web analytics

Finish: Ursa Minor


This quilt was technically finished in August, but I’m just now getting a chance to post it to the blog. During the summer, Shannon Page did a webinar on taking traditional blocks and modifying them to have a more modern aesthetic. This was particularly well-timed as the Ontario Museum of History and Art (in Ontario, California) had put out a call for entries of quilts with a modern twist on traditional designs. I knew I wanted to enter something, but I wasn’t sure what to make.


Setting aside the whole “what is modern anyway” thing for the time being, I made a list of blocks I thought would be fun to play with and narrowed it down to two: Bear’s Paw and Irish Chain. Using the techniques that Shannon discussed in her webinar, I played for quite a while and came up with a number of variations.


Eventually I realized that I needed to actually decide between them all and make one of them. Given the lack of time and my other deadlines, I decided to go for one of the smaller Bear’s Paw designs. I’d still like to revisit some of the other variations when I have a chance.


Design wise, I really love playing with foreground and background (something I discovered while doing the whole Quilt Design A Day thing) and I’m pleased with how this particular design brings the attention to the secondary shapes between the blocks. After a bunch of waffling, the final coloration was decided based on the fabrics I had on hand. Woohoo, pragmatism wins again!

bearpaw-mini-light bearpaw-mini-dark
I chose to do a grid-based quilting because the secondary shapes reminded me of a compass star. The grid felt like a way to continue the map theme and I echo quilted around the secondary shapes to help bring even more attention to them.

Referencing the compass star, I chose to name the quilt Ursa Minor because that is the latin name of the little dipper constellation (literally: Little Bear) and the north star is in the Ursa Minor constellation. And of course Ursa for the Bear’s Paw block, and Minor because it’s a fairly small quilt, and man do I like my silly naming puns.


As an exciting footnote, the quilt did get into the exhibit, so it will be showing in the Modern Quilts: Redesigning Traditions exhibit at the Ontario Museum of Art and History between December 1, 2016 and January 22, 2017!




Name: Ursa Minor
Dimensions: 36″ x 36″
Fabrics: Kona: Snow, Ash, Pomegranate, Charcoal. Dear Stella: Stirling.
Binding: Prints from stash which I don’t know the name of.
Modern: Does this qualify as modern? I don’t know and it’s not something I’m particularly fussed about. I just make the stuff I want to make and I’ll let some art historian figure out how to label it a few decades from now if it ends up being worthy of a label.


I love comments, and respond to each one!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

22 thoughts on “Finish: Ursa Minor”