Sunday, September 16, 2012

Finishing the Mariners Compass

In my last post Mariners Compass I went through the steps I took to create the Mariners Compass in the center. In this post I'll explain how to finish out your Mariners Compass.
The first thing I wanted was a small 1" border around the compas. I folded the Compass in half and layed it on the fabric I would use for that border. Then I measure 1.5" around the compass and marked with white chalk. I want the border to be 1", so this requires a 1.5" strip to allow for 1/4 seam on both sides. Remember you want to cut your stip on the curve. Don't use a 1.5" straight strip. You can, but you will likely end up with pukers in the fabric as you attach it to the block, and it will require relief cuts. By cutting on the curve you avoid all this. It takes a little more work up front, but saves you a lot of hassle later.
Two strips cut. Note the strips are cut with at least an extra 1/4" at each end. These will need to be attached to each other after they are sewn on the compass.
Carefully pin the strip to the compass. Don't attach the strips together yet. As you attach the strip it will sometimes stretch and move so that you may have more than 1/4" at the ends. Sew the strip to the compass with 1/4" seam. Leaving about and 1" or so and the ends of the strip unattached. Mark the ends of the strips where you want the seam. I did this by folding the strips where I wanted them to attach and pressing with my iron. It makes an easy mark to follow. Then fold the compass in half, pull the strip away from the compass and sew the strips together. Trim the seam, press and sew to the compass to complete the strip.
Next to complete the square. I put the compass folded in fours on top of fabric also folded in fours in order to create four corners. I planned this a little oversized so that I can square up the block when complete. To do the corners, it's really the same process as I used for the strip, only in four pieces instead of two. Also an extra step noted below before pinning.
Trimmed out and ready to attach. Notice the excess at the ends. Now to attach this I took an extra step before pinning the fabric. You will want you corners to match up with the center point (the orange point on this piece). Take your corner piece and fold in half diagnally at the corner so that you have a fold going out from the middle point to the corner. Use that fold to line up the point with the corner.
The finished Mariners Compass. This one measure 23 x 23.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mariners Compass

I spent a full weekend on this project, but I'm pleased with the results. I think I mastered this paper pieced block. I took photos to help me describe each step so others can learn to do this beautiful Mariners Compass block.
First I determined that I needed a block that is 19.5" squared. I taped two pieces of parchment paper together to be large enough and then cut the square. Now there were several other instructions that I found instructing you to draw lines to dissect the square. However, I found it much simpler to fold the square in half and half again. This would give you the four square quadrants. Then I unfolded. Next I fold in half from corner to corner and in half again to the opposite corners. Hopefully my photo is clear enough that my folds can be seen.

There are a lot of great books out there that help you understand how to draw out any style Mariners Compass you desire. Then I dissected my pattern into sections. I traced a section from one large point to the next. Then using my copier I copied each section for paper piecing. 

Here are the four bocks I came up with that made since for paper piecing. The two large point styles I made four copies and the two group blocks I needed eight copies.

Next to choose my fabrics. I wanted a darker back ground with bright colors for the points to pop.

The first small group. You do need a basic understanding of paper pieced quilt blocks to do this.

Second block, just like first but with the additional medium point.

Now the fun begins.

Now that each block is complete, it's time to assemble the blocks. Using a pin; poke pin through point of one block at top of seam and push through the second block where seam is to join up. This aligns the blocks with accuracy. (see two above photos, front and back)

This is what the blocks should look like before you sew.
 First completed assembly
 Fold out and iron. Insure that seams are lined up and that you have left a 1/4" (apx) at the top for future assembly.
 Starting to lay out blocks to get an idea of final assembly
Attach the next block.

 Attach largest point to make complete unit
 Attach one small black to each complete block.
Final Assembly of paper pieced unit (with out appliqued center) from front. The back view in photo below show all the paper still on block and what that will look like.

Remove the paper. Remember the smaller your seam the easier to remove the paper. Note to self - don't get the paper wet next time and it'll come off easier with out such a mess. FYI I sometimes spritz my blocks with water to seam them really good for crisp seams. I don't advice this with paper pieced blocks. 
The finished assembly with appliqued center. Now I just need to lay this out and trace for my back ground to make this a square. This was a practice piece as I didn't want to waste the fabric for my son's Lone Star quilt. Now that I've practiced one (I'll have to find a use for this one) I can do the real thing for his quilt.