my questions right down to the size needles and patterns. May I ask how your bear is coming along?

    • Hi Rebecca, It hasn’t progressed very far yet… still choosing colours and knitting little swatches! Hoping for Christmas or Valentine’s Day at this stage! I’d love to hear how you get on with your Burra Bear. Look forward to hearing from you! Nicolette

  2. What an awesome dream…I love bears and these Burra bears are so awesome…i think it would be very aesthetically pleasing to have one made with shades og grays…from dk pewter to light gray like a dove and alternated with soft shades of Taupes.. i will be watching to see what you actually create…tou have always had a great connection with the colorwheels of Nature….

    • Hi Nikita, I bought lots of different colours of Shetland wool when we visited Shetland in the Autumn. I keep moving them around in a basket and changing them about trying to decide on which to use. I want my Burra Bear to remind me of the colours and the landscape and the wonderfully colourful Shetland sheep. Love your colour ideas! I’m at the stage now of being ready to start swatching and trying out different combinations of fair isle pattern. A lot of fun! Lovely to hear from you, Nicolette

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