Because the Bear’s Paw quilt block has triangles that jut out into the background, it makes for a very exciting design in any sampler quilt.
The Bear’s Paw quilt block is one of my favorites. Yes, it has many parts and is a bit more difficult to make so it looks neat and crisp, but I LOVE the finished appearance. Of all the blocks, it’s the one that says “quilt” to me. Just personal preference I guess!
My first Bear’s Paw block was one of the best blocks I made in that very first sampler quilt of mine. Perhaps that’s why I like it so much today. It was difficult and I was successful…..yeah!
So, let’s break this one down into manageable pieces so we can all be successful!
The Bear’s Paw block is made up of 53 pieces. There are 6 templates you will need to create to cut all 53; two triangles, two squares and two rectangles.
There are two different patches to be made for this block and they are both made up of two triangles. There’s a small triangle patch and a large one. You will create 16 of the small ones and 4 of the larger ones. The rest of the pieces, the squares and rectangles are there to hold the patches together!!
Let’s take a look at the materials list and then we’ll get this project going!
- 32 small triangles 2 5/8” x 2 5/8” – half light and half darker (includes ¼” seam allowance all the way around)
- 8 large triangles 4 ¼” x 4 ¼” – 4 each in two different shades (includes ¼” seam allowance)
- 1 center square 2 ½” x 2 ½”
- 4 corner squares 2 3/16” x 2 3/16”
- 4 small rectangles 2 3/16” x 2 ½”
- 4 large rectangles 2 1/2” x 3 7/8”
(Generally the squares and rectangles are all the same color, but change things up to suit your taste. I made my center square a different color and I love it!)
- Cotton thread for sewing
- Quilter’s Straight Pins (with large heads)
Sharp fabric scissors
- Template Plastic
- Scissors for plastic
- Ruler to measure plastic
1. Begin by cutting out the plastic templates. Download and print the template I’ve made checking to be sure your large triangle measures 4 1/4” by 4 1/4” and the small triangle measures 2 5/8” by 2 5/8”, etc. Remember, the templates include ¼” seam allowance all the way around the piece.
2. Place the plastic template on the wrong side of your fabric, trace around it with a sharp pencil or white pencil on dark fabrics. Then, cut out your pieces.
3. Work with your fabrics to determine which block pieces will be in which colors. You may have to replace pieces with another color even after you have them all cut out. Save the ones you’ve cut and replaced. They may work in another quilt block.
4. Once you are sure about your color choices and their locations, it’s time to put the patches together. Remember, it’s always best to sew the small pieces together first and then join them with the larger or longer ones.
5. Once you have sewn together the patches, iron the seam allowances flat with the fabric going towards the darker of the two. Pin row one together and sew the patches into one long strip.
6. With the top strip sewn together, line up row two. First sew the small triangles together into a single patch each and then sew them together. Stitch the large triangles together and then put the entire five piece row together making another strip.
7. Once row two is sewn into a strip, lay out the pieces for row three. This will be an easy one!
8. Row four looks very similar to row two. Just be careful how you put the small triangles together so you are sure they are facing the right direction!
9. The final row, five, is a lot of pieces again. Be careful of the triangle direction when you sew the patches together in this row.
Before sewing all five rows together, iron the seam allowances towards the darker fabrics.
10. Again, iron the seams flat once the five rows are sewn together. As you may notice, I’m going to have an interesting time squaring this one up. My middle row is a bit short. I may have to replace the last two rectangles. I’ll determine this when it comes time to put the blocks together.
The four we have done so far are looking pretty good together. By laying them out like this I can see I’d like to make sure to use a touch of red in the next blocks if I can. Perhaps even have another block with a little less white. These are just examples of things to think about as we continue adding to our sampler quilt.
Our next block is called the Stamp Basket. For this block we will do some appliqué and put piece together in ways other than perfect blocks. Start thinking about the fabrics you want to use and their placement!
I look forward to quilting with you again!