Disappearing Pinwheel 3 & 4 Tutorial

Disappearing Pinwheel 3&4 Thumbnail

Jenny Doan shows us how to make TWO different variations on the Disappearing Pinwheel Block: The Disappearing Pinwheel 3 (Friendship Star) and The Disappearing Pinwheel 4 (Whirlygig)!

Find details here: http://land.missouriquiltco.com/disappearing-pinwheel-3

Video Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

Hi, I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Take a look at this great quilt behind me.  Isn’t that fun?  This is a “Friendship Star” and the secondary block is an “Illinois Road” but it’s even better than that– this is the third installment of the Disappearing Pinwheel.  So, we’ve done the Disappearing Pinwheel “Churndash”, we’ve done the Disappearing Pinwheel “Shoe Fly”, and now we’re doing the Disappearing Pinwheel “Friendship Star”.  And at the… and we’re also including a fourth way to set it, so hang on to your hats!

So, first let’s talk about the Disappearing Friendship Quilt.  So, to make this quilt, you’re going to need one layer cake of color and one layer cake of solid.  I used “Holly Wishes” by Kansas Troubles, but, remember, any color layer cake will work with this.  For the background squares, you know, I love that they come, the solids come in layer cakes also.  So I used a layer cake of Moda “Snow” for my background color and with those two layer cakes I made two quilts.  So this is going to be really fun.

First, we have to make our block, and that entails us making some half square triangles.  So what we’re going to want to do is, we’re going to want to take a background square and a colored square.  We’re going to put them right sides together.  We’re going to sew all the way around the outside edge a quarter of an inch and just completely enclose that.  And so that’s going to be the beginning of our half square triangles.

Then what we’re going to do is, we’re going to take our ruler and we are going to put it on here end to end.  Now, I’ve already sewn this.  So, you can see that I’ve already sewn it.  We’re going to put it diagonally point to point and we’re going to cut it this way and then we’re going to cut it this way as well, the other way as well.  So we’re cutting it on opposite corners, make sure they stay lined up.  This is where one of those rotary mats comes in real handy.  Sometimes I just use the little mat and flip my mat.  

Alright, so we’ve cut that and now what we’ve got is, we’ve got four half square triangles right here that are just perfect, and we need to form those into a pinwheel.  So I’m going to press them back, and I just leave my dark color on top and lift the little piece, and they’ll roll back, and your dark color will be on the dark side of the quilt.  So we’re, again, we’re pressing to the dark side.

So then we’re going to line this up like a pinwheel, which is going to go like this.  And pinwheels go light, dark, light, dark, light, dark all the way around.  And sometimes that helps me, I’m a little bit angle-y challenged, so it helps me to run through those in my head as I put them out.  So then you have a pinwheel, just like this.  And what we’re going to do is sew this together like a four patch.  So let’s go to the sewing machine and do that.  I’m going to pick up both these pieces and stack them together over here, so I can just stitch down the sides.

Alright, line them up and stitch a quarter of an inch.  And I like to stitch a few inch– er… a few stitches and then come down to the bottom and make sure my pieces line up.  And then I’m going to do that to that to this second one as well.  Line up my first part, an–, put, I call those, I call those anchoring stitches, cause you just anchor a little bit and then you come down and check to make sure that your sides are lined up and you can sew just all the way down it.  And that helps with the little straight seams.

So what we’ve got now is two, two halves of our pinwheel sewn together like this, and we’re going to put it together so that is forms a complete pinwheel, but I always open and check to make sure that my pinwheel is still lined up because it’s easier to check than to pick.  We don’t want to have to rip out.  So we’re coming over, we’re putting those right sides together, and we’re just going to sew a quarter of an inch in.  And sew all the way down there.

Now all these little dog ears that are on here are these little ears that are popping up, you can trim all those off.  And you can trim those before you sew, that will reduce your bulk a little bit, and then what you’ve got, you’re going to open this up and you’ll have a perfect little pinwheel,  look at that.

Alright, we’re going to press that so it lays nice and flat.  And here’s our pinwheel.  Once you have your pinwheel finished, what you’re going to do is you’re going to measure your whole block.  You’re going to divide that by three and you’re going to cut on all four sides.  So that’s going to be, the size of your block is going to be individual to you.  They’re generally between twelve and a half and thirteen inches and you just put the number that your block measures into your calculator and divide by three and you’ll get exactly the right number to cut.  And then what we do is, we just go ahead and cut this like this on all four sides.  So we’re just going to cut here and cut on all four sides.

So I have one here that’s cut and I’m going to move it up over here.  The awesome thing that happens when you cut these big pinwheels is that you then get a nine patch that is com–, completely moveable.  So we’ve cut this on all four sides.  We’ve cut this side, this side, this side, and this side — all four sides from the center of the block.  So now we have nine blocks that are completely interchangeable.

So with our other blocks, we just turned them where they are and they made this awesome pinwheel, but for this block, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to move these, take these little stripped ones out of the picture, like this, and then we’re going to turn these and lay them down. Just roll them over and lay them down, just like this. And this one.  So now we have our “Friendship Star”.

To make the “Illinois Road” block, we’re going to pick up our two stitched pieces and we’re going to put them, this one is going to go like this.  They kind of rotate around in a circle.  So this one goes across here, this one goes across here, and then this one goes down here, like this.  So we go up, over, down, and over, just like that.  And that makes this block behind us, right here.  You can see the green.  It also makes a block that looks just like this.

When you put these together then, they automatically rotate and you get your “Illinois Road” here as a secondary block, right here.  So this is going to come together as an “Illinois Road”.  You can see that here where these, these little pieces come together like this and it makes that “Illinois Road”.

So once you get all your pieces turned how you want them, you’re going to sew this together in rows.  So you’re going to sew this row and this row and this row.  Then you’ll sew the rows together and you’ll get a block that looks like this.  And this quilt right here, I used twenty blocks on that.  So I used four across the top by five down and it makes a quilt that is about si–, fifty- five by sixty-five and so it’s a good sized little quilt.

But wait, there’s more.  With a little twist of these blocks, you get a whole new look.  So what we’re going to do is, we’re going to these blocks and we’re going to leave our friendship star intact, but we’re going to turn these, these side bars like this and I run them off the ends of the half square triangles like this, I’m going to get a “Whirly Gig” block.  How cute is that?  It’s adorable and look how it makes up in a quilt.  Isn’t that beautiful?  I mean, it just comes together so easily.

Now we’re going to set this block together just like we set all of our other nine patch blocks.  We’re going to sew them together in rows.  So we’re going to sew these two to this center one, these two to this center one, and these two to this one, then we’re going to bring our rows together, and we are going to have a darling block.  Now, this quilt right here is five blocks across by four rows down.  So it’s… you use twenty blocks to make it and it’s going to end up being fifty-five by sixty-five also, and it just makes a beautiful quilt.

So how cool is this?  We’ve made two quilts with our layer cakes.  This is the “Disappearing Pinwheel 3”, this is the “Disappearing Pinwheel 4”.  You just change the setting up a little bit and you get a whole different look.  So, for the border fabric on both of these, you’re only going to need about two yards of the outer border and about two yards of the inner border, and that will do both quilts.  So we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on “Disappearing Pinwheel 3” and “Disappearing Pinwheel 4” from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.


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  • Diane Raines Boyd

    Jenny would you please some time soon have a tutorial about backing a quilt even piecing one. I love your tutorials and watch them over and over. You are the bomb! Also a while back I asked if you could do a tutorial on hand quilting.