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


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


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


2.5″x 7.5″ ( 4 pieces)
Deep Blue


2.5″x 6.5″ ( 4 pieces)
Deep Orange


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


1.75″ x 5″ 1.75″ x 2.5″ ( 8 pieces)


1.75″ x 5″ 1.75″ x 2.5″ ( 8 pieces)


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.

Southward Bound – Block Seven of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year BOM Quilt

Southward Bound Quilt Block
Cindy Ellerbe’s Test Block – Southward Bound

Which quilter does not have the Mariner’s Compass on her bucket list?

I have been in love with the block for ages; I had to include it as the seventh block in the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt!

This off-centre Mariner’s Compass is a variation of the block, which is traditionally hand pieced or English paper pieced. However, this pattern employs a number of techniques, including foundation paper piecing, machine piecing and appliqué. It finishes at 18″ square, with a 15″ pieced circle. The printable pdf files instructions and templates for the block can be downloaded from the links at the end of this post.

The learning and inspiration for this block cane from this workshop…

Mariners Compass

…in this book

Quilt Skills

The blocks were drafted on Quilt Assistant free software and I used Primo PDF to make the pdf templates.


This is the Dusk colourway, the rays of the setting sun lighting up the needles on the right, as the darkness gathers from the East on the left. The name of the block came about as the pattern originally had a circle of geese , recding in size, flying upwards from both sides – I dropped them to simplify the design.

Fabric Requirement

Southward Bound Mariner's Compass Round the Year Quilt
Fabric Colour Code – Block Seven Southward Bound

Four shades of the main colour (blue) and four in a contrast colour way – yellow, gold, light and deep orange – are used here.

The fabric requirements given here are quite generous (according to me!), but you may want to cut fabric as you go along.

Fabric Code For templates A to H For templates I to P Wedges Q to X Centre YZ
Fabric #1
Deep blue
6″ x 42″Cut more as you need it.
6″ squares for the two large wedges at D4 and E2.6″ HSTs and QSTs can be used for the other wedges.
Cut QSTs from two 6″ squares. Alternatively, you can use scraps.
Fabric # 4 Blue 5″ x 35″ Cut strip 5″x 25″ lengthwise to get 2 strips 2.5″ x 25″ Use (freezer) paper templates to cut the wedge pieces
Fabric # 5 Light to medium blue 5″ x 35″ Cut strip 5″x 25″ lengthwise to get 2 strips 2.5″ x25″ Use ( freezer) paper templates to cut the wedge pieces
Fabric #6 Pale blue
2.5″x 18″3″ square
18″ x2.5″ Cut circle using template Z
Fabric #7, 8, 9 and 10 2.5″ x 17.5″ strips each 2.5′ x 15″ 2.5″ squares of each
Fabric # 1 and 2 For background cut 10″ x 19.5″ of each. Join along 19.5″ length to get a square 19.5″x 19.5″

Printing and Templates

Download the three files from the link at the end of this post, as follows:

Instructions Filecontains these instructions including the fabric requirement, piecing order and Master Template to be used as a guide for assembling the block.

Template File.1 containing paper piecing templates A to P . Print at actual size or 100% in portrait mode

Template File.2 containing templates Q to X and Z I suggest you print these on freezer paper, if available, at 100% or actual size. These are odd shaped pieces with circular edges, and I personally like to use freezer paper for accuracy for cutting these.

For printing on freezer paper, cut the freezer paper to your regular printer paper size (A4 or letter – approximately 8.5″ x 11″). Iron just the edges of the freezer paper (about ¼”) to a regular printer sheet, so that they are joined evenly, without any creases. Print as usual, taking care to insert the joined sheets in the printer so that the printing is on the freezer paper.

Printing on Freezer Paper
Place feezer paper, sticky side down on regular printer sheet. Iron about a 1/4″ on all edges.
Print the double sheet as usual.
Print the double sheet as usual.

You also need to cut a 2″ radius/ 4″ diameter circle on freezer paper/ stiff paper/ card ( for template Y).

Note : The background template AA and AB are not given for this block, as the circle is appliquéd on to the square.

Southward Bound Mariner's Compass Round the Year Quilt
Master Template – Southward Bound Mariner’s Compass Round the Year Quilt

This  diagram is the Master Template that will help you in assembling the block – remember this is is a mirror image. It shows you how your block will look from the printed paper side, not the fabric side, when assembled. It is included in the Instructions File.


The block is partly foundation paper pieced. I have blogged about the paper piecing patterns for this quilt earlier, and also given a few paper piecing tips here. In case you are too lazy to go through those ( I would be, I know!) here is a quick checklist before you begin!

Paper Piecing Checklist

  • Have the fabrics been colour coded?
  • Has the machine stitch length been reduced?
  • Are the templates in order specified in the instructions?
  • Have you picked up the correct fabric pieces or strip/s? The fabric code number is printed on each piece position. It is a good idea to check that once in a while.
  • When you start, is your piece #1 placed on position #1 on the templates?
  • Is the wrong side of the fabric piece touching the paper?
  • Is the incoming piece placed right sides touching the previous one?
  • If strip chain piecing the templates, have you sufficient space between one template and the next?

Now to begin with the piecing!

  1. For best use of fabric, piece templates in the following order:

    D. E, F, G, H, I, A, B, C.

    Beginning with the bigger templates, you will be able to use the trimmed off scraps of fabric #1 (deep blue here).

  2. Piece templates I, J, K… to P.
  3. Attach the wedges Q to A, R to B, S to C…. X to H using the Master Template below as guide.
  4. Piecing the inner circle YZ: Use the 2.5″ squares of fabric 7, 8, 9 and 10 to make a 4-patch
    Southward Bound Mariners Compass - Round the Year Quilt
    Make a four patch. Dont worry about accurately matched centre.

    Fold the fabric circle Z twice to find the centre. Match centres and applique it to the centre of the 4-patch, using your favourite method.

    Southward Bound Mariners Compass - Round the Year Quilt
    Applique inner circle on centre

    Place card template / iron freezer template on wrong side of the fabric. Trim to size – remember to add the seam allowance! This makes the inner circle YZ.

    Place card template, add 1/4″ seam allowance


Assembly Instructions

Template Assembly Checklist

  • Have you a print out of the Master Template in front of you?
  • Avoid removing paper pieces before your template is ready to actually go under the machine! Arrange the templates, printed side up, using the Master Template as a guide.
  • If you do remove the paper, ensure you have the template (alphabet) name pinned to wrong side of the pieced template, to guide you during assembly.
  • At all times, keep the printed/ wrong side up, pick up the templates to be assembled, (remove the paper, if you wish to) sew them together. Put back in place, wrong side up. Go on to the next. At all times, remember to keep track of template names!

For this particular block, assemble the outer circle A to X and then attach it to the background square AA-AB. Applique the inner circle YZ last.

Refer to the Master template at all times during assembly to ensure all is in order! Reminder: If you take off the paper before assembly, remember to stick a post-it note or pin a piece of paper with the template name on the pieced template.

Assemble as follows:

AQ to I; BR to J; CS to K…and so on, till HX to P.

Join the adjoining wedges, anticlockwise when looking from the wrong/ printed paper side as follows:




On flipping over to right (fabric) side, this is how your partly assembled templates should appear.

Complete the assembly to form a ring…

Applique to the background square. Finally, appliqué the centre circle YZ and trim excess fabric from behind the appliqued circle if you like.

And we are done – the Mariner mastered!

Before I sign off, here is a look at the Rainbow version of the block. Remember, the templates and instructions can be downloaded from the links at end of this post.

Download the files from these links in .pdf format. You would need Adobe Reader, available free online to read these files on your computer.

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.

Instructions File Block07 Southward Bound containing the fabric requirement, piecing and assembly instructions.

Template File.1  Block07 Southward Bound containing paper piecing templates A to P .

Template File.2 Block07 Southward Bound containing templates Q to Z .

(You can access the patterns for the previous blocks here.) 

Lollipop Candy – Block Six of the `Dreamcatcher Round the Year’ Quilt

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Jaya Parker’s Test Block

Lollipop Candy is the sixth of the Blocks of the Month of the ‘Dreamcatcher Round the Year’ Quilt.

Like the previous blocks, this is also foundation paper and finishes at 18″ square with an inset circle of diameter 15″.

This block can be constructed, if you have the patience, by cutting and piecing over 350 rectangular pieces! But there are less tedious ways to make the block. There is the much simpler Bargello method; however, that involves a lot of fabric wastage and I have not yet tested it. So we will go with chain strip piecing for this block. Those of you who have pieced the Dahlia, Block One of this quilt, are familiar with the method.

This is designed in two colourways, here is the Dusk colourway, which uses 4 shades of blue fabric contrasted with orange and gold, with a touch of yellow to brighten up the proceedings, against a grey background.

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
My fabric choice for the block…

I am using Fossil Fern by Bernatex as my fabric of choice.

Before you start cutting and piecing your fabrics, please read through the entire instructions – there are a few tips which may save you more than a little heartburn!

Printing Instructions & Templates

  1. Please print the instructions file and keep at hand. I suggest you print at least pages 1 to 5 of the file for ready reference.
  2. Print paper piecing templates (link at end of this post) at 100% or actual size in portrait mode.
  3. Cut out the templates and place them in alphabetical order, in 4 sets:

    A to F;

    G to L;

    M to R; and

    S to X.

  4. Note that there are the following pairs of identical templates, A-B; C-D; E-F; G-H; IJ and so on till W-X.
  5. Y is the centre circle template.
  6. Z is one of the four background templates, in 2 pieces. Glue together on line indicated. AA, AB and AC are identical to Z, hence templates for these are not provided. Use Z to cut 4 ‘squircle’ pieces from the background fabric.

Fabric Requirement and Cutting Instructions

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Fabric Colour Code for the Candy Block

Tip – Pin a scrap of your fabric of your choice in Column 2 below, for ready reference.

Starch and press fabric before cutting.

You may also need to cut a few strips or need some scraps besides the above. Cut as you go, would be my suggestion.

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
The Master Template – this is a mirror image! There is also an error in this diagram –  piece #F1 is  #F12; picees #F2 to #F12 are  #F1 to #F11! The downloadable Instructions File has the revised diagram.

The above Master Template is a mirror image, used to assemble the paper pieced block templates. 

Step by Step Piecing Instructions.

The piecing is chain strip piecing like we did for the Dahlia.

We begin with a reminder from the previous section; arrange the templates in 4 sets, in alphabetical order; as follows , A to F; G to L; M to R; and S to X.

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Sort the templates as instructed.

Arrange the fabric strips in the following order and pin them. Keep aside with each template set, using the table here as a guide:

Template Set Templates Fabric Strip Set. (The number refers to the fabric colour code)
Set 1 A to F 8,6,4,2,5,3,7,6,4,2,5
Set 2 G to L 6,4,2,5,3,7,6, 4,2,5,3
Set 3 M to R 2,5,3,7,6, 4,2,5,3,7,6
Set 4 S to X 5,3,7,6, 4,2,5,3,7,6,4

You may have noted that there are only 11 fabric strips in these sets, these will be used for Pieces# 1 to #11 in the templates. Pieces #12, 13 1nd 14 will be added after finishing this first lot of piecing on all 24 templates.

The piecing is chain strip piecing like we did for the Dahlia. I suggest we work with two sets at a time, to cut down trips to the ironing table and cutting mat. Piece the templates in alphabetical order.

Reduce the machine stitch length to between 1 and 1.5.

Chain piece the first two strips ( Fabric #8 and fabric #6) in Set1. And remember, right sides together, always!!!

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Chain piecing the templates saves time. Note the `staggering’ of Pieces #1 to right on the 3rd and 5th template from top.

This picture above shows your template set as it will look going under the needle. The pins are placed on the seam line for illustrative purpose only. Try to keep the seam consistent at about ¼”, move the template to adjust to the seam.

In the above picture you can see that A and B are identical. But, on template C, Piece#1 is staggered by one position away from outer curved edge (on your right) as compared to A and B. So when strip piecing, we stagger the template, and begin one step away from the outside edge! D is the same as C.

Again the position of Piece#1 on template E is further away from the outside edge when compared to Templates D and C, and you again need a change in position. F is identical to E.

Check Again!

  • Has the machine stitch length been reduced?
  • Are the templates in alphabetical order?
  • Have you picked up the correct fabric strip/s? Each piece position on the template carries the fabric code number. It is a good idea to check that once in a while.
  • Is your strip #1 placed on position #1 on the templates? Is the wrong side of the strip touching the paper?
  • Is the incoming strip placed right sides touching of previous one?
  • Have you sufficient space between one template and the next?

Once you have ticked this checklist, it is unlikely that you will need the services of The Ripper.

Chain piece the first two strips in Set2, again in alphabetical order, G,H, I, J, K and L. Here the first two strips are in fabric #6 and Fabric #4.

Take to your ironing table. Press on the seams to set.

Fold back the paper to expose the seam, and trim the seam to ¼” . Press open fabric strip.

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Trim seam to 1/4″ before pressing open the strip to Piece #2
Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Cut apart the templates after every pair of strips, BUT ONLY AFTER you have pressed open the just joined strip!

Now, we cut apart the templates. Preserve all the scraps, they may be useful for piecing near the centre.

Don’t let the upcoming pictures confuse you, I had instructed my tester, Sobana,who has taken these photographs, to piece the templates from centre outwards. I changed the instructions here, because changing the piecing order ensures that there is sufficient space between templates. Your pieced block will be different from the pics below, as I have revised the design somewhat. But that is a story that deserves its very own blogpost.

Here you will see there is insufficient space between templates.

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Ouch! Not enough space between templates!

Another thing to remember, do not cut apart the templates without pressing open the strip!

Presuming you have everything in order, finish piecing the first two sets up to Piece/Position #11. Now it is the turn of sets 3 and 4. Piece these also for positions # 1 to 11.

Now judge what fabric scraps are left over. You may or may not need more strips. Cut as required and add piece #12 on all templates, working alphabetically. Refer to the colour guide, or the colour code on the template itself.

Position/ Piece#13 on all templates is the innermost piece, near the centre. Use the 2″ strip of Fabric #8 for Position12 on templates C, D, G, H, K, L, O, P, S, T, W and X.Scraps of Fabric#2 (Deep blue here) can be used for Templates A, B, E, F, I, J, M, N, Q, R, U, and V. Sew on piece #14 and our templates are done!

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
24 templates with 13-14 pieces apiece! How many pieces to boast of?

Assembly Instructions

Do not remove paper pieces before your template is ready to actually go under the machine! Arrange the 24 templates, printed side up, using the Master Template as a guide.

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Arrange the templates using the Master template as guide.

If you want to see if all is on order, pin each template to the adjacent one on the seam line and flip over as a whole. Flipping a template at a time can be confusing, as the Master template is a mirror image! My block tester friend tried it and was really upset, as this what she came up with!

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Oops! Be very, very careful when jassembling the templates. Which edges go together? Refer to the Master template!

So, at all times, keep the printed side up, pick up a pair of adjacent templates, remove the paper, sew them together. Put back in place, with the template name pinned on a piece of paper on each! Go on to the next pair. At all times, remember to keep track of template numbers!

I would suggest you finish the assembly in quadrants. Join quarter circles to the background squircles ( Square minus circle = squircle). Applique the centre circle the last thing!

Lollipop Candy, Block Six Round the Year BOM 2014
Feeling dizzy? It is easier than it reads! Sobana’s gorgeous block!

Unless of course, you want to piece the whole circle, and appliqué the small circle in the centre. And then, appliqué the whole Lollipop Candy to a background square.

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.

You can purchase the pattern including the templates and instructions from my  store. You need Adobe Reader to be able to download these.

1. Paper Piecing Templates, Lollipop Candy – Block Six of Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt.

2. Instructions  (Fabric Requirememt, Cutting, Piecing & Assembly ) -Lollipop Candy – Block Six of Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt.


Evening at the Pond – Step by Step Piecing Instructions

This post seems to be jinxed! I wrote the whole post, to find that I had overwritten the assembly instructions. Those will follow in another post!

My laptop is back from the service centre with a new hard disk, but I am not able to locate all the pictures! So here are the step by step instructions for piecing the Evening at the Pond block, ( the second block in the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Block of the Month quilt) with the pictures for a few steps missing.

As you may recall, here also the finished block size is 18″ square with a 15″ inset circle. The block is paper foundation pieced before being assembled. This is a really easy block, though you may find piecing the flying geese a bit tedious! I know that I thought the Dahlia block was super easy to piece, not so easy to assemble. This one is really, really easy to assemble, it has no curves anywhere!

So here we go!


  1. Take print outs of the template.pdf file with your printer settings at 100% or actual size. Cut out the templates, leaving a little margin on all sides. You have the following templates:
  • 8 arc templates numbered I to P for the outer ring of flying geese
  • 8 triangular templates A to H for the inner ‘pond’
  • Template S in 2 pieces S1 and S2 for one quarter of the outside square.
  1. Take a print out of the Instructions File and keep it hand.
  2. Colour code the fabric you plan to use. Follow the instructions to cut the fabric. If your fabric is pre-starched, it gives a nice, crisp, neat finish to your final block!
  3. Pin the cut fabric pieces to each template
    using the colour code as a guide – I always do that or I get confused what goes where!!
  4. Fabric pieces pinned to each template for ease in piecing

  5. Piecing the Pond
  • The templates A, C, E and G are pieced from the outer edge to the centre and the alternate pieces B, D, F and H are pieced from the centre outwards.
  • The adjoining seams facing opposite directions ensures a nice `fit’ when the pieces are finally assembled.
  • Right sides together – ready to piece!

  • Unpin the two fabric pieces to be joined, place them on the wrong side of the template, keeping a seam allowance of ¼” approximately. The remaining two pieces are pinned back to the template so that they don’t get misplaced and mixed up!
  • I chain pieced the templates in alphabetical order, so that my chain looked something like this!
  • Chain piecing the ‘pond’…

  • My fabric pieces are not rectangles like yours will be – this is so that you do not make stupid mistakes like I did! Lesson learnt – Resist the temptation to trim the fabric pieces to size before you sew them!
  • Oops what was that???

  • Also remember to flip over your piece No 2 to ensure that it covers the entire section that it is supposed to! Or you may end up using the services of Jack the Ripper!
  • The perils of not placing fabric pieces correctly 😦

  • One way to ensure that is to lightly fold the fabric piece to find the centre and do the same for the paper template, and match them when sewing. ( However, this is unlikely to happen to you, because I have made the pieces really long, with a lot of margin of error!
  • Now that all the 8 pond templates have the sections 1 and 2 pieced, we clip apart the templates and head to the ironing table. Trim seam allowance to ¼” if needed. You can just eyeball it and use your scissors to trim the seam – not necessary to use the services of a rotary cutter.
  • Press open piece 2; if your fabric is well starched and crisp, you may just finger press.
  • Seams trimmed to 1/4″ – pressing open the second strip

  • Similarly attach piece 3. Trim seam allowance to ¼” and press open the third piece.
  • Strip 3 sewn and pressed open

  • Attach piece 4, trim seam allowance to ¼” press open. Trim the excess fabric from the sides and our pond pieces are ready! That was really easy, wasn’t it?!
  • Hurrah! Pond pieced!

Do not get confused by this picture! I changed the pattern after I made this block, so your pond templates will add up to an octagon, not a circle!

  1. Piecing the flying geese
  2. The templates I to P will be pieced to make a ring of flying geese. Here chain piecing is not really possible, so this bit of piecing goes a bit slow!
  • Place the first rectangle for the goose (wrong side of fabric touching paper) so that the seam allowance between Goose 1 and Goose 2 extends about a ¼” beyond the seam line, like in the picture below.
  • Hold up the paper against light to ensure correct placement – 1/4″ beyond seam line

  • Place the half square triangle for Piece 2 with the longest side (hypotenuse) aligned to the seam allowance. You can hold it against the light to see that the piece extends approximately ¼” beyond the seam line. You can pin it like I have done. These two pictures show the two sides…
  • Piece 2 is also in order 🙂

    The other side! The triangular sky is placed with the long edge on the seam line

  • Caution : The next few pictures are of a previous version of the block, so please do not get confused by the template numbers or order of piecing.
    Sew on the seam line, extending your seam line to approximately ¼” beyond into the next section.
  • The seam line 1/4″ extends beyond the centre

  • Flip over and trim the excess fabric to leave a seam allowance of ¼” , press open.
  • Trim off excess fabric!

  • Similarly sew the other triangular `sky’ piece, going beyond the centre point, like was done for the previous piece. Now trim the seam allowance to ¼” and press open. The first goose is ready!
  • Piece 3 sewn , ready for trimming and pressing open

  • TIP – Before sewing the sky pieces, do remember to check the placement of the piece so that it covers the respective `sky’ section fully when pressed open. This is especially true of the sky pieces on the outer border of the ring.
    Fold back the paper on the seam line between the just pieced section and the next – that would be the long line of Piece 4. You will need tear a bit of the paper here, to detach the top seam allowance from the paper. No worry!
  • Trim this seam allowance to ¼” on the just pieced portion.
  • Place the rectangle piece for the second goose, right side down on the just pieced section and sew. Press open. Continue to piece as in previous sections.
  • Here is a picture taken by Sobana, who tested the block!
  • Sobana’s arc under construction!

  • And here is a picture of the fully pieced template, trimmed to size
  • One arc done!

  • This is how it looks from the back! You can see how the seams extend into the adjoining section in the centre of the template.
  • Final trimming!

  • And here is the full ring of flying geese made by Sobana! Aren’t they pretty?
  • Ring of flying geese! Love it!

So all our templates are pieced!

Using the master template as a guide, arrange your templates and admire them!

Ready for assembly!

The assembly instructions will be  online soon, while you get cracking on this!

You can download the instructions and templates files here.

1. Paper piecing templates – Evening at the Pond ( Block Two of Round the Year Quilt)

2. Instructions (Dusk version) -Evening at the Pond ( Block Two of Round the Year Quilt)

You can access the pattern for the first block, Dahlia here.

 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.

Rainbow Dahlia – Block One of “Dreamcatcher Round the Year” Block of the Month Quilt

This traditional “DAHLIA” block is the first in the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt. We use bright/ neon solids and a contemporary black and white print to give it a ‘modern’ twist!

 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 and will not be available for download for free from 15th November 2020 onwards.

Block size: 18″ square with 15″ inset circle.  This block is paper foundation pieced before being assembled. We are chain piecing strips to construct the block.

Fabric Requirementgiven for strip piecing technique. You need more fabric if you wish to piece the block in the regular way.

Colour Code Quantity
Light Grey 1 2 strips 2.5” x 20”
Sky Blue/ Cobalt blue
2 strips 3.5” x 20”
2 strips 2.5” x 20”
Black and white  print (Shown dark grey in templates) 3 2 strips 2.5” x 20”
Black 4 1 strip 2” x 20”
White 5 1 strip 2” x 20”
8  bright colours across spectrum 6 to 13  Cut 3.5″ square diagonally. Retain 1 HST ( triangle) , putting aside other for use later.
Light Grey (for background square) 1 18.5” square or 10” x 25” strip*

            (* depending on method being used. See piecing instruction no. 8)

  1. Take print outs of the Template.pdf file at 100% size; also ensure printer settings are on portrait mode. You have the following templates:
  • 16 arc templates numbered A to P for piecing the outer circle (ring).
  • 2 templates Q and R for the inner circle
  • Template S in 2 pieces S1 and S2 for one quarter of the outside square ( not needed if you are using the 18.5″ square for the background.
  1. The Master template below shows how the paper pieced sub-blocks shall be assembled. I suggest you print this file for ready reference.

Piecing Instructions

Step by step Instructions for strip piecing, with photos can be accessed here.

  1. Piece arc templates A to H
  2. Piece arc templates I to P
  3. Piece the centre halves Q and R.
  4. Moving anti-clockwise from 3 o’clock, join the arcs in adjoining pairs as follows-
  5. H to P, A to I, B to J and so on
    Join HP to AI and BJ to CK. Next join HPAI to BJCK to get the top half of the flower
  6. Similarly, join adjoining pairs to get the bottom half of the flower DLEMFNGO
  7. Join the centre top Q to HPAIBJCK and similarly construct the lower half of the Dahlia.
  8. * For setting the circle in the square (I am skipping this step in my quilt for now, for I plan to set the circles on to the background fabric only once all of them are ready. )
  • If you prefer to appliqué the whole circle or prefer to join it as a whole by any other method, use the 18.5″ square kept aside for the background.
  • If you prefer piecing, use the following method
    • Glue together the two parts of template S along the marked edge.
    • Use the diagram below to cut 4 of these – S, T, U and V from the 10″ x 25″ background fabric.

  • Join S and T to make the top half and U and V to make the bottom half
  • Set the circle halves into the background fabric, aligning the markers (crosses and small lines) on the templates.
  • Join the halves to make the square block!

 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.

You can buy the PATTERN (TEMPLATES and INSTRUCTIONS) from here – DAHLIA- Rainbow Dreamcatcher Round the Year



Dusk Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt : Fabric Requirement – Downloadable file

Dusk Round the Year

I had this horrible nightmare last night, where I had given the wrong fabric requirements for the “Round the Year” Block of the Month I am hosting! In the morning, I checked, but all seems to be okay, except the requirement for 36″  background fabric which I increased to 3.5 metres from the more conservative 3.25 metres.

I also saw a request on my blog for a downloadable file for the fabric requirement, which I think is a great idea.  As there are at least two `official’  colourways, to avoid confusion, I am calling the blue- orange -yellow version “Dusk Round the Year” !

I am so fascinated by the wonderful colours  that the setting sun paints across the skies – the brilliant oranges, golds and yellows – colours that can be rarely matched on canvas.   Some may claim that sunrises are equally beautiful, but being a late riser I am rarely up in time to appreciate those.   My quilt is, I hope, going to be evocative of  languid monsoon evenings – grey clouds looming while the blues, more brilliant than ever after the rains, struggle to make their presence felt  before the indigo darkness prevails!

Evening at the Pond Evening at the Pond

I do so ramble on, don’t I? So without much further ado, here is the Fabric Requirement -Round the Year – Dusk !

You will need Adobe Reader (available free online) on your laptop to be able to view this file.

For those of you planning to make the `Rainbow’ version of the quilt, I hope to be able to post the requirements by tomorrow.

Please note that the patterns and instruction files for the quilt blocks are being migrated to my store and will not be available for download here from 15th November 2020 onwards.

Perfect basic four-patch square quilt block every time!

The four- patch block is certainly versatile! I recently had the occasion to make several 9 square patch and 4 patch square blocks…
I saw and followed from YouTube an easy and quick method for the basic nine patch block and decided to adopt and adapt it for the four patch!

This method gives you perfect four- patches, points matched just so! and a pair each time! It is also great to use with pre-cut squares, such as charm squares or layer cakes.
So here we go!

Since I had several 4-patch blocks to make ( ready 2.5 ” square) so I started with two strips, one black and one white, which were 3.5″ wide. Remember, cut your strips just one inch wider than the size of the ready block.

If you want a single pair of 4 patch blocks 2.5″ square, begin with squares 3.5″…

Quick 4-square patch
Begin with strips 1′ wider than your ready block

2. Join the strips along the longer edges ( both sides!)

Join strips along both edges
1/4″ seam along both long edges

3. Cut the joined strips at 3.5″ intervals. ( size of ready block plus 1′)

Cut into squares - ready block size plus 1"
Cut into 3.5″ squares ( or ready plus 1″)

If you wanted a single pair of blocks, you would have this at the end of the first step! That is, you would have started with 2 squares of 3.5″ and sewed along opposite sides as above…
Similarly, if you were working with pre-cuts, this is where you would be after joining a pair of charm s or layer cakes along opposite sides.

4. Slice through each block as shown, parallel to the seams.

Cut each piece along centre, parallel to the seams
Cut each piece along centre, parallel to the seams

Here instead of measuring 1.75″ from the edge of the fabric, measure 1.5″ from the seam to find the centre!

5. Open and press towards the darker fabric! Or the light! (Just be consistent about which side you press them on) Or, press open your seams, if you like. (I don’t! 😦 )

Seams pressed towards dark fabric
Seams pressed towards dark fabric

6. Place the pieces in pairs, right sides facing. Black on white and white on black!

Pair the pieces, right sides inside and opposite colours facing each other
Pair the pieces, right sides inside and opposite colours facing each other

7. Pile them, dark piece away from you, and seam towards the machine. This helps the seams of the top and bottom pieces `butt’ against each other, and you get a perfect corner!

Join the pairs as shown.

Stitch all the patches on one side, without cutting the thread! This is called chain-piecing
Stitch all the patches on one side, without cutting the thread!

Flip over, sew along opposite side! Chain stitching makes things move fast!
Flip over, sew along opposite side! Chain piecing makes things move fast!

8. Now snip the chain links to separate the pieces, and we are almost there!

Cut along the centre line of each piece
Cut along the centre line of each piece

9. Abacadabra! We are there!

Open to reveal perfect four patch blocks!
Open to reveal perfect four patch blocks!

Impossible for the blocks not to be perfect 🙂

You shall have two sets of blocks. With the seam on the right, one set shall have white on the top and the other shall have black on the top. This is unimportant, except the slight adjustments required when making larger blocks from these.

Two sets of blocks
Two sets of blocks

11. One little step more, my favourite! 🙂

Flip the block to the wrong side, and use your ripper to rip those few stitches in the centre. Finger press the seams in a whirl …this reduces bulk!

Whirl in the centre
Whirl in the centre

And here is your 4-patch


This method is particularly useful when you have several 4-patches to make as in a border. It prevents fabric from getting distorted along the longer edge and is great if you like working on minis!

Here are a few quilts where I have used 4-patch blocks!

Four patch border
Four patch border on a queen size quilt

Christmas Quilt for Brinda
4-patch on a miniature Quilt

Sixteen 4-patches were used to make this chessboard.
Sixteen 4-patches were used to make this chessboard.

And how many basic 4-patches in this work in progress?

How many 4-patches here?
How many 4-patches here?

Happy counting (and quilting)!

Dancing Square Mug Rugs

I saw this mug rug at, while browsing the net for a little gift that could be made in a day!

I was not sure if I could understand the instructions given by Katherine. I knew there was another way of making this ‘dancing square’ block – joining all the quilt squares first, and cutting with a template. But I was not sure if I could get my pinwheel centres to match with that method!

I had also made a full size quilt about three years ago, using a stack and whack method very kindly shared with me by Cathey McClure. But I could not remember how that worked! Other than that it went stack, whack, stitch! And stack, whack, stitch again! L

So I used this (more roundabout?) method and surprise, surprise! my little quilt tops came up in no time at all!

I am giving the instructions for 4 mug rugs 8″ X8″ (not arbitrary – but because it works that way!). Through chain piecing, these can be cut and stitched up in an afternoon (other than the quilting).

You will need

Background squares (Blue- B) Twenty 4″ X4″

For the Pinwheel- Four Squares
of 4 contrasting coloured squares (yellow –Y, Pink –P, Red –R and Green G)

(For each little quilt you need – 5 B, 1Y, 1P, 1R, 1G)

For the backing – 9″ squares of background fabric (or any backing of your choice)X 4

Binding – Four strips 9″X 2″ of each of the pinwheel colours.

8.5″ square of batting

I like to mark a light square with a pencil on each corner of the wrong side of my solid squares – so that i don’t have to strain my eyes later trying to decide which is the right side!

Making the Template

I make my template with graph paper. Only centimetre graph paper is available in India. So I used a print out of inch graph paper available for free download online.( Free Multi-color Graph Paper from

Of course, you could draw the square on plain paper, but graph paper gives it the accuracy I like in a small quilt!

If you have template plastic, great! It is not available here. (For my full-size quilt I had used plastic sheet cut from a plastic folder and marked with a permanent marker. You can use that for your template). I find that the graph paper template I use here works equally well.

  1. On the graph paper, draw a 4″ square . From each corner mark a point ¾” to the left (or right) and join the diagonally opposite points.
  2. Quick way of checking if you have it right – the diagonals meet at the centre point (2″ in this case)
  3. Stick your graph paper square to a thin, stiff card sheet, and cut out the shape.

    Cut across one diagonal – this is your basic template.

    Marking and cutting the fabric

    1. Stack up the squares colourwise carefully, matching all edges – make sure the wrong side is up in ALL of them. ( Or you will end up with a few anti-clockwise blades, which you will have to set aside for another project! Ask me! ) The background squares can also be in stacks of 4.
    2. Place the template on the top square and cut the stack. Do this for all stacks. For the sake of convenience I am going to call these pieces Half Squares or HS.

    3. Now comes the part which appears tedious, but makes life much simpler! On each half square, draw the crossing diagonal by placing the template perpendicularly– but DO NOT CUT. You can see in the pic below how your half square will appear.

      (No way I would do this for a larger quilt. But quite doable in a small quiltJ)

      Put the pieces back in stacks colourwise. Makes it easier to chain stitch. Remember to keep the wrong side up in all the pieces!

      Making the Block

      (You can skip reading this part and go on to the next part – it is an explanation of the process, more as a reminder to myself how I worked it out…)

      This project is basically a nine patch.

      The centre square has 4 pieces – YPGR

      The corner squares have 3 pieces –

      1. ½ B piece
      2. ¼ background piece b
      3. ¼ coloured piece( 4 corners each different)

      The outer centre squares have –

      1 ½ background piece B

      2. ¼ coloured piece

      3 ¼ adjacent coloured piece

      We begin by deciding what colours would be adjacent to each other. I decided on this scheme.

      1. Begin from the centre. Join 1 pink HS to 1 adjacent green HS, matching the pencil marked diagonal of the two pieces carefully. Join 3 more Pink HS to 3 green HS.
      2. Similarly join 1 Red HS to 1 adjacent yellow HS. Make 3 more red-yellow squares.
      3. Now join 1 red HS to a green HS. Similarly make 1 more Red-Green Square.
      4. Now make 2 Pink Yellow squares.
      5. You are now left with two HS of each colour (total 8). Join these to the background BHS .

        You will have ( besides 32 background halfs – which will not be cut)

        4 RY squares

        4 PG squares

        2 RG squares

        2 YP squares

        2 BY squares

        2 BP squares

        2 BG squares

        2 BR squares

      6. This is what your squares will look like. Cut all these squares across the marked diagonal! Now you know why we marked the line. You could also stack them and cut across the diagonal – this was a small project – so I preferred to cut each individually.
      7. Press open the units, seams to one side. It does not matter which.

        Putting it together

        1. Centre Square. Put together the 4 coloured squares. Make 4 such units. (rg-yp )

        2. Corner Squares Take a br HS and join to a B-HS. Match the seam of the brHS to the diagonal of the BHS while joining.

        1. Similarly join all other double coloured HS to BHS. You shall have 4 sets of

        Bbg, Bbp, Bby, Bbr

      8. Outer Centre Squares. Join the remaining double-colourHS units to the backgroundHS. You shall have 4 sets of Bpg, Bpy,Bry, Brg.

        1. Now press these seams towards the background fabric.

        Squaring Up

        Personally, I find this the most tedious part. I trimmed the squares to 3″. The centres are already available where the seams meet – so it was really not so much of a problem.


        Position each of the 4 sets in 3 rows of 3 patches, and join. Be careful while joining them – I had to rip seams thrice, because I joined the `wrong’ edges!

        So here it comes together magically!

Only one thing remains before you quilt it. Flip it over – and set the seams at the pinwheel centres into whirls!

Just so…

Quilt as you like. I added a binding overlapping the ¼” seam allowance – hence my little quilts were 8″ each.

This is what I did on the reverse on one mat.

I’ve decided to do a different colour binding on each of the 4 little quilts.

Two of my reversible mug rugs are quilted and ready. I just echoed the pinwheel outer edge in the quilting. I also did an outline quilting on the pinwheel, but didn’t like it. You can still see where I ripped it!

My finished mug rugs.

You could, of course, join the four blocks with/ without a sashing, add a border and and make a runner.

Do let me know if you make these!


RECYCLING – Convert a Couple of Old Favourite Silk Sarees to a pair of quilts!

Recycle 2 sarees to make a pair of coordinated quilts 60″ X 80″ or larger!

Often we have favourite silk sarees – which become unwearable over time – or get a tear or two. They cannot be converted to salwar kameezes either. Or may be you just have had enough of them, and do not wish to wear them any more!

What better way to continue to enjoy a pair of sarees than make it into a pair of quilt tops over an afternoon? J

Sarees are usually about 40- 44 inches wide and between 5 metres to 5.5 metres long (200- 220 inches). This includes a `pallu’ which may be any size – rarely more than 40 inches long. For the purpose of this tutorial, we shall take 2 sarees, which are

40 inches wide

200 inches long

40 inch pallu

Remember, you have a lot of flexibility while working on this, so do not worry if your saree measurements do not match with what I have taken! In this example I have taken sarees with borders – we can also use sarees without borders.

Take the two sarees and closely examine them for any fraying, wear and tear and cuts. Pin a small piece of paper or stick a `read me’ notepaper near the damaged portion. You can always work around it!

Saree A                                                                               Saree B

Step 1. Cut the pallus and place aside. We may need to use them later, especially if the saree is damaged.

Step 2

Cut the main saree lengths into two along the width as shown.

You shall end up with 4 lengths approximately 80 inches long.

A1                                               B1                                     Pallus A, B

A2                                                         B2

If the saree is damaged, work around to get an 80″ undamaged length (B1 in the illustration below)


Step 3

Now comes the fun part!

  • Cut A1 (Saree A) lengthwise along the centre – vertically – into two equal lengths.
  • From B1 (Saree B) cut strips (including border) approximately 8-10″ wide from either side

A.1.1             A.1.2                      B.1.2         B1.1          B1.3

Step 4:
Join them so! You shall have two quilt tops approximately 60X 80 inches in size

A1.1        B 1         A1.2                B1.2      A2     B1.3

Step 5

You have several options to lengthen the quilt, if you wish to – add the pallu, or undamaged portion of border from Saree B! Use your imagination to make your own, unique pattern J

You could also incorporate the pallu in the centre, and stitch around it! And make matching cushion covers from the left over fabric.

But remember, when working with old sarees, and silk ones at that, the fewer seams you have the better! Also, the golden rule about a quarter inch seam is not valid while working with silks. You may want to take a half inch seam, or even a` French seam’ .

Use an old cotton saree to make the backing. Quilt it yourself if you will – or `bag’ it (stitch three sides of the top to the backing) and give it to the razai walla to fill and quilt!

Here are my pair of quilts. Since the sarees were badly damaged, I had to incorporate the pallu. I used an old cotton saree to back one of the quilts and had them filled and quilted in the market.