My Knit Teddy Bears

Check and see if there are any bears in my shop.

I have hope, I have faith, and I am convinced that during our darkest of moments, we’re able to remember that life and happiness cannot be shredded by something as ridiculous as poverty. This bear reminds me of so many philosophies along those same lines. The teddy bear looks like it was handcrafted by someone caring for a boy who doesn’t know he’s poor (unless someone tells him). It looks like the kind of teddy bear that a boy alone on a farm clings to for companionship and love, uncaring of his imperfections and strange stitching. If we consider this crafting of knitting an art form, which it surely can be, then I’m watching my own particular art form turn into a lost version of Americana’s Folk roots in rural life. And if that’s the case, then this little teddy bear is definitely a portrait of a poor boy alone on a farm…. holding on tight to hope….

Made of Fisherman’s wool, measures 12″ tall.

Coytown, just north of downtown Orlando, is a vibrant, young, energetic, and artistic few blocks of old concrete ranch style homes from the 70′s. But, the coolest thing about Coytown is its Asian population. The community of Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese is so vibrant and strong that even Publix has signs out front written in Vietnamese. You have these amazing restaurants and shops, whole blocks where nothing is either spoken or written in English, and people mingling over coffee and sweet milk.
Pom Pom’s Teahouse, Tasty Wok, Pho 88, Vihn’s. Its not uncommon to hear any of these places in daily conversation.

As many of you know, my knits are a reflection of things around me, portraits in the life of a man who found solace in a set of bamboo knitting needles and unprocessed yarn. My knits are snapshots and observations of my life. I had to make a bear to commemorate that little tourist free section of Orlando many commonly call “Little Saigon.”

Made of Fisherman’s wool, measures 12″ tall.

Yes, it’s true, in the wildest ways that destiny works, that I found myself out on this abandoned piece of property alone. It is NOT true, however, that it was supposed to become a way of life for me. I found refuge here because it was a place of quiet and solitude; it was a place to find peace beyond the turmoil that last year had wrecked me with. However, instead of something remarkable surfacing from the silence and the isolation, I found something deeper brewing within me: that all the frail little nuances that make me uniquely Gregory Patrick had been shoved to the side to make way for self-doubt and paranoia.

Clutching tight to this bear I am fully aware how blessed I am.

Throughout my time out here I’ve rediscovered quickly that I am a strong individual, a mighty, creative man who is loved. And so, I move myself now on a quest to recapture the truth behind what I had once reminded myself of once before: you control your destiny. Only YOU have the power to make a change.

My emotional and spiritual salvation are all entirely up to me….

Made of Fisherman’s wool, measures 12″ tall.

There is this commercial on television. Might be for insurance, not quite sure, but the parents are discussing medical treatments for the daughter. Cut to the daughter getting put into an MRI and just before she’s to undergo the treatment, she hands her father this very simple, rugged, been through the mud teddy bear to her father. There is this simple, brief, 2 second shot of this teddy bear that has this face that says, “I”ll be here ready for when you need me!” And the father, delicately hands the teddy bear back to the little girl as she clutches it for dear life at the end of the commercial.

Who wouldn’t start the water works? You’d have to be somehow cruel not to start weeping, even if but for a tiny bit. To begin with, I hate seeing little kids with illnesses. Breaks my heart. The innocent beginnings of our lives are meant for the exploration of real human existence, its not to be a quick lesson in the actuallity of our fleeting existence. Children shouldn’t be reminded just as the dawn begins to break to show all things wonderful and grand, that sunset will be upon them soon…..that darkness has its equal reign.

So, I came up with this bear to be that reminder, that meditative break from truth to anyone lonely or sick, that there will always be love and support just a hug away when you need it.

Made of Fisherman’s wool, measures 12″ tall.

44 thoughts on “My Knit Teddy Bears

  1. Hi,

    Where is your place? I feel for you! Last year, medical catastrophe left me homeless living in my car in California. I ended up moving to GA in hopes of pieces my life together. I’m still jobless, but at least I’m living indoors.

    I’m a crochet (I can knit, but prefer to crochet). I’ve dreamt of opening a cooperative crochet studio/gallery/cafe. I also thought about opening a salon offering custom machine knits. I think there is a market for both.

    I hope things work out for you. Who knows maybe we can find a way to work together and capitalize on the fact that we are both guys in the yarn world. Who knows, right?

    Ben

    • I loved your blog and will link to it! My best friend lives in Atlanta. He crochets, doesn’t need. I’ll be forwarding your blog to him, so he can check it out. Lives near Candler Park and loves meeting up for crochet groups. Thank you for the encouragement. I truly appreciate it.

  2. I came across your story in an email from Lion Brand and thought I could help you in your endeavor, I crochet for fun and extra cash and thought it would be fun to make either skirts or jackets for you to sell with your bears. My kids are learning my hobby, and my oldest makes necklaces, the youngest makes hats on the nifty knitter. I’m not charging you, or expect a cut from sales. Just looking to expand my hobby when I just can’t think of anything to make. One fiber artist helping another. Besides, you should see the stash I can’t seem to bust! I’ve been forbidden to purchase any more yarn till I use at least 75% of what I have already :)

  3. Your work is great and the bears are adorable. I loved the pink sweater too….I have 7 granddaughters that I have made many things for over the years. I have knitted and crocheted for about 45 years and always have at least one or two projects going.

    I send best wishes for things to improve in your life. All these experiences are contributing to the person you are today and it seems you are making the most of them. Good luck with everything!

  4. My son (who also is an avid crocheter & I have been going thru my yarn stash. I would like to send my extra yarn to you. Is there any type you don’t use – I have acrylics, wools, etc.

  5. I think you have an amazing story. I am a total knitaholic. It has certainly been my saving grace at times in my life. I would love to buy your trio of bears. They are so beautiful and there personality just jumps out at you. I live in Australia do you post to there?

    • I love the idea of the trio, too! I love the idea with Christmas coming up that the more trio’s that sell, the more bears I get to donate to those lovely ladies at that church to pass out. I do post to Australia! I’m hoping to have more bears up in a week!

  6. Hi Gregory, please let me know when you have more bears ready so I can order. I hope you find someone nice for you and Mario and somewhere that is permanent for you both. I have a cat too, I used to have two but unfortunately my beautiful Misty cat passed away a few weeks ago. Cats are fantastic creatures, perfect companions and good for the soul. Take care

  7. Hi there Gregory, Just wanted to drop you a little note to let you know that things will get better. I have been following your blog since you were Love Bombed last year. I know I cried when I read your response. And so every now and then I check in to see where you are, especially when I need a pick-me-up. Your blogs are very real and so positive, that even when you are down, they are so full of hope. I had a dad similar to yours, only mine was all verbal and mental lashings, with alcoholism, which did a number on me that I just discovered a few years ago, turning me into an ACOA with OCD and all kinds of self confidence issues. Amazing people have come into my life, that helped me through each step, whether they realized it or not, and I would be lying if I told you it was all roses…it’s been the hardest thing I have ever come through. A good friend once told me that when you start learning these little things about yourself, it’s like peeling an onion, that the layers come off gradually. And while it’s been a tough trip, I do know that I would rather have come through it a hundred times and still be learning than stuck where I had been. Sometimes I feel like everything is a struggle, but I’ve learned that changing and growing isn’t easy. So I think at every pain, every moment, every challenge, every time I feel like stopping and saying was all this worth it and just giving up, hides the opportunity for me to keep growing. All this change is such a good thing.
    Please don’t give up, you have so many people out here pulling for you. Take Care, :) Jaime

  8. Gregory your Bears are awesome. They are all unique, like a snow flake… They have such soul.
    They look up at you and with their expressions envite you to convide in them, your feelings and thoughts Just the right size to take with you, Always. The perfect friend… But no Vet Bills. Thank you. Can’t wait to go on Amazon and Down load your E Books. You may be isolated, but never alone. In retracing our heritage we rediscover ourselves. Can’t wait to read your Discoveries!

  9. Coytown… how wonderful to see it written about here! I was just at Ming Bistro last night for dim sum, and will be heading through with my kung fu temple in a few weeks for our annual Chinese New Year lion dance performances (Coytown is getting a real, bonafide parade this year!). But… you forgot Pho Hoa! ;)

    • I always DID forget about them. There is the other noodle house right next to them and I can never figure out which one to get to! So, stumbling out of hobby lobby, I’d just end up at Burrito Kitchen. I DO miss that neighborhood sooooo much.

  10. Yes your bears are adorable, yet I am so inspires of your story . You are a strong and tremendous gifted soul !!! You created your will and move it toward a beautiful future!! Everyone who feel rejected or outside the society because a difference should know you and your powerful action, they is no restriction of happiness and well for those like you who show the world your passion ! This is a good karma follow your patch it is going to be a marvelous voyage !! Thank you to share your dreams!

  11. I have to tell you have hit a spot in my heart tonight…with your story and amazing talent.
    I have just purchased my first of which I am sure will be many bears from you. I ordered the “not every bear is perfect” bear. I have an amazing friend of mine who is going through a struggle in life and has had to move to another state to try to pull things together. This is for him!!! I love the story that goes with it and I truly love the piece of your own heart that you put into each and everyone of your bears.
    Thank you Gregory for your inspiring story!!!! <3

    Please let me know when you get a po box I would love to send you some yarn ;)

  12. I found your pattern at Ravelry and would love to purchase it but there is no “button” to purchase. How can I buy your patterns?

  13. I never understood why the road back to me had to be a long,lonely,quiet deserted one. The things ive learned & discovered about me could only come this way. It’s not that I enjoy reading about another’s pain but I do enjoy and am encouraged watching someone else arrive whose fought & walked the same lonely road & drudged down that same who the hell am i path. what touches my heart & makes my eyes tear up every time is the beautifulness in you that gives when most would be selfish.Dear I hope you know that there’s a whole blogosphere of fans & friends rooting for you!!!
    Hugs!!!

  14. I just received my bear! I have read your book, follow you on facebook and from time to time check out your blog. I really like the bear. I am torn whether to keep him for myself or get another for my grand daughters. I will think on it. See I crochet, not knit. Maybe I will try one day. Almost all of what I make I give to friends and family. It is a release that keeps me sane. Not that I am crazy, I just have my own issues.
    I pray all is well with you and you continue on a good path.

  15. You are now followed by a knitting woman in Norway, love to see a man knit, should be more of them,around the world .. :). Have a great day!

  16. OMG! Read your story on huffpost about being called on by cops. Thought it was smart, well written and very funny. I think the joke is on whoever called on you…Of course I had to go checkout your website and blog. All the bears are marked sold out! You gotta be doing something right! Hope you have gotten a lot of new customers. As to the miserable fcuks who screwed up your paypal account, well good riddance. Those fcukers would be trouble sooner or later anyways. Keep up the crazy knitting! Would love to see you knit a little tiger…and pooh…! : )

  17. After reading the same police story that Jonathan read, then reading your blog & looking at your bears, I thought I’d like to buy a bear to come to Newfoundland, but you’re all sold out! So I bought the pattern & am going to try it myself. I hope I can figure it out – I’m a knitter, but nothing too fancy yet. Keep your head up & I hope those people who messed with you get what they deserve. Sadly, it’s usually that type of person who never gets pulled down by their own dumb ideas. They just end up trampling whoever gets in their way. I’m sorry to hear that you were one of their victims. Keep knitting!

  18. Your bears are adorable! I’m a young woman who crochets (I knit some, but crocheting has so many different stitches, I find it more fun), and I get made fun of a LOT. I’ve been called an old woman on more than one occasion. But I find it’s more satisfying when I can just say “bite me” and move on. I love my stuff, and other people do too. I’ve even recently begun selling my stuff because people really like it. So thank you for sharing your gift with the world. We need more people like you. Really.

  19. Your bears are wonderful. I crochet tiny bears with movable arms and legs. The legs and arms are similar in shape as yours and I like that particular look. I never though of knitting them on four needles like you do mittens and socks. I have an idea you might find interesting. I am not sure you could do your particular bear projects in a seed stitch. I think it would have an interesting look that you might enjoy.

  20. From one gay man to another, I am so proud of the faith and determination that you have kept in your forefront. I read every blog you have posted in one setting and look forward to making my small contribution of buying one of your adorable teddy bears. Best of everything to you always.

  21. Hi there,
    I just moved to Orlando and got this article sent to me from family here in Orlando. They know that I might be the female version of a Knitting Ninja!!! It is so good to know that I am not alone here in Florida as it is hard to knit in 90 degree weather and this should be the best time coming up (Winter!). Keep on knitting bears (I am well known for making monkeys!)

  22. Pingback: My Knit Teddy Bears | Sanderella's Crochet

  23. I wanted to wish you a happy birthday and a new year filled with all of God’s blessings. It looks like you have found the right road about what Christmas is truly all about. I loved reading your post and seeing your cat warmed by the heater and your Christmas tree. Best wishes, Lucille Bailles

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