Friday, January 1, 2021

Hive 5 January Tutorial - Bear Paw Block

 Hello Hive 5! Happy New Year! I hope you all had a safe and fun New Years.

This month we are going to make some Bear Paw blocks! 

I had never made a Bear Paw block before, but it has been on my to-do-list for quite some time. We live in Northern British Columbia and we have black bears and grizzly bears in the region. My partner is Indigenous from the Haida First Nation, and our son’s name is Taan which means bear in Haida. We obviously have a love for bears, so it’s about time to make one of these blocks.

Have you made a Bear Paw block before?

Do you have bears where you live? Do you have any bear encounter stories?

I want to make a baby or throw size quilt for one of my closest friends who is expecting her first baby this summer- a baby boy! My friend is Canadian, her husband is British and they currently live in Boston. They moved there for his job at the beginning of last year, and due to the pandemic they have been pretty isolated and haven’t made many new friends. I want this quilt to be like a big friendly bear hug for them and their baby, so I love that we have members from Britain, Canada and the US.

So lets get started.

I used a tutorial from Tara Reed as the foundation for my block.

We will be doing the 14” size (Your block will measure 14.5”, so they will be 14” when sewn together)

The hardest part of the block are the Half-square-triangles (HSTs). I generally struggle getting HSTs accurate, so if you have any HST tips, please include them when you post your block to IG.

I found that her measurements did not allow me much room for trimming the HSTs so if you struggle with accuracy like me, I recommend cutting the squares for the HSTs larger. I will include measurements for both.


You will need 4 different fabrics- solids or prints are okay. 

Novelty fabrics are okay too, as long as they are not licenced fabrics (i.e. no Dr. Suess, Disney, etc.) 

My friend loves florals so if you have a floral that you think would work for a baby boy quilt, feel free to include it. Her husband is a scientist and plays the violin, so any science/math or music fabric is a bonus!

No batiks please.

  • Background: White

    • This can be solid white, tone on tone, or a white fabric with a black or grey print or text so long as it reads as white from afar. 

    • Please no creams

  • Bear Paw: 2 fabrics- Teal/Turquoise OR Apple/Yellowy Greens

    • Please choose 2 different fabrics in one of the colours. They can be solids or prints. 

      • Teal/Turquoise-  nothing too blue or aqua. 

      • Yellowy green- think chartreuse, lime, apple green- any green that is more on the yellow side than greens like kelly green, emerald green, forest green

  • Center square: 1 fabric- Teal/Turquoise OR Apple/Yellowy Greens

    • Use the opposite of whichever colour you used for the Bear Paw.

    • I.e. if you do a turquoise bear paw, the cornerstone would be green.

    • This is a small square so dig through your scraps! 

Here are some photos of my fabric pulls.


Teals and Turquoise fabrics

Yellowy Green Fabrics


There are 2 methods for making HSTs that I will demonstrate. You can do the 2 at a time method, as per the original tutorial. Or you can do the 8 at a time method (way faster). Whichever method you choose will affect the cutting measurements.

I used Blossom Heart Quilt’s tutorial to determine the cutting measurements for the 8 at a time method.

2 at a time HST Method

8 at a time HST Method



Cut 4 centre rectangles:

2 ½”  x 6 ½”

Cut 4 corner squares:

2 ½” 

Cut 8 squares for HSTs:

2 ⅞”

***I recommend cutting these at least 3” or 3 ¼” and trimming down 

Cut 4 centre rectangles:

2 ½”  x 6 ½”

Cut 4 corner squares:

2 ½” 

Cut 2 squares for HSTs:

6 ¾” 

Bear Paw- Centre of Paw



Yellowy Green

Cut 4 squares

4 ½” 

Cut 4 squares

4 ½” 

Bear Paw- Claws (HSTs)

2nd fabric in same colour family as centre of paw

Cut 8 squares for HSTs:

2 ⅞”

***I recommend cutting these at least 3” or 3 ¼” and trimming down 

Cut 2 squares for HSTs:

6 ¾” 

Center Square

Opposite colour of Bear Paw

Cut 1: 

2 ½”  Square

Cut 1: 

2 ½”  Square

Cutting for 2-at-a-time HST method


Step 1: Create 16 HSTs

2 at a time method (as per original tutorial):

  • Pair up the 8 white squares, and the 8 coloured squares, right sides together

  • Draw a line diagonally on the back of one of the squares in each pair.

  • Sew a scant ¼” away from the line on either side of the line

  • Cut on the original drwan diagonal line

  • Press toward the color fabric

  • Trim to 2 ½” square

8 at a time method (as per Blossom Heart Quilt’s tutorial):

  • Pair up the 2 white squares and the 2 coloured squared, right sides together

  • Draw two lines diagonally, corner to corner on each pair.

  • You may wish to pin the squares together

  • Sew ¼” away from the line on both sides of each line

  • Cut on the drawn diagonal lines, and then cut again on the vertical and horizontal to make 8 HSTs

  • Press toward the colour fabric

  • Trim to 2 ½” square

8-at-a-time HST method: Mark 2 diagonals
8-at-a-time HST method: cutting

Step 2: Join HSTs to make the claws

I recommend chain piecing to make this step go faster.

Chain piecing

Pay close attention to the direction of the HSTs.

  •  Sew together 8 pairs to make 4 of the top paw units.

  • Press seams open

Top claw unit

Side Claw unit

  • Sew together 8 HST pairs to make 4 of these units for the side of the paw.

  • Then sew the white corner squares to these

  • Press seams open

Step 3: Assemble the paws

  • Sew the top claws to the centre paw piece

  • Press open

  • Sew the side claw unit to the centre paw/top claw unit

  • Press open

Assemble 4 bear paws

Step 4: Assemble the block

  • Lay the pieces out as shown

Block Lay Out

  • Sew each row together.

  • Press toward the coloured centre square for the middle row, and press toward the paw for the top and bottom rows. This will allow you to nest the seams

  • Sew the 3 rows together

Ta Da!!!!

Finished Block

Alternate colour-way (incomplete)

Message me on IG if you have any questions about fabric choices or about the cutting/sewing instructions.

Sending you Big Bear Hugs!

When you post your block, please share any HST tips you have!


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