Thursday, June 16, 2011

Twisted Pinwheels

Saturday was the monthly meeting of Stitchin' Friends - my quilt club.  This is my favorite day of the month as we always have so much fun and it is just good to have that time of fellowship. 

This Saturday I taught making the Twisted Pinwheels quilts with the Offset Square Template.  I must admit, I was not too happy with this template when I first bought it.  The instructions come with a picture of the block layout like the one you see on the cover, and instructions that basically say lay the template on the fabric, cut the fabric out, sew the pieces together.

So I go to my favorite source, Google, and found that many other women were having the same problems I was with the template.  I contacted the designer, and she responded that the instructions that come with the template are all there are, but she did give me one very helpful hint that I will relay in a minute.  Once I figured out how to make the quilt, it was simple and I just love making these now.  I see a Christmas table runner in my future.
So here is the way I am putting it together:
  1. The template has no marking of which is the top and which is the bottom.  You can use it either way, but you have to be consistent or pinwheels twist in different directions.  So I laid the pinwheel on the one of the cover, to determine which was the correct side, and put a dimensional sticker on that side. Problem solved.  My sticker is close to the center, but I had my group put their closer to the bottom right corner.  What is interesting about this template is that it has two right angles and it can be confusing which one goes on the straight of grain.  You have to study the picture closely to figure this out, but its the smallest side and the corresponding right angle that you line up on the straight of grain so that your block will not have bias on the outer edges.  So move the sticker to the bottom right corner to remind you how to line it up.
  2. Next I made a "block board" covering a 7.5" square of cardboard with white flannel, then drawing the template on each corner of the board, just like the block goes together.  This is extremely helpful when laying out your blocks.  I made two for each for the club members, but they wanted more so they could layou the entire row.

    It is important that when you cut out your fabric wedges, that all layers of the fabric have the right side up.  Do not fold the fabric, as your pinwheels will be twisting in different directions if you do.  I cut out 7.5 inch fabric squares, then cut the four wedges for the pinwheel out of each 7.5" square, hardly any fabric waste doing it this way.  You cut the wedges out in the same order as shown on the block board.
3.. Here is the fabric laid out on the block:
I am doing my block scrappy style, so each of my wedges are different.  You have to remember if you are wanting to add a border, on the top, bottom and side rows you have to add border wedges in the correct positions.  I gave each member the layout for the table runner, and it sure helped to see where the border blocks go.
Further, I recommend that when making these block, you only sew together one block at a time.  It is easy to get the wedge pieces out of order.  They go together really fast though, kind of like making a four patch.  The two sides you sew together are not the same length.  You line the corner up that is in the center of the block, and there will be a little tail hanging off the outside edge, but it will be straight.  Sorry no picture on that one.
4. The designer told me not to press any of the seams on the block until I had it all sewn together as this would minimize stretching along the bias.  I tried this, and it really does help.

If you would like a .pdf copy of the instruction sheet I gave out at the meeting which includes fabric requirements for the table runner, a lapsize quilt and a full size quilt and a picture of the table runner layout,  just send me a note at and I will put one in the mail to you.

Here's some pictures of the various fabrics the ladies used.  Some got a away before I could take pictures. The variety was great!


Linda's - she finished hers at home!


This one is mine, hanging on my design wall at home.  It will be a full size quilt.

And finally a little show (if you are still with me)

Brenda's Mariner's compass

Darlene's Double Wedding Ring that was started several months ago as a table runner. She turned hers into a quilt for her daughter who recently married.

The white border you see has a Bible verse, hand embroidered around the  border of the quilt from I Corinthians.

And she hand quilted it, beautifully!

Its truely an amazing quilt and Darlene has only been quilting for about a year now!!!!!

T-t-t-t-hat's all, folks,


Carol said...

That's very fun! You get the same ending as with the Twister ruler without sewing all the squares together, cutting with the template, and then resewing...I like it!

Linda said...

It's interesting how that twisted pinwheels pattern is coming around again. I made it about 15 years ago following the book "Square Dance" (which I still have)/ That was the first name for this block. The only difference is that the book didn't come with a template; I made my own! Still love the look of the quilt though, which I will never be able to think of as anything but Square Dance.

Raewyn said...

This twister block/quilt looks like a fun one (once you have the template instructions sorted!)-- I do like your version in the autumn colours.

Julie Fukuda said...

I have made this several times and like the effect. I solved the cutting problem by making one template to mark all four pieces at the same time. The only part I did not like was that you have to figure out the whole lay-out before you sew it together and keep the pieces in the right order as you go. That is a little hard for take-along work.

Purple Pam said...

I just bought this template. I glanced at the directions, but have not cut any fabric yet. Thank you for the heads up on this template. Your instructions make a lot of sense to me.

Shakerwood said...

I could see this in Christmas colors. Had I been there ...... you know mine would have been plaids! Can I get a private lesson one day?

Thimbleanna said...

Oooh, that looks tricky. It looks like you all had a great time though, with some very pretty pinwheel combinations!

Floss said...

Your instruction are very helpful. It would be nice if the template cam with a mark in that corner.

Anonymous said...

Hello Teresa, I enjoyed your post with the Twisted Pinwheels....thankyou...Regards, Lyn

Carrie P. said...

Well, it looks like your instruction really helped everyone make some great blocks. I think that ruler would be confusing for me too and I would need instruction. Some classes are just better when you can see someone else doing it. Great job.

Candace said...

I've been seeing these on different blogs and am getting the itch to try it. My list is long though, lol. Hope when it's time I can find your hints.