Watching Over You

Watching Over You - pattern by McKenna Ryan of Pine Needles This year I made a goal to try to work on one UFO, pattern or try a technique from one of my quilt or art books each month.  I’m running a little behind since I got carried away with my January project and made a wall quilt from start to finish.  The quilt is 28 1/2″ x 32″ and is created with fusible applique and quilted by machine.  It should have been fast, but somehow it took me nearly two months to finish.  I’m pleased to say that I only had to purchase the border fabric and the rest came from my stash.

I’ve had this pattern, Watching Over You, by McKenna Ryan of Pine Needles, for several years.  I bought it because I really liked the peaceful feeling of the quilt and the way it reminds me of the Pacific Northwest.  It turns out that this scene is not really from the Pacific Northwest, but Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Bay.  An ancient Odawa Indian tale – the Legend of the Sleeping Bear – gives the bay it’s name and inspired this design.

The Legend of the Sleeping Bear is really kind of sad.  This is the explanation according the pattern insert:

Many, many years ago, so the tale goes, a great forest fire in Wisconsin forced a mother bear and her two cubs to swim across the big lake for the Michigan shore.  Almost to land, the cubs tired and sank.  Unable to rescue them, their mother reached land, then lay down on the shore in sorrow.  As she watched and waited, the Lake Michigan winds blanketed her in land, and she became a great sand dune.  Seeing her grief, the Great Spirit took pity on her and raised the cubs from the water as two islands, called the Manitous.  Centuries have gone by, and that Sleeping Bear still holds eternal vigil over her island cubs.

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