Monday, June 30, 2014

The Winter of Teddies

Even though I was raised in the cold winter state of Minnesota, I was never a “winter” kind of girl. After living in Florida for some twenty years I found myself to be quite happy and proclaiming I would never live in a cold weather state again…. Florida suited me well.
Fast forward through a divorce and a new marriage, I found myself moving with the new DBH back to his home state of Michigan. The winter months now found me taking up sewing once again after a twenty year hiatus. The year was 1999 when I decided to teach myself how to sew Teddy Bears. 
Repurposed Mink and Lamb Fur Teddies
With sister Ki Nassauer preaching about reclaiming, reusing, and repurposing, I started sewing Teddies with that in mind.  Hunting the local Antique/thrift stores, I began to gather a collection of mink stoles, mink coats, black curly lamb’s wool coats, vintage fabrics and even some army blankets. I purchased some, “How to Books” on Teddy Bear making, and even drove 50 miles to take a class with a well-known Teddy Bear seamstress.
Memory Bears from Synthetic Coats
A Michigan cold winter was in full swing. I was warmly tucked away in my upstairs sewing room with a view of the falling snow and the deer scavenging outside for food.  Teddies of all kinds where being sewn out of all types of materials, most with glass eyes, some with tummy growlers, most with jointed heads, arms, legs and all with hand stitched noses and mouths. Word got around and I sewed some memory bears for friends who had lost a loved one, using coats that had once been worn by those loved one.
German Mohair and Cotton String Teddies
By spring, I counted up over 50 bears of all types and sizes that had been sewn. They had become a part of my family during that long winter and I had a hard time parting with them. Some were sold, some were given to friends and children and some (my favorites) have moved and traveled with me over the last 14 years.

Fast forward again, DBH2 finally retired in 2007 and a move back to FL occurred. I again found myself quite happy with the weather and sewing has now become a year around passion. Having met the challenge of sewing Teddy Bears, I have now moved to other sewing challenges while looking out the window of my sewing room and watching the birds fly by and the flowers blooming. Once again I find myself “sew” happy!

Happy Sewing, Karla

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