Friday, 15 May 2015

Big Bear Quilt

It suddenly occurred to me that even though it was finished before Christmas, I never got around to writing a blog post about my finished Big Bear Quilt.

The Blogger's Quilt Festival seemed like a perfect opportunity to correct this oversight. I am entering this quilt in the Large Quilt category.

When I sewed my first big bear block, I didn't have a plan. I just excitedly sewed my brand new 30" x 30" Big Bear pattern. It was the first time that I had designed or sewn a block quite this big and it was a super exciting thing to do. It was only once the bear was sewn that I started to think about what I would do with it.

My son loved the bear so I decided to turn it into a quilt for his single bed.
I flipped the pattern and sewed another bear. 

You may notice that the background fabrics of the two bears are different. I'll admit that this was a mistake. 
I had bought the original sketch fabric from a friend and didn't have any receipts to check the exact name of the shade. I also couldn't find any help on the selvedges. This left me trying to work out which exact shade of green sketch it was.

I scrutinised the images on my computer screen and narrowed it down to one of two shades. Unfortunately I chose the wrong one. When the fabric arrived, I decided to accept the difference and to make some other variations in the fabric choices to try and stop it from jarring. I don't have a problem with it, but can accept that it may bother other people. My son is never going to notice the discrepancy so really, it's not a big deal.

After the two blocks were completed, I asked people what I should do. A couple of people suggested that I should put bear paws around the edge. I knew that they meant the traditional bear paw block, but the idea got me thinking and before I knew it, I had designed my own bear paw designs.

The beautiful quilting was done for me by the talented Leeanne of Quilt me Kiwi. I love her work and studying her quilting definitely inspires me in my faultering learner steps in FMQ.

The thing that I love about these big blocks is that I was able to use fabrics that I would never consider using  on smaller scale blocks. Larger scale beautiful fabrics suddenly become real contenders as fabric choices. Look at all the fun details that I managed to incorporate- zebras, raccoons, horses and blind mice.
I love that they don't overpower the design as they would in smaller blocks.

I think that it's fair to say that the big bear design was pivotal in my development as a pattern designer. It was the first time that I designed such a big block and it will definitely not be the last. Large scale paper piecing designs are not necessarily the easiest thing to sew (or design), but they make an amazing impact and they are more than worth any stresses that they may cause during the design and sewing processes.

The Big Bear Quilt now lives on my 4 year old son's bed and he loves it!

Piecing Method: Paper Piecing
Patterns: Big Bear and Bear Paw
Fabrics Lines Represented: Sketch, Frances Newcombe Safari Moon, Tula Pink Acacia, Tula Pink Foxfield, Anna Maria Horner Dowry, Lizzy House Catnap
Size: Single Bed Quilt measuring 54" x 90"
Quilted by: Leeanne of Quilt Me Kiwi

1 comment:

  1. It is simply fantastic - so big bold and beautiful! I hear you re finding the same shade of sketch... and how completely unhelpful the selvedges are!


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