Book Review: Mariner's Compass Quilts

Mariner's Compass Quilts, New Directions
By Judy Mathieson
C&T Publishing, 1995 96 pages
You can purchase this book, at a discount, from
Planet Patchwork in association with


Reviewed by Addy Harkavy

Judy Mathieson's done it again with Mariner's Compass Quilts, New Directions! Although her previous book was exhaustive, she's managed to bring new things to a "son of" book.

Mariner's Compass Quilts, New Directions is just duplicative enough that you needn't have read the first book to use the second. Mathieson has excellent chapters on planning, color, and design, with the assumption readers will find that basic information on piecing (if needed) elsewhere. New Directions also offers a fine section on oval mariner's compasses, with either round or oval centers. Mathieson gives schematics and templates for making oval compasses as well as directions for drafting. In addition, readers will find directions for three variations of the New York Beauty block (a challenging block, demystified!).

As though all this weren't enough, Mathieson gives readers asymmetrical Mariner's Compasses, which could be very useful for quilters whose quilts rely upon optical illusions or a sense of depth. Although Mathieson shows these asymmetrical pieces as though they were to be used on a "flat" surface, my fantasies would put them in designs where they would burst outward from a vanishing point at the horizon.

Mariner's Compass Quilts, New Directions also includes patterns and templates to trace, with a pull-out full size pattern for an off-center (asymmetrical) star at the back. Unlike the first book, however, she gives specific directions for paper foundation piecing this pattern.

The pattern drafting directions in New Directions are, if anything, even better than those that appeared in her previous book. This is good for someone like me who reads books for inspiration, goes off on a tangent, and drafts away.

In summary, the book's a good addition to the library of any quilter who really likes Mariner's Compasses and presents enough new information that those with the first book won't be disappointed by the second. Best of all, I think this book should help quilters intimidated by Mariners Compass to develop the confidence to try it.

Another book on Mariner's Compass Quilts, Mariner's Compass Quilts: New Quilts from an Old Favorite, edited by Victoria Faoro, is also available from Planet Patchwork in association with

(c) Copyright 1995-2012 by The Virtual Quilt Company. All rights reserved.


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