Easy Double Pinwheels
Tips & Hints
For April we're doing pinwheels. I promise you this method is really easy. I adapted it from something Eleanor Burns demonstrated on Simply Quilts. This month we will be making our blocks from a red print, a black print, and a white and black print. (The white and black print should be mostly white with a small black print to give a good contrast to the black and red fabrics.) We will be doing TWO blocks for April.
For the block you will need one black print, one red print and one white and black print. Choosing fabrics with prints of different scales makes for a more interesting block.
For TWO blocks: cut one strip 3 3/4" wide by about 30" long from each of the red fabric and the black fabric. Cut two strips 3 3/4" wide by 30" long from the white and black print. If you are using scraps, the strips need to be at least 7" long for each of the four units of the block.
Sew the long edges of a red strip and a white strip together. Sew the long edges of a black strip and a white strip together. Use a 1/4" seam. Press away from the white fabric. Measure across your units. They should be 7" wide. If they are not, now is the time to adjust them. Trim them (if necessary) so that the distance from the seam to each side is 3 1/2". This is VERY important. If your units measure less than 7" across, your seam is too large and you will have to make it smaller. Place one of each unit right sides together. The white fabrics should be opposite eachother and the seams should snuggle up together nicely. Cut four units 7" wide from your strips. You should have four squares 7" x 7", and two layers right sides together. In the graphic below I'm showing a little bit of the bottom layer peeking out so you can see how the fabrics are put together.
Please pay very close attention to this step, as it makes a difference in the finished blocks and we want all pinwheels of the same color placement going in the same direction. Draw a line from corner to corner exactly as in the graphic below. Sew 1/4" on either side of the line you drew. Please be as accurate as possible as this will make your block easy to put together.
Cut on the drawn line and press toward the smaller white triangle. You will have two units with the pinwheels going in different directions and the placement of the red and black opposite. One unit is for each block. Repeat the above steps three more times.
Sew two of the same units together to form half of your block. Repeat for the opposite side. Make sure your seams meet and nestle together. Press the seams the same direction (clockwise in the unit with the small black pinwheel and counter-clockwise in the unit with the small red pinwheel). Repeat. I am showing half of each block below.
Finally sew the two halves of your two blocks together. Make sure the points of your pinwheels meet. I pinch the seam allowance at that point and flip the block to the right side to see if they are meeting up. If they are I pin the seam carefully. If they are not, I adjust the seam, all the while pinching with my thumb and first finger. You can also sew that point with a longer basting stitch and then go back over it with your normal length stitch when the points meet. Press the seams the same way as the rest of the seams in your block. If you carefully pick out the stitching in the seam allowance, you will have a tiny pinwheel on the wrong side. (See the block back, url below.) They should match the block graphics at the top of this page.
Click here to see pictures of the back of the block I took with my digital camera. If you look closely, you will see I pressed the block with the black pinwheel incorrectly.
Click here to see pictures of the April block I took with my digital camera.
I hope you agree that this method is fun, easy, and almost foolproof. It's a variation on the half-square triangle method, and the resulting block looks like you spent a lot of time piecing. I can't believe how quickly they go together. When Eleanor Burns says "Quilt in a Day" she means it! The blocks will be slightly larger than 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" unfinished. This is okay. Just leave them and the winners can trim them to size.
Remember to label your blocks with at least your name (city, state, and email address are optional) on the BACK of your block. This may be a piece of paper tacked or pinned on, a sticky label or pigma pen in the seams. Just be sure to label them in some way. This ensures that you get credit for your blocks and lets the winner know who made each block.
If you have questions or comments, post a note on the MSN club or email Squirrel (Patty) or AzPatch (Margo). You will be making TWO blocks for April. Blocks will be due to Patty by the end of April. Patty and I will be getting together to open "squishies" May 5th.
If you have Electric Quilt 4, the zipped file is available for download here. The file size is only 32 KB this month.