Friday, 15 August 2014

A Big Bear

Remember this big boy?

Yeah, I know, its been a while!

I must admit that if I hadn't announced on my blog that he was coming, I might have given up on him completely.

 Lets just say that the computer software that I was using was not designed to deal with printing 30 inch blocks.

There has been shouting at the computer.
There has been swearing at the computer.
There have been tears of frustration.
There have been numerous threats to give up.
There have been emails to the technical help department of EQ7.
The laptop was VERY lucky not to have been thrown across the room.

In the end, sick of hearing me complain night after night after night, my hubby finally grabbed the computer and saved the day. God I love that man!

I had intended to wait till I had feedback from all the testers before I sewed the block and I patiently waited for as long as I could. Initially this was easy as I had a whole load of projects with deadlines that came first, but when I got to the end of this list  I could wait no longer.

Yesterday was finally the day! I started while the kids were at school/ preschool and by school pick-up time it looked as if a fabric bomb had gone off in the house (oops!)

I stick by my initial assessment - fabric choice will really make or break this block and as such it is fair to say that I have never stressed so much about fabric choices as I did for this block.

Before I started sewing, I laid piles of fabric out in roughly the position that they would take in the quilt. This really helped me to judge whether there would be enough contrast between the different elements of the quilt. Computer software is good, but in the end of the day there really is no alternative to just playing with fabrics.

What I really enjoyed was that because the scale of the block it was fine break my own rules and to use big prints in the pattern. I used fabrics that I would normally never consider using for my paper piecing designs and they look amazing! Tula Pink, Frances Newcombe, Anna Maria Horner and Lizzy House to name a few.

I had fun with the fabrics; I fussy cut the zebra for the front paw and also a horse on his flank. I made sure that none of the blind mice weren't doing headstands but other than that, I wasn't too precise about their positioning.

Pen included in the photo for scale
Even though I thought I had made all my fabric choices before I started to sew, I found that I had to make a few changes as I went along. I swapped out a few light fabrics that I felt looked out of place. It was nerve racking because by this stage I was aware how well the bear was coming together and I really didn't want to put a foot wrong.

There are a few changes that need to be made to the pattern before it is ready for publication and I still have to hear back from a couple of pattern testers, but hopefully it won't be too much longer till the pattern is ready for release.

Now I have to decide what to do with the block. What do you think?

A thin border and then a thick border?
A thin border and then a scrappy border?
What would YOU do with this block?

How are you getting on with your butterflies for the Butterfly challenge? Remember entries close 31st August 8:00pm NZT. You don't want to miss your chance to win some scrummy Oakshott Cotton do you?


  1. Wow, he's such a character. I think I'd make him into a big squishy floor cushion.

  2. Ohhhhh I love him, could see him looking great and laying on an old bed in a cosey log cabin :)

  3. I love him, so full of personality! I would surround him with scrappy bear paw blocks. I'm looking forward to making him!!

    1. Oh great idea! You've inspired me, but not in the way that you think!!!!

  4. Oh man he is soooooo awesome!!! Gosh its fantastic - love it! Probably a mini quilt? With a thin border then blocks...that would be cool i reckon ;)

  5. How about a thin border of one of your prints, followed by another wider border of the green background fabric? I think he'd look great on a pillow. A huge pillow for a huge, lovable bear.

  6. If I was going to make him into a big pillow, I would make a medium border and then make a scrappy binding from the leftover fabrics.

    If I was going to make him into a wall hanging, I would either do one or two thin borders and then a wider border to make it look like it was matted. Or I would bear paws blocks to go all around the perimeter and then bind it.

  7. How about using this as a border? That's my plan ...

  8. He is amazing!!! Must get on to my butterfly!!

  9. Too cute! I'm about 1/2 there on my butterfly.

  10. I'm so glad hubby helped you out because this is your piste de resistance!!

  11. I love him!! Can't wait for the pattern to be released.

  12. the zebra's on the bear! What about a 'bears paw' block border?

  13. He is gorgeous - love the scrappy look too.


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