My, What Big Paws You Have!

This is the kind of bear paw you won’t mind seeing around the house, quilters. This month’s block has been around for a long time, and comes in many variations. The Bear’s Paw probably originated from saw-tooth borders used by quilters, who then used the same methods to create quilt blocks, and was in use during the mid-1800’s, if not earlier.

Bear’s Paws are also known as ‘Hand of Friendship’ and ‘Duck’s Foot in the Mud.’

This Bear’s Paw quilt, hand pieced and made from calico, has a very homey, inviting look:

Quilt Index Record: 4A-7F-B40 Bear’s Paw Quilt, c. 1876-1900 Quilted by Sallie J. Peacock; Rutgers Special Collections; The Heritage Quilt Project of New Jersey


This quilt, from roughly the same time, features the Bear’s Paw set on point, which gives the quilt a more formal and elegant appearance. Pretty good for a wild critter!

Quilt Index Record:50-8A-D23  Bear’s Paw Quilt, c. 1876-1900,  Quiltmaker unknown, West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search


So, never fear, quilters! If you follow Marsha’s step-by-step instructions, this bear will be eating out of your hand in no time.

Happy Stitching!



Bear’s Paw Block history at  This link takes you to an article with further information about the Bear’s Paw, and there’s lots of other quilting info to be found there, as well!

The Quilt Index  has many examples of quilts using Bear’s Paw and variations, and includes the two quilts featured here.