Several years ago I decided somewhere that I really wanted to surprise my husband for Christmas. In the past, he pointed at certain quilt designs and commented on how he really liked them. Of course, it was one of the harder designs that he liked – the Mariner’s Compass. At the time it was so far outside of my skill set that I muttered something along the lines of “keep dreaming.” But I really wanted to give him something at Christmas that would WOW him, so I revisited the idea of the Mariner’s Compass design.
It turns out I would need to learn this technique called “paper piecing”to do it. I looked at a couple of Youtube videos, but the best help was my best friend who had already done a paper piecing dragon quilt. After a little tutoring session, I gave it a try.
Slowly I gained confidence and made more and more.
I used his favorite color combo – green and black – and I accented it with white and gold. For better or worse, paper piecing Mariner’s Compass stars don’t look like stars until the final steps of the paper piecing process. This would be annoying except for one important point – I could work on them in front of him. In fact, I pieced most of the stars together right under his nose!
Things became more difficult with I needed to add the corners and begin quilting them. At that time, I was still only using the free motion foot on my Singer Confidence to quilt projects. There was no way that a king-sized quilt would fit for me to quilt anything. I looked up other techniques for how to quilt in smaller sections and then join them together. From what I saw, it looked easy enough, so I decided to take the whole thing one block at a time – all 16 of them. At one point, I took my machine to a friend’s house and quilted there, so I could get away from prying eyes.
Words cannot express the joy I felt when I had successfully joined together those first two blocks! And the relief I felt when I’d finished the whole quilt plus binding – it was beyond anything else! I couldn’t stand it and had the hardest time waiting until Christmas.