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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grandma Bear

In the beginning, when Jan and I started our weaving (and spinning) business and then worked on ways to make a living at it, we had help, encouragement and ideas from old hands in show business.  We were befriended by a sewer named Carol who was always ready to help us figure out a 10x10 booth that actually was 6 feet wide and 17 feet long.  She was full of great stories, too, like how to kill your husband and get away with it.  She’d already divorced hers, so she seemed to be past that stage.  She was chronically low on stock and sewed in her motel at night.  She made a sheep door stop that was filled with sand.  When she filled the body she would thump it on the table to settle the sand and flatten the bottom.  A fellow exhibitor complained bitterly about being wakened all night by someone who knocked on his door but wasn’t there when the door was opened.  Carol never fessed up. 

This bear was one of Carol’s products.  She bought used quilts at auctions and antique stores and turned them into teddy bears.  This was in the great long ago when shabby was chic, country was in and old quilts were cheap.  Ten years later we had reason to turn a quilt into teddy bears ourselves, and an acquaintance who wanted to make quilt teddy bears to sell got quite a dose of reality on finding old quilt value had rightfully soared in the market.

When our mom died, almost without giving us any notice, and we started sorting out we pulled so many of her old quilts out of her cupboard.  We reminisced about the beds they had been on.  We came upon one that had been through the wash so often that in many places Grandmother’s Flower Garden flowers were worn through to the 120 thread count sheet Mom frequently used for backing.  We thought of Carol’s quilt bears and decided to use this quilt for Grandma Bears to give to the grandchildren and others who loved mom.  This bear is Jan’s, and lives in her quilt studio.

Grandma Bear's poor old arms and legs only get a feather duster on them:

I think she's pleased with all she surveys.


  1. What a wonderful thing...Grandma Bears, I love it.

  2. Those are gorgeous. I wouldn't be able to bring myself to cutting into those old quilts--the time it took to make them, and the people they have warmed...

  3. What a lovely idea, Grandma Bears for the grandchildren and family - and you only sacrificed one worn quilt! I really like that.

  4. Wow, what loving wisdom you had to share the treasured old quilts with your mother's descendants! What artistry and skill you have to accomplish this so beautifully!

  5. Oh, the memories in a quilt! What a wonderful way of sharing grandma! Before she died, my Husby's Mom, a level 9 quilter, made a quilt for every one of her grandchildren. They are treasures.