A new project - Heirloom Bear
If you remember back 2 weeks, you will recognize and remember this little bear that I made. It was a "muslin" for the project that I'm introducing today and that needs to be finished by Thursday. It's very doable if I can get over my fear of messing up and if no big problems arise. I learned a lot about doing the Ultrasuede bear that will help me on this one.
The project starts with this quilt. It was made in 1957 for my cousin by her paternal grandmother, Eva Young. We share a maternal grandmother and because she is an only child of an only child, her Grandma Young was at all of our family events and I think I was 8 or so when I realized that she wasn't also my grandmother. Who says you can't have 3 grandmothers?
The quilt is hand appliqued, embroidered, pieced and quilted. There isn't 1 machine stitch on it. Of course, Sunbonnet Sue was very popular at that time.
In 1960, my aunt passed it on to my mother to use for me and it's been in our family since. I've had it at least 20 years. It's been in my sewing fabric cabinet just waiting for my cousin to have a grandchild. My plan was to replace the binding, wash it and present it to the new parents. The news came a few months ago that she is finally having a grandchild and I dug out the quilt to get it ready.
On closer inspection, it was clear that this quilt isn't sturdy enough to be a baby quilt again so I started to think of other things I could do with it to give it a new life for future generations. I've seen stuffed animals made of old quilts and settled on making a teddy bear.
My plan is to try to keep this block in tact to serve and a blanket for the bear. I'll buy some binding or a Kona solid to match for the binding. That way they can see what the quilt would have looked like and I will add the description label to the back of this square.
Here's another block for you to see the applique and embroidery. I've never seen the arm "wrinkles" embroidered on one of these blocks before but, admittedly, I've also not studied the infamous Sunbonnet Sue either.
I did a rough layout just to make sure all the pieces fit and that I'd have a block leftover. Then I reminded myself that no one expects anything from this quilt. My cousin only barely knows of its existence. So if it fails I have a very pretty backup crochet blanket I can give them. If I don't cut into it the blanket is just going to stay in my cabinet and one day, after I'm gone, it will end up in the landfill. There's nothing to lose.
There will be only 1 "foreign" fabric, this turquoise, for the nose.
Those scissors made my fingers numb but, after a couple of hours, I had it all cut out. I was able to save the one block for the documentation and there's still a chunk in case I need to recut anything. I'm saving all the little bits for now and plan to put some of it in with the stuffing. I'll put one large chunk in the belly in case someone needs to do a repair in the future.
Today, after a visit to the dentist, I start sewing. Wish me luck!
3/29/2023 02:56:03 am
What a sweet little bear this will make.
3/29/2023 08:02:19 am
My paternal grandmother made a sunbonnet Sue (little dutch girl) quilt that was sometimes on my bed when I was very young. I remember that the background for each block was a sunny yellow. That quilt was much loved and finally fell apart.
3/29/2023 08:06:30 am
What a great idea! I don’t think I would have been able to get myself to cut into the quilt! Can’t wait to see it finished.
3/29/2023 08:34:43 am
Congratulations. The idea is wonderful but the real challenge was making that first cut. You are so right that no one expected anything from this quilt so what a thrill that it will live on as a teddy bear. FUN project!
3/29/2023 09:03:36 am
The bear is going to be so cute and it's a great way to pass on the story of the quilt. It might be nice to make a little scrapbook with pictures to document the story to give along with the bear.
your right no one is expecting to see this quilt - it is getting worn out - why not change it into something else. I bet it turns out great. I was working with scissors at the library yesterday and ended up with a bruise on one finger from the way i was holding them - not used to them for sure.
3/29/2023 02:19:05 pm
I would have a hard time cutting into the quilt also but your reasoning makes perfect sense. If you have a large enough section of quilt, you could make a small bag that the baby could use later (well, if it's a girl!).
3/29/2023 02:20:16 pm
P.S. I meant to add - good luck making the bear. I have no doubt you'll do a good job.
4/1/2023 09:47:22 am
This is going to be an amazing project although I understand your trepidation over cutting into the quilt. I would be nervous over that too.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.