<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Mariner's Compass block information
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Mariner's Compass blocks

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Click on a block to see it as a multiple-block whole-quilt mockup.

Split-point Mariner's Compass

This 32-point block has two colors per point -- a challenging block designed for expert quilters. Mountain Mist reportedly published this pattern (date unknown).

Click on the graphic at left to see a bigger drawing and a photo of a quilt made with this pattern.

Click on the "Make It!" icon at upper right for a diagram.


Single Sunflower
Single Sunflower

This relatively simple 16-point star is from the Ladies Art Company's 1897 catalog (#367). We've posted a diagram; click on the icon at right.


Russian Sunflower
Russian Sunflower
Rising Sun/Brave Sunflower/Oklahoma Sunburst


Clara Stone's Rising Sun, which was published in 1906, echoed Single Sunflower in making the circle reach to the very edge of the block.

The block we've pictured here, however, is Russian Sunflower, from 1932, from Kansas City Star designer Evelyn Foland. Foland put in seams so that the whole block could be made in four quarters. Aside from those seams, the block is identical to Stone's Rising Sun.

The points' orientation doesn't lend itself to making the sunflower itself in quarters. However, it's one way to add a bit of space between the circles. The Star republished it twice, as Oklahoma Sunburst and Brave Sunflower, in 1933 and 1951.

Chips & Whetstones
Chips & Whetstones

Finley wrote in 1929 that this block name "rings with the masculine sound of a good sharp ax, necessary for the splitting of rails and firewood."

We add to that Emerson's statement that "Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection." A quilter would regard her block the same way.

There are several Chips & Whetstones variations. This one is from Jinny Beyer's Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns, which cites the book Quilts of Virginia. The block dates back to about 1840. Weive added an applique version of the block below.


Rising Sun
Rising Sun
Mariner's Compass

Ruth Finley, in Old Patchwork Quilts (1929), included a photograph of a quilt with no fewer than nine of these 64-point showstoppers, each 30 inches across. Spaced between the compasses, which were pieced in orange and white, were appliquéd garlands. The quilt was made about 1800 on Long Island, NY. Click on the graphic to see a larger copy. Click here to see what 16 of them look like in a whole quilt:

Barbara Brackman, in showing this block in Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, cites a 1957 catalog of the Shelburne Museum of Shelburne, Vermont for the name Mariner's Compass.

Slashed Star

Slashed Star
Rising Sun/Sunburst/Twinkling Star/Mariner's Compass

The Ladies Art Company's Slashed Star (#266, 1897) was the first published mariner's compass block we've seen. The block was only named Mariner's Compass in in 1980, in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, according to Brackman's Encyclopedia.

In 1937, designer Nancy Cabot presented the same star in the Chicago Tribune under the three other names listed above, along with the mind-boggling remark that the block is easy to piece. We'd love to hear from anyone who agrees that stitching this 64-point block is a breeze. We feel sure that person is Superman's more talented sister.

Click on the graphic at left for a larger copy.

Chips & Whetstones

This time-honored block is a one-fabric appliqué within a circle. The circle, sewn into the quilt top, is the only part of the block that is pieced. Our source is Finley's 1929 Old Patchwork Quilts. The quilt in the book is not dated.

Quilt researcher Carrie Hall stitched up a similar block for a collection that is now part of the Spencer Museum at the University of Kansas. The difference is that Hall's version has six points per quarter block.