Friday, June 8, 2012

34 - Surveyor's Compass

Surveyor's Compass - 12 inches finished
We are entering the final month of the Skill Builder Sampler - The month of There's-No-Way-I-Can-Sew-That! Blocks.  But you can, because we have been building up to this all year and it turns out they aren't really that hard after all, just time consuming.  

I have always been nervous about making Mariner Compass blocks.  Look at all those little pieces and points.  Even when I learned that you could paper piece the block it didn't help my nerves much.  But I am happy to report that it wasn't really any harder than a regular paper piecing block.  

I got the pattern from which offers a wide selection of compass block quilt patterns for 99 cents.  I chose the Surveyor's Compass.  Feel free to choose the Surveyor's Compass or any other compass block that strikes your fancy.  The pattern is an immediate PDF download and they are all 99 cents.   The patterns assume you are familiar with paper piecing and only offer basic sewing and color placement instructions along with the templates.

Sew Sweetness

If you would like step by step instructions and a free tutorial, I would recommend making one of the New York Beauty Quilt Along Blocks.   A list of all NY Beauty Block tutorials can be found here (be sure to click on the block week and number for the tutorial).  The NY Beauty Blocks finish at 8 inches so you will need to add a 2.5 inch strip on each side as a border to bring it up to a unfinished 12.5 inch size.

There is no real tutorial for this block, just a challenge to make a Mariner's Compass or New York Beauty block and a few tips.  
  • Be sure to pay attention to the value (lightness or darkness) of your fabrics in these blocks.  The contrast in colors is part of the design.  Also some of the pieces are quite small so you will want to use fabrics that are solid, tone on tone or have smaller patterns.

  • I like to mark each template with colored pencils so that I don't get confused half way through on fabric placement.
  •  To make cutting the odd shapes of fabric easier, I like to print out an extra template, cut it apart and use it as a guide for fabric cutting.  I cut about 1/2 inch around each template piece and cut all the fabric at once.
  • I also like to "chain piece" as much as possible.  That is I sew fabric 1 and 2 together on all of the templates and then sew on all the 3's etc.  It speeds things up a little.

Can I just say how much I love this block and how proud I am?!?  I even like the back.  Now I just have to tear all of those papers off.

I can't wait to see what you sew up!  Be sure to post your creations in the Skill Builder Sampler Flickr Group!


  1. Wow - that is one amazing block!

  2. Looks amazing! I'll have to work up to that one.

  3. Love your color choices! Nice orange! Hope to try soon...

  4. Fabulous. You definitely are uber-talented: from children's aprons to Mariner's Compass blocks!

    Elizabeth E.

  5. Ooo I'm excited to make a ny beauty block!

    if you are still looking for blocks, I found one that I love but am a bit intimidated by
    it is a little scary, but the result is so impressive! I don't know if I have enough fabric anyway, but we'll see :)

  6. =D <----------- this is my excited face!! I have seen these blocks before and I can't wait to try!! Yea!!

  7. Whoa! This is totally gorgeous!

  8. I love your compass block! I did the Newport Compass which is pretty much exactly like yours but without the orange parts. It was fun even if it did take all day.