Friday, April 10, 2015

Blocks From the Past: Bear Claw

Okay, so this block took a bit longer than I had anticipated, so pardon my delay!!

Like the Kansas Troubles block, I really like the finished product—but I did not like the process. Actually, I think it was the lack of clarity on the directions that got me down!

This Bear Claw block is essentially an inversion of the Kansas Troubles Block. Here's a look of both blocks so that you can see what I mean:

The Bear Claw block is on the left. Kinda cute, isn't it? Still, it made me go "Grrrrr" while putting it together.

Like the Kansas Troubles block, it calls for strips of the grey and blue/green that are intended to result in the HSTs. What's confusing to me is that the pattern calls for strip piecing of those two strips. Clearly a doctorate in education is not sufficient for me to figure out how strip piecing two long rectangles = 16 triangles. Unless one is supposed to do what I did: cut the rectangles down to squares, cut the squares in half diagonally, and chain piece HSTs. However, if that is what's intended, the directions should say that, right? So if anyone understands what may be obvious to everyone else but me, please clear up my confusion!!

So, however you might like to get your strips of fabric into HSTs, here's what they should look like.

Again, however, because the measurements call for only 2/10" difference between the cut fabric and the finished square, I needed to use a 2/10" seam allowance. That just annoyed me, so instead I made my triangles larger and then cut them down to the right size.

Like the Kansas Troubles block, I then pieced together two units: 1) two HSTs; and 2) two HSTs and a grey square. Again, here's my annoyance. I needed to use a 2/10" (or so) seam allowance to make this work. I, sadly, did not discover this until I had pieced all the units. Grrr.

Anywho, after some grumping and grrrrring I finally beat, er, sewed the pieces into submission. They look so peaceful and innocent over there, don't they? Who would know they could be so wrought with frustration??
I then inserted what I call "crossbeams" into the blocks as shown below:

And here, at long last and with much frustration, is the finished block: 

I think what I find so frustrating about this otherwise really satisfying block is that the annoyances could easily have been eliminated by doing the following:
  • Specify what the finished measurements of the block's sub-units should be
  • Use more standard (modern) 1/4" measurements. Marion has told me that in the past measurements such as 5/8" or 7/8" were more common. 
  • Be more clear about the procedures (as in the construction of the HSTs). The book has an explanation of how to construct HSTs (which is sewing together triangles), but this does not shed any light on how the strips are supposed to become HSTs.
Anyway, I really do love the finished product, and I might make them again—but with my own measurements and my own directions!

Check in Sunday for Part 3 of my BFTPqal blocks: applique!

1 comment:

  1. You are SO right about the instructions in this book! They really are lacking. I think one of my blocks had the strip piecing hst method too. I sort of got how to do it, but it was way easier to piece mine the way you did in the end. It seems like half the time I just look at the picture and sort of "figure it out."


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