December’s QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

It’s time for the final QM Bitty Block of 2015. The year has flown by as we’ve been using these free quilt block patterns to keep our sewing machines humming. If you haven’t yet made one, here’s a friendly warning: They’re addictive!

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You’ll find all of the patterns on our Bitty Blocks homepage. There are 16 plus today’s new block for a grand total of 17 #qmbittyblocks. There are printer-friendly patterns on the homepage, but if you want a little more information, look back to the blog post tutorials.

December’s Bitty Block is a simple but oh-so-charming Pinwheel that finishes at just 3″. What could be sweeter?

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December’s Pinwheels finish at 3″ x 3″.

Here is how it’s done.

Bitty Pinwheels, 3″ x 3″

Printer-friendly instructions for Bitty Pinwheels

You’ll need two fabrics. One is for the Pinwheel and one is for the background. I used light backgrounds and darker Pinwheel fabrics but you could reverse the values if you like.

Cutting, from each fabric:

2 squares, 2-3/8″ x 2-3/8″

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Cut 2 squares from each fabric.

Pair up the light patches with the dark patches. Mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of the lights, or use a quarter-inch seam marker and mark 1/4″ out on both sides of the diagonal as shown below.

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Mark the diagonal and then sew 1/4″ out from the mark on both sides, or use a quarter-inch seam marker and then sew on the lines.

If you marked on the diagonal, sew 1/4″ out on both sides of the line. If you used the quarter-inch seam marker, just sew on the lines. It’s two different ways of doing exactly the same thing.

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Cut between the lines of stitching to reveal half-square triangles. Open out the patches and press the seam allowance toward the darker fabric.

Cut between the lines of stitching and open out the patches to reveal half-square triangles. Press the seam allowance toward the darker fabric. Trim off the little dog-ears as shown in the top pair above. These triangle-squares should measure 2″ x 2″ at this point.

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SIDE NOTE: There is one important thing you should know about Pinwheels. Even with this very simple block, there are two ways to arrange the patches. On the left above, you can see that the placement of the dark (they are red) patches causes the Pinwheel to “spin” counter-clockwise. On the right above, you can see that the placement of the dark patches causes the Pinwheel to spin clockwise.

In this quilt, it doesn’t matter which way you make them spin, but you do want to make them all the same. In some patterns, it’s very important which way they spin—so always follow the instructions carefully. Just knowing this about Pinwheels is valuable and is something you can add to your quilting toolbox!

Back to making the block:

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Arrange the patches like this and sew the top two together and the bottom two together.

Arrange the patches as shown above, and sew the top two together and the bottom two together. Then sew the pairs together to complete the Pinwheel. At this point it should measure 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″.

*  *  LIGHT BULB!  *  * If you have trouble arranging the patches as shown above, you can actually sew both pairs together like this instead:

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Alternative method: Sew both pairs together like this.

Then just rotate the bottom set and voilá, you have your Pinwheel.

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Rotate the bottom set and there’s your Pinwheel.

Here’s another cool trick. If you move the bottom set to the top, you get a completely different block!

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If you move the bottom set to the top, you get a completely new block!

This is sometimes called Broken Dishes. If you like it, you can add a row of Broken Dishes to your Bitty Blocks row quilt!

Paula made her Bitty Pinwheels to spin counter-clockwise.

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Paula’s Pinwheels spin counter-clockwise.

I made mine to spin clockwise.

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My Pinwheels spin clockwise.

It doesn’t matter which way you spin, but do make them all the same.

Inside secret: I made my first set of half-square triangles the wrong size, and if that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t get all of the patches placed right sides together!

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Major mess-up.

Even those of us who write about quilts for a living make mistakes. icon smile Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Quilt on!

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