Sunday, October 19, 2008


Thank you for the comments on the blue quilt in the post - Heat Seeking. Here's a photo showing the whole quilt.

The year was 1992 and I'd been a quilter about nine years. I offered to make Frank a quilt for our anniversary and he was really interested. We talked it over and he said he really liked the Bear Paw pattern but had an idea he'd like to play with to try and make it his own. He was doing tile installation at the time and thought there ought to be a way to get the blocks to appear to visually flow from one to the other.

click to enlarge

This is a scan of his draft. Back then it was quad rule graph paper, colored pencils and a ruler. As you can see I calculated the number of each piece I'd need and from there, set to work.

The blocks set right next to each other and in order for the color to flow the way he wanted, I added more seams and pieced quarter square triangles - the old fashioned way, not speed pieced... and then had dozens of seams to try to match. I got about half the blocks pieced when I figured there was bound to be a better way. We call it BearChase because it looks a little like Bear's Paw and a little like Flying Geese.

Since this was an orignal design I've always thought it'd be fun to draft it out in detail and submit it to some quilt magazine for their consideration... but I just never got around to it. So finally 15 years later I decided to draft it in Electric Quilt to see what the simplification would be.

I started in EQ5 because I wanted calicos. But EQ5 doesn't have all the nice draw tools EQ6 has and I needed those for the border. I created it in 5, exported it, then opened it in 6, which brought in the fabrics I'd used. Once saved as an EQ6 file I added the borders.

Now I think I should make it again with the new piecing and updated colors. I don't think I've made many quilts twice, once made is once enough. But this has possibilities. I could forget the block piecing approach and sew it in rows.

And it's nice to know I really do learn as I go along!


Fabricfaire said...

Your design talents just keep going and going!

Anonymous said...

Your bear paw variation is beautiful. The story of how you designed it is so cool. Thanks for showing nice pics of all the details.