Tuesday, February 7, 2012
My Bear's Paw Quilt
I recently moved my white iron bed out into The Nest, to make way for another bed in the house. Well, no way was I going to get rid of that great old bed, so I went on a tear moving stuff around in my backyard studio until I figured out how to make it fit in. Realizing some time back that I didn't need to have an entire classroom set up in The Nest helped me to figure it out....so away went all those tables and chairs. (At one time, I had four tables and sixteen chairs in here.) Now, as you can see, there is a big bed in here. I rarely get a nap, but this bed surely makes me want to take one!
This vintage bed is high off the floor because it has a modern mattress and box springs on it. It used to have the springs 'built in," but nowadays has slats instead. I have to have a step stool to get on it. You know what that means....most quilts, coverlets or spreads will be too short. So far, I haven't found or taken the time to make a bedskirt for it. Who knows when that will happen, so I had to decide how to dress that bed so I could store lots of stuff underneath it. Enter the picture, my Bear's Paw Quilt. It fits perfectly. I was in the process of making this quilt when I moved to Arkansas in 1981. It's BIG. I really didn't know what I was doing....hence, it's size.
Perfect for a very high, old white bed. I love the way it looks out here in my Nest.
I actually made this quilt for my favorite son. He kindly let me know that he probably wouldn't take care of it like I'd want him to, after I gave him washing instructions, so it has remained here at my house. He has slept under it many times, though, when he visits from California, and I consider it HIS quilt. Maybe he'll actually take it home at some point, well, after I've finished playing with it, you know....a few more years from now.
This quilt has another entirely different story and has lived quite an exciting life. I finished it in 1981. In 1984, it appeared in a quilting book, "First Prize Quilts," by Dimetra Makris, published by Simon and Schuster. (There weren't many of those in 1984!!! Notice it's in black and white!) After the book was published, I had the quilt hanging in the local quilt shop as I was teaching quilting there. The night before my class, the shop caught on fire and burned to the ground. Early in the a.m., that old navy man of mine went down to the site to see what had happened. He asked the fire chief if he could enter the remains of the shop to see if my quilt could be found. "Good luck," was what he was told. One of his co-workers told me that he offered to buy my quilt for $5 when the old navy man spread it out on the parking lot to assess the damage. It was all in one piece, but black as pitch and so wet, it weighed a ton! Can you believe it survived? We couldn't. It seems they sprayed so much water on the building, the quilt had fallen off the wall and was in a very wet heap at the bottom of a pile of rubble when the old navy man found it.
I was heartbroken when I saw it. But we both thought it could be cleaned, so I took it to the local cleaner. A couple of days later, I received a call from the cleaner saying that it was hopeless, did I want them to throw the quilt away. Heck no! So, I brought it home and washed it....over and over and over and over. Many times. Eventually, it came as clean as you see it now. Everyone thinks it is an antique. (Well, NOW, I guess it is, but back then it was still new, but looked old after the fire.) Wasn't it great of the old navy man to want to rescue that quilt?
In 1995, I was asked to let Oxmoor House and Leisure Arts, publish the quilt again. Here is the book...."Grandma's Quilting Bee." And, I've photographed two of the pages so you can see it. Looks pretty darn good to have survived a fire, doesn't it?
So, this quilt was published BEFORE a fire and then again, AFTER the fire. I'm almost willing to bet there haven't been many quilts that fit that description! I hope you enjoy seeing it, especially out in my Nest! Next time, I will be showing you my two new vintage quilts, found at a local flea market, and now here in the Nest, on this bed...just for you. Meantime, take care, pat