27 December 2016

Bear Paw Quilt Finish, Surprise Complete

It's finally time for the big bear paw reveal.
You might want to grab a cup of coffee for this.
It's a little lengthy and, unusual for me,
I added in lots of pictures.

Firstly, I forgot to point out last time how well the moon/star pattern
in the dark brown fabric worked with the bear's nose and eye.
I didn't even plan that!  I didn't even know what I'd use that
fabric for back in October when I bought about 6 yards of it
off the clearance rack during the Shop Hop.
It was a little dark but there was plenty for the backing so...

Anyway, on to the big finish!!
Believe it or not, five days before Christmas,
this quilt was labeled, wrapped and under the tree.
Which means, even though it felt like 20 weeks, I made it in 20 days!
Actually--less, because weekends were mostly out.

Like the weekend before Christmas that we
went to the WSU basketball game on Saturday eve...
and then drove up to Kansas City the next morning early
for the Chief's game--the one with the single digit temps.
The one that if you didn't keep shaking your drink,
it wouldn't be drinkable!

(yes, that's snow and ice on the seats)

Well, until you find out that there's a concession stand 
that will spike your hot chocolate
with your choice of several flavors of, um, warmth.

I went with the peppermint schnapps.
So did the guy behind me when he heard what I ordered.
"WHAT did you just have them put in there?!?"
Poor man, he hadn't heard the good news yet.
 I heard him joyfully exclaim, "I'll have the same!" 
after I wished him the necessary fan-to-fan "enjoy the game"
and walked away.  Ah, so happy to spread the cheer.
My husband found my joy so funny that he had to get a picture of it.
I didn't think it was that funny--it was COLD, people!
I had just found a life-line was all!

Here's one of those annoying selfies of my husband and I 
having dinner with my daughter and son-in-law
who live there in KC.

The restaurant was warm.
The hotel was warm.
And had a nice warm the view of the Plaza.

You know what else is warm?
A quilt.

Which is what was in the back of my mind the whole time.

In the morning, we took advantage of our location to do some
last-minute shopping, arriving home...Monday evening.
Another reason I rushed like mad the previous days.
I knew this weekend would mean three more quilt days shot.

But I had stayed ahead of the game!

Up till then, the very minute my husband would walk in from work,
I would be throwing the quilt into my sewing room
closet, picking up threads and taking a lint roller to my clothes.
And if he walked back out later in the evening for anything
I flew to my sewing room and pulled it right back out.
(how lucky that he's coaching basketball several nights a week
and has a men's group once a week at church!)
I really wasn't kidding when I said I gave this
every single free second I had.

Just days before the spiked hot chocolate saved my life,
I was already at the border
and starting to relax...some.
The mitered border I was looking forward to.
Changing the measurements due to the addition of a row?
Not really.
Fortunately, Sew Fresh Quilts has a great little tutorial that
walked me right through it.

(not sure why it looks wrinkled--it's not?)

I've never done a mitered border before
but that wasn't so bad.

That night, while my husband was at basketball, the boys
 set up the tables so I'd be able to baste it the next day.
I took advantage of the tables to go ahead with piecing the backing
and measuring out the batting.

  ANY step I could squeeze in,
I did, and since we just don't use that room much, I didn't see
any reason not to leave everything out overnight, especially
to let the batting "breathe".  But with the backing on top
and covering it up, of course.
Just in case!
What are the chances my son would mis-place his calculator,
sending my husband on a search throughout the house?
Luckily, I diverted his attention just as he was nearing the sunroom.
You understand how this took over my life for 3 weeks, right?

I guess I'm a pretty sneaky person because he never picked up
on any of it.  After 25 years, he usually knows the signs of a project
going in my sewing room, and in my head.  But, as I said,
I cleaned everything up and dumped the trash daily--sometimes twice a day!
My husband did know I was sewing new body pillow covers for the kids,
and he told me later that he kind of wondered what was
taking so long but that's as far as that thought went.

I pushed myself incredibly hard because, to me, there is nothing worse
than spending Christmas Eve in the sewing room while everyone
else is gathered around a movie or a game or the fire or whatever.
To find myself with those last several day before Christmas
completely free made every insanely-rushed minute worth it.

As did the surprise.
We do open everything on Christmas Day after Mass
but I always make something for the kids to open before we
watch Christmas Vacation the night before.  Just for the kids.
So Hubs was pretty surprised when, after the pillow covers were all
opened and new pillows distributed, I placed a large gift on his lap.

This is his "what's this?" look.
As you can see, he was settled back and ready for the movie.
You know what's funny?  The quilt behind him is the other
one I made for him about 8? years ago.


He is very happy with his new "Grizzly Paws" quilt.
And he's still telling me how overwhelmed he is with it.
He can see just how much work it was not only to make,
especially in such a short time, but to keep it a secret as well.
I keep relaying little stories, like the calculator one, as I
think back on these crazy weeks.
There were lots of, well, "laughs" as I can now call them.

(one of the pillows off to the lower right)

If you can, note the pine trees quilted in each border cornerstone.

And so, there it is.
The big reveal.
The last quilt of 2016--out with a real bang!

And now, to all a GOOD NIGHT--especially ME, who is 
very ready to settle down for a long overdue winter's nap!

Thank you, Sew Fresh Quilts, for sharing this pattern.
My bear-loving husband will be enjoying this one
for a beary long time!


Debbie said...

Great post, I so love the story and your sneakiness. Having the boys help to cover it up...lol. Your hubs looks quite pleased to have a new quilt. It is a beauty too. Well done...very well done. A quilt keeps the hugs and love in it forever.

Laura said...

Love your version of Mod Bear Paw! Every time I see one, I want to make another using different fabrics.

Lorna McMahon said...

Your Bear Paw is such a beauty! I am so glad you quilted along. This post was so much fun to read. And seeing the look on your husband's face? Priceless! You did an incredible job!

Raewyn said...

I adore your quilt - the colours are gorgeous - what a great effort to get it done in 20 days (or less!). Great sneaky sewing, it looks like it was a total surprise!

Quilter Kathy said...

What a wonderful quilt! And I enjoyed reading the story of it's creation and gifting!
I just finished my version so I'm visiting all the bears at the link up!

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