Southward Bound: The Off-Centre Mariner’s Compass Pattern

A Skewed Perspective on the Mariner’s Compass.

My Southward Bound
The Mariner’s Compass with a difference…

Like every other quilter, I also always  had Mariner’s Compass on my bucket list!

So, when I was designing the  Dreamcatcher Round the Year , I included it as the seventh block in the quilt, albeit a little different.

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 are now available on my MadsPatch store on Ecwid.


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

Mariners Compass

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 , receding 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 in my pattern are quite generous (according to me!), but you may want to cut fabric as you go along.



Please note that this in a digital purchase of a pattern, you will receive only a link to download the .PDF files on your computer/device. A paper pattern WILL NOT be mailed to you.

2. On purchase, you will immediately receive a mail confirming receipt of the order, followed by a second mail with download links. If you do not see the mails in your inbox, please check your Spam folder. Please do not click the links repeatedly as each click is treated as a download and number of downloads is limited.

3. It is advisable to access the files on your laptop or notepad where you can save them, rather than on your smartphone.

The links expire in 72 hours, so you would be well-advised to download the files on a permanent location on your PC/ Mac / Notepad asap.

4. You will need to download the software Adobe Acrobat Reader (free)at Adobe site to be able read the files.

5. Download the files on your device/ computer; do not print directly from the mail/ link. The patterns are designed for printing on A4 size paper, but letter size 8.5″ x 11.5″ will be fine. Set your printer to ‘Actual Size’ or 100 % setting before printing.

All patterns are for your, the buyer’s personal use only. Please do not share with others or use for teaching/ workshops etc without my prior permission! The files will include:

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.

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 is also included with the files. You can also try out your own colours on it.

Printing and Templates

I printed the templates on Freezer Paper.

If you don’t have freezer paper printer sheets, what do you do? 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 freezer 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.


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! I also include a bonus with the pattern, these tips in a file you can print and keep with you always!

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?

Once done with the piecing, and before you start assembly, you may like to refer to this checklist!

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

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.

Before I sign off, here is a look at the Rainbow version of the block. The templates and instructions  are available my Ecwid online store, Madspatch.


Quilting the Off-Centre Mariner’s Compass

Quilting on yet another block completed today!

Here are some close ups of the quilting on Southward Bound, which was the seventh block of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt.

‘Stitched in the ditch’ with a bit of echo quilting.

I used the walking foot to ‘stitch in the ditch’ all the needles and the inner circles.

i decided against doing any more quilting on the inner circles. Any suggestions?

I debated if I needed to quilt the middle ( blue) offset circle, but decided against that.

Getting the hang of doing free motion quilting with the machine on auto-mode.

I am getting the hang of free motion quilting now! I am absolutely certain that you cannot get good results ( as a beginner, at least) if you do not use good quality thread and needles. For this block, I used a Schmetz needle and Sulky threads and the difference it made was amazing!

A picture of the back will give a better idea o the quilting on the wedges!

The quilting shows up much better on the back, doesn’t it?

This was a block which was more difficult to draft than to put together!  Would you like to make your own 18″ block? You could make a mini quilt with a single block or even frame it! The free pattern is available here.

You could do a really modern version to , like I have done, in ‘Rainbow’ colours. As soon as I finish this quilt, I will start putting together the Rainbow Dreamcatcher too!

The centre circle is also a smaller compass! However, the pattern is not given for this centre.

Here is the full block!

Quilting done! On th Dreamcatcher Round the Year quilt – Block Seven Southward Bound

I move next to the Winding Ways Block. Mulling over how I shall tackle that!


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