Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pinwheels for Dummies?

Ok, I need help from you seasoned pinwheel makers out there. I posted this problem on Sew Mama Sew too.

I just assumed pinwheel blocks were simple. I'm making a quilt inspired by this one at the Moda Bake Shop. So I made two blocks last night and discovered that maybe pinwheel making is more complicated than it seems:Anyone see anything wrong? One is going "clockwise" and the other is going "counter clockwise". I am desperate for any tips to keep these straight and heading in the same direction while constructing my blocks! I am using the half-square triangle method where you put two 5" squares right-sides together, sew 1/4 inch on either side of a diagonal line and then cut apart.

Please, please make any suggestions that might help me keep things straight while making my blocks! I feel like I'm constantly checking and double checking to make sure my solids are all marching in the right direction now.


  1. I am no pro but I ran into the exact same problem trying to make the same quilt. After quite a bit of frustration and seam ripping, I realized that the while triangle always needs to be in the same position. Such as the top right quadrant of your block should always have white on top...or.....on your green block, the white and green fabrics are in the wrong position compared to your orange block. I have no idea how to better explain this!

  2. oops......I meant WHITE triangle!

  3. Hi Chris! I make these blocks often, as I love how they show-off fabrics. I'm posting a tutorial on my blog, today, so go check it out. Remember: every quilt should have at least one "mistake" in it, according to Amish quilters! I bet most people probably wouldn't notice your one block being different and, besides, it gives your quilt a unique twist!

  4. I would go with the flow. Count the number of blocks you need. Divide by 2. Sew half of those pinwheels going one way and the other half going the other. Then put sashing in between. It would break it up visually and look like you intended your quilt to be that way. Break the rules quilting!

    If you don't like that idea, you now have a hot pad to go with your quilt. Or hot pad(s) if it happens again. You might end up with a whole set.

    Good luck!

  5. Wow I'm glad I'm not the only one that had that question when making pinwheels! Thanks for stopping by the blog, and that fabric you asked about came from Joann's, its like a stonehill print or something? I bought it on sale and its so nice and soft! -Allison

  6. I think everyone has that ah-hah moment the first time they make pinwheels. I know I did... who would've thought there'd be two directions?! Barbara is right - just pick one triangle to always be in one position and the rest will fall into place.