Pinwheels


56" x 71"

May 2013

This quilt started back in May 2013, when Cathey, a quilting acquaintance of mine, wanted to get together for a cup of coffee. As was to be expected, part of the conversation revolved around quilting. She showed me a new (to me) technique for constructing pinwheel blocks from (2) 5"x10" rectangles. It is very easy and the outer edges remain on the straight of grain.

(I really dislike the method where you sew all around the perimeter of 2 squares and then quarter-cut to get 4 HST ... those cut edges will be on the *bias*, which is stretchy. It's a viable technique, but I don't like it.)

Anyway, I Googled around and finally found a tutorial for the method that Cat showed me. The tutorial is at the Grey Cat Quilts blog and is about half-way down the page; it's the second method she shows. The tutorial uses (2) 4"x16" rectangles, but the technique is the same regardless of what size rectangles you use.

What I do NOT have is any sort of chart that tells you what size rectangles to use for the different finished size HST. Cat's 5"x10" rectangles yielded (4) 4" HST (finished). Combined, they made a 7-1/2" pinwheel block (finished size).

Once I got home, I was all about doing this method before my one brain cell forgot it. There's nothing like muscle memory to solidify a technique. I used some fabric that was hanging around .. because, after all, it WAS just going to be a sample. They were easy enough to make and soon I had a messload of pinwheel blocks (where 1 messload = 18 blocks). That meant that I really should assemble them into a top, so they would be useful.

Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of the "ecru" fabric I used in the first sample for the entire quilt, so I substituted a different ecru fabric. Similar but not an exact match .. but good enough for this quilt.

I put a flange of coordinating cotton-shot fabric between the pinwheel center and the first border.

Originally, the plain triangles of the outer pieced border were to have been of the autumn leaf fabric. It looked so pretty in EQ! But, sadly, I had only enough of that fabric for either the first border OR the plain triangles but not both. Since this fabric has been in my stash for many, many years and I had absolutely no idea where it came from, there was no chance that I would be able to get any more.

So, I changed the plain triangles to brown. That looked fine in EQ. However, it turned out that I didn't have any suitable browns in my stash of an appropriate amount. ::sigh:: and I didn't want a scrappy brown effect. A trip to my local quilt store filled this gap. BUT ... what looked fine in the store (using a small piece of the autumn leaf fabric for matching purposes) turned out to be much darker in real life when the top was finished. I think I would have prefered a lighter brown, but this is how it turned out.

The blocks are 7-1/2" (finished) square .. an odd size to be sure. This was due to the size of the fabric strips I originally used to make the blocks. I'm sure there is some sort of correlation between the width of the strips and the finished size of the blocks, but I haven't bothered to work it out. I just used the widest strip I could cut from the scrap fabrics I had; it really didn't matter to me what the finished size of the blocks were.

Even so, this is a nice size block for quilting. I had earmarked this quilt as a donation quilt. As such, I have two thought processes for quilting. Either, I want to just get it quilted as quickly as possible so I can get the quilt out the door OR I use the quilt as a practice piece for quilting designs. I probably just should have done a quick-and-easy design on this quilt but for whatever reason, when I have borders like this on a quilt, I just want to do a border-specific design. This meant, of course, that the center was going to get individual treatment also. FOUR HOURS later (over several days), this quilt was done. I hadn't *intended* on taking this long for the quilting but that's how long it took.

I quilted a four-lobed petal in the solid blocks and a free-form flower in the pinwheel blocks.


The first border got a free-form kinda/sorta, not-exactly "leaf" design and the pieced outer border got hearts.

You can see the quilting better from the back.

As for the binding .. ::sigh:: .. I really, *really*, REALLY wanted to use the brown. That really would have looked best. But, I was 5 selvage inches short of the yardage I needed to go around the quilt. I just did NOT want to go back to the quilt store to buy more, so I used the rust colored fabric instead. I'm not entirely happy with the effect, but seeing as this is a utilitarian quilt ... as opposed to a gift or a show quilt ... it'll do.

Most importantly, the quilt is now finished. This quilt and several others will be sent off to Moore, OK. The requested deadline is June 30th, so I'll be able to make it in time.