Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Pinwheel quilt - Day 2
Let's start our pinwheel quilt, shall we?
Before we do, I want to talk about overall quilt size as well as pinwheel size.
Are you listening?
Your overall quilt size is totally and completely up to you.
And get this! Your pinwheel size is totally and completely up to you too.
It probably makes the most sense to decide how big you want each pinwheel to be first. Great big giant ones (like 14 inch square ones) or small ones? For this particular quilt I am going to make 8.5" square pinwheels and in order to do so I need to cut 5" squares of all my fabric. This will yield 4.5" half square triangle units. Let me run some numbers for you.
Want 12.5" pinwheels? Cut 7" squares.
Want 10.5" pinwheels? Cut 6" squares.
Want 4.5" pinwheels? Cut 3" squares.
Are you seeing a trend yet?
Now once you know what size pinwheel you are going to make you can easily figure out how many pinwheels you need to give you the overall size of quilt that you want. Right? Cause now you can figure out how many pinwheels across by how many pinwheels down you need.
Go get a pen and paper and draw it out. You'll see. Promise. (And if you don't, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you.)
So, you are ready to cut. Make sure you have all of your light and dark fabric (remember the whole contrast thing!) ironed.
I am making 8.5" pinwheels so I need 5" square pieces. For one (1) complete pinwheel you will need two 5" squares of a light fabric and two 5" squares of a dark fabric.
Take one of the light and one of the dark and put them right sides together. Do it again.
Remember when we made half square triangle units with Amy when we made our zig zag quilts? Same shtick.
Draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner and pin the two together. I just use regular pen because I will be cutting right on the drawn line in a minute or two. However, some of you may prefer pencil or even some disappearing washable pen deal. Cool. Use whatever works for you. Just draw the line with a straight edge and don't pull the fabric as you do so.
Then sew at 1/4" seam allowance on each side of the drawn line.
Then using your rotary cutter and straight edge cut directly on that drawn line.
After doing that same thing for both of your pinned pieces, you will have four half square triangle units. Press them. I always press the seams all toward the dark fabric. Some of you may choose to press the seams open in order to reduce some bulk when making the pinwheel. Groovy. Do whatever floats your boat.
I then trim the little beaks sticking out around all four sides of each half square triangle unit.
Lay out your pinwheel.
Now assemble. You will get great points (ones that don't get clipped off and line up nicely) if you pin well and of course sew an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. Be careful and take your time. They aren't hard to do.
In fact, I find them rather addictive.
[ETA] By the way, pinwheels are directional. In other words, depending on how you put them together they will appear to be spinning in one direction or the other. In order to have them all spinning the same way, always construct them the same way. Always put the light fabric in the same position and the dark fabric in the same position.
Finally, all the cool peeps over on the Flickr group have started their own Pinwheel Quilt Opening Ceremony! And Pam of Uberstitch is giving away some to-die-for fabric on her blog to celebrate. Be sure to check it out.
P.S. Rachel at P.S. I Quilt gave some great tips on a basic pinwheel block here.