Quilt Block Mystery Case 1: Bear Tracks

>> Monday, September 25, 2017

This is the first in a new series of posts that I will share here on my blog, Sew Joy Creations. It is my hope that another quilter or someone with knowledge about quilt blocks and their names will be able to assist me in solving these mysteries. When/if a case is solved I will go back and edit posts with a link to the solution (pattern for making the block!) I hope you enjoy the hunt as much as I do! Keep your eyes open, here's the case.

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Bear Tracks

Start of the Mystery: Quilt sighting at Kagawong Quilt Show, July 15, 2017

This quilt is big and beautiful. I immediately wondered how the block was constructed and read on the description card that it had been taught in a class.

bear tracks quilt handquilt rare quilt block

I didn't notice the beautiful handquilting in person. Click on the photo to enlarge and enjoy it yourself :) To be fair, I was with my children at the time! Thank goodness for digital photography. The quilting definitely enhances the quilt, but gives no clues to the block construction.

quilt show label bear tracks quilt

Lead #1: Pinterest Photos

The photos below came up during a direct search in Pinterest for bear track. So did several photos showing blocks commonly known as Bear Paw. 

Iowa Barntiques antique quilt

This quilt from Iowa Barntiques is pretty close, isn't it? It has me thinking that maybe the blocks in the quilt I saw are set on point or with another block between them.

You can see more of my Quilt Block Mystery pins on the board I made on Pinterest for these cases here.

Lead #2: An Internet Search

Not extremely successful, but not frustrating either.

bear track quilt pattersn Patchwork Square

You can click on the photo and be taken to the link to download this pdf of a bear tracks block in two layouts. This leads me more and more to think the block is made up of T blocks arranged around a center unit.

AND THEN I found this post with the phrase,
 There is no Bear’s Track block. The earliest record of this design was pattern #351 through the Ladies Art Company and that pattern made it in print after 1897. There was an earlier pattern – pattern #162, but the tracks are arranged in a clockwise position, like a pinwheel.

Quote from post entitled, A Quilt with No Name from the blog, Beyond Little House(yes, Laura Ingalls' little house!)

The photos mentioned in this post are no longer displayed, however they do send me on a happy search to find Ladies Art Company pattern #162 and the Irish Puzzle block at FieldGuidetoQuilts.com

Irish Pickle block full quilt mockup

Click on the photo to go to the website and a page of mockup quilts. This one is close, but the "T" has one too many points. 

To be continued. . . .

sewjoycreations series on quilt block mysteries


Do you have a LEAD to help solve this block mystery?
Please leave it in a comment.
Do you have your own BLOCK MYSTERY?
Feel free to share in the comments and maybe we can help you too!


With Joy,

Sarah V.

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Jannette September 26, 2017 at 11:05 AM  

I enlarged the picture of the quilt, and I can see separate pieced blocks, but none of them jump out at me as far as a name goes... Sorry!

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