Saturday, November 20, 2010

Summer Pinwheels - Tutorial and a Giveaway!

Summer Pinwheels - A Tutorial

I am here today to share with you my first tutorial! 

If you find this useful, please spread the word!

Read more about this quilt in my Bloggers Quilt Festival post.


 All seams will be 1/4".

For the colored parts of the blocks we will be using 10" squares.

I used a Ten Square pack from Robert Kaufman which worked great because it contained 20 different designs, 2 of each, for a total of 40 - 10" squares.

Fabric is: 

(Fabric donated for the Glam Garden Gala challenge to the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild, Thanks Robert Kaufman!!!)

Depending on the Fabric line you may or may not have this many duplicates in your Ten Square.

To obtain the same look pictured here you will need two 10" squares of 18 different fabrics for a total of 36 - 10" squares.

You could also use 18 different fat quarters and cut two 10" squares out of each of those.

For the small pinwheels you will need 36 - 5" x 5" squares, (requires 3/4 yard of fabric). 

(I chose Kona cotton in white, there are many options, think another solid color or a print for the small pinwheels and different colors of solids for the 10" squares).

If you choose to make this project without borders you will end up with about a 54" x 54" quilt before washing.
If you choose to add the same size borders as I did you will get a larger version at approximately 72" x 72".

If you look at the quilt you will see the center is made up of 9 large blocks each consisting of 4 smaller blocks.

We will learn how to make one of these large blocks, once all 9 are put together they will create additional pinwheels at the intersections.


First cut your 5" squares from your 3/4 yard of fabric (or you can use precut 5" squares).

Cut five - 5" WOF (width of fabric) strips, cut these strips into 5" squares, (you should be able to get at least 36 from regular (42" - 44" wide) quilting cotton).

Next choose 36 squares from your Ten Square pack or cut the 10" squares from your fat quarters.

Separate into 18 stacks each containing two 10" squares of the same fabric.

Now we need to decide which fabrics play well together.

Arrange the 18 different fabric stacks into pairs that have some contrast so that you now have 9 stacks.

Keep in mind not only color but the scale of the print, (example: I tried not to place 2 fabrics with a large scale print together.)

I chose to place a large scale print with a smaller scale print to obtain some contrast.
You should now have 9 stacks containing four 10" squares, 2 each of 2 different fabrics.

For each large block you will use one of these stacks plus four of your 5" squares.

We are now ready to start on our first large block!

Choose one of the colors from your stack to pair with your 5" squares.

Here I chose to pair my white 5" squares with my brown 10" squares.

You will use two of your 5" squares for each of your 10" squares chosen.

 Place one of your chosen 10" squares right side up.

Take two 5" squares and place them right side down in opposite corners, fabrics will be right sides together.

Draw a line diagonally from one corner to the other of each of your 5" squares as shown in the above photo.

To get bonus half square triangle blocks draw another line 1/2" away from the first toward the outside of the block (yield: 36 bonus HST blocks).

Stitch on these lines.

Repeat with the other 10" fabric square of the same color and 2 more 5" squares.

  Cut between the lines of stitching and press (I press open most of the time, do whatever makes you happy).

Now we have 2 sets like this of a 10" block and 2 bonus half-square triangle blocks.

Place the bonus blocks aside.

Place your 10" block and one of the other 10" squares of contrasting fabric from your stack right sides together.

Note: If you are using a directional print you might want to watch which direction the print is going when placing your fabrics together again when we repeat this step...

Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner making sure to bisect the white triangles.

Sew 1/4" away from the center line on each side.

Cut on center line, between the two seams you just sewed.

Open blocks and press.

Repeat for the other 10" block and the remaining 10" square.

You should now have four blocks.

They should each measure 9 & 1/2" x 9 & 1/2", square up at this point if needed.

Place your four blocks together and arrange to form a pinwheel in the center.

Sew the top two blocks together and then the bottom two blocks.

Sew the two rows together, pinning to match your points up to yield one large block.

Repeat this process with your remaining 8 stacks to create 8 more large blocks.

Arrange these 9 large blocks in a 3 x 3 grid, rearrange until you get the blocks into a pleasing color arrangement.

Sew together 3 rows of 3 large blocks each and then sew those 3 rows together.

Add borders if desired. 

I cut my border strips 9 & 1/2" wide for a 9" finished border on each side.

Add batting and backing fabric and quilt and bind as desired.

I am currently adding some hand stitching in pearl cotton to my white border, will update pictures when finished :)

Use your bonus half-square triangle blocks as you choose.

I used some of mine to create the pinwheels you see in the corners of my quilt.

I also used some to make hour glass blocks for this charity block.

 I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and thanks for stopping by!

If you make this quilt don't forget to add pictures to the Flickr group so we can all see!
Giveaway has ended! Thanks everyone

Four fat quarters from the Glam Garden line!

As always thanks for being here :)

~ Lisa


  1. Just tweeted about your tutorial and giveaway!

  2. Thanks for posting this tutorial - I really like this quilt and I do love pinwheels!

  3. Pinwheels are actually my alltime favorite block. I always like my quilts very symmetrical, and pinwheel quilts are just that.

  4. I linked to your Giveaway on my blog (see top right hand column).

  5. I am now a follower on Google Reader.

  6. I am generally not a fan of pinwheels, but I really like this quilt and plan to make it someday!

  7. I LIKE pinwheels ! I'm making a pinwheel quilt now ; so I'm not supposed to be online , however ......... I LOVE your pinwheel quilt !

  8. I tweeted about your giveaway ! @harleywife

  9. Great tutorial! I love pinwheels and this a such a cool way to make them. Double pinwheels but not twice the work! I can't wait to make a quilt out of these blocks.

  10. I twittered .... uh .... tweeted??

  11. I love the pinwheels this is a great tutorial.

  12. Do I love pinwheels? Heck yes! Love this tutorial, great job. It'a now on my long, long list of projects to do!

  13. New follower! I like your blog!

  14. I'm meh on pinwheels - don't feel strongly one way or the other.

  15. Love the pinwheels, very cute!

  16. I follow your blog via GFC!

  17. I love pinwheels, especially lovely ones. Lots of motion in the quilts!

  18. love and the way they look, but hate how they can sometimes be difficult to manage. :)

  19. Love them, I don't know if they love me:)

  20. I tried pinwheels once when I first started quilting and it was a challenge. Yet, after seeing your tutorial, I might give them another try.

  21. I love pinwheels! One of my favorite baby quilts I've ever done was rainbow pinwheels. They are just plain pinwheels - not your cool ones with little and big pinwheels, but they were fun!

  22. Love the look of Pinwheels; absolutely terrified of trying to make them. All those triangles are scary. I don't know though, I might actually be able to follow this tutorial.

  23. And I Tweeted

  24. I love pinwheels. They are so versatile and fun.

  25. I can never get the accuracy needed for the pinwheels!

  26. You are now my leader coz I am about to become a follower and I love this quilt. I have a Mary Engelbriet Layer cake and have been waiting for a perfect quilt for it - just found it - thanks!!! A great summer holiday project.

  27. I love pinwheels and I love this quilt. Very cleverly done, and I love the leftover HST to use for other things!