The names "bear paw" and "bear's paw" seem to be in free variation, both when I search online or look in Rosanne's quilting books, and in my own writing! For the sake of this blog, I'll try to stick to "bear paw", but the other option is equally correct. It's a nice representational block: it looks like a stylized pawprint. Compare some actual pawprints with the block:
The quilt block bear is missing a toe, but otherwise it does look like a pawprint, and it is commonly used in rustic quilts for that backwoods feel. I like the block for my Dandelion Quilt because, if done in greens, it looks like the leaves of a plant whorling out from a central stem.
NEW FABRIC TO PLAY WITH!
My quilting mentor Rosanne is working through the book Cut the Scraps!, by Joan Ford. The book's premise is simple and smart: take your small scraps of quilting cotton, anything under a fat quarter, and cut them into a set of prescribed sizes: 2" squares, 3.5" squares, and 5" squares. Sort these squares by value rather than by color, so you end up with a pile of lights, a pile of darks, and a pile of everything in the middle. If you make a four-patch with four 2" squares, it makes a 3.5" square; if you make a nine-patch with nine 2" squares, it makes a 5" square. Then the book has instructions for twenty different quilts which can be made from squares of those sizes. I love the idea! Anyway, as Rosanne is cutting and sorting her scraps, she is making even smaller scraps, little strips that I can then use for string piecing. So my string piecing project for my brother is coming along, fed by an influx of fabric from Rosanne's stash.
In April, shortly after finishing the Organized Chaos quilt-top, I cast about for another pattern, but soon realized that I wouldn't be satisfied creatively unless I designed my own. I decided on a dandelion motif.
Well, it's official: I'm a quilter! This spring I have been prolific in sewing, if not orderly in blogging about it. For the record, here are the quilts I worked on in March/April of 2021, in the order that I worked on them. I will come back and add links as I blog them:
* String piecing is not to be confused with strip piecing, which is what my Organized Chaos quilt was. String piecing uses strips of variable sizes, for a "stringy" look, while strip piecing uses carefully cut strips of uniform sizes, in prescribed patterns.
Some people get bitten by the quilting bug; I came down with a quilting virus, which lay dormant in my system for years, flaring up occasionally, but never overcoming my garment-sewing resistance. I had enough quilting projects to justify a tag, but I didn't call myself a quilter.
No more! Just as viruses awaken when resistance is low, so my quilting virus awoke as I lost motivation to sew other things. Since June 2020, I have been happily working at a job which requires me to wear boring clothes. What's the fun in spending my days-off sewing a silk dress or pair of jodpurs, only to deck myself in polyester matte jersey pants and a tee shirt for my work week? If I never get to wear the fun stuff, why sew it? But quilts are useful always, and make great gifts...
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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