I started designing Block Fourteen as a tribute to the Dear Jane quilt. I experimented with a number of the Dear Jane triangular blocks, placing them revolving around a centre point to make a circle. This design came about when I was playing (on the free Quilt Assistant software ) with the block where flying geese fly outwards. I immediately fell in love with it! It does have a hypnotic quality to it, like a Mandala you can meditate upon. Also, if you take each of those wedges and subtract the outer level, the design remains the same. So, I have been trying ( in vain) to convince the few mathematicians whom I know, that this pattern a fractal! As a concession to them, I call this the (Almost) Fractal Mandala.
And so, I present to you, Block 14 of the Round the Year Block of the Month Quilt, the (Almost) Fractal Mandala!
Much to my chagrin, I discovered after I had made the block, that a similar block ( I do not know the name) already exists! I am still very proud of it, because I discovered my Mount Everest on my own, and climbed it too! So there!
The block, like all other blocks of the BOM quilt, is designed as a 15″ circle inset in an 18.5″ ( unfinished) square. It is a deceptively easy block to piece, hence not too many photos accompany this post.
The templates and instructions can be downloaded from the links at the end of this post. You can find the links to patterns for all the other blocks of this quilt on the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt Page ( click on the link above).
The brilliant Tina Katwal, one of the pioneer quilters from India, took out time from her busy schedule to test this block and you have to thank her, that you do not struggle with stingy fabric requirements!
The Dusk colourway uses 4 shades of blue and 4 fabrics in a contrasting yellow to orange range. I suggest you use use solids or very small prints combined with solids to best highlight the design element of the block. I have used Fossil Fern by Benartex for mine.
This is a great block for using any scraps/ strips of various sizes and shapes left over from the previous blocks. Nevertheless, I have tried to give some kind of estimate of the fabric requirement.
Please spray starch and press all your fabric before cutting!
|2.5″ x 32″|
|4″ x 19″|
|3.5″ x 14″|
20″ x 12.5″ strip
|3″ WOF strip +
strips 8″ -10″of various widths 1.75 to 2.5″
|3″ WOF strip
strips 8-10″ of various widths 1.75 to 2.5″
I suggest you label your fabric so that you do not get confused as you cut so many strips. An easy way to do this is sticking a piece of freezer paper with the code on it on the strip!
For ease in piecing, you can cut and sort your fabric template wise as follows:
|4 Orange||For diamonds 2 strips 2.5″ x 16″|
|5 Gold||4 HSTs 3.5″||For diamonds 2 strips 2″ x 12″|
|6 Light Orange||4 HSTs 3.5″||4 HSTs 3.5″|
|7 Yellow||4 HSTs 3.5″||2 strips 1.75″ x 11″ for diamonds|
|1 Light blue||4QSTs from 4.5″ square||20″ x 12.5″|
|2 Medium blue||3″ x 19″||4HSTs 3″||4HSTs 3″ 4HSTs 2.5″||4HSTs 2.0″ 4HSTs 1.75″||4QSTs 3″|
|3 Deepest blue||3″ x 19″||4 HSTs 3″||4HSTs 3″ 4HSTs 2.5″||4HSTs 2.0″ 4HSTs 1.75″||4QSTs 3″|
|8 Medium to deep blue||4QSTs from 4.5″ square|
While I pieced with strips, I thought it would have made life much simpler had I cut the diamonds earlier. Note that the two sets of diamonds on each template face opposite directions, hence the 2 strips in the cutting instructions for the diamonds. Here is my fabric for the block, all cut and sorted.
1. Print the templates with your printer settings at 100% (or actual size).
2. Templates A to H are given in two parts each, with instructions to glue them. You could also piece these separately and then join at the centre seams. I have done that for the first two sets of templates, ABCD and EFGH.
3. Glue together the two parts of background Template U on the edge indicated. Use this to cut 4 identical pieces for U, V, W and X and put aside.
I suggest piecing alphabetically,that is first on the larger templates at circle edge. You can use scraps from the larger pieces on the smaller templates inside! Piece in the following order:
– A, B, C and D
– E, F, G and H
– I, J, K and L
– M, N, O and P
– Q, R, S and T
Templates A, B, C and D had been printed on freezer paper, without gluing on the centre line as indicated In the templates. Cutting the wedges became as simple as this…
All I had to do was to add the triangles on the wedges. (If you have glued your templates A,B, C and D between pieces #3 and #4, plese do not get confused by these photos!)
E, F, G and H were (each) also pieced in halves without gluing in the centre, and sewn together on the centre later, just before assembly.
For the rest of the templates, I pieced with strips, like I said, placing the strips perpendicular to each other as I went along.
A triangular piece comes in next, note, in the upcoming photo, that the blue strip was placed straight along the template for this seam between piece #3 and #4. This is followed by another diamond strip at right angles to the template. Use the other diamond strip for this!
After that diamond, there is only one more blue triangle to add and we are done!
Similarly, piece all the templates, I to P. Once you get the hang of it, it comes up really fast!
I did not take too many pics, but here are a couple of photos of the centre templates Q, R, S and T being pieced!
The scraps from the previous templates come in useful for the corners of the centre templates!
Use the Master Template (mirror image) as a guide to assembly. The Instructions file also contains a coloured mirror image guide.
I removed the paper before assembly.
Assemble the block in quadrants. But before you begin, lay them all together to see if all is in order, and of course, to admire!
( First, I sewed the respective template halves A to H. If you glued your templates before piecing you will not need to do this. )
I am ready for assembly now! I joined the outermost two templates A to E; B to F; C to G and D to H, and put them aside. (as I did not want to risk the wedges on the A, B, C and D templates getting misshapen.)
The rest of the templates, I joined from centre outwards. ( All templates at each ‘level’ are similar so it really does not matter whether you pick up M or N to join to Q, R, S or T!)
Here is the finished circle, from the back. Note that seams on adjoining quadrants are pressed in opposite directions, so that they interlock.
5. Done ! Now join the background. You can join the individual quadrants to the background pieces U, V, W and X and then join the 4 squares together to form the 18.5″ square.
I am not joining any of the circles to the background till all of them are done.
We begin putting the quilt top together in May, after the final sixteenth block comes up on 1st May.
Block 15 will be posted only on 16th April 2015 as I am travelling and am otherwise busy, so you have plenty of time to catch up, if you began late or are straggling behind on the blocks.
Meanwhile, do put in a comment if you like this block and are doing this quilt… and make my day! Please write in if you have a problem with the instructions, or if you discover a better way of piecing my blocks.
I would also love to see your blocks posted on my Facebook page Patchwork of My Life.
Okay, so we are all done here, except for one important thing, the block pattern and instructions! You need Adobe Acrobat on your computer ( available for free download) to be able to view these files.
1.Block 14 Fractal Mandala Instructions
2.Block 14 Fractal Mandala Templates
Please note that the downloadable patterns with paper piecing templates and instruction files for the Dreamcatcher Round the Year quilt blocks are being migrated to my store MadsPatch and will not be available for download for free from 15th November 2020 onwards.
6 thoughts on “The (Almost) Fractal Mandala – Block Fourteen, Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt”
Whoo that looks amazing…did it took you a long time to make it ? May I ask on what or for what did you use it for? as a bed quilt or else?
Amazing job….God bless you hands!
Thank you 🙂 It will be one of sixteen blocks that will make up a bed quilt. I think I took about six hours to make it.
I figured. .but with a lot practice. .. very nice…I’m just recently starting to do quilting….but your idea it’s very inspiring… 🙂
😊 just follow the pattern and instructions! The great thing about paper piecing is that you just need to know to stitch on a straight line on paper.
Hi Mads. I love love love this design! It doesn’t seem to be available on your website?
Yes, haven’t made it available yet—will get around to it. 2021 has not been a happy year. Getting my life back into some kind of routine!