Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

I feel like my friends, family members, and coworkers tend to cycle through periods of lots of babies and no babies.  In 2020, I know of five babies born or expected in my circle.  One of those is a former coworker.  I've made a quilt for all babies born since I started working at my current job.  This woman, Kory, and I were both children's librarians before working at a community college and we frequently talked about children's books.  If I remember correctly, one of her favorites is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. & illustrated by Eric Carle.  When I learned she was expecting, I knew I'd use some Brown Bear fabric I bough years ago at one of my favorite quilt shops, Sew What & Batiks Etc in Wytheville, Virginia.

I had other projects that felt more pressing so I hadn't started this one yet since Kory wasn't due until mid-to-late July.  But a mutual friend let me know that baby had other ideas and arrived very early.  Fortunately, Baby Oliver was breathing on his own from the beginning, despite his small size, and all seems to be well.  So I needed to get moving on his quilt!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
The main print had each of the animals from the book tossed across the fabric.  I isolated each animal and cut them out.  I figured out pretty quickly that it was going to be impossible to cut to the same size and not cut into other animals, and I had a limited amount of the fabric.  So I cut them as best I could to isolate each animal and used the border fabric to get to a standard block size of 12" finished.

Green Frog
I used leftovers from my Kona solid bin for all the colors around each animal.  They are: Earth, Tomato, Citrus, Niagara, Leprechaun, Mulberry, Snow, Black, and Goldfish.  Yes, the color around the goldfish is Goldfish!

 For the back, I had some of a second print.  I combined it with the leftovers of the main print, then added some Kona Pond that was the right size for the area that still needed to be covered.

What I really wanted for the binding was a fun rainbow stripe.  I didn't have anything.  Back in April, I really wanted to support my local quilt shop so when I picked up elastic, I had a list of other items I could use, even though I didn't actually *need* anything.  I put "rainbow stripe" on my list.  Stores were not permitted to let customers in at that point so they picked one for me--and I love it!  Shout out to Quilt Patch Fabrics!   The fabric is Tropical Zone by Color Pop Studio for Blank Quilting.

Yellow Duck
When I showed the finished quilt to my husband the first things he said was, "they are in the right order." Which just proves that he gets me.  If you're familiar with the book, you may have picked up on the fact that I put the animals in the order in which they appear in the book.  I did get our copy off the shelf to double check, but I did it from memory :)

Purple Cat
 I hope that Kory & baby Oliver enjoy this for years to come!  This is my 20th finish in 2020. 


  1. Funny how some of those books we read when the kids were little stay in our minds - I can still recite a good portion of some Seuss books from memory. Pretty cool that you could get all the animals in the right order from memory. Great job on the quilt, Emily - I'm sure it will be well loved!

  2. What a precious quilt! I’m sure it will be cherished

  3. Such a sweet quilt. Glad he arrived safely and is doing well for an early bird (or bear). I am sure this will be treasured and so well loved.

  4. What a perfect quilt for your co-worker and her newborn, Emily!!! Great job on the order, matching solids and that fun rainbow binding! Thanks to your quilt, Oliver will have that memorized in no time at all!

  5. Love it...I made a few of those too...and always gave the book with it..Thank you for reminding me...I still have some fabric and a book left..You did a great job!!

  6. Thank you for sharing such a great baby quilt! I am a first time grandmother for just over a year now and your quilt put me on a mission to find this fabric - thank you Etsy! I bought enough fabric to make one for each of my children for future grandchildren. Love this book and your quilt.

  7. Sweet and lovely quilt! Thank you for sharing!