Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mariner's Compass

So, almost a year ago, Hurricane Sandy came whomping up the east coast and flooded or completely destroyed countless homes. I have some friends whose homes (and the sand beneath them) are now totally gone. Others suffered severe flooding and mold damage. My mother is quite a ways inland in northern NJ, but the wind was so bad that it knocked out transformers that took almost 3 weeks to be repaired (meaning that she was without heat or power into November).

My aunt and uncle's home was one of those damaged, but fortunately, because they happen to be at a wider part of the barrier island where their home is located, and because of the capricious nature of storms, the damage was relatively minor. Newer construction on this (and many) barrier islands/beaches require that homes be built on pilings, so that the living space is on the second (and third) floor, while the first floor is just an entrance and storage. They got quite a lot of flooding and resulting mold, but thankfully their home is still standing.

I felt helpless back in Utah, neither able to lend a hand with the clean-up at my uncle and aunt's home, nor able to help out my mother who was without power for so long. So I did the one thing I could do (after sending my mother a care package with batteries, flashlight, and the ever critical coffee!): I began to sew.

My dear friend Sue gave me a wonderful fat quarter bundle from Emily Herrick's Going Coastal collection, and it seeded an idea. What if I made a quilt for my aunt and uncle's home, using coastal-themed fabric? I added some of Emily's Shore Thing fabric to the Going Coastal fabric, and I began to quilt. You may remember my talking about this quilt last year—although I don't think I gave the background on why I was making it.

Here's a picture of the pattern I used (although this one uses different fabric):

I finished this pictured quilt last November using my scraps. I used the same pattern for my aunt and uncle's quilt, but with Emily's great Going Coastal and Shore Thing fabric. The pattern is from Red Pepper Quilts' tutorial. It's her pieced scrap border quilt. I thought I had a photo of the beach quilt, but apparently not yet! I'll take a photo and include it tomorrow.

It's an involved quilt, even with strip piecing, so I was pretty pleased with myself just for finishing the top. I was all set to put a matching back on, quilt and bind it, and send it on its way . . . and then Robyn came along! She had just finished a fabulous mini mariner's compass, using Quilt Smart, and she had an extra kit, which she so thoughtfully gave to me!!

I was overwhelmed by her generosity (and the thought of figuring out how to tackle what seemed like a tricky project), but I knew in that moment that I wanted to make the mini mariner's compass the center of the quilt back.

And then I began the horrible process of packing up my house and moving across country, and the project came to a standstill. Now that I'm (sort of) settled into my new house and my sewing room is (sort of) organized, I thought it was time to get back to this project.

Essentially, the kit comes with a fusible interfacing, with the pattern printed on it. It has 8 "pies," with corresponding bits and bobs that, when put together, makes a beautiful mariner's compass. Here's what the pie piece looks like:

I spent the LONGEST time trying to figure out which fabrics to put in the compass. I knew I wanted to use Emily's fabric for the back as well, but wasn't sure how to put them together. Here's what I've decided to do. I'm using these fabrics for the top triangles:

I'm going to use the madras (total beachy summer, right?? It certainly is here on the east coast!) for the downward facing triangles (kinda like the stalactites), and I'm going to use the blue and green kelp for the stalagmites (the upward facing triangles). 

I'm then going to use these fabrics for the pizza wedge that's at the bottom of the triangles (this actually is in two parts, which is why I've chosen two fabrics): 

For the compass points (north, south, east, west), I'm planning on using these fabrics:

I love love love the starfish, but I'm not sure I have enough of it. I'm within inches of having enough, but I can't find any more on Etsy. Oh noes! Anyone have any out there I could buy from?

I wanted to make sure that I fully understood the pattern, and I was lucky enough to find a great tutorial on Youtube (where else?!) that walked me right through it. It seems pretty straightforward. Here's the link to the tutorial:

Mini mariner's compass tutorial

I've cut out a lot of the fabric, and am ready to start sewing, so more pictures coming soon!


  1. That looks like a wonderful combination of fabrics for this Mariners Compass. I wish you lots of fun!
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com

    1. Thanks Esther! It has been a fun process!

  2. Looks great - have to try a Mariner's one day.
    Go to for the blue starfish fabric...

    1. Thanks so much for the recommendation Barb!


What are you thinking? I always welcome comments and suggestions! Thanks for stopping by Shortcookie!