I took about fifteen minutes to assemble the Mariner’s Compass outer ring of the Southward Bound block. I was delighted by the way it all came together so perfectly! I must take a picture and share how I think the seams should be pressed for best results!
I started to applique the inner smaller compass in the centre, but gave up on that. I think it will have to come on last, after the ring has been attached to the background.
I also cut the fabric for Venus , which is Block Five in `Round the Year’, Block of the Month Quilt. For a change, I kept away the rotary cutter and used my scissors instead. After all, one of the advantages of foundation paper piecing is that one does not need accurate cutting!
Hope everyone is having a great Sunday! If all goes as planned, I should be able to show you my pieced Venus block tomorrow evening; it does seem to be a very simple block!
This is Rainbow Venus, Block Five of the Block of the Month Quilt, Round the Year. I have named it after the birth star for those born in October, like my husband and son! Completely paper pieced, It is inspired by the beautiful folded star, which is made by folding squares or circles of fabric around a centre point. The block is 18′ square with a 15″ inset circle.
The paper piecing templates and instructions for piecing and assembly can be downloaded in pdf format from the links at the end of this post. I used Quilt Assistant free software to design this block.
The quilt itself is being designed in two colourways, Dusk and this one, Rainbow. Would you like to see the Venus at Dusk? You can do that and download the pattern from this link.
To get back to the Rainbow Venus, the colour design above uses a black and white geometric/ text modern print to set off fluorescent or bright coloured solids against a blue background, and a hint of grey.
Fabric Requirements and Cutting Instructions
I like to nicely starch and press my fabric before cutting – besides pressing after each step of piecing – to ensure a neat, crisp finish to my block. By the way, the `x’ in the chart after each Fabric number refers to the number of pieces of the fabric you need to cut. Just so that you can boast about it, there are 112 pieces in this block!
Important – If appliquéing the circle to the background, you need a 19.5” square of fabric#1 instead of 18” x16” specified in chart; do not cut fabric according to templates I and J.
Print all templates from the Templates File in portrait mode at actual size (or 100%) setting on your printer. Note that I have provided only one template of each kind– (viz A. B. I and J) – whereas you need four of each. So you can either print four copies of the templates file, or use any method you like ( like tracing or needle punching) to replicate the templates. If you plan to applique the circle to a background square, do not print the templates I and J on the first two pages of the Templates File.
I like to cut out the templates just a little larger than printed and trim to size after piecing. For this block, one can use a rotary cutter for trimming the straight sides after piecing, for a neat finish.
The 8 templates A to H are pieced like individual two-sided log cabin blocks, beginning with the centre piece as Piece#1. Align the straight edge of the strip with the printed seam line at each stage. It saves time if you work on all the templates at the same time. Complete the piecing at each step, trim the seams and press, before moving to the next step.
Join the 8 wedges to respective background pieces using the colour design and the Master template as a guide. Join in pairs to make the 4 squares that make up the block. Assemble these to make up the full block. The Master Template is a mirror image of the final block, which should not really matter here, as the design is symmetrical.
Step by step piecing instructions, with photographs, are available on this post with the Venus at Dusk pattern.
I leave you to consider two more options that I liked, when designing this block. Or, you could try out your own colour combinations on the Master template.
Here are the downloadable pdf pattern files. Happy star gazing!
Goddess on the mountain top Burning like a silver flame The summit of beauty and love And Venus was her name…
( Lyrics from a popular song from the 70s, when I was a teenager!)
I find the folded star so very pretty and you see it everywhere these days! The reason that I could never get around to making it is that … as much as I may hate to admit it… I am a fabric miser! Therefore, I designed this paper pieced block, inspired by the folded star and named it Evening Star. There is already a quilt block with that name, so I thought of calling it `Morning Star’, but in Hindu mythology the Morning Star is the North Star, not to forget that this quilt is called “Dusk’!
I also wanted to dedicate this October Star, Venus, to my husband and son, whose birthdays fall this month. And then, Indian scientists decided it for me by sending a mission to Mars; if men now have a place to head to, we women need our very own Venus!
So…introducing Venus, Block 5 of the Block of the Month quilt ” Round the Year”, designed in two colourways, Dusk and Rainbow. I used Quilt Assistant free software to design this block. This colour design shows the ‘Dusk’ Colourway in four shades of the main colour (blue here) and four shades ranging from yellow to deep orange in the contrast colour. My contrast colours are not symmetrical, because I liked the idea of a twinkling star, please make necessary adjustments in the fabric requirement if you want a `steadier’ star.
Fabric Requirement – Venus at Dusk
Print all templates in portrait mode at actual size. Also print the first two pages of the Instructions file and keep at hand. If you want to refer to the step by step piecing and assembly instructions, print the whole file! The links are at the end of this post.
Number and label each fabric colour. You can use the master template given below for trying out colour combinations.
I like to cut out all the pieces of one colour and pin them to the respective templates before I move to the next colour fabric. This helps me avoid a lot of confusion and heartburn later!
I suggest you piece the 8 templates A to H like log cabins. Align the straight edge of the strip with the printed seam line at each stage. It saves time if you work on all the templates at the same time. Complete the piecing at each step, trim the seams and press, before moving to the next step.
For more tips on paper piecing the blocks of this quilt, refer to this blogpost!
Join the 8 wedges A to H to respective background pieces using the colour design and the Master template on Page 1 as a guide. Join in pairs to make the ¼ squares. Assemble these to make up the full block.
Here is the Master template – this is a mirror image of the colour design and shows the block from the printed paper side.
Step by Step Piecing and Assembly Instructions
Anuradha Bahuguna of anumrinal.wordpress.com was sweet enough to test the block for me! All these pictures were taken by her. Would you believe this was her first attempt at paper piecing?
Like I said, the block templates A to H are pieced like individual log cabins, beginning from the centre ( yellow to oranges here).
1.I would recommend you sort out all the pieces template-wise and pin them to the far end of your template ( near the piece # 10-11) in the order of stitching – the longest piece at the bottom of the pile and the shortest on top.
For convenience, I am giving the piece number, size of the piece and fabric number here.
2. So we start with the 1.5″x2.75″ piece and pin it on the unprinted side of A1. The wrong side of the fabric should touch the paper at all times.
Note that the fabric extends at least ¼” beyond both seam lines, adjoining A2 as well as A3. Align the long edge of the fabric to the seam to be stitched – in this case between A1 and A2. Do this for all pieces to come. (Note – In the picture below, one can afford to move the fabric piece a bit upward, toward A3, so that the corner between A1 and A2-A3 is better covered.)
What I am going to show you now is incorrect, because the ¼” margin is not available toward A2.
Now place the 3″ x1.25″ fabric #3 on the just pinned piece, right sides together, and long edges aligned at seam A1-A2.
Anuradha has pinned it on the seam allowance to check that fabric for area A2 completely covers it when opened. In the next picture she shows us how it looks from the flip side.
That looks good.
Set the sewing machine to a stitch length between 1 and 1.5 so that it is easy to tear away the paper. Sew on the seam line A1-A2, extending the stitching line about ¼” on to A3.
Similarly stitch the first two pieces on all the templates, before heading to your ironing table and pressing the seams to set them. Then trim the seams to ¼” and open the piece #2 on all templates.
3. Pin piece#3, which is fabric#3 and 3.5″ long, right side down, aligning the long edge to ¼” beyond the printed seam line between A1 –A2 and A3, the way you would in a log cabin. Do this for all the templates and then do the stitching of piece #3 to pieces #1 and #2.
Press seam to set. Fold away the paper template after stitching the seam and trim the seam to ¼” before pressing open piece #3.
This is how your templates should look after this stage…
4. Similarly attach pieces 4 and 5…
5. Sew pieces # 6 and 7 to each of the templates.
Aren’t they pretty?
6. Here comes Piece#8. It will be followed by piece #9.
…the final blue pieces# 8 and 9 attached!
7. Turn of the golds! Anuradha was a bit confused here, so she coloured the pieces 9 and 10 with pencils! Remember – the master template is a mirror inage?
Not for long though! She attached the yellow to orange pieces at Areas # 10 and 11.
7. Here are her eight wedges, that will make up the 15″ circle, all pieced!
The pattern suggests that you join each of these eight large pieced wedges to a corresponding background piece.
While I suggest a diagonal kind of dark/ bright background, Anuradha wanted to experiment with other `looks’. Time then, for some more confusion, while Anuradha tried out various settings for her circle! This..hmmm…I quite like this..
…this(which is also delicious)…
…and this! I am not so sure about this one…
Anuradha, I think, liked this! She joined the wedges to the backgrounds…
but changed her mind! She joined these wedges into pairs to make four squares. The squares were joined ( like a four patch) to make up the final block. Here it is from the wrong side, withe paper removed!
Anuradha does not care much for the centre of her block from the back. It refuses to lie flat.
I promised to show her how to make those seams meet in a swirl and lie perfectly flat. For that she needs firstly to ensure that her seams are pressed in one direction. I tried looking for a good tutorial that teaches you how to do it , in vain. It is very similar to the what you would do in a pinwheel block. She has not got back to me on this, so perhaps she has found a solution?
When I make my block, I will share with you (and Anuradha) how to make the wrong side of your block look like this.
The front is perfect, all points matched, just so. Here it is, Anuradha’s gorgeous Venus Block, flipped over, from the right side.
Now is that not absolutely gorgeous?
Anuradha’s block is ready, waiting to see yours ! Meanwhile, the Venus song is stuck in my head.
She’s got it Yeah, baby, she’s got it I’m your Venus, I’m your fire At your desire Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire At your desire
(Do go listen to the full song, it is `awesome’!)
Before I log off, here is a look at the Rainbow Venus, in its original avatar.
And finally the Instructions and templates in pdf format. Remember, print at actual size! You need Adobe Reader to be able to read these files, Adobe Reader is downloadable for free.
Instructions file – Venus, Block 5 of the Round the Year Quilt. The step by step piecing instructions and pics are included in this file, page 3 onwards. If you do not want them, print only the first 2 pages.
While all my Dreamcatcher patterns are free and will continue to remain so, may I suggest you visit the webpage of my favourite not-for-profit organization Samarpan Foundation and donate whatever you deem fit towards the wonderful work they are doing to spread joy, peace and happiness through the world? Thank you!