Making One Pattern Work Overtime

So many quilts --- so many decisions!  Planning the quilting designs can take as much time as choosing the fabrics, and is a vital step in the process. When Gail and I started looking for designs for her perfectly pieced Bear Paw quilt, we quickly noticed that there were as many approaches to this quilt as there were days in a year!  We knew we wanted something classic, and a lot of detail in the blocks to draw attention to the gorgeous fabrics Gail used to make it. We found that we could use one classic design in three various ways, and achieve a unified appearance.  Here is the design we started with:

First, we placed the design in the central bars of the block. Then, we added them to the sashes around the outside of each block. Looking closely, you can see how the different sizes of the sashes stretch the design to create the unique appearance of each:

For our third addition to the quilt, we added this same design to the piano key border. Each of the keys were four inches long, and two inches wide.  You can see how multiple additions of this design, side by side (instead of lengthwise), created a powerful statement!

We needed one more design for the four-inch square red blocks, so we chose a coordinating block:

The old expression is true --- sometimes less really is more! Designs have a way of taking on their own life, and it can be very tempting to use as many as possible in an effort to show them off.  Keep it simple, and let the fabrics and piecing shine through!