Tuesday 18 February 2014

LE: Compass Notes

Love Entwined: 1790 Marriage Coverlet BOM

I think the compass is so important; it immediately centres and draws your eye in on what is otherwise, a very busy centre square. For this reason I want my compass to work with every other fabric that will be used in the centre square and throughout the borders.

I'm now feeling that my LE will be an antique toned patchwork scrappy style quilt. I have had many colour ideas about LE, but ultimately, my feelings about the colours are going to be my guide. I just can't help being drawn to certain combinations. These fabrics work for me because they have just enough colour and tone to work with all the applique to come. I love the mustardy gold and teal combination and the pinks balance out the need for blue pinks and reds that will appear throughout the quilt too. 

I swapped these fabrics over many times before settling on these. The only must have was the polka dot below - it just speaks to me and had to hold the centre colours together.

I thought I had so much fabric to make my compass, I had no idea I'd be making it again and again before being satisfied! Luckily there was just enough of the blues and pinks as I really liked the balance of them together.

As in the pattern, I followed the guidelines and created segments. I think this is the best way to create the compass. Saying that, it is not without difficulties. I have my own little habits that I'm not even entirely aware I'm doing - like always adding just a smidgen more when cutting out. That tiny bit extra that usually serves me so well, actually meant that my first compass was 1/2 inch too large.

1/2 inch may not sound too bad, but placed on the mapped out centre square, it is visually too big. And there's no way I can trim it down to size because of the beautiful points. And given the spreading flowers and crown to come, I can't afford to start growing any of the centre elements. It was just too big.

So I did it all over again.
On my second attempt, my compass was 1/4 inch too big! I went back to my plain fabric pattern sample which I had created during the pattern drafting process. Of course it was perfect and I was stumped as to why I was now struggling...and running low on fabrics! I had no choice but to make yet another compass and keep making them until I had one that was just so.

The compass is so important. Apart from the importance of the fabrics you use, if there is any error in your compass it will be noticeable, it will stand out because it is the centre of a busy square design and the eye is just drawn to look at and scrutinize it. And if you are anything like me, any obvious imperfection will keep nagging at you.

Now, I will say here that I don't believe in 'perfection'; what I do believe in, is doing the best you can with the skills you have. I also think that there is a real charm in the variation which always occurs with handwork. Love Entwined is full of this kind of charm and gentle variation which I personally see as a kind of signature of the maker. I'm happy for those variations. And knowing that this is an heirloom and will be around for what I hope will be a long time, I just can't ignore a too big compass being squeezed in.

So I started on the 3rd compass. This time I added a red print instead of the teal that I love. I do have just enough of the teal but as I now have 2x in this colour scheme which I will be using, I want the quilt compass to be slightly different.

The over sized compasses took a lot of effort and are beautifully made- they won't be going to waste. So what will I be doing with these 2x extra matching compasses? Cushions! I know many of you made several compasses before getting the size right, what will you be doing with your extra compass?

I'd love to know!

This post is related to my current BOM: Love Entwined 

If you'd like to read more about it, you can do so by visiting the Love Entwined Page at the top of this blog, underneath the header. If you're making the quilt yourself or are enjoying the journey, please leave a comment. If you are making the quilt and would like to share your progress and ideas with other quilters who are also taking part: you can do so by adding a link to specific blog posts. See the Love Entwined Page for more info. 


  1. Beautiful start! I know it is not the easiest quilt;) When I made my first diamond border I cut the templates with(!) the printed black line. It was just a difference of some millimeters, but way too much to fit the border on the top!So I had to make it again.
    Love your fabric choice and the red one 'brightens it up'.

  2. Three times, but at least you suceeded Esther. I like your colorscheme. I did use the paper piecing method and only made one compass...But I guess it's a good idea making cusions of those compasses you've left over now.

  3. Having come rather late to the party so to speak, I'm working on picking out fabrics. I must say I am totally in love with that mustard color you have in your compass. Your colors run close to my favorites... great minds and all that, LOL!
    Can't wait to actually get started with this project but patience is required to get just the right colors!
    Hugs and enjoy the upcoming weekend my new quilting friend! :D
    Beth P

  4. I finally got my fabric and did my compasses. The first I did by hand stitching and needleturn. I was not happy with the points so went back and did the second paper pieced. I am very happy with it. It isn't perfect but I hate piecing so I am very satisfied and surprised that I did so well. I am struggling with the little circles and haven't decided on buttons, dots or maybe I'll come up with something else. At any rate, I will add them later when I see how the rest is turning out. I have the triangles done and on to daisies now. I can't remember being so excited about a quilt since I did Rose of Sharon a few years ago. Thank you Esther!!


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