Wonky Compass Tutorial

Alrighty, for all my Modern Quilt Guild friends (and anyone else who enjoys modern/wonky quilting), here it is! The Wonky Compass Tutorial with 2 methods of construction! I did half of my blocks freestyle and half pre-marked. For those of you who are unsure about freestyle paper piecing the pre-marking method is best.

You need scrap fabric (3 colors per wedge), a marker and straight edge ruler , 8 wedge templates to create the circle, and a template for the border to make the block square. If you need one, you can use my  Quarter Compass Wedge and Template. The template finishes 12″square.

FREESTYLE METHOD

Mark out 3 points on your wedges, one on the upper curve, and one on either side

Lay your first main fabric (yellow) RIGHT SIDE UP on the blank side of the paper. Lay your first scrap of background fabric (white) right sides together (RST from here on out) with the main fabric. Sew a straight line from the center mark to the right side mark.


If your line doesn’t cross the mark, that’s ok!


Check to make sure the fabric covers the section from your sewn line to the seam allowance. Fold the paper back on the line you just stitched. Trim the seam allowance to ¼”. Put the paper back in place and press your fabric open. Repeat for the left side mark, making sure that your seams meet somewhere at or slightly below the seam line at the center mark. This way your points will be nice and pointy later!


Check the wedge with your l0cal wedge inspector, and then continue!


With RST, lay a piece of main fabric (green) from your top right corner to somewhere along the opposite side. The bulk of the fabric should be at the curved top of the wedge. Sew a straight line through the right corner to anywhere you like below your mark on the opposite side. Again, make sure the fabric covers the seam allowance at the top corner. Trim your seam allowances and press. Tear the paper along any intersecting stitch lines to make trimming easier. At this point it does not matter if you have gaping spots or your fabrics weren’t long enough to reach the marks or opposite side, as the last step will cover any of that up!



Take your last piece of scrap fabric (blue) and lay it RST from your top left corner to somewhere along the right side, making sure you can see the background fabric and 2 previous main fabrics extending past the edge of this piece. I like to hold my block up to the light so I can see where the straightest edge of the last fabric needs to be in order to cover all the blank spots.


Sew your line, and check to make sure the remainder of the wedge is covered and there are no missed open spots in the middle of your block.


Trim around the outside of your block, leaving a ¼” seam allowance around your block lines. If you are using the template provided the seam allowances are included on the block, just trim around! You get a wedge that looks like this:


Repeat this process for the remaining 7 wedges. Do not remove paper.

PRE-MARKED METHOD

Mark and draw your stitching lines on your wedge as shown in the example below. Lines 1 and 2 must intersect somewhere along the top curve. Lines 3 must enter through the top right corner, cross line one, and end on the opposite side ( above or below line 2, whatever you want) Line 4 must enter through the top left corner and cross both Line 2 and Line 3. If you want, for blocks with a little more consistency and a more compass-like look, have lines 3 /4 meet the opposite sides below the marks for lines 1/2.


Place your first main fabric and background RST along the straightest edge. Hold it up to the light to align with Line 1 as shown below. Sew along your line, trim and press. Repeat for the remaining lines to get your wedge. The fabric placement is the same for this method as the one above. Lines 1/2 the background is sewn to the main fabric, line 3 is your 2nd color, line 4 is your 3rd color. Repeat for remaining 7 wedges. Do not remove paper.


FINISHING-BOTH METHODS

To finish your Wonky Compass block, trace the curved template onto your background fabric. Cut around the curve, on the line if using the above template, or making sure you have proper seam allowance if you aren’t. I like to leave the outer edges jagged, as shown below. This comes in handy for squaring up your finished block.


Fold your curve in half, find the center and pin. Set aside. Repeat for all curved templates.

Make 2 piles, 4 wedges in each pile. Pin one wedge from each pile RST at the top and bottom. Tear the paper from the pinned section that will be FACEDOWN on your machine. This lessens the bulk in your seam and you still have a stitching guide. Sew on the line. Tear paper from lines 3 and 4 on both wedges, leaving the paper on the center diamond shape and the background fabric. This makes 4 quarter wedges.


I use the three pin method as follows to sew my curved seams. You can use whatever method you are comfortable with.

Pin your curve template to your ¼ wedge at the sides and center. With the curve template facing you, sew your curved seam by easing the fabric into place with your finger or a tool. Press your seam away from the curve. Repeat for remaining ¼ wedges.


To trim, take your 6 ½” square ruler and line the 45 degree angle line with the center seam on your ¼ wedge. Trim the block as shown.


Pin 2 quarter compass blocks together, matching at the curved seam and the points. Sew a ¼” seam. Press open. It is critical that your press all your seams in the same direction in order for your block to lay flat! Repeat for remaining blocks. This makes two ½ blocks, which we sew together to make the compass block. Pin your ½ compass blocks together at the center and the curved seams. Sew your ¼” seam. Open the block and check that the seams all match in the center. Adjust if necessary, but do not press yet. A trick to get perfect seams the first time is to pin through the center of each block. With the pin in a vertical position holding your center point together, place 2 more pins, one to either side. Remove the vertical pin and sew. Voila! Practically Perfect Every Time!


We want our block to lay flat, so that means the seams need to all be pressed in the same direction.

In the picture below you can see that my seams rotate in a counter-clockwise direction. This is the direction I will press, but first I need to open the stitching in the center of my block.


Finger Press your seam open. Find the seams shown below by the pins. They are the seams that made your ¼ blocks into half blocks.


With your seam ripper, very carefully pull out a few stitches, making sure not to rip out the seam connecting your ½ compass blocks. It should look something like this.


Now you can finger press the seams so they lay in the same direction, in this case counter-clockwise. It should look like 4 tiny 1/2square blocks in the center of your seam, like shown. Press your seams flat. Turn you block right side up, and press, using steam to set your block.


Trim your block to 12 ½” square by aligning your ruler with the seams as shown. All that extra fabric you has around the outside is now trimmed away, and you have a perfectly square block!


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If anything seems unclear, or you need any help at all, please post below and I will help you as best as I can!

Happy Sewing!



The Threads that Weave

I have been sewing and crafting since I was 6 years old. All my life I have been surrounded by talented, creative women like my mother Sue, my Grandma Shirley, and my Auntie Pat. Every holiday, celebration or special occasion a quilt was gifted or created, and I always loved how the colors flowed, and how you could convey an emotion using nothing but little pieces of fabric.  Little did I know then, but I had been bitten by the quilt bug.

The first quilt I ever made on my own was one I had a dream about. My mom always tells the story best. “Why don’t you start with something small first, and see how it goes?” was her advice, but when it comes to quilting and art I have never really been one to test the waters before jumping right in. After a month of drawing up the design, picking the perfect colors, and some “Let’s see if this works…”, I showed my completed quilt to mom. After a minute of stunned silence, she gave me a hug and then introduced me to the website of Carol Bryer Fallert. I took one look at her quilt New Dawn and I was forever hooked.

To me, quilting is freedom. I have heard there are rules, but I would be hard pressed to tell you what they are. I love the smell of fabric, the feel and texture, and the stunning array of colors I can’t even put names to.  My favorite fabrics are batiks, and often I am inspired by a single piece of fabric that sings to me in a tune I can only answer with a needle and thread. I create my own patterns, drawn from the inspiration I find in countless books, magazines and other quilters. I am greatly influenced by the work of Sharon Schamber, Jacqueline De Jonge, Judy Niemeyer, Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers.  I have many of their patterns in my library, and look forward to someday completing them all at least once.

I wouldn’t be able to quilt the way I do without the love and support I find in my family. My wonderful husband has been known to make surprise stops at local quilt stores when we are on vacation, and doesn’t raise too much of a fuss when I spend a little bit more than I planned on a beautiful piece of fabric. He doesn’t like to admit it, but the man does have an eye for color!

The best part about quilting is the fellowship and commonality that quilters have. Quilting is a language all its own, and you can walk into any local quilt shop and find a friendly face and even friendlier advice.  I am honored to be able to share my quilt story with everyone, and I look forward to meeting many fellow quilters!

Circa 2003, one of my first quilts.

Welcome to my Quilty World!

Welcome to Stacey in Stitches!

I have finally started The Blog. Blogging is a new experience. I had never read a blog until a few months ago, even though my fellow guild members all talk about all the wonderful things they find and friendships they have made. I kept thinking that bloggers were mostly angst-ridden teenagers who never grew up and use blogging as a medium to vent. I am sure many still do, BUT, to my delight and surprise (and embarrassment that it took me FOREVER to actually discover this), it is a wonderful way to meet people with new and inspiring ideas, and to learn new things about the things you already love! Like QUILTING!

I love to quilt. I have been quilting for 10 years now, and there is no foreseeable point in the far future when I might ever stop. Maybe if I lose both hands, but as long as they have helper monkeys to run the fabric through for me I will be fine! I can’t even run out of room for my fabric stash, because let’s face it, that is what Rubbermaid containers and crawl spaces were made for! Thank goodness for understanding husbands and partners, though I think they all secretly think if they complain too loudly that we will hem all their pants 3 inches too short!

So about me…..I am a founding member of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, an although my quilts are not what many would call modern, they certainly aren’t “traditional” either. I design and sell quilts and quilt patterns.  I am also a new Mom to my cute-as-a-button needs-more-quilts son who was born in March of this year, so if I devote a blog post or two please bear with me. He is my first after all.

As I get started into the world of Modern Quilting, blogging, and all that fun crafty stuff, I hope you enjoy the journey with me!