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.

Listen closely.

Are you listening?


Deep breath.

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.

Right? Right.

Go get a pen and paper and draw it out. You'll see. Promise. (And if you don't, email me at danaboly@gmail.com 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.


Leanne said...

Dana - what size of pinwheels did you use for your gorgeous 1974 quilt (if you don't mind me asking).



Suburban Stitcher said...

BEAUTIFUL squares!!!! I love that bright pink fabric!

Suburban Stitcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cinnamon*Sticks Boutique said...

Ooooh Dana! This one is going to be such a gem! Love the mermaids!

~Michelle~ said...

*squeals* the mendocino is going to be so awesomely girly :) (but I gotta admit, I think the 1974 is my fav, I LURVE those fabrics will all of my heart)

Heather Jones said...

I love how quickly it looks like the squares come together. Gorgeous blocks!

Leanne said...

Dana - thanks so much for the quick response (weird that it didn't let you respond directly). 8" squares, it is. (I managed to track down some 1974 - it really is lovely).

Thanks again - you are always such a great help!


Trudi said...

Dana thanks for such great instructions, I better get busy with some Eva!

Corinnea said...

Gorgeous! I've been wanting to do more HSTs.. so many projects not completed.

Emily said...

Once again I'm cheating on the cutting and am using charm packs instead. Do I still get a passing grade on the final product if I cheat?

Kristen said...

I'll have to check the measurements out and get the most out of my fat quarters.

These are great instructions!

Let's see whether my three kidlets coordinate naptime today ;)

Marianne Penner said...

Great tutorial! Thank you!

Deb Robertson Writes said...

Oh I love pinwheels, and I LOVE your method. I'm gonna ditch the ironing and sneak off to the fabric stash while Annie-Rose is sleeping and find me some fabric.

Terri said...

I'm doing charm packs, as well - cutting "cuts" into my quilting time! :)

Kimberly said...

So in your last post did I count 8 color combos... for a total of 8 8.5" pinwheels...? Or how many are you doing in total? (Not that I'm necessarily jumping on the bandwagon here, still oogling at this point.)

Amy said...

I'm so excited for pinwheels! I think this is the project to help get me out the winter blues! I just finished up my first 4 pinwheels, I am going for 4 a day and if I keep on track, I will be able to sew the top together on Sunday! YAY!

Yours is going to be cute with the HR fabrics. And I still love your one with the 1974! Thanks for being an inspiration Dana!

Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish I had time to make one of these right now...maybe in a few months. I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing your quilts. Thanks for all you share.

Kansas Amy said...

It's looking nice, and very inspiring!

brown robin said...

Sigh. I wish I was doing that right now. Back to packing, though. New house, here we come! Um... soon. I am terrible about waiting.

Alice Regan said...

Dana - I love this Pinwheel Quilt. I'll have to get on the band wagon! You are already on Day 2 ... better look through my stash and see what I have to get started.

Thanks for sharing and teaching once again.

Elissa said...

the more i look at it, the more i am CERTAIN that the gold in that would look just PERFECT with my bedroom wall color. AHEM.

....and the more creeped out i am that i inadvertently referred to something with mermaids on it as pornographic fabric.

WhiteStone said...

Nice tutorial!

Dena said...

I'm so EXCITED!!! Have I mentioned I'm excited? I was cutting my squares last night and am going to sew a bit today. Wahoo! Pinwheels!

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The kids said...

Your tutorial looks so easy to follow- I am actually going to join in on this one!

Anonymous said...

I love these gorgeous colors! I can't wait to see your finished product!

Mae said...

I was starting a baby quilt for the arrival of baby girl two. Started sewing squares together, but after seeing this post I ripped them apart, cut them into triangles and am making her a pin wheel quilt now, I stuck with the mix of cotton, flannels and a little minky, I hope it still works out. Thanks for showing how simple and cute this is. :) Mae

sara said...

I love the fabric! Beautiful!!!