Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Mod Bear Paw

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Bear Paw block. I've never been really drawn to it as a traditional block on its own, preferring the round surround blocks like the Dutch Rose (aka Swoon) and the star blocks like the Ohio Star (probably my favourite traditional block ever!)

When preparing for the class I gave in Cork this summer on Traditional Blocks Made Modern I deliberately chose it as a challenge to play with and see what happened and the result was Big Bear, Little Bear!

So colour me surprised when I saw Lorna's version of a quilt with the Bear Paw Block and I instantly loved it!  Lorna has a real talent for making fun and cute animal blocks and very generously gives the instructions away for free on Quilt-A-Longs.  I have to admit Dog Gone Cute is still my favourite but there is something about the bear climbing in and out of the grid below that appeals to me!
Sew Fresh Quilts

What doesn't appeal to me though is the 20+ Bear Paw blocks I'd have to make.  It took me 2 years to finish up Swoon and it has only 9 blocks! Knowing me and my temperament, I decided to have a good look at Lorna's design and see what bits about it really resonated with me.

The bear for starters!  So I took out all the blocks not touching the bear and tried to fill in the space with a woodland print by Westfalenstoffe, I previously bought from LoveFabric.ie.  In the larger bed quilt, Lorna's use of  the paw print border is really clever and fun! So I added it in the middle to break the fabric join up a bit.  Looking back on Lorna's bigger quilt, I really like how she frames the bear with the borders and thought to be truer to her design to add some of that back in so came up with these in the end!

Feeling happy with this I bounced the idea off of Gordon:
"Yeah it's nice but it clashes a bit!"
"What do you mean clashes?"
"The colours, the blue and the brown."
"But that's a classic colour combination."
"No it's not."
"Yes it is!"
"On what planet?"
"This one!  Blue sea, brown sand."
"I prefer the pink, it goes better."
"Pink? "

So this is as far as I've gotten, I'm not sure I want to make a pink bear quilt! Still I really like that fabric which is Enchanted Forest by Natrual Wonder also at LoveFabric.ie

I'm planning on this going on the single bed in the boxroom and am still gravitating towards the blue and brown!  The key to making this work for me will be the fabric above the bear.  I think the Westfallenstoffe might be too small a scale so I'm hunting for a medium to large scale woodland scene in blue (or pink!) that might work with a brown bear! If you guys comes across anything that might work I'd be very grateful!

Lorna kindly gives lots of colour options on her blog post so I put in blue and black just to see.  I love the impact of the black but I find him kind of scary!  So I'm holding out for a brown bear still. A grizzly bear, I think!  What do you think?  Clasic or clashing colour combo?

So this will be QAL number 3 on the go at the same time.  I just can't resist.  What about you guys - are you tempted?


  1. Hi Ruth! I like your idea and both: blue and brown options look good. x Teje

  2. I personally have seen coastal brown bears and black bears in person and like them both for different reasons. In your quilt design, the black bear really stands out and works with the blue fabric (but I will attest to finding brown a bit harder to work with in quilting). I love how you broke down what worked for you in Lorna's design and it will be neat to see what you settle on creating.

  3. Check out Forest Fellows by Robert Kaufman. The large scale print features woodland creatures in neutral tones. The tree motifs are about 5-6" tall.

  4. I think if you use a less saturated brown that's closer to the color of the deer in the top print, it might make Gordon more happy about the brown. :) Have you played around with continuing the grid into the top area a bit? Just curious how it would look but of course you can ignore that if you want. :D
    I really love how you broke down the original design and turned it into something much more you!! Thanks for sharing the journey with us!

  5. My thoughts were exactly as Anne's above - a different kind of brown. I would also play with the color of the paw prints border, maybe brown too to connect it all? I like the pink variant, too, though it doesn't read as pink, at least in that scale, and the brown there is closer to the bear's brown. Looked at it again and I think I know why the pink appeals to me more than the blue - it's not in the color but in the value, the blue is too dark and overwhelms the bear somewhat, and that is also why the black bear stands out so well - because it's darker than the blue fabric and makes it recede. It's too easy to give advice about other people's quilts, much easier than making my own)))

  6. I'm planning on adjusting the pattern as well. Don't want to do all that piecing.

  7. Brown! Paddington colored :) I also like the blue background. Although I love the pink fabric too, I think the blue goes great with the brown. So with on the bear paw, such a fussy pattern but has a great visual impact.

  8. The whole time I was reading I was liking the brown and blue combo. Did you mention blue shy and brown trees?

  9. I really like the blue bear. Realism is vastly overrated! :) Maybe he is a cold bear.
    Perhaps add a bit more of the taupe colour of the deer, hedgehogs and squirrels from the lovely woodland print in the bear paw blocks?

  10. First, I love how you took the parts of the pattern that most appealed to you, made decisions about how much you are willing to piece (I'm totally with you on that!!) and came up with a really awesome looking quilt! Second, I must respectfully disagree with Gordon :) I think the blue/brown combo looks fantastic! :)


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