Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Bear Paw Dance Finish

I was a few days late for the finish of this quilt, as it was our Island Batik September challenge, and now it's taken a few more days to get a post together, because my daughter and darling grandson have been here visiting from Alberta. You may have seen the finish post on Instagram, where he not only was a most capable quilt holder, but also a pretty amazing quilt photographer to boot!

Here is my spin on the traditional Bear Paw block, which I've named Bear Paw Dance, because I've 'blown apart' the block and I have the paws waltzing around the centre four blocks! This is one of the quilts on my Q3FAL list which is here.

Please note that all of the fabrics for this quilt were supplied by Island Batik. The 100% wool batting was supplied by Hobbs Batting, and the thread I used to piece this quilt by Aurifil. The Bear Paw die, known as a Block on Board or BOB die was given to me by AccuQuilt. Our challenge was to create a minimum of 45X60"quilt for a kid using the die we were given in our July box. The die, as I've shown before, has all the pieces for the block on the one board.

I've written about the process here and shown you the finished flimsy here. So let's take a closer look at the quilting, because I was anxious to get started on all that delicious negative space, but also anxious as to how exactly I was going to handle all that negative space.
I knew I wanted to do pebbles and feathers in the background, and some of Angela Walters' designs in the squares of the paws. How to get some order, some division though, within the negative space?

I've been following along with Natalia Bonner's 'Let's Stitch' on her blog and on her YouTube channel. I saw her pebbles and random swirls fill a few days before I started quilting this quilt, so I thought I'd like to incorporate that. I then searched Bear Paw quilt on her blog and found this post where she had quilted a traditional Bear Paw quilt, so that is where I got the idea to do the scallops around the border.

I couldn't do them continuously though, because of the waltzing paws. I made a template that would allow for sets of two arcs and sets of three along the borders, since the paws are randomly placed around the quilt. I used one of my Quilted Pineapple curve rulers to help follow the curve, and unlike Natalia's, I did two echoes of the curves. My feathers flow along the arc, whereas hers fill in a triangle area created by the Bear Paw blocks in the quilt she quilted.

Because there were feathers along the arcs, I wasn't going to quilt more feathers as originally sort of planned, in with the pebbles. I pulled out my Angela books and a Judi Madsen book, and started flipping. In Judi's book I saw the orange peel(?) background filler.

I could do this in the sort of diamond formed by the waltzing paws around the centre four blocks! To do this design, you stitch a grid (ruler work), and then I FMQ-ed the arcs, alternating a left arc, a right arc, kind of drawing "S's"across the grid.

Angela provided inspiration for the squares of the paws. I did three different designs. In the aqua ones:
and in the violet ones:
and in the teal ones:

You may have noticed there were some ghost bear paw tracks in the first photo of the pebbles and swirls. I wanted to add a little whimsy to this quilt for a kid. Some of the claws got an echo inside; others did not.

For the four centre full Bear Paw blocks I followed how Natalia quilted hers.

Where the four corner violet squares form the secondary pattern of a central star, I treated that block separately, doing the same design!

It all came together quite nicely!
Me behind my quilt; Brady took the photo! It was rather windy by the water, no surprise.
Here's my quilt helper!

We took the quilt to Leamington marina for its photo shoot. It was just the perfect day.

I did a scrappy binding, using the five main fabrics in the quilt:
That's all I have left now of the Cheerio in Ocean, and I forgot to include the teeny bit I have left of Cheerio in aqua in this photo.
I machine-stitched the binding to the front of the quilt, hand-stitching it down on the back. This is my favourite method, although it's the slowest, so I haven't been doing it very often. You can also see the cloth label as well as the satin one in the photo below.

The sun was a little too high in the sky, and my arms a little too short holding up the camera for showing off the texture, which is so wonderful with this beautiful wool batting. This is the second time I've used Hobbs 100% wool batting and it is just glorious.

Another little bit of whimsy I added was doing a GFB (Glitter Flecked Binding) that is the signature binding of Molli Sparkles. See the two little pieces of aqua along the upper right edge of the binding? That's it. I only had enough of that aqua to do a few inches of binding, so that seemed appropriate.

Back at home, I tried to get a straighter, less wind-blown shot. I'm really pleased with the finish. I've written up the pattern, and it will be available shortly.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Original design
Size: 56 X 56"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Art Gallery Fabrics from stash
Batting: Hobbs 100% wool
Quilted: on Avril; 192 771 stitches
Threads: pieced on Tillie, my 1951 Featherweight with Aurifil 50 wt; quilted with Superior thread 100% polyester #401, YLI variegated purple 40 wt 100% cotton, and Aurifil variegated aqua 40 wt. The Bottom Line light blue in the bobbin.

Linking up
Quilt Fabrication
Confessions of A Fabric Addict
Dizzy Quilts for the Q3FAL
Clever Chameleon


  1. Wow, Brady, you are the perfect height for a super quilt holder. Love the swirls , twirls, pebbles and paws. And those colours against a plain pale background, showing them off to Island Batik perfection.

  2. Well, this is just YUMMY! As always, I really appreciate the wonderful closeups.

  3. You sure hit a home run with this one. I love it!

  4. Beautiful quilt - you could call it "Waltzing with Bears", a lovely novelty song that Peter Gzowski used to play on CBC radio!

    1. Ah CBC! Ah Peter Gzowski, though he was not one I listened to a lot, but I did listen a LOT to Stuart McLean, who I dearly miss, and who loved Peter and talked about him a LOT. I love this name, and so I think I am going to take your suggestion to heart and rename the quilt! I can't reach you as you are a no-reply with no email, so I hope you do somehow see this! Thanks so very much!

  5. So nice Brady was there to help with the photos of this stunning creation! I finally got mine done and will post on Friday.

  6. Sandra, this quilt needs to be entered into a local quilt show so many more people can see your wonderful quilting!

  7. That quilt is a beauty, and it's almost just the right size for Brady :-) Not for long, though! I hope you enjoy many nights of warm toesies under this quilt, Sandra, with a cuppa and a good book! (When I grow up, I want to be able to free motion like you!)

  8. Great design, and I just love the quilting! Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. I love how the bear paws dance off the quilt and I also love the ghost paws in the quilting. The quilting is phenomenal. All around its a beautiful quilt Sandra.

  10. Gorgeous quilting, great texture and photos.

  11. Wow, Sandra, what wonderful quilting! I wish I could quilt like you ..... but I think I should stick to hand quilting, tee hee!
    Amazing setting for your photo shoot, and Brady is certainly just the right height for quilt holding, oh and how nice of him to help you with the photos too!
    Just beautiful Sandra ..... the quilting and the photos!
    Barbara xx

  12. This will go down as one of my favorites of yours. I absolutely love how you divided up the quilt for quilting. It looks funderful! My, Brady is growing up so fast. He looks like a good kid!

  13. This is so beautiful and the quilting is delicious. I love all the detail you provide and the references for the inspiration for your quilting. The fabric, bear paw design and the quilting...a wonderful quilt anyone would love.

  14. What a beauty. The design of the quilt is so much fun with the paws dancing around. I love how you quilted it and that wool batting is scrumptious with all your hard work. Great job!

  15. Gorgeous quilt and your quilting is fabulous on it!!!

  16. Such a gorgeous quilt - I love the colors, design, and quilting! You always write up such a great quilt "story," Sandra! How fun to have Brady with you to help with the photo shoot, too.

  17. He goes wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa Waltzing with Bears! I love it! And wow, does that wool batting really show off your show-stopping quilting :)

  18. I'm loving this quilt! The colors really make it striking.

  19. A beautiful, imaginative quilt, Sandra! So fun to have Brady assist you with the photo shoot <3

  20. Gorgeous quilt - the fabrics and the quilting are to die for!

  21. Your quilting is amazing on this one, Sandra! I love all of the wonderful details, but I think those ghost bear paws are my favourite part :)

  22. Wow Sandra, it is another wonderful quilt. With original pattern and great quilting

  23. I love this so much!!! The colors are beautiful, the quilting is absolutely amazing, and the pattern is lots of fun. Fantastic!

  24. Well, Sandra, I can’t write much because I’m drooling all over my screen!!! I’m just that blown away, not only by your fabulous design, but your inspired quilting. I’m glad you had such a wonderful guest quilt-holder to share your triumph.

  25. Turned out wonderfully, just love those Island Batiks

  26. You handled all that negative space bee-oo-tifully. I'm not sure I have the patience to add so much detailed quilting, but I love the eye candy when someone else does!