I belong to Capital Quilters in Wellington, New Zealand, and the bear paw block is part of our logo. Our guild will be 30 years old this year, and the committee came up with the idea of making bear paw quilts as a way of celebrating the anniversary. Of course, members are free to make the quilts in whatever fabrics they like. Some people are using French General, others are using Tula Pink etc etc.
As I'm not quite 50 yet, I'm thinking that I might still be around when the guild turns 50 in 20 years time, and I can pull out my historic scrappy bear paw quilt and show all the "young ones" what we made back in 2015 when the guild turned 30.
When my friend Anne (@ihaveafabricproblem on Instagram) showed her single coloured scrappy blocks on low volume backgrounds, I was hooked. I immediately thought of all my beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics and how I could use those in a quilt like this. Most of you know that I've resisted low volume prints for a long time, so I had to buy fabrics for the background, but I made all the coloured sections entirely from my stash.
Here are each of the 9 blocks up close so you can see all the great prints.
|this one is made entirely from Kaffe Fassett prints|
|I remade this block because I wasn't happy with the original version. The yellows weren't strong enough compared to the other blocks.|
I found some great sashing fabric and joined the blocks up yesterday.
The quilt isn't finished yet, but I'm happy to have a finished top. I need a bit of help with the next two steps if you'd like to help out please:
1. What sort of backing should I use? I keep thinking that the Ikea text print would work here, but we don't have Ikea in New Zealand, and I hear it's being discontinued anyway.
2. Should I add a narrow border in the same fabric as the sashing, or just skip the border and go straight to the binding?
Many people have asked for instructions on how to make a quilt like this. I can't really post the pattern exactly as it was given to me, but there are a lot of patterns and instructions for bear paws blocks on the internet. Just so you know, here's what I did. If you're an experienced quilter you'll understand these notes:
cut 17 x 3.5" squares from bright fabrics
cut 8 x 4" squares from bright fabrics
cut 8 x 4" squares from background fabrics
cut 4 x 3.5" squares from background fabrics
cut 4 X 3.5" x 9.5" rectangles from background fabrics
I turned the 4" squares into HSTs by ruling a diagonal line and sewing along both sides of the line. I cut down the line and trimmed the HSTs to 3.5" squares.
Keep a picture of the block in front of you at all times, and double, triple check that your HSTs are pointing the correct way. Everyone I know has made a mistake at some stage.
I made each of the 4 sections of the block by forming rows of 3 and then joining them to make each section of the block (9 pieces). I then joined the top half together, sewed on the middle section, and then joined the bottom half to the top. The block measures 21.5" square unfinished.
I cut my sashing at 2.5" wide and added cornerstones at the intersections.
I hope you can understand that. Writing instructions is harder than I thought. I think I'll stick to sewing.