‘Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring.  Bound by wild desire, I fell into a ring of fire.’ (Johnny Cash)

I love this song and we regularly blast it out in our Ukulele Group.  Great piece of music and please feel free to play and sing along as you make this row!  (Find chords and lyrics here courtesy of Jim’s Ukulele song book!)

Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) is the technique used to create this block; not one of my favourite things (no, not another lyric!) but we all  need a challenge from time to time don’t we and, after all, practice makes perfect.

OK… so I will tell you why I am challenged by the FPP technique.  Some of you will understand what I am talking about and a lot of you won’t, so please just bear with me.  Having the fabric on the back of the pattern makes it confusing and my brain has difficulty computing it.  Because of this I personally have to use a see-through foundation paper/medium and place the fabric pieces on top and sew from behind.  I can still see the stitching lines from the back but when planning my next piece I can work it out easier from above. Anyway you experienced FPP’ers please just use the pattern and do it in your preferred way but my instructions will be slightly different or backward.

This free pattern can be downloaded in the Free Downloads section. The pattern is in two parts as it is 9.5″ wide.  Print out the pattern and join the two halves together along the join line. Please check that it has printed out at 9.5″ before you start.  Use this to trace out your pattern.  I traced this onto Stitch N Tear Lite but I could have easily used a cheaper option of greaseproof paper or tracing paper (or copy paper etc if doing it the traditional way).

This is a scrappy block but for the outer fabrics (pieces 13 to 17) you will need larger pieces but still less than a Fat Quarter for all 4 blocks.  There are 8 colours in total;  four in hues of red ( rows 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15) and four in hues of orange/gold (rows 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13,16, 17). These should range from light, light/medium, medium/dark and dark.  I chose to use Fabric G also for my centre square as it felt like it was dragging you down into the block.

‘I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down, down and the flames went higher. And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire, the ring of fire.’ (Johnny Cash).

The work starts here:


Fold back the paper on the line between sections 1 and 2.  Line up the centre square  and section 2. (right sides facing).

To start you  need to cut a centre piece that covers the square (section 1).  It must over hang each side by a minimum of 1/4″.  Also cut a piece to cover section 2.  Make sure this is 1/2″ bigger than the widest side and 1/2″ bigger that the longest side.  To get the placement right fold back the paper at the line between pieces 1 and 2. Place the centre piece, right side up, to cover the square but overlapping the first line by 1/4″.  Place piece 2 right side down, along the edge of the square.  Use a pin to anchor the two pieces to the paper and turn over the pattern. Sew along the line between 1 and 2; only sew on the line and not beyond it and use a back stitch to secure the beginning and end of the row.  Use a smaller stitch than you normally would as it perforates the foundation making it easier to remove later.

Press the seam and then flip and press the section 1 and 2 open.

Fold back the paper along the line between 1 and 3.  Turn over so you can see the paper on top of the fabric and trim the fabric to 1/4″.  (See below).

Trim to 1/4″ before adding the next section.

Place the next section (3) along the edge of the newly trimmed section. Make sure right sides are facing and piece 3 is big enough to cover the section.  Turn to the paper side and stitch along the line.  Turn the work over, press the seam and then flip and press the section 1 and 3 open.

Keep on going in order until you have all 17 sections added.

Please Note:  Before you trim to the edges of the pattern measure the block and adjust in case the stitching has made the block smaller than 9.5″.

Gently remove the pattern section by section.

Before you remove the pattern make all 4 blocks.  Then gently remove the pattern section by section.  Don’t be too rough or you may pull at the stitching.

Audition the blocks next to each other and see what order you want to place them in. The order I chose was to turn each block 90 degrees to the one before.  So the second block is turned 90 degrees, the third block is turned 180 degrees and the fourth block is turned 270 degrees.

When you are satisfied with the arrangement sew each block together using 1/4″ seams.  Press the seams open.

I hope you enjoy making this Fire row.  It will be lovely to see your finished rows.  If you have any questions read the pattern first and then leave me a comment below.  I promise to get back to you as soon as possible.

Ring of Fire