Thursday, 21 August 2014

Taking the Long Way Round

Sometimes when I am designing, I find that ideas take on a life of their own.

Initial ideas, although fun, can prove to be too much work or too fussy and toning things down can be the answer to my problems.

The other day I asked how people would finish off my bear quilt. There were quite a few great suggestions, but the one that caught my eye was Susan who said"... I would make bear paws blocks to go all around the perimeter and then bind it."

Now while I knew that she meant one of these traditional blocks, I couldn't help thinking how awesome a border with a different kind of bear paws would be.

As is always the way, I became really really excited by this idea, but it was Saturday morning and I was miles away from the computer. I waited really impatiently, and spent the rest of the day visualising exactly how I wanted to block to look. When I actually sat down behind the computer, the pattern flew together.

My initial plan was to make a trail of bear paws around the quilt, but there was a problem. A trail of paw prints means a double border, and a double border becomes too big and detracts too much attention from the centre of the quilt.
 I liked the idea, but somehow the execution was lacking.

I could've made the paw prints smaller, but this would have made them fiddly to sew and required a lot more paw prints so that wasn't the solution.

Then it struck me.

When in doubt, simplify, simplify, simplify! That is my golden rule.

I took away the majority of the paw prints and turned the 4 remaining paw prints around.

Aaaaah! Much better!

What was created was a quilt with some detail, a small injection of humour and a clean border to the block.

It was enough, but not so much that it completely over-powered the bear.

I can't wait for my dark blue border fabric to arrive so that I can start sewing again.

Is the quilt finished like this- ummm no, I don't think so. There will almost definitely be one more (plain?) border, but I'm a very visual person and I need to see what I've created before I make the next creative decision.

In the meantime, I feel satisfied that this design is the right one and I'm very happy that this quilt is one step closer to being finished.

Do you find that your design ideas take on a life of their own like this?
If so do you love the process or does it make you nervous?


  1. Exciting Bear Paw blocks Juliet, I love how this is coming together!! Isn't it interesting how our minds work and how designs grow! Great post :-)

  2. It looks great; I suspect another narrow border around it will look good too.

  3. So fun. Love the paws. Always thought the big bear would be an awesome medallion. Add in the paw prints and awesome! Another border would be nice

  4. What a wonderful bear! Just like the one we have been seeing wandering around here....ours looks healthy but yours is so much more colorful and delightful. Can't wait to see the finished quilt! Your work is fantastic!

  5. Love this! Isn't the design process fun? For me, sometimes my first instinct is a good one and other times the designs have to develop over time. Often, the journey is a big part of the fun. And it's cool when someone makes a suggestion that leads you in an unexpected direction.

  6. WOW!! Love it, the first one was a bit busy for my taste, but the second idea is spot on!

  7. oooooo the four cornered paws Look fantastic! Cannot wait to see this beauty all done up! You are crazy good! xx


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