Journal Entry: April 1, 2020.
I can honestly say I haven’t seen one bear in all the time I’ve lived in Colorado EXCEPT for the time we were with our friend Beth. And, I’m not really 100% so sure I saw bears then. My husband and I were sitting around our table with Beth, just talking about seeing wild animals in our rural foothills neighborhood near the Air Force Academy. Both Earl and I answered Beth’s question about seeing any lion or bear with an emphatic “No!”. Thank goodness we’d only seen a lot of deer and a red fox run through our property. Horses and dogs were more the norm in our neighborhood. It wasn’t ten minutes when Earl said, “Look out the window!” On the rise of the hill at the back of our house, about an acre away, stood a mother and baby bear! It’s been many years since that day with Beth. And from that time to today, we’ve teased her endlessly about her mystical ability to conjure up those bears.
When we heard Beth was pregnant with her first child we were elated for her. Of course, being the quilter that I am I planned to make a quilt for the baby. My absolute favorite collection of kid’s quilts was designed by one of my co-workers at F+W Media, Denise Stark. The Patch Pals collection consists of over 20 of Denise’s designs featuring a variety of animals.
We had the entire quilt collection hanging in the lobby of our office for a while. As I’d come into the building or travel to the breakroom from my office I’d try to pick a favorite one to make. It was a hopeless quest. Because of our mystical connection with Beth, (and my husband’s nickname is Bear), I chose to make a version of the Beary Patch quilt to give to Beth and baby Avery.
Because of our shared backstory, I felt compelled to make Beth and Avery’s bear appear mystical, knowing it would need to happen with my fabric choice and selection of quilting design for the quilt finish. I found just the right fabric for the background. If you look closely at the photo below you can see a bit of the sparkle from gray metallic spots on the fabric.
To build this bear I pulled fabric for it from my batik stash. I don’t make too many scrappy quilts. From those I have made I’ve concluded that scrappy doesn’t necessarily equate to a freeform approach, placing patches in any place without some forethought. I used a design wall to layout the cut patches for this quilt and took several photos with my cell phone along the way to allow me to see the overall effect as I finalized fabric placement. You’ll notice that I incorporated dark batiks for the bear’s body and medium browns for the bottom of his paws. It was a trick to get enough contrast with the brown batiks I had on hand.
I am so excited to give this quilt to Beth and Avery. I’ve been saving it until Avery became a toddler and would be old enough to use it. The Beary Patch design is a perfect choice for a baby or toddler quilt. I hope gifting it with the popular Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See and a book from the Corduroy Bear series adds some special cuddle time memories.