Making a quilt using the classic Bear Paw block has been on my quilting bucket list since the 1970s. But there were no rotary cutters or short cuts back then....just cardboard templates. My accuracy cutting with cardboard templates left a lot to be desired! It was just too much trouble and the blocks didn't look good enough for me to want to make a whole quilt. Since I could do free form needle turn applique that's what I used to do! Bear Paw blocks were put on an indefinite hold!
Digging through my stash recently, I came across a short stack of floral fat quarters. How fun would it be to make a quilt that looked like a meadow with Bear Paw prints!
That idea ruled out the traditional Bear Paw layout with the paws facing outward in 4 directions (often with sashing between the blocks). See below. It's very sweet with these floral fabrics but not what I wanted.
I started to draw the quilt on graph paper but quickly realized I wanted to see a variety of layouts. So I opened EQ7 (Electric Quilt 7) on my computer. I needed to draw my single bear paw block (the bear paw block in the EQ7 block library is similar to the 4 patch above) but then it was was easy to use my new bear paw block to look at a number of options. I started with the straight forward quilt on the far left below. Next to it are other two possibilities.
I've picked my design (not exactly any of those shown!) and with the aid of all the current quilting tools and shortcuts have been happily sewing Bear Paw blocks! I love working with these cheerful summery Sarah Fielke "Enchanted" flower prints by Windham Fabrics (2014) with Kona® cotton solid color accents!