Monday, December 27, 2021

Filling the Bingo card with a Bear Paw block variation

One of the last open squares on my quilt guild Quilting Bingo card was, “Try a new project or technique from a quilting book.” I'm usually winging it—sans instructions—when making quilt blocks, but thought I'd flip through the pages of a Missouri Star Block magazine to see what it had to offer. 

Quilting Bingo card and Block magazine, Vol.7, Issue 6, 2020.

One of the first articles was an assembly variation of the classic Bear Paw block. Let's try it!

Bear Paw article in the Block magazine.

Methods for creating the sawtooth edge

As seen in the photo, the Bear Paw block has a sawtooth edge. Following the instructions in the article, I cut fabric for 4 blocks. The batiks are for the Bear Paw (foreground) and light fabrics are for the background. The block finishes at 6" (6.5" unfinished).

Cutting units for the Bear Paw block.

Instead of making four HST [half square triangle] units for the "claws" of the paw, the Block magazine assembly variation uses the "snowball" or "flippy corner" technique for making the sawtooth edge. Here is the Missouri Star Bear Paw video with Jenny Doan. For comparison, here is the traditional block assembly using HST units with Eleanor Burns from Quilt in a Day.

In the Missouri Star video, Jenny also offers an efficient, assembly line sewing process for making multiples of this block. 

Using the snowball corner technique to achieve a sawtooth edge.

The Jenny Doan method with the snowball corner technique is quite simple and eliminates the fussier patchwork assembly process of piecing HST units side by side (for which I usually use pins so I don't knock off any points). There seems to be fewer seams and less fabric bulk at seam intersections (or is this my imagination??). However, there is more fabric waste with the snowball corner method because of the extra fabric layers that are trimmed away. 

Of course, you can always follow quilting legend, Mary Ellen Hopkins' suggestion and just leave these extra layers in... especially if you're not going to hand quilt the piece.

Four Bear Paw blocks with extra half square triangles.

I trim away the extra fabric layers and just add the extra HSTs to my pile of patchwork crumbs... for use in future projects.

A new look at a classic quilt block

So, this was a new look at a classic quilt block! What do you think? I like it... and as I take the time to compose this post and upload my photos, it's growing on me even more.

I learned a new patchwork method which could actually be faster than the traditional method (if you don't take time to sew the trimmed triangles), and it was easy and fun. 

Four Bear Paw blocks using the snowball corners technique.

This quilting dog learned a new trick!

And, I'm marking this square on the Bingo card.

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