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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hidden Pinwheels!


Hidden Pinwheels!
(Click HERE for printer-friendly version)
After having SEW much fun with Hidden Spools, I went one step farther!
What if we divide one half of the quarter-block in the other direction??


Sept, 2005: This quilt donated to Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts.

This traditional block pattern is known by many names. Barbara Brackman lists this block as being called 'wheel' in her encylcopedia of quilt block patterns and in block-base. Sew-Precise lists this block as 'blockade'

You can EASILY make this quilt with little fuss, and no cutting of individual pieces with this fun method!! Note: Construction of this quilt requires the use of the 6" Bias Square by That Patchwork Place.

Step #1: Dig into your scraps! You will need strips cut in 2 sizes: 2" and 3 1/2". Try to have a good variety of values from light to dark in each size.

I really used up some WEIRD stuff in this quilt! I must have been in an ugly fat quarter exchange or something, because there are fabrics with macaroni and vegtables, an ugly brown with HUGE white polka dots, and a bright pink with southwestern pots on it! What a collection! *hehehe* There is also a cowboy print with boots, hats, ropes,etc on a blue background. YUCK! But you know what? Cut up....it looks great!

Step #2: Take your 3 1/2" strips and sew them together lengthwise. They will probably be different lengths and this is okay. Get a good mix of colors...as shown. Press seams to one side.

Step #3" Take this odd panel of strips to your cutting board, fold it carefully, and make 3 1/2" subcuts with your rotory cutter and ruler:


You will end up with some odd looking lengths like this...but this is okay!


Step #4: Next, take some of your 2" strips, and laying two of them with right sides together, seam them along one long side. Open up the strip and press towards one side (doesnt matter which). (See two strips above the pieced squares in second pic above?) Lay the strip down and grab some of your 3 1/2" pieced square strips. Seam enough together to be close to the length of the 2" strips that you just stitched together. If your 3 1/2" square strip is too long, remove some squares, if it is too short..add some squares from the pile.

(in the case above, I would remove the blue, red and brown squares at right end of the picture.)


Step #5: Take your 3 1/2" square strip, and your seamed 2" strips..and place them right sides together. Stitch along BOTH long sides, forming a tube. Press.


Step #6: Now the fun begins! Take this tube to your cutting board and lay it with the squares on top.


Take your bias square ruler and place the center line down the seam line between the first two pieced squares. Place the top corner of the ruler right at the seam line at the top of the tube (not in the seam allowance) Watch carefully...your ruler should intersect right at the corners of the seams at the base of the squares...Can you see it in this pic?

Cut along both sides of the bias square. You have your first 1/4 block cut!! Move the ruler down the strip and align it as shown. Your next two cuts will cut you TWO 1/4 blocks! Again, make sure that the top of your ruler does not extend into the seam allowance. Line the diagonal line up along the seam line between the squares, make sure your ruler intersects right at the junction between the seams at the bottom of the triangle..

Continue down the length of your tube until all triagles are cut. Of course, longer tubes will give you more triangles, but shorter tubes will give you more variety if they are from different fabrics!

I got all these different 1/4 blocks from one tube-set!:

The more different tube sets you make, the more variety in your quilt. I made 4 different tube sets before I started assembling the blocks to make sure I had enough variety and could avoid sewing the same fabrics next to eachother.

You will notice that the outside edges of the block are on the bias. With a design like this, bias edges have to be SOMEWHERE, and who wants to cut all these scraps into bias strips so that the straight is on the OUTSIDE?!? Just handle them carefully. You will find that the bias edges help to ease the seams together so that points meet crisply. You can also use spray starch on your strips when you iron the tube before cutting into 1/4 blocks. This is a SCRAP quilt, remember?? This is the fastest way to use up these strips...

Step #7: Assemble the blocks! The blocks should be laid out like this:

When the blocks are sewn together....They will form pinwheels as a secondary design where the corners of the blocks come together. Look at the quilt at the top of the page again..can you find the hidden pinwheels?

I made 36 blocks for the quilt above. I cut a 1 1/2" inner border, and added a 5" cut outer border. This quilt measures 55"X55". The individual block size is 7 1/4".

Additional hints:

When working with bias edges ESPECIALLY..it is important that borders be applied correctly.

1. Measure the length of the quilt top..top to bottom.. through the center. Cut 2 side border strips to this
measurement, piecing strips if necessary. Mark the center point of each long side of the quilt top and the
center of the border strips with pins.

2. Pin the border to the quilt top, matching center marks and easing as necessary. Stitch in place, press
seams toward borders.

3. Measure the width of the quilt top through the center, this measurement will include the border just
added. Cut the top and bottom borders to this measurement, piecing strips as necessary.

4. Mark the center of the quilt top and bottom edge and the center of the borders with pins. Pin borders
to quilt, sew and press, as in step 2.

Problem: The quilt top is slightly longer than the border.
Solution: Sew with the quilt top on the bottom, when you put it through the sewing machine. Your sewing
machine’s feed dogs will help resolve the problem by easing in the excess fabric.

*If the border is longer, sew the border on with the border fabric next to feed dogs underneath the quilt.

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