Recently I went and browsed through a local quilt show. Honestly I could spend hours and hours studying some of those gorgeous creations, but I had to bring my three year old so unfortunately that was not in the cards. This quilt show also had a marketplace. There were lots of vendors from quilting shop selling fabric and supplies at discounted prices (yes!). If you have read my blog before, you may have picked up on the fact that I have a slight fabric fetish. I picked out several charm packs at bargain rates. Usually when I buy fabric I already have a plan or idea in mind about what I am going to make with it, but these charm packs were bought on a whim – how can I pass up a great deal on fabric?
Obviously I was in for some quilting time, but what kind of blocks can you make with a charm pack? There are actually lots of things that you can do with them, I wanted a block that was easy but looked fancy. I settled on making some pinwheel blocks. These blocks are quite painless for the novice quilter. They look cute and (I think) they are adorable in baby quilts as well as grown up quilts too. With a charm pack (5″ squares) you can make two pinwheel blocks out of two squares, so there isn’t any wasted fabric or scrap leftovers either.
Here is how to make a pinwheel block with your charm pack:
Take two of your charm pack squares and lay them one on top of the other, with the right sides facing together. Choose two prints that are different colors, for best results pick one square with a darker color and one with a lighter, or even white, color. Using your ruler, draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other.
Draw a second diagonal line to connect the other two corners. You should now have a big “X” on your square.
Using your sewing machine, you are going to stitch along each side of those diagonal lines. Stitch 1/4″ away from each of those drawn lines to join the two squares (if you have done this properly you will have stitched four lines). Next, take your ruler and rotary cutter. You are going to cut your 5″ square into four equal squares, first by cutting it in half across the middle width wise, and then cutting it in half down the middle length wise (see picture). You should have four squares that each measure 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″.
Now you will use your rotary cutter to cut along the lines that you have drawn. This will give you eight triangular pieces.
Open up each triangle and press them flat with your iron. You may notice that by arranging these triangles in different ways there are a lot of different pattern possibilities (arrows, diamonds, trees) – it is fun to play around with the different designs! But for this tutorial let’s arrange them into our pinwheel pattern.
You have enough squares to make two blocks. Take four of your squares and arrange them into a pinwheel pattern (see picture below). Take your two top squares (numbered 1 & 2 in the picture) and place them right sides together. Sew them together with 1/4″ seam. Repeat this step with your two bottom squares (numbered 3 & 4 in the picture). The trickiest part of this block is to keep your seams at exactly 1/4″. If you do not, your block won’t look exactly right, but this just takes practice so do not be discouraged!
When those squares have been joined, press the seams with your iron. You should have two rectangular pieces which you will now join together. Place the two pieces right sides together. Pin them so that the middle seams (the ones that you just finished sewing) are lined up. Just to be clear the side that you are pinning is the bottom of squares one and two, and along the top of squares three and four. Sew your two rectangles together, again with a 1/4″ seam. Press your seam when finished. Oh – and don’t forget to back stitch at the beginning and end whenever you are sewing!
Use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim up the edges and make your block perfectly square. Now you have a pretty pinwheel to use in a quilt design.
If you are wondering about this quilt, it was designed for a friend who just had an adorable little baby girl named Raelyn (hence the R). I call it “Patches and Pinwheels”. It was a design as you go kind of quilt, (meaning I winged it…eek) but I love how it turned out! And the fabric is, of course, Riley Blake Designs: The Simple Life by Tasha Noel. If you love it as much as I do, you are going to want to get your hands on some pronto because it is no longer being made and hard to come by! Here are some more pictures of me “winging it” with my quilt design.
And there it is, all finished. I hope you have enjoyed this post today, thank you for stopping by!