"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, October 6, 2011


All the time I've been messing around with stitching and living life, I have managed time in my sewing room, my current project being a quilt for Dave and me.  It's about time.  Dave wanted a bear claw, and I wanted a bear claw with a bit of a twist to it.  

I chose this quilt while browsing online:

This picture was of the quilt for sale, and I was unable to find a pattern.  No problem, my dear quilting instructor Rhonda has been working with me, coming by the house here and there to get me rolling on each step.  First was the making of many paws.  

Finally this week I had enough paws made to move onto the next step, the building of the block.  

I love it and I'm glad to be to the "fun" part of making this quilt, I was tired of paws.  

A bit of a tutorial is to show you the back of the block.  
In making a quilt block, it always helps if you have OCD.  But, there's more to it than that.  Very early on, Rhonda taught me the importance of (1) accurate cutting (2) the direction in which you press your seams (3) stretch is always horizontal and (3) be consistent.  Those lessons have me at a point in my quilt making where I do believe I can tackle just about any block and have it come out accurately.  Every one of these paws and blocks have their seams flipped the same exact way, and every one of them is flipped opposite of the one it is going to match to.  

Now Rhonda would take that a step further, and she would assemble this block without using one pin because she'd know that her measurements were spot on accurate and consistent and that the flip of her seams would make them mate up into perfect junctions, and if by some chance they didn't, she'd have stretch working for her.  She is the quilt guru, I am the student and I pin, pin, pin.  


  1. Wow! It looks amazing -- just like the pix. You're turning into such a fine, perfect quilt maker. I knew you would/could do it!

  2. The stretch is always horizontal?? Didn't know that. This is going to be beautiful. I've never seen a bear claw with sashing.

  3. I guess I should clarify that "stretch is horizontal rule"--that is within the block. I always do borders stable, bindings stretch. If my blocks are really wonky, I make sashings stable on all 4 sides so I can get all the blocks to be identical dimensions. On these blocks, the sashings are cut on the cross-grain, so is stretchy. Somehow the blocks before the sashings all came out the same size, so I didn't have to worry about forcing them all to conform.

  4. This is a lovely block! I pin also, and I'm pretty good at remembering most of what you mentioned. However, the tip about "horizontal stretch" is something new for me. Thanks for the details about that.

  5. I thought everyone had the horizontal stretch rule burned into their brains, as it was one I was taught on my first quilt. Now I want to know the rules that you all have that I've not burned in yet!

  6. Your quilt is going to be beautiful. I try to press the seams all the right way but I don't always hit the mark but it's a thrill when the block comes out flat. As far as pinning, when I bought my new machine last year it was recommended that I not sew over pins - what? I tried it for awhile but my seams never matched. The blocks came out yucky. I pin, pin, pin. If this expensive machine can't sew over pins, what good is it?


Some day, I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one, I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.