The bears paw quilt block is a big block but very easy to make. The reason that I have made this quilt twice is not because I am a glutton for punishment but because I think it makes a really good point about colours in fabrics. I have used the same blue in both quilts: in one the blue counts as a light fabric against the black and in the other the blue counts as a dark fabric against the white.
It is a very traditional quilt block and you may also have come across it by one of its other names: bears foot, bear tracks or cats paw.
2.7/8″ squares: thirty two each of black and blue
2.1/2″ squares: sixteen black and four blue
4.1/2″ squares: sixteen blue
2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ rectangles: sixteen black
Making the bear paw quilt block
Make half square triangles with the 2.7/8″ squares. Place a blue and a black square with right sides together and mark a line along one of the diagonals. Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the line and cut along the line to produce two half square triangles. I know that I am pretty boring and always use this method, but if you want to see some different ways of making half square triangles, click here.
Lay the squares out as shown. If they were all 2.1/2″ squares there would be seven rows of seven. There’s a 2.1/2″ blue square in the middle with a black 2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ rectangle on each side of it and a 4.1/2″ blue square at each corner of the central square. All the half square triangles are placed around the edge of the bear paw quilt block – you just need to check which way the triangles are facing. There is a black 2.1/2″ square in each corner of the bear paw quilt block.
Sew the half square triangles together in pairs. The half square triangles above and below the large blue squares are sewn to each other side by side while those on the sides of the blue squares are sewn together with the ones below them.
Sew the pairs of half square triangles either to the blue squares or to the black corner squares. You can now sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other. Make four of these bears paw quilt blocks.
You can see here what a striking difference there is between a black background and a white background.
Bear paw quilt border
I have made the same border for both the black and the white bear paw quilts. Sew together a 2.1/2″ strip each of black and white fabric along the length and cut at 2.1/2″ intervals. Do this with four strips each of black and white.
Sew the pairs of squares together side by side and make four strips of fourteen squares each – that’s seven pairs of black/white. Sew one strip to the top and bottom of the quilt. Sew a 2.1/2″ blue square to the top and the bottom of the remaining two strips for cornerstones. Sew these strips to the sides of the quilt.
That completes the bear paw quilt top which is now ready for layering, quilting and binding. Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.
Many thanks to those of you who left reviews on my first ebook – much appreciated. I am now working on the second one which will be a medallion quilt and is turning out to be quite large.
Here’s the video: