Saturday, January 3, 2015

Tips for Mariners

I really like Mariner's Compasses. I took a class with Judy Mathieson a few years ago and learned her freezer paper method of paper-piecing. Using this method, you don't have to sew though the foundation; you can fold back on the sewing line and sew next to the fold. This lets you control which way the seam allowance goes. With 'stitch through the foundation' paper-piecing, the seam allowances always lay under the piece you just sewed on. This can make things very bulky on the long skinny points.

The example below was made using this method. Note the there is no stitching through the freezer paper sections. Tic-marks indicate where the seams should match to the next section (see upper right on the right-hand figure, where two section have been sewn together).
Very small Mariner's Compass Sections that make up the compass
The example below shows positioning the last piece of fabric under the folded back foundation, ready to sew. Note how the teal fabric clearly covers the entire subsection, with plenty of seam allowance all around. This is another BIG advantage of the fold back method.
Compass foundation section folded back and
ready to sew the last piece on.
Sewing next to the folded foundation
Even if you stitch through the foundation, folding back on the the planned stitching line makes it very easy to see that you have plenty of fabric to cover. NO nasty surprises.
Sometimes you have to use a bright light
behind the piece to see the shadow clearly.
Since the stitching does not go through the freezer paper, you can change the direction of the seam allowances. You can also clip into the seam allowance and iron part one way and part the other, depending on what works best.
Back of work: Clip seam to allow change in direction

Front of work: Seams were clipped to allow seams at tips of
points to be ironed away from the point.
The freezer paper can be ironed back on (many times), allowing final trimming and assembly.These bisected points are especially tricky (for me), and this method lets you make some minor adjustments after to make the points come together properly. For example the blue point in the bottom right got 'disneyed up' a bit before being sewn into the setting ring.
Assembled compass, ready for trimming.

It is a bit off topic, but this particular wall quilt also got a lot of free-form quilting. The design was sketched full size on tracing paper and then transferred to the top using the method described in Cardiac DNA. The quilting stops are the inner border and the compass points, making for a lot of ends to bury, but I think it was worth it.
Full size sketch of flowing sections for quilting.New Directions II: Finished compass (24 X 24 in)
with a lot of quilting
Hope this is helpful.