Ships and Pinwheels
Tips & Hints
For the June block we're doing a block with ship and pinwheel units. We found this original rendition of a traditional pattern on Quilter's Cache and are using it with Marcia Hohn's permission. You will be using Americana colored prints. Americana colors are barn red, forest green, navy, tan, and gold. No primary colors (like you find in a box of eight crayons) please. We are making 12" blocks this year (that's 12 1/2" unfinished). We will be making TWO blocks for June. I'm giving you cutting instructions for tan fabrics or Americana fabrics, so you can be as scrappy as you like. I will identify the fabric only by where it goes in the block. See cutting instructions below.
These cutting instructions will work with the piecing instructions below. If you are using templates or doing foundation piecing, you will need to adjust your cutting to match your method.
Please read through all the directions carefully before you begin cutting and sewing. Piecing instructions are for one block. Repeat for second block. First make a "snowball" corner on the bottom two corners of a 2" x 6 1/2" "ship" rectangle with two tan 2" x 2" squares. You will sew diagonally, press the remaining fabric back toward the corner and trim as you prefer. Just be careful you don't trim the wrong fabric!! I've done it a time or two. This is your ship bottom. Sew the 2" x 6 1/2" "water" rectangle on the side with the snowball corners. Press the seam toward the "water" rectangle. Repeat for the other ship in your block.
Next we'll make the half-square triangle units for the sails. Put a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" tan print square right sides together with a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" "sail" square. Draw a light pencil line on the wrong side of the lighter fabric from one corner to the opposite corner. Sew a scant 1/4" seam on both sides of the line. Cut on the line. Press toward the coordinating print (away from the sewing print.) Trim carefully to 2" x 2". I use the bias square tool. I like the 8" size, because there's lots of room to hold it down well with my left hand. Be sure the diagonal line goes from corner to opposite corner. Any variations in this will result in piecing errors later on. Repeat once more for a total of four half-square triangle units. Sew two half-square triangle units together. Repeat. I like to press these so the "v" formed by the stitching lines at the point is exposed. This helps when sewing them to other units, as it is easier to get a good point if you have the "v" to sew through. I clip the seam about 3/4 of the way in order to be able to press the seam ends in opposite directions. (See the back of my block to see how I pressed the seams.) Some piecers feel that this weakens the seam. If you do clip, don't clip all the way to the seam line. This WILL weaken the seam. Sew the two triangle units together, matching the seams. The seams will go together easily if you have them pressed in opposite directions. Check to make sure your sails are all going in the right direction and that your points are not cut off. Press seams so that the "v" at the point is visible. If you gently loosen the threads in the seam allowance at the center, you will have a tiny four-patch. Repeat for the other ship.
Sew a 2" x 3 1/2" tan print rectangle to either side of your sail unit. Press seam toward the rectangles. Sew this unit to the ship bottom unit. Press away from the sails. You may have to adjust this later, depending on which way the seam of the pinwheel it joins to is going. I used a small clip in the seam on either side of the sails unit. Repeat for the other ship unit. You will have two ship units for the block. Make sure your ship unit matches the placement in the block graphic above.
Now make the half-square triangle units for the pinwheel. Follow the instructions above, but use the 4" x 4" squares of tan print and Americana print fabric. You will have a total of four half-square triangle units for each pinwheel unit. Sew two sets of two units together. Press the seam in the same direction the seam in the half-square triangle unit is going. In my case, this was clockwise when viewing the back of the block. Now sew the two units together, again pressing the seams in the same direction. If you carefully release the thread in the center seam allowance you will have a tiny pinwheel. Repeat for the second pinwheel.
You should now have four units, each measuring 6 1/2" x 6 1/2". For the first row, sew a pinwheel unit to the right side of a ship unit. I pressed my seam toward the pinwheel unit, but you could also press it open. For the second row, sew a ship unit to the right side of a pinwheel unit. Press toward the pinwheel or open, as you prefer. Join the first row to the second row, matching seams. Press the seam up or open if you have pressed the other seams open. Repeat all instructions for the second block.
That's all there is to it. Your block should measure 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" (unfinished). Click here to see a photo of the front of the test block I made. Click here to see the back. There are templates this month and a foundation piecing pattern.
Remember to label your blocks on the BACK of your block. Sticking a return address label on each is an easy way to do this and you're already putting one on the envelope anyway. If you use pen, please use something that is permanent, like a pigma or archival album pen. Do not forget to label your blocks. On the outside of the envelope, in the lower left corner, please write which month(s) the blocks is(are) for (i.e. BOM June 2003). This helps Patty separate the BOM envelopes from the rest of her mail.
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 June. Please do NOT trim your blocks. Blocks will be due to Patty by June 27th. Please allow enough time for your envelope to travel through the mail system. Patty and I will be getting together to open "squishies" July 5th, so please get your blocks to her at least a week before then. If you can't get the blocks to Patty before the winners are picked, please email me for the addresses of the winners so you can mail the blocks to them directly.