Monday, 29 June 2015

Testing a Toy

It is a while since I have created a page here - no excuses, just not got around to it as I have been doing other things.
To bring everyone up to date on the PollyKay and Sidders life - we are all well, no major problems in the household.
I am still restoring the old timers and making the occasional mohair Pud Bear.
Also I have been attending local craft fairs with my varied collection of home made items.
I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to design and make some knitted bears that would be CE marked and pass the regulations set out in the UK.
I made my first bear from Sirdar Snowflake Snuggly and Stylecraft DK, two yarns that I have the EN71-3 certificates for.  The stuffing has a CE mark.
Then came the 'torture' bit (the physical and flammability tests).
Testing the seams
Making sure the weight test hadn't weakened the seams or fabric
So far, so good - my sewing held up to the 7.5kg of weight in the bag and no damage was done to the fabric.  The leg and ears stayed firmly in place and no little fingers would be able to reach the stuffing and pull it out.

I found a stopwatch on my tablet as this part had to be timed
Now for the flammability test.  I decided to do this over the bath as the shower was handy to put it out if necessary.

The poor little bear ready for the flames :(

I hated this bit

25 seconds
40 seconds
60 seconds
I gave up after 60 seconds and put the shower on him
I was definitely not happy with this outcome.  Although in theory this passed the guidelines, there is no way I could sell this as suitable for children.  If it had smouldered and gone out on the leg that would have been ok, but by 30 seconds his whole leg was flaming and it fell of a few seconds later, then his body caught light and the flames were right to the top of his head.
At this point I dowsed him with the shower and the last picture shows the damage done in just one minute.  It seemed to be the knitting that was burning, as the stuffing is still there.
I think I may just carry on making my artist bears and find something else to knit instead of toys :(
I am hoping to get a certificate for some mohair and make a traditional mohair bear for children.
Maybe I will get more luck with that.
NB:  It has been pointed out to me that my calculations were wrong, and in fact the burn rate was 4-5mm per second which is well within the 30mm guidelines. I did a sample 'sausage' of just the DK and the results were the same, but this time I noted that it took a while for the flame to catch hold. 
It would give a child time to drop the toy (this is a reflex action) before the flames spread enough to do damage. 
It has also been pointed out to me that I did the tension test wrong and should have had the clamps equal distances apart from the seam, not actually on the seam.  Oh well, back to the drawing board - watch this space!