So many of my quilts are "memory" quilts, and this is no different. I am drawn to bears--not because I particularly love bears, but because I associate so much with them. My mother had a dear friend named Faye that she taught with for many years. They shared many things together, including an affinity and love for art. Faye did a lovely oil painting of a grizzly bear lumbering over a log with a towering, craggy mountain in the distance. She gave this painting to my mother and it hung in the dining room for years. That bear certainly was a silent witness to a great deal of my history.
being the fly on the wall, that bear was there for announcements,
pronouncements and a whole bunch of laughs. I will share one of the
mother became the de facto caregiver for an older woman who lived
across the street. Mom got her groceries, ran errands for her and was
always available for a good chat. One particular Thanksgiving, mom
invited Lou over to our house for dinner. She showed up that day dressed
in her best. Silky floral shirt adorned with a gigantic rhinestone
sunburst pin, a freshly coiffed purplish red wig and fire engine red
lipstick carefully applied into a large, exaggerated moue. Dinner was
fun. Lou regaled us with stories of her days waitressing and kept us all
in stitches. It all went really well until she leaned forward to get
seconds. "Oh hell," she muttered, dabbing furiously at her shirt, "I got
my tit in the gravy." The silence that followed that comment was thick
and heavy. It felt like every molecule of air had gotten sucked out of
the room. Everyone suddenly had an intense interest in the food on
their plates and the scrape of silverware seemed unnaturally loud. I was
very young, but I knew something outrageous had just happened and I
watched my family to see how I should react. My dad was biting his lip,
my mom looked a little put out, and my teenaged brothers looked like
they were about to explode. Dinner carried on. We swallowed our laughs
until after dessert when we could truly relish the infamy.
what memories are, right? A moment that blossoms into an infamous
EVENT. That particular memory certainly lives on. Try spilling something
on your shirt at my house if you have any lingering doubts.
So, my house needed a bear on the wall. This pattern is from Juliet at thetartankiwi. She has a 12 inch bear, and this 30 inch bear (plus a lot of other animals) for sale in her Craftsy
shop. (The pattern is for the block only.) I used some parchment
paper to draw the border design for paper piecing. I taped down the
paper on my cutting mat and used a pencil and one of my rulers to draft
the pattern. Parchment paper is mostly see-through, so it is easy to
see the grid lines underneath. Plus, you can roll it out in whatever
length you need. I use it quite a bit. I never have it in my kitchen
because it's always in the sewing room!
had so much fun picking the fabrics for this project that I wanted to
do a reprisal with my scraps. Paper piecing yields a lot of funky shaped
scraps that I am loathe to throw away. Rather than sort them out and
put them in the "I'll get to them someday" bin, I decided to make a
matching pillow sham with "made" fabric. I just sewed these little bits
together until I had bigger pieces. I squared the bigger pieces to 5"
and dog eared the corners with alternating 2.5" squares of cheddar and
turquoise. I finished it off with matchstick straight line quilting. I
don't know if I am happier that I have a matching pillow or that I used
up the scraps. Probably both.
I am definitely happy to have a bear on the wall; one that will be a silent witness to new pronouncements and new memories. Who knows, maybe he will be one of the best ones.