The Dreamcatcher At Houston!

Felt amazing wearing this ribbon!
Would you believe that I forgot to take a picture of the quilt by itself?
Preening in front of my quilt!

The Purple Dreamcatcher

I am so, so happy to present to you this gorgeous version of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt made by Vicki Trerotola.

I personally would have never have thought that the blocks would look so amazing in shades of a single colour.

Purple Dreamcatcher
I love that centre!

The lovely quilting by Mary Jane Wherle so beautifully complements the perfect piecing done by Vicki.

Purple Dreamcatcher
How lovely it is!
Purple Dreamcatcher
In all it’s purple on grey glory!
Purple Dreamcatcher
The quilting is lovely too!
Purple Dreamcatcher
Close up of the quilting and the blocks

Do notice the walls and the headboard – aren’t her colours just perfect for her room?

Purple Dreamcatcher
Aren’t those grey and deep purple borders lovely?

Do you want to make your own Dreamcatcher Quilt? The patterns for the blocks are free and can be accessed from here! Please do not forget to share pictures on my facebook page in case you do make something using my patterns! Thank you!

The Dreamcatcher at Dusk – IQA “A World of Beauty” Judged Show 2018 Finalist!

Woohoo! The Dreamcatcher is going to Houston, Texas and am I excited, or what!

I am on a vacation at the most gorgeous place, where I have no pics of the quilt to share with you. So I will share a pic of this lovely little lily pool here, instead!

Best of luck to all the finalists!

Mariner24 – Block Sixteen, Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt

Mariner24! The Sixteenth Block...
Mariner24! The Sixteenth Block…

Am I excited and relieved at the same time, or what, to present the sixteenth and final block of the DreamcatcherRound the Year Quilt !?! This 24-spoke Mariner’s Compass is foundation paper pieced and is, like the other blocks of this Block of the Month quilt, drafted as a 15″ (finished) circle set in an 18″ (finished) square. I learnt to draft this block from a workshop by Adina Sullivan, “Mastering the Maddening Mariner” in “Quiltskills – Workshops from The Quilters’ Guild Australia” (published by The Patchwork Place, 1998). Adina has the most fabulous quilts based on the Mariner’s Compass and I had been gathering the courage to attempt these since the last six years or so, when I bought this book. You may recall that Southward Bound was also drafted using the method taught by Adina. She uses the English paper piecing method to construct her blocks, mine is completely machine pieced!

 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.

I used Quilt Assistant, a great free quilt design software for designing the block. The pattern instructions and paper piecing templates can be downloaded in PDF format from the links at the end of this post.

Fabric Requirement

Fabric Code for Mariner24

This block uses 2 shades of blue and 4 contrasting colours in the yellow-gold-light orange spectrum for the Compass, set in a third shade of blue for the background.

Trivia – This block contains 269 pieces! But don’t worry, we will be working with strips, so that you need not worry about cutting dozens of pieces.

Fabric Code Colour Fabric Required Cutting Instructions
1 Pale Blue

19″ square*

2 Medium Blue

6″ WOF

Cut 3 strips WOF 2″ wide

2 squares 4.5″

Cut along both diagonals to get 8 QSTs

3 Deep Blue

6″ WOF

Cut 3 strips WOF 2″ wide

4 Deep Orange

3″ x 30″

5 Gold

3″ x 30″

6 Yellow

3.25″ x 30″

Cut into strips 2″ x 30″

1.25″ x 30″

7 Light Orange

3″ x 24″

*I have given a template for joining the background by piecing, but for this block I suggest appliqueing the compass on a square.

Do remember to spray starch and press your fabric before cutting it. I do not have access to spray starch, so I make my own by adding two capfuls of the locally available liquid fabric stiffener (sold by the name of Revive) to 100ml of water in a spray bottle.

Your best friend when piecing - spray starch!
Your best friend when piecing – spray starch!

Printing Instructions

Print the Templates File at 100% / actual size in portrait mode. Cut out the templates. I suggest you ignore the background template AG( in two parts), as we will be appliqueing the compass on a background square. It may prove useful for marking the circle on the background fabric.

Print the Instructions File, which includes the Fabric Requirement chart and Master Template, and keep at hand for piecing and assembly.

Step by Step Piecing Instructions

If you are attempting a block from this quilt for the first time, or even if you have not foundation paper pieced for a while, you may like to see this blogpost for decoding the paper piecing patterns for this BOM and this one, which reminds you of certain do’s and don’ts for paper piecing these blocks. If you are new to paper piecing itself, there are several great tutes online on the subject!

Outer Ring

First we piece the spokes of the outer ring (Templates A to X), using (majorly) the chain strip piecing method, that we have used for several earlier blocks. To avoid confusion and efficient use of fabric, the following order of piecing is suggested. We start with templates A to F and fabric strips which will come at piece#1 and piece#2 ( Fabric Codes#4 and #3 respectively). The following photos will explain how we chain piece the templates to the strip pair.

Align the edges of strips for A1 (Fabric#4 and Fabric #2) and place the template A ready for the first seam.
Align the edges of strips for A1 (Fabric#4 and Fabric #3) and place the template A ready for the first seam.
Template B is aligned just below template A, leaving some space in between the two.
Template B will be aligned just below template A, leaving some space in between the two.
This shows Templates A to F ... first set of seams done!
This shows Templates A to F … first set of seams done and strip for piece#2 pressed open.
Cut to separate the templates...
Cut to separate the templates…
Trim the excess fabric up to paper template. Preserve the trimmings!
Trim the excess fabric up to paper template. Preserve the trimmings!
Fold back the paper template on seam line and trim the seam to 1/4
Fold back the paper template on seam line and trim the seam to 1/4″
Now fold the paper template at seam line between piece#2 and piece#3. Trim the fabric (Strip#2) 1/4
Now fold the paper template at seam line between piece#2 and piece#3. Trim the fabric (Strip#2) 1/4″ beyond this seam line.
How templates A to F will look after the first two pieces are in place...
How templates A to F will look after the first two pieces are in place…
...All these trimmings will be used...
…All these trimmings will be used…

We are now ready to add the strip which will come in at Piece#3 (Fabric Code#2).

Chain piece the templates to strip for piece #3
Chain piece the templates to strip for piece #3 and press open before cutting apart.
Trim the seam allowance to 1/4
Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and the fabric on piece#3  to 1/4″ beyond seam line between piece#3 and piece#4

We are ready to add piece #4, for which we can use the trimmings from before! Similarly, piece templates G to L up to piece#4, i.e G1 to G4, H1 to H4…L1 to L4. Piece templates M to R up to piece#4, i.e M1 to M4, N1 to N4…R1 to R4. Piece templates S and T up to piece#4 Piece templates U and V up to piece#4 Piece templates W and X up to piece#4 Now, all our templates for the outer ring our pieced up to Piece#4.

Once we have reached this stage, order of piecing is not important. We are ready to add Piece#5 to all these templates, for which we can use the trimmings from Piece#2. Similarly, trimmings from piece#3 can be used for piece#6. This upcoming pic shows the spoke templates pieced till piece#6.

Templates A to X pieced up to Piece#4 ...
Templates A to X pieced up to Piece#6…

Here comes the strip which will occupy space at piece#7.

Piece#7 coming up.
Piece#7 coming up.

You will see that the broader portion of the templates are overlapping. The important thing is to maintain about 1/2″ distance between the seam you are sewing on one template and the next. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 Time for a break and a little bit of fun! Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 ALWAYS, remember to press open the strip you have sewn before cutting apart the templates. Also trim the seams, and the fabric just sewn to 1/4″ inch or so, beyond the upcoming seam line. I used scraps for pieces #8, 9 and 10, where I could.  When I ran out of scraps, I used strips. Here is the final strip coming up!

Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24
Final strip sewn and pressed open, ready to be trimmed!

Trim and put them aside, ready for assembly.

Inner Circle Compass

To piece the inner circle compass, piece as follows: Piece Y, Z, AA and AB. Piece AC, AD, AE and AF Use QSTs from Fabric#2 at piece#1 in all these templates.

The inner circle templates pieced. ( I have added an additional 1/4
The inner circle templates pieced. ( I have added an additional 1/4″ beyond the outer trim line, as I am going to try out something new for joining this to the ring.)

Assembly Instructions

Use the Master Template given in the Instructions File as a guide for assembly.

Outer Ring

I suggest you make piles of the templates as follows: A-B-C ; D-E-F;  G-H-I; J-K-L; M-N-O and P-Q-R. Put aside S-T-U-V-W-X

Templates in piles...
Templates in piles…

To join the templates, pin them first at the outer, broader edge. I like to insert vertical pins, matching the seams, before pinning on the seam line.

Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24
Vertical pins where seams will meet.
Horizontal pins on seam line. the vertical pins are now removed
Horizontal pins on seam line; the vertical pins are now being removed.

This results in perfectly matched seams and corners!

Perfecto!
Perfecto!

And so we sew the piles as follows ABC, DEF, GHI, JKL, MNO, PQR. Now bring on the pile S-T..X and add these, following the master template.

Work with the Master Template! Do not let the mirror image confuse you.
Work with the Master Template! Do not let the mirror image confuse you.

So you have 6 sets of partly assembled templates as follows: ABCS, DEFT, GHIU, JKLV, MNOX and PQRW. Remove the paper from the seams. You may like to press the seams open; I like to press them in one direction; all of them then must be pressed either clockwise or anti-clockwise. I also removed the paper from the inner templates, leaving it intact only at the circumference and inner edge. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 Now sew these together.

The 'ring' from the back...
The ‘ring’ from the back…
Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24
… and from the front!

 Inner Circle Assembly

Assemble the inner circle in quarters … Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 then in halves. Again, I like to press the seams in one direction. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24 and finally the full circle. I stitch first from one edge to the centre and reverse. Break thread, and stitch from the other edge to the centre.  I then rip open a bit of the crossover seam at the centre to give the seams a ‘twirl’. Round the Year Quilt Block 16 Mariner24

Final Assembly

I have not assembled the final block as of now. But this is how I suggest it be done: Join the ring to the square using your favourite method. Finally, appliqué the centre circle. Another look at the block and what inspired it.

Round the Year Quilt, Block 16, Mariner24
The Inspiration and the Block!

I hope you will love making this block! I assure you the result is well worth the effort. Take it easy, enjoy every seam and then savour all the oohs and aahs your work receives! I have also, more or less, finalised the layout I am going to use for these blocks. I shall share it with you soon.

This is where you download the instructions and templates for the block. You would need Adobe Reader ( download for free online) to be able to read these PDF files.

1.BLOCK16 MARINER24 Instructions

2.BLOCK16 MARINER24 Paper Piecing 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.

Winding Ways Wheel – Block Fifteen Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt

Block15 Winding Ways Wheel, Round the Year Quilt
The Winding Ways Wheel , Block 15 of the Round the Year Quilt

Can you believe this is the last but one block the DreamcatcherRound the Year Block of the Month Quilt? I was in two minds whether to include this beautiful traditional pieced block in this quilt, where all the other blocks are majorly paper pieced. You decided it for me and I couldn’t be happier!

 I first made up this block almost 4 years ago, when I was quite new to quilting, using the winding ways block. I drafted it using this great tutorial by Kathy Somers. Partly pieced by hand and partly by machine, it finished at 4.5″ including the seams! I plan to include it in the next major project I embark on, a quilt made with miniature 4″ blocks including, perhaps, a few Dear Jane and Nearly Insane quilt blocks and some of my very own.

To get back to Block Fifteen, it finishes at 18.5″ square with the seam allowances. The inset circle is 15″ plus 1/2″ seam allowance. I have drafted this on free quilt design software Quilt Assistant, which I have used to draft all the blocks of this quilt!

The block looks difficult, but the curves are really gentle and if you cut accurately, and pin carefully, it is a breeze to piece!

Fabric Requirement

Winding Ways Wheel – Fabric Code and Colour Pattern

This block will be appliquéd to the background square. You will need a 19″ square in Fabric#1 .


Printing Instructions

1. Print the Instructions File and Templates File on A4 size paper with your printer settings on 100% or Actual Size in portrait mode. I used freezer paper to print the templates. I just press it on the fabric and cut around it!

To print on freezer paper, cut A4 size freezer paper and lightly iron the edges on to regular printer paper. Print as usual on freezer paper side . Use a paper knife to separate.

Prepare the freezer paper for printing by pressing the edges lightly on regular printing paper.

2. Cut the templates A, B and C . I cut 2 sets of the templates to make the fabric cutting faster. You could also print them on ordinary paper, paste on stiff card and cut out to make reusable templates.

Cutting and Piecing Instructions

Please starch your fabric before cutting, to ensure accuracy and crispness in your block.

As you cut the fabric, use the alignment markers on the templates to mark the centre of each side of the fabric pieces. I have made notches as markers. I also marked the corners with a pencil on each of the pieces. I learnt the hard way that you save a lot of heartburn by taking time at this stage.


Follow the colour diagram and arrange all the fabric pieces where you do not need to disturb them.

The block will be pieced in different sections, numbered 1 to 7 here, as shown here and then assembled. Please follow pressing instructions, they are very important in this block! Trust me, I have made a whole quilt with these blocks.

Piecing and assembly diagram

 

Referring to the colour pattern, align the curved side of B on top of concave side of A, for all sets of A and B. Pin at the centre notch. I pinned them with the pin on the fabric and had to repin with the pin sticking out before sewing!

Do not pin like this! The pin should face the other way, stick out!

When piecing, you need only two pins. Match the blunt ends of the two pieces one at the corner where you begin, pin. The other pin is at the centre notch.

You need only two pins…

Once you are past the centre notch, use a pair of small forceps/ tweezers to gently align the fabric and finish the curve.

Use a pair of tweezers to ease fabric and match corners neatly

Piece all A-B sets. Press seam towards B.

Press seams towards B

Add piece C to one set of A-B in each of the sections # 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Place C on top, match notches, pin. The other pin aligns the corner points at the narrow end, where we begin the seam.

Two pins – one at narrow end and other at centre notch.

Press seam towards A.

Do not skip on the pressing after each stage, if you want a pretty block.

Sew other set of AB from the section to corresponding ABC just sewn. Again, begin with narrow end of C on top. You will have to change your machine needle settings; in my machine, ¼” seam is at needle setting 1.8, so I shift it to -1.8 when doing this step. The seam will be on the left and fabric on the right as you face the machine!

I adjusted my needle position, so that the 1/4″ seam is on the left and the fabric on the right! On my Husqvarna VIking Topaz 20, this position is -1.8

Again, press the seam towards A.

Getting there! Note the seams…

 

Section#3 has just two C pieces. Reduce seam length, fix the seam at both ends. Join them at the narrow end and
finger press open the seam.

Use a smaller stitch length, fix the thread ends. Finger press open.

Join the corner B pieces to Sections#6 and #7 and press seam open.

Sections #6 and # 7 – press the seam open after joining corner pieces

All our sections are pieced!

Assembly Instructions

First we assemble the centre square. (This is the basic winding ways block!) This is the crucial step which will determine the beauty of the block.

Carefully pin Section 3 centre seam to centre of Section 1.

Do not be in a hurry here!

 

Next, match the notch on the long side of C to notch on A and pin. Start sewing from centre outwards on one side, then the other. This way you can check if your centre points are matched or not!

Press seams toward A, away from the narrow section 3.

Similarly pin Section#2 to just assembled Section#1-3 and sew. Again press seam away from Section#3.

Not perfect . I ripped a few cms and re-did it!

 

Ready for final assembly…

 

Now we sew Section#4 and #5 to centre square 123. Match notches and corresponding seams and pin.

The seams are REALLY bulky and you may need to use a lot of maneuvering to get them right!

Those seams are nasty!

Sew. Press seams open.

I like that!

 

We are on the last step already! AS usual, match all intersecting seams and notches and join sections#6 and #7 to 12345. Press seams open.

Neat?

 

I am quite happy with my block!

All that remains is to appliqué it to the 19″ background square and trim it to 18.5″. I am planning to use the freezer paper method to do so. What is your favourite method to appliqué a circle to a square?

I would love to see the blocks you come up with – on my Facebook page.

The pretty, pretty Winding Ways Wheel Block!

 

The sixteenth and last block will be up on May 1st! Like I told you, my mind is already on a fast forward mode, planning what is coming up next – perhaps, to a quilt with miniature blocks?! I do hope I will have the patience to finish this Round the Year quilt before that!

So here are the files in PDF format. To be able to view these, you need Acrobat Reader which you can download for free.

1. BLOCK 15 WINDING WAYS WHEEL Templates

2. BLOCK 15 WINDING WAYS WHEEL Instructions

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.

The (Almost) Fractal Mandala – Block Fourteen, Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt

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!

Block 14 ( Almost) Fractal Mandala, Round the Year Quilt
Block 14 ( Almost) Fractal Mandala, Round the Year Quilt

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!

Fabric Requirement

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.

Fabric Code Block 14 Almost Fractal Mandala
Fabric Code Block 14 Almost Fractal Mandala

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!

Fabric Colour

Code

Fabric needed
 

Orange

4

2.5″ x 32″
 

Gold

5

4″ x 19″
 

Light Orange

6

3.5″ x 14″
 

Yellow

7

3.5″ x18″
 

Light Blue

1

4.5″ square
20″ x 12.5″ strip
 

Medium Blue

2

3″ WOF strip +
strips 8″ -10″of various widths 1.75 to 2.5″
 

Deepest Blue

3

3″ WOF strip
strips 8-10″ of various widths 1.75 to 2.5″
 

Medium-Deep Blue

8

4.5″ square

 Cutting Instructions

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:

Fabric Code ABCD EFGH IJKL MNOP QRST UVWX
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.

Fabric cut and sorted out
Fabric cut and sorted out

  Templates

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.

Piecing Instructions

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…

You could also use ordinary paper printed templates...
You could also use ordinary paper printed templates…

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!)

You can glue the two halves of the templates togeteher and piece them in one go!
You can glue the two halves of the templates togeteher and piece them in one go!

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.

E, F, G and H pieced in halves...
E, F, G and H pieced in halves…you can glue the templates at centre between piece# 3 and #4 and piece these as  single units!

 

For the rest of the templates, I pieced with strips, like I said, placing the strips perpendicular to each other as I went along.

Place the strip for the diiamond at right angles to the previous strip and sew on seam line
Place the strip for the diiamond at right angles to the previous strip and sew on seam line
Covering the diamond...
Covering the diamond…

Block 14 Almost Fractal Mandala, Round the Year QuiltBlock 14 Almost Fractal Mandala, Round the Year Quilt

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!

Note the blue strip for piece#4 is placed straight along template. The diamond yellow is again at right angles
Note the blue strip for piece#4 is placed straight along template. The diamond yellow is again at right angles

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!

Templates Q, R, S and T ready for piecing...
Templates Q, R, S and T ready for chain piecing…
and done except for the corners ... fast work!
…and done, except for the corners! Fast work!

The scraps from the previous templates come in useful for the corners of the centre templates!

Assembly Instructions

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.

The Master Template is a mirror image! Left is right and right is left!
The Master Template is a mirror image! Left is right and right is left!

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!

I love this! Piecing finished in one evening!
I love this! Piecing finished in one evening!

( 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.

As far as possible, press adjoining seams in opposite directions to interlock them when sewing ... ensures sharper corners!
As far as possible, press adjoining seams in opposite directions to interlock them when sewing … ensures sharper corners!

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.

Blue Aster – Block Eleven of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt

Blue Aster Quilt Block Round the Year Quilt Block 11The Blue Aster is Block 11 of the Round the Year Quilt. The 15″ pieced circle is inset in an 18″ ( finished) square.

The foundation paper pieced block is very quick to piece. The centre introduces inset or y seams for the first time in this BOM.  The block was tested for me by the lovely Anuradha Ramesh, who also tested the Sapphire Fire block!

If you want the patterns of the previous ten blocks of this quilt, you can find all the links on the Round the Year Quilt page. The Templates and Instructions for this block can be downloaded in printable pdf format from the links  at the end of this post.

Fabric Requirement

In the Dusk colourway, the block uses 4 shades of blue for the petals besides some small scraps of yellows and oranges.

Fabric Coding for Blue Aster

 

Fabric For Petals For Centre ( pieces# 3 & 4on I to L) For Edges
Light Blue

1

2.25″ x 7.5″ ( 8 pieces)
Medium Light Blue

2

2.25″x 6.5″ ( 8 pieces)
Medium Dark Blue

3

2.5″x 7.5″ ( 4 pieces)
Deep Blue

4

2.5″x 6.5″ ( 4 pieces)
Deep Orange

5

1.75″ x 5″ 1.75″ x 2.5″ ( 8 pieces)
Light Orange

7

1.75″ x 5″ 1.75″ x 2.5″ ( 8 pieces)
Gold

8

1.75″ x 5″ 1.75″ x 2.5″ ( 8 pieces)
Yellow

6

1.75″ x 5″ 1.75″ x 2.5″ ( 8 pieces)

 

 Printing Instructions

  1. Print the Templates File with your printer settings at 100% or actual size in portrait mode.
  2. Print and keep a copy of the Instructions File for ready reference.
  3. Cut out the paper piecing templates.

Piecing and Assembly Instructions

1. Follow the step by step Instructions for best utilization of your fabric to piece templates A to H.

2. Piece templates I to L

The Master Template is a mirror image – the paper pieced block from the printed paper side!

 

3. Follow the Master template to join the templates as follows:

Join A to B; Join C to D; Join E to F; Join G to H. You can press seams open to reduce bulk. (I originally did, but then sewed a couple of them to one side with the next seam. I think I  will never be able to sew with seams pressed open!)

We now encounter inset ot `y’ seams at the next step. You may refer to the step by step instructions if you are uncertain how to proceed.

Begin at the pointed end of the wedges, leaving ¼” for insetting seam to join AB to I at A1 ; join CD to J At C1, join EF to K at E1 and join GH to L at G1.

Now match the seams at the centre and join IAB to JCD.

Similarly, join KEF to LGH.

Finally join the two halves to make your full flower.

Applique the circle to an 18.5″ background square to complete your full block 11, Blue Aster. I recommend taking a larger square and trimming it to size.

 Step by Step Instructions

For general tips on paper piecing for the blocks in this BOM, you can look at this post I published some time back.

It is a good idea to pin when handling large or unwieldy fabric pieces!

Pin the Fabric#1 strips on the templates I, J, K and L and keep aside.

You may have noticed that we cut only 4 pieces  of the medium and dark blue fabric, whereas they are used in 8 places each! One thing I hate about paper piecing is the amount of fabric one wastes. So, this is how I found a way out, without complicating the cutting instructions!

We `prepare’ templates A to H for piecing.

Pin the rectangular piece of Fabric#3 on piece A1, C1, E1 and G1, aligning one long edge of the fabric ¼” beyond seamline between piece#1 and #3 on the template(s).

Pin for 1/4″ seam, letting the excess fabric hang out

Trim the excess fabric piece.

The excess fabric is trimmed away …

Pin the excess pieces of fabric at piece#1 on templates B, D, F and H.

… and used on the other 4 templates!

Fold the template at seam line between pieces # 1 and #2 on all the templates A to H and trim the fabric beyond the seam line towards circular edge (adding ¼” seam allowance).

I have discovered that trimming to the seam allowance BEFORE piecing makes life easier!

We are ready to start piecing templates A to H. Remember the wrong side of the fabric should touch the paper. Also, travel ¼” beyond the seam line when piecing.

Initially, I used strips of the yellow- orange fabrics to piece the small wedge to the `petals’, but later concluded that piecing with the 1.75″ x 2.5″ rectangles was more efficient and facilitated chain piecing. I am not giving a picture so that I can avoid confusion!

Chain piece all templates A to H up to piece #4.

Add the fifth piece only to templates A , C, E and G, aligning one edge of the fabric as we did for piece #1.

Now fold back the paper on the incoming seam line like in the picture below. Do not worry about the paper getting torn at the seam.

Using one rectangle to piece two long triangles!

Trim, allowing for a ¼” seam.

Don’t throw away that trimming!

This excess fabric piece will be used for piece#5 on templates B,D, F and H.

Use it here!

Add piece#6 on all the templates A to H. With this, templates B, D, F and H are pieced and can be kept aside. Proceed to finish piecing templates A, C , E and G; and I to J.

When piecing I to J templates: first sew the respective 1.75″ x 5″ strip at piece #3 on each of the templates. Trim off and keep the excess fabric piece for sewing at place#4 on the other templates as required. 

TThis block is perhaps the quickest to cut and piece!

 Assembly Instructions

Flip the pieced templates to the printed side and arrange the templates using the Master Template as a guide.

Pin templates A to B; C to D; E to F and G to H, taking care to ensure you have the right edges together…

Ensure you have the correct edges together!

 

…and sew. I pressed open the seams ( temporarily, as the final picture will confirm!), but you could also press them downwards, towards the edge.

Remove the excess paper from the seams.

It has been easy so far. Now comes some not-so-simple sewing!

We are ready to join AB to I, CD to J, Ef to K and GH to L.

Pin the edges on the alignment markers. Begin the seam, sewing from centre to edge, on the seam line, leaving the ¼” seam allowance at the top unstitched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how it looks from the other side…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of this, you will have 4 joined templates, IAB, JCD, KEF and LGH. We are ready to join these in pairs.

Again we begin sewing at the centre. If your centre looks good, the rest of the block looks good too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start sewing from the corner of the centre and stop short of the end by ¼” , just where the `petals’ begin.

Now align the `petals’ and sew  down the straight edges out to the circumference.

 

You can start this seam from the corner, including the 1/4″ shown left unstitched in this picture. I went back and sewed that bit afterwards.

 

One half is ready!

There actually no points to match, so everything falls in place neatly!

Similarly join the other pair KEF to LGH.

 

Now to join the two halves…again we begin at the centre, matching the centre seams, and leaving ¼” at both ends.

Again, begin at the centre…this is the only time you have to match points!

 

We are down the last two seams!

… the final seams are down the petals to the circle edge.

 

Turn it around!

Press the seams.

Flip over and admire your Blue Aster.

Applique your circle to a 19″ square. Trim to 18.5″ square.

You can click on the links below to download the pdf pattern for this simple block  designed by me ( if anyone else has also had the same idea, my apologies for claiming it  – as far as I know, it is an original!) .

1. BLOCK 11 BLUE ASTER Paper Piecing Templates  Round the Year Quilt

2. Block 11 Blue Aster Instructions Round the Year Quilt.

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.

Chakra – Block Ten, Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt

This block has to be my absolute favourite. For one, it is a tribute to my country, India, on our Republic Day falling on 26th January. Secondly, it is designed by me, not based on any other quilt block that I have seen.

The Ashok Chakra, which is the inspiration for this block, is at the centre of India’s national flag. It is taken from the edicts of the great emperor Ashok, who ruled over almost the entire sub- continent, in the third century  B.C.  I quote from Wikipedia : The “Ashoka Chakra” … is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principle of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change.

 I tried to be true to the proportions of the Ashok Chakra on our flag. The block, a 15″ square set in an 18″ circle, is the tenth block in the Round the Year BOM quilt. It is surprisingly easy to piece the foundation paper piecing way, and assembly is also simple enough. (Except that you have to be really fond of hand appliqué to add those half circles using the method I employed!)

The links for Instructions and Templates for this pattern are given at the end of this post. For the other block patterns, please go here.

Fabric Code DesignThe Chakra (Wheel)

As mentioned above, the block finishes at 18″ square with a 15″ inset circle.

I have used four shades of blue (coded 1, 6, 5, 4 from light to dark) and four contrasting colours ranging from yellow to orange ( coded 2, 8, 7 and 3 ) for the block in the Dusk colourway.

For this block, I have assembled the full circle and plan to appliqué it to the background. A background template is, therefore, not provided. The block is mainly paper pieced with some appliqué for the half circles. (You could fuse these if you have access to Heat ‘n Bond Red or equivalent; which case, do not cut fabric** for the half circles at this stage.)

Fabric Requirement

Fbric Colour

Fabric code

Outer Ring

(3″ x 1.5″)

Middle Ring

Inner Ring

Inner Circle

Background

Count your pieces

Lightest Blue

1

2.5″ x 30″

(Cut 6 rectangles 2.5″x 5″)

6 rectangles 1″ x 2.5″

19″ square

13

Light-Medium Blue

6

2.5″ x 30″

(Cut 6 rectangles 2.5″x 5″)

6 rectangles 1″ x 2.5″

12

Medium-Dark Blue

5

2.5″ x 30″

(Cut 6 rectangles 2.5″x 5″)

6 rectangles 1″ x 2.5″

12

Deep Blue

4

2.5″ x 30″

(Cut 6 rectangles 2.5″x 5″)

6 rectangles 1″ x 2.5″

12

Yellow

2

3″ x 9″

(cut into 6 rectangles)

1.25″ x 55″ ( Cut into 11 rect 1.25″x 5″)

**Rectangle 4″x 6″ for six circles 1.5″ diam.

3.5″ diameter circle

24

Gold

8

3″ x 9″

(cut into 6 rectangles)

**Rectangle 4″x 6″ for six circles 1.5″ diam.

1.5″x 27.5″

( Cut into 11 rectangles 1.5″x 2.5″)

23

Light Orange

7

3″ x 9″

(cut into 6 rectangles)

**Rectangle 4″x 6″ for six circles 1.5″ diam.

1.5″x 33″

( Cut into 13 rectangles 1.5″x 2.5″)

25

Deep Orange

3

3″ x 9″

(cut into 6 rectangles)

1.25″ x 65″ ( Cut into 13 rect 1.25″x 5″)

**Rectangle 4″x 6″ for six circles 1.5″ diam.

25

Printing Instructions

Please note that I revised the pattern template `naming’ after piecing my block. Don’t let the piece numbering on the pictures confuse you.

Print first two pages of the Instructions File for ready reference.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Cutting the fabric strips

Print Paper piecing templates file at 100% (or actual size ) in portrait mode and cut out the templates.

You can decide if you wish to use  the **circle templates and print the file as and when you need it. .
I printed the 1″ circle templates on freezer paper.

If you are interested in English paper piecing or regular piecing for this block, I have also provided the option of individual templates in a separate file.

Piecing Instructions

Piece the inner ring templates A,B, C and D.

Make piles of the rectangles for the inner ring – all four shades of blue and two shades of the contrast fabric (light orange and gold) are used here. Reduce the stitch length on your sewing machine, so that the paper can be torn off easily once you are done.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Pile the strips for easy access

The strips in the inner ring are ready at less than a ¼”. Fold the paper on the incoming seam and trim the seam allowance to slightly less than ¼”, before you join the next strip.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Fold the paper template away on next seamline and trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ before sewing the next piece.

Piece the middle ring templates E, G. I. K. M. and O. Here, we will use the other two shades of the contrast fabric (deep orange and yellow) with the four shades of blue.

Again, trim the seams before you join the next rectangle.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
The outer spokes of the wheel under construction

Piece the outer ring templates F, H, J, L, N and P. It is possible to chain strip piece these, which is what I did.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
I used strips to chain piece the outer ring. It is as easy to use rectangles.

Prepare the twenty four 1″ circles for appliqué. I must be a glutton for punishment, as I prepared the circles using the pulled thread method and appliquéd them by hand!

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Cutting 6 circles at one go using freezer paper templates.
Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Cutting twenty four 1″ freezer paper circles using the Circle templates… the most tedious part of this bock!
Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Iron the paper circles at centre of the fabric circles.
Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
The ‘pulled thread” method for preparing the circles for applique. Note the long ‘tail’ on both ends of the running stitch.

Applique the circles to outer edge of pieced wedges F, H, J, L, N and P referring to the colour design.

Note only half the circle is visible in the finished piece. Tack the circle to the edge of the corresponding template piece, such that the midpoint of the circle falls on the centre of the seam line at the outer edge of the piece. About ¼’ of the circle will stick out and beyond the template. Applique it in place using an invisible stitch.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Tack the circles on the middle ring (in correct order!) matching the centre of circle to seam line.

I love to hand appliqué so I really enjoyed my afternoon doing this step!

You could possibly machine appliqué the circles, if you are confident about getting such a small circle right by machine. You could also fuse one inch fabric circles in place if you have access to double sided fusing like Heat ‘n Bond (Red) or equivalent.

Or you could even omit the half circles altogether!

Arrange everything in order of assembly and gloat!!!

Assembly Instructions

Chakra Round the Year Quilt Master Template
Chakra Round the Year Quilt Master Template

Refer to the Master Template given here to assemble the block. Note it is a mirror image, and shows the block as it would look from the printed paper side.

Join E to F; G to H, I to J, K to L, M to N and O to P. ( The half circle should match the colour of the adjoining outer ring piece). I experimented with several methods to see what works best. The last method was the easiest and worked best!

First, I trimmed the seam allowance on the paper templates F, H, J, L N and P. I left the half circle on corresponding untrimmed and pinned the first pair at every possible point! (Do not attempt this, it added no value).

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
That paper is not necessary – remove it!

The paper kept getting in the way, so I removed it for the next pair. The pinning was the same and the circles were left intact. The circles got in the way of aligning the edges of the pieced templates – not recommended.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Those circle bits sticking out – trim them, BEFORE you join the two templates.

I trimmed the circles to the template edge…

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Trim the circles like this!

…pinned and sewed another pair together.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Even so much pinning is not necessary. Keep only the pins to match the corners and one each at the seams.

Finally, I used just 5 pins, one each on the corners and three to match the seams. The seams abut against each other and join beautifully, without any additional pins. That is the one I did not take a picture of :-p. This gave me the smoothest curve! And this is what I recommend – trim the circles to the template edge, remove paper from outer ring templates and pin minimally.

The next step is to join the outer six wedges in threes.

Join EF to GH to IJ

Join KL to MN to OP

Before you do that, remove the extra paper on the seam allowance and press the seam outward. Pin at corners and at centre.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Three pins to have everything aligned. Note the paper removed from the seam at the `skirting’?

Next, join the innermost pieced rings in pairs.

Join A to B

Join C to D

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
The inner ring templates are joined in pairs while the outer in threes. Remove as much of the paper as you can – on at least alternate pieces.

Join AB to EFGHIJ

Join CD to KLMNOP.

This was surprisingly quick and did not need any pinning, as the seams worked as alignment markers.

Join the two circle halves.

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Just one more seam and the circle is done, barring the centre piece.

Tada!!

Chakra, Block Ten Round the Year Quilt
Pretty, pretty!!!

Yes, I can see a couple of unmatched seams and plan to re-do those when I do the last steps, that is, firstly appliqueing the circle to the background and then finally to applique the centre circle Q1 (3″ diameter ready).

You can download the Instructions and the Template files from here. You would need Adobe Reader ( free online download available) on your computer to be able to open these files.

1. Block10 Chakra Instructions Round the Year Quilt

2. Templates for Foundation paper piecing Chakra Block 10 Round the Year Quilt

3. Circle Templates (1″)

4. Optional Templates for EPP/ regular piecing.

 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.

Ring in the New Year with the Wedding Ring! Block Nine, Dreamcatcher Dusk Round the Year Quilt

Round the Year Quilt Block Nine Wedding Ring

 Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!

Have you not always wanted to make a double wedding ring block? A whole quilt would be too much, but just one block?  We have a comparatively complicated block lined up for the next fortnight and many of us have a few pending blocks to catch up with.  Plus, I celebrate my 33rd wedding anniversary this January – that clinched it for me! A wedding ring block it is, to start 2015!

You may like to see how I used this block to make a wedding anniversary gift for my sister-in-law a couple of years ago.

This 18″ block, with a 15″ paper pieced wedding ring, is the ninth of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Block of the Month quilt, which began mid July 2014.

INSTRUCTIONS

Click the link at the end of this post for templates and instructions (including fabric requirements) in downloadable .pdf format.

Fabric Requirements

I have used 5 shades in the blue- violet spectrum and 3 shades in the yellow-orange range to piece this block. The background is in two shades of grey.

Fabric Requirement
Fabric Requirement

Printing and Cutting Instructions

  1. Take print outs of the 3 files Instructions, Templates1 and Templates2 with printer settings at 100% or actual size in portrait mode. I printed Templates.2 file on freezer paper for ease and accuracy in cutting fabric.
  2. You have the following templates:

Templates.1     Twelve paper piecing templates for ring – A to L

Templates.2

Templates R1 and R2 for background. You need to glue at edge as indicated in template – cut 2 each from fabrics #1 and #2. I am not joining the pieced circles to background right now; I shall do them all together. For this particular block, I recommend assembling the entire circle and the attaching it to the background.

Template M for melon – Cut two from each of the Fabric#4 (deep blue) and Fabric #3 (lightest blue)

Template Q in two parts – glue at edge indicated to make into one template.

Piecing and Assembly Instructions

Please refer to this Master Template as a guide for piecing and assembly. Remember, it is a mirror image, and shows the block from the reverse, printed paper side!

Master Template - Wedding Ring Block. This is a mirror image!
Master Template – Wedding Ring Block. This is a mirror image!

Step by Step Instructions

Melons

It is easy to chain strip piece the ring templates A, B, C, D. Detailed instructions for this technique of foundation paper piecing are given with the Block One, Dahlia pattern!

Chain strip piecing. Have you reduced the stitch length?
Chain strip piecing. Have you reduced the stitch length?

Remember

  • Strip for A1, B1, C1, D1 ( Fabric #9 here) will be placed, wrong side touching paper on unprinted side.
  • Incoming strip, for A2, B2, C2, D2 ( Fabric #7 here) will be placed right sides together with previous strip.
  • Keep sufficient space between templates when chain piecing.
  • Cut apart the templates before attaching next strip.
  • Press open the strip before you cut apart the templates!
Press open incoming strip before cutting templates apart.
Press open incoming strip before cutting templates apart.

And remember, what not to do!

Two templates stitched as one!
Two templates stitched as one!

Jack (the Ripper) had to intervene!

Next step – to piece Templates E, F, G, H and I, J, K, L…

… and arrange them all together and admire them!

The rings are pieced, Stand back and admire!
The rings are pieced, Stand back and admire!

But not for long! The outer ring templates are to be joined – E to I, F to J, G to K and H to L as shown in the Master template. ( Theoretically, these could be glued and pieced as one – EI, FJ, GK and KL respectively. Since the templates are printed on A4 size paper, they are broken into two parts!)

Sew together the outer ring templates in pairs.
Sew together the outer ring templates in pairs.

That was quick!

Now to attach the melons M, N, O and P to the pieced inner rings A, B, C and D respectively.

First, I  trimmed the pieced templates carefully on the dotted line for an accurate ¼” seam allowance!

I used a couple of pins to align the melon to the ring. I folded the melons into half to find the centre and pinned  them, seam to seam at centre of piece #4 on the templates – A4, B4, C4 and D4.

Pin the melon to the inner ring on seam line at centre
Pin the melon to the inner ring on seam line at centre

I then matched the blunt edges at the corner where I would begin my seam line, and secured them with another pin.

Secure the start corner. The end corner remains free.
Secure the start corner. The end corner remains free.

I chose  the 1/4″ stitch option on my Hasina Husqavarna Viking machine, reduced the speed to a minimum and gently eased the melon curve to sew it to the template, moving 2-3 stitches at a time.

Melon attached to inner ring. Press down seam.
Melon attached to inner ring. Press down seam.

I pressed the seam towards the melon. My seam is a little uneven, but this does not bother me. The best thing I like about curves is that they just fall into place if you press them down gently!

Perfect!
Perfect!

The next step involves attaching the inner ring to the melon. Is this going to get a bit more challenging?  Referring to the Master Template, I attached EI to AM; FJ to BN, GK to CO and HL to DP.

Attaching melon to outer ring : Align and pin on seam line.
Attaching melon to outer ring : Align and pin on seam line.

After aligning the two pieces at the centre – melon to outer ring template, I used vertical pins to align the corners at the edge of the rings ( A7 to I4 in this instance). I then secured them with a pin in the centre.

You will notice that I pinned only at the corner at which I started the seam, not at the end. I find that a pair of tweezers helps in keeping everything in place.

Tweezers, ripper and scissors on call. Not visble - pin cushion!
Tweezers, ripper and scissors on call. Not visble – pin cushion!
Fix thread and needle down. Speed minimum
Fix thread and needle down. Speed minimum, stitch length 1.5.

I `fixed’ the thread as I started, kept the needle in the ‘down’ mode and move very slowly. And yet…

Oops! Something moved - needs re-doing!
Oops! Something moved – needs re-doing!

Perhaps it would be better to keep the ring template on top, to get a perfect seam?

I finished the four melons and pressed seams inwards, towards the melon. This was surprisingly easy and done in less than 15 minutes, pinning and all!

Centre

To move to the centre now – I first made a pinwheel using the two 5.5″ squares each of Fabric # 3 and Fabric #4.  I used the easiest way of making the pinwheel. I paired the light squares with the dark and drew a line on one diagonal on each top light square.

Diagonal on paired squares.
Diagonal on paired squares.

 

Sew 1/4' seam on either side of line and cut on line
Sew 1/4′ seam on either side of line and cut on line

I sewed a ¼” seam on either side of the diagonal and then cut along the centre pencil line. I now had four HST (half square triangle) squares. I usually press the seams to the darker side, but here I chose to press them open.

I then joined the four squares to make a pinwheel; pressed open the seams again, to reduce bulk.

Seams pressed open; the 4 squares joined together WRONG! The dark patches should be where the light ones are!
Seams pressed open; the 4 squares joined together. The patch in this picture is pieced WRONG! The dark patches should be where the light ones are!

Perfect? No! As it turns out, I joined this wrong; the dark patches should be where the light ones are and vice versa. You may think this does not matter, but it does, in my colour scheme! You will soon know why!

I printed only one half of the Template Q and used this to trim the centre. I pressed the freezer paper template to the pinwheel, matching the seams to the lines on the template…

Press freezer paper template Q in place.( I have only one half of the template)
Press freezer paper template Q in place.( I have only one half of the template)

…trimmed one side…

Trim along dotted line
Trim along dotted line

…and the other. The centre was fast work too!

Alternatively you can cut HSTs from the squares and paper piece the centre.

I now trimmed the freezer paper template to the seam line and pressed it in place, on the right side of the pieced centre. The markings on the template helped me align the centre to the melons.

Centre done! Trim template to seam line to help pinning on alignment markers.
Centre done! Trim template to seam line to help pinning on alignment markers.

 

Ready for final assembly!

Final Assembly

I first joined the melons on opposite sides of centre Q.

Now is the time to bring on the pins! I inserted vertical pins through the two patches at corners, and on alignment markers about an inch to inch and a half apart

Pin
Pin.

I then attached horizontal pins on the seam as shown, removing the vertical pins as I went along. Pins stuck in this way are easy to pull out and unlikely to prick your hands.

Pin, pin!
Pin, pin!

I removed the template before I sewed the two patches together. I then pinned the template on the opposite side.

Pin, pin, pin!
Pin, pin, pin!

Upto this step, everything went off unexpectedly quickly, other than that small encounter with the ripper!

Now things started getting a bit tricky .

Worth all the pinning? Opposite melons attached.
Worth all the pinning? Opposite melons attached.

 I had read on a blog somewhere, that you should not press your block at this stage, but I don’t think that works for me! I suggest you DO iron the seams towards the centre pinwheel, before you move to melons #3 and #4.

And don’t spare those pins! Especially at the corner, where the centre meets the melon. Join the melon in one smooth curve. My corners did not match on Lemon #3 and I had to do a bit of ripping at this stage, because I had not pressed the patch and I had not pinned enough. I could appreciate why this block is traditionally hand pieced; I was sorely tempted to do this step by hand to set those offending corners just right!

These few hiccups apart, this was a simple block to make – I could finish it in an afternoon.

One last thing – the seams! Press the seams on Lemon#3 and Lemon#4 outward – towards the edge of the circle!

Press last two seams towards edge.
Press last two seams towards edge.

Voila! We are done with Block Nine!

Yippeee!!!
Yippeee!!!

Now to come back to the little matter of the clockwise pinwheel. Can you see that the dark triangle on the pinwheel is touching the dark (blue) side of the inner ring? Would it not have been prettier to have the yellow-orange contrast against the dark blue, like in the original design?

Before I upload the Instructions and Template Files, one more thing! Many of you have asked me for a mirror image of the block in colour to help in assembling the block – I do not know how useful that can be – but here it is!

Coloured Master Template (Mirror Image) with fabric code
Coloured Master Template (Mirror Image) with fabric code

You can download the free pattern and instructions from these links. You would need Adobe Reader (software available online for free download) on your computer to be able to view these files.

  1. Instructions Block 9 Wedding Ring, Round the Year Quilt.
  2. Templates.1 Block 9 Wedding Ring Round the Year Quilt.
  3. Templates.2 Block 9 Wedding Ring Round the Year Quilt

Have a wonderful year ahead! Happy quilting!

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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.

Sapphire Fire – Block Four of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year BOM Quilt and some Paper Piecing Tips

Sapphire Fire Quilt Block - Round the Year Quilt
Sapphire Fire Quilt Block

Sapphire Fire
is the fourth block in the Dusk colourway in the Block of the Month Quilt, Dreamcatcher Round the Year. The templates and instructions for the other colourway “Rainbow” have already been posted last week.

Like the previous three blocks, this one is also paper foundation pieced and finishes at 18″ square with a 15″ inset circle. The pattern, fabric requirement and piecing instructions can be downloaded from the links at the end of this post.

I am yet to make this block in this colourway. I plan to use 4 shades of blue fabric from deep to light in this block, contrasted with 4 fabrics ranging from deep orange through light orange and gold to yellow. The background is planned in 2 shades of grey. Here is a look at some of the fabric I have been auditioning for the block! It is Fossil Fern by Benartex – I just love that fabric!

Sapphire Fire Quilt Block
Fabric for the Sapphire Fire Block

Meanwhile, I am utilising this post to list out of a few do’s and don’t’s to keep in mind when paper piecing the blocks from this quilt!

Templates

  1. Reminder – the templates for the Round the Year quilt blocks are printed mirror images.
  2. Check to see if the templates are to be printed in portrait or landscape mode – adjust the printer setting accordingly.
  3. Take print outs of the Template file with printer settings at 100% or actual size.

I often have people ask me if they can increase the printer settings to, say, 120% if a larger block is needed. It does not work that way, if you have the ¼” seam allowance added on to the template ( as is the case with the Dreamcatcher Round the Year block templates). You will end up increasing the seam allowance also to 120%!

4.    I hate all the paper wastage involved when printing the templates – often one template occupies one whole page! Where possible, I like to use my unthreaded sewing machine to needle punch up to 7-8 templates at a time from waste paper stapled to a printed template. Tissue paper works great!

5.  I like to cut the templates a bit larger on all sides and trim them after piecing. It may be just superstition, I don’t know! I just like the thought of some margin in case things go wrong somewhere!

Cutting Fabric

6.  This can never be stressed enough – starch and press your fabric! It makes all the difference between a block that looks like it has been pieced by an experienced quilter versus a beginner! Every minute spent on this stage will be well worth it!

7.   What I love about paper piecing is that you don’t have to be very accurate when cutting the fabric. All my fabric requirement charts give you plenty of margin. Personally, I like to keep a boxful of all the scraps from the quilt blocks to look into before I start cutting fresh fabric.

8.   After cutting the fabric pieces, I can save a lot of heartburn if I remember to pin the pieces to the respective templates! At this stage, I also get a chance to check if I have missed out on a piece or two.

Piecing

9.   I like to sort out the templates shape wise unless specifically asked not to. There is a possibility you can chain piece them and why miss the opportunity?

10.  Set your machine stitch length to 1.5 (or about 15-20 stitches per inch). You want to be able to tear away the paper, without getting the stitches all loosened up.

11.   It may sound obvious, but please remember to begin with piece #1 and #2 when you start piecing a template!

Now to the piecing itself:

  • Place fabric piece #1 with the wrong side touching the paper on the unprinted side. Hold it against the light to see that the entire area of piece #1 is covered plus a ¼” seam allowance.
  • Place piece#2 on top of piece #1, right sides together. ALWAYS – right sides touching each other. Align the edges of the two pieces at seam between #1 and #2 – overlapping ¼” beyond the seam line.

  • Pin the two pieces together before flipping to printed side of paper and stitching on seam line.
  • Trim the seam allowance to ¼”.
  • Press open fabric piece #2 and hold the template against light to check that it covers the printed area #2 plus ¼” seam allowance on all sides.
  • We are now ready to stitch piece #3…repeat as for pieces #1 and #2!
  • Repeat for all the numbered pieces – in the correct order, till the whole template is pieced.

12.  When all the templates are pieced and ready to be assembled, trim the templates to the right size – to the outer dotted line in the case of my block templates.

Assembly

13.  Each of the block patterns includes a Master Template, which is a guide to how the templates are to be assembled.
REMEMBER – The Master Template is also a mirror image and shows the printed side of the paper templates.

( You can also use the Master Template to try out your own colour schemes; use colour pencils! )

14. Unlike in the case of the templates, numbering or alphabetical order does not work here! So that it is not necessary that A is joined to B is joined to C etc…Follow the assembly instructions given in the pattern (Instructions File). In case of confusion – yes – refer to the Master template.

15. There are several alignment markers in the form of crosses and tiny lines cutting across the seam line. Use these to pin the templates together.

16. You can tear away much of the paper before you start assembling the templates, especially if it does not have any alignment markers!

17. What you need to be careful at this stage is which edges you join and which template is on top when it goes under the needle. How do I know? Guess!

I think I have listed all the things to be taken care of when paper piecing these blocks! In no time you should have a perfectly pieced and assembled block. If you can think of anything else, do share it here!

Before I forget, here are the promised pattern downloads for the Sapphire Fire Block! The files are huge, and may take time to download. You need Adobe Reader on your system(downloadable free online) to be able to view/ download these files. Happy piecing and quilting!

Instructions – for Sapphire Fire, Block Four of Dreamcatcher Dusk Round the Year Quilt.

Paper piecing templates – for Sapphire Fire, Block Four of Dreamcatcher Dusk Round the Year Quilt.

Please note that the downloadable patterns 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.

BUY PATTERN HERE!