Friday, February 26, 2010

Pinwheel Potholder

Let's make a potholder and then there will be no more pinwheels until Monday. (If you're not sure what I'm talking about, we made half square triangles here and then a pinwheel over here.)

First, we'll make the little hanging loop.
Cut a 2" x 6" strip of fabric.
Fold it in half wrong sides together and press.
Open up and fold both ends towards the center press line.
Press again.
Fold along the center and press.

Stitch close to the edge to secure.

Cut two 8.5" x 8.5" squares out of Insul-Brite or another insulating batting.  I like to double up on this.  If you'd like your potholder even thicker, you can put a layer or two of batting inbetween the two Insul-Brite layers. (You can find Insul-Brite at JoAnns or Hancocks or mabe even your quilt store, although I'm not so sure of that.)

Cut a 8.5" x 8.5" square out of the fabric you'll be using as the back of the potholder and lay it right side up on top of the Insul-Brite.

Fold the loop you made in half and pin it to the fabric on the diagonal. Stitch close to the edge through all the layers as in the photo below.

Place your pinwheel wrong side up on top of your sandwich.

Stitch all the way around leaving an opening for turning. You can make your seam a little wider than 1/4" if you'd like. As long as all seams are the same width, your pinwheel will keep its shape.
Stitch diagonally where the loop is to make the potholder hang neatly when you turn it right side out. Trim that little corner on the diagonal.

Turn your potholder right side out through the opening you left in the seam. Use a chopstick to push out the corners.

Press and then topstitch close to the edge and again about 1/4" in.
I also stitched "in the ditch" along all the seam lines.
I'm not completely happy with how this turned out, but that's operator error (I was in too much of a hurry) and it is a utilitarian product after all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Before I bore you all to death with my pinwheel rantings, something cute.

Mutt from Michael Miller Fabrics:

(This is a large print - the swatch is 12" x 12")

I first saw this in the Winter 2009 Quilts and More Magazine.

Of course, I also got the Quarter Dots to match.

I think my little Sydney is about to get a brand new bed.
Both fabrics and the magazine are in the store if your pooch would like a new bed too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's Make a Pinwheel Block

If you're coming to the Pinwheel Party, this will be good practice.

We'll start off with four half square triangles, like we made yesterday.

Before I go any further, I'd like to mention something that is of no importance for this project, but will definitely count if you're making the Pinwheel Party Quilt.

You can make two different pinwheels with any given set of four half square triangles.
Layout 1:

Layout 2:

Now let's start:

  1. Lay out your four half square triangles on your table as above.
  2. Sew them together in pairs.

    Press the seam allowances toward the darker fabric. This way, when you sew these together, the seams will lay in opposite directions, reducing bulk.
  3. Sew the two pairs together.  To ease the lining up of the pinwheel center, I like to sew just a little section where the seams intersect first. That way, if they're not lined up properly, I only have to rip out a couple of stitches.
  4. Press the seam open.  This will reduce the bulk in the center of the pinwheel.
And there we go! A pinwheel.

Tomorrow I'l show you how I made my potholder, if you're interested.

Before there can be pinwheels

There have to be half square triangles.  Or half square triangle blocks.  Or half square triangle squares.
Whatever you choose to call them, you'll have to make them if you want to make pinwheels.

So, how do you make a half square triangle (or two)?

By sewing together two fabric squares!

What size should the squares be?
Follow the golden rule:  each square should be the size of your finished half square triangle + 7/8".

If you want to make a 4" finished half square triangle block (well, you'll end up with two), you have to cut two 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" squares, one in each color you want in your finished block.

I've decided that, if I'm going to be cutting up fabric, I'm going to make something. If you want to follow along on this post and the next, you will have an 8" x 8" pinwheel, which I'm going to make into a potholder.

Here we go:

  1. Cut two squares the size of your finished half square triangle + 7/8" each. (Mine are 4 7/8" x 4 7/8")
  2. On the back of the lightest square (or the one with the lightest wrong side), draw a diagonal line corner to corner.  You can use a permanent marker or pencil for this because it's not going to be in the block itself, but if you're using light colored fabrics, I'd recommend a washable or disappearing marker.
  3. Place the square you drew the line on right sides together with the other square you cut.
  4. Stitch a seam 1/4" away from the diagonal line.  Stitch another seam 1/4" away from the diagonal line on the other side.
  5. Cut the two sections apart along the diagonal line.
  6. Press the blocks open with the seam allowance toward the darker fabric.
  7. Voila!  You have two half square triangles!
You will need four half square triangles for each pinwheel, so you'll need to make two more like this.

Tomorrow we'll make the pinwheel and I'll finish my potholder.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

101 Siggy Blocks!

For those of you who don't already know: I'm becoming a groupie and will be following Bon Jovi around the world for the next two years or so...

But while I'm finalizing my travel plans, I quickly finished my blocks for the Modern Siggy Swap this morning.
101 Siggy Blocks

Friday, February 19, 2010

Totally off topic

Ok, now I'm going to show my age, but guess where I'm going tonight?

Be still my heart!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don't Look Now Giveaway!

I just received a new batch of Don't Look Now patterns.
Kellie is having a giveaway to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of "Don't Look now".
Everyone who purchases Don't Look Now patterns by February 25th will be entered in a draw to win this cushion...

...and some supplies to get you started on making your own Don't Look Now project.
You will get one entry for each pattern purchased.

For exact details on how to be entered, visit Kellie's blog.
To see all the Don't Look Now patterns, hop on over to my store.

BTW, if you're coming to the Pinwheel Party and would like to make a quilt like mine, ColorPlay Bundles are now available in the fabrics needed to make the quilt.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Why does inspiration always strike when I have a ton of much more important (and boring) stuff to do?
Does this happen to you?
New project beginnings
At least I have a reason to fly through those boring bits really quickly now.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Join the Pinwheel Party!

PLEASE NOTE: This pattern is now available for purchase on Craftsy and Etsy.

Welcome to the Pinwheel Party Quilt Along!

We'll be making this quilt (yes, I changed the pink to red to make it more gender-neutral):
Pinwheel Party
Name: Pinwheel Party
Size: 48" x 62"
Block Size: 12" x 12"
Difficulty: Easy!

How it will work:
Every week for 12 weeks, I will provide free instructions for one block.  In the 13th week we'll make sashing and borders.
Instructions will be in PDF format, which will allow you to print/save and keep them for eternity.

Start Date: March 1st, 2010
Fabric Requirements for the top:
1/2 yard each of six colored fabrics
3 yards of background fabric

While the "Mother Quilt" is Black & Bright, it'll be great to see other color combo's. I had to resist the urge to change the background color back to my comfort zone (white), but I wanted to challenge myself to try something new.
My top is almost done and I really, really like it.

So what do you do next?
1. Sign up below. It'll be great to see who's participating and I may have a little giveaway or two along the way. (If you don't have a blog or Flickr account to link to, just say so in your comment and I'll include you in the giveaways.)

2.  Grab a button.

Copy and paste this code where you want the button to appear:
<a href=""><img src=""></a>

3.  Join the Flickr group and share your progress with photos.  We'd all love to see!

4.  Assemble your fabrics.  If you'd like your quilt to look like the Mother Quilt, I have some fabric bundles up in the store.

5.  Keep visiting.  I'll be posting some pinwheel making tips soon.

If I missed something, please let me know.
This is going to be so much fun!

Edited to add: The links to all the blocks are in the sidebar and will be there until the end of the quilt along.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I apologize

If you're waiting with bated breath for the Quilt Along details (and you all are right?), I do apologize for the delay.

I will have it all pulled together by this afternoon or tomorrow morning at the latest.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Coming Soon"

If you been reading this blog for a little while or been browsing down the sidebar, you would have noticed this:

It's been there for quite a while.
Well, this coming week is THE week!
I was planning this as a Block of the Month but I think we can do better.
So it will be a Block of the Week/Quilt Along.
Pinwheel Party in Progress
Sound like fun?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Busy Week

The first week of the month is always a little crazy around here because of Rainbow Jane prep.
This week it's like pulling teeth for some or other reason.
It could have something to do with these:

Yes, those are dimes.

I've been wondering about something for a while. I put a little poll in the sidebar about music on blogs. Do you like it when you open up a blog and music starts playing or don't you? Please vote in the sidebar to satisfy my curiousity.
The Poll is now closed. 92% of you do not like music on blogs.