Make Beautiful Quilts with Scrappy Fabrics
Pinwheel Quilt Block
The Pinwheel quilt block is another 4-patch quilt block that has been around for years. It is made with nothing but half square triangle blocks.
Above is on of the most popular layouts for the half square triangle quilting blocks. It is also one of the most popular ways to make scrappy quilt blocks.
As you can see from the picture, this 4-patch block is make from 4 half square triangles. The key to making a good pinwheel block is contrast. While most half square triangle blocks are made from a dark and light fabric, it is especially important with this block so that you can see the pinwheels and the direction they would move if they could turn.
Follow the directions on the half square triangle quilt block page to make the 4 units, and then just sew them together as show.
Sew the vertical seam of the two top squares, and bottom squares. Then sew them together with the long horizontal seam in the middle.
The one challenge you have with this block is to make the center lie as flat as possible. You have 8 pieces coming together in the center. Some people press the horizontal seam open when making this block. However, it does weaken the block.
You can make the center lie flatter by just removing a few stitches. The picture to the left is the back of a sewn pinwheel block.
You can't see the stitches on the pictures, but I put black dots at their approximate placement.
When you sewed the long horizontal seam, you crossed the seam joining the top two blocks. These 3 stitches are now in the seam allowance and can be removed.
You can pick them out with your seam ripper. Once you do that, you can press one side of the long horizontal seam down, and the other side up to help distribute the bulk. The center of the back of the pinwheel block will look like a mini pinwheel. Sometimes it is a little messy looking, but it looks much better from the front.
When you iron the front, press gently from the center outwards. Remember to press, and not tug on the fabric by ironing and not pressing. Over pressing can lead to creases that are very difficult to remove.
Note how much more interesting the block at the top is than this pinwheel made from a solid fabric. This is why everyone loves scrappy quilts.
Here are are few varied pinwheel quilt blocks to give you a visual of different design options with this block. This block goes well in all styles of quilts.