The Bear’s Paw quilt block is popular in both traditional and modern quilting. It uses the basic quilting building blocks of squares, rectangles and half square triangles. You can make this quilt block in two (2), three (3) or (4) colors. We are showing you a step-by-step tutorial on how to make the Bear’s Paw quilt block using three (3) colors.
Ruth Finley first mentioned the Bear’s Paw in Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them in 1929. Other names are Bear Paw, Duck’s Foot in the Mud, Hand of Friendship, Tea Leaf Design, The Best Friend, Cat’s Paw, Batsche, Small Hand and Illinois Turkey Track. The popular block looks complex but is a terrific block for beginners because it uses fundamental quilting building blocks.
There are several variations that can be made in two, three or four colors. Here is a three (3) layout for fabrics, which we use in our step-by-step tutorial with photos.
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If you’d like to go with only two (2) colors, the big paw blocks can be the same color as the half square triangle claws.
And, make four (4) colors by switching out the center square.
Here is a fabric calculator to help you cut the fabric pieces you’ll need to make one Bear’s Paw quilt block:
Browse through more free quilt patterns on Create Whimsy.