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Revolving Pinwheel Block Tutorial

Welcome to the first block of this year’s block-of-the-month quilt along, Revolving Pinwheel. The blocks for this year’s quilt are fairly straightforward, consisting of half rectangle triangles (the lesser known sister of the half square triangle lol) and are assembled like a 9-patch. Every block is the same so you can reference this tutorial any month of the year, as needed. The repetition of this quilt along makes is accessible for quilters of any skill level. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll be flying.

The background fabrics are two shades of grey Kona solids. Each month you will receive pre-cut materials of the background fabric. This year’s project is a little different, however, as it provides you the opportunity to either use up existing scraps, or to choose your own printed fabrics. I will have some pre-cut scrap bundles for purchase, if you’d like to go that route.

Materials required:

  • sewing machine with grey thread
  • thread snips
  • iron and ironing board
  • rotary cutter and cutting mat

Let’s get started:

1. Pair one GREY and one PRINT rectangle right sides together. Be sure to lay the rectangles exactly as shown for every pair of the quilt so that the pinwheels all rotate in the same direction. Draw a diagonal line.

2a. Stitch on both sides of the line, using a 1/4″ seam.

2b. Cut along the diagonal line.

3a. Press seams toward the background fabric. You will have two identical half rectangle triangles. Repeat for remaining three pairs. Set aside one duplicate of each HRT to use in a future block.

3b. Trim all HRTs to 3.5″ x 7″. Start by lining up one edge of the ruler at the bottom of the diagonal and the 3.5″ mark at the top of the diagonal (see image on the left). Make sure there is 1/4″ above the diagonal and 1/4″ below the diagonal (see image on the right).

3c. Once the ruler is in the correct place, trim the right edge and top of the HRT. Rotate and trim the remaining two sides so that the HRT is 3.5″ x 7″.

4a. Take one HRT of each print.

4b. Pair each HRT with a print square, matching the print fabrics with right sides together (to see what happens if you incorrectly match the print square with the background fabric, scroll down to 5c).

4c. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the square print fabric, in the opposite direction of the diagonal seam on the HRT.

5a. Sew along the diagonal and trim the seam allowance to 1/4″.

5b. Press toward the square print and repeat for all HRTs.

5c. Remember step 4b, when I said to match the print square with the print fabric on the HRT? Well, if you incorrectly match the print square with the background fabric on the HRT, you will end up with the piece on the left, rather than the piece on the right. The right is correct.

6. Lay out all the pieces of the block. The focal square goes in the centre, with the revolving pinwheel HRTs extending from centre. The larger background fabric squares go in the corners.

7a. Assemble block as a standard 9-patch. Sew the pieces from column 2 to column 1, right sides together (see image on the left). Then attach pieces from column 3 (see image on the right).

7b. Press seams in rows 1 and 3 in the same direction. Press seams in row 2 in the opposite direction. Sew rows together. Press seams. (Click HERE if you would like a refresher on the details of assembling a 9-patch).

Congratulations! You have now completed one Revolving Pinwheel block in one of the two background fabrics. At the end of twelve months, you will have six dark pinwheel blocks and six light pinwheel blocks to be assembled as a checkerboard, or any pattern you choose.

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