Little Christmas Windmills: Free Quilt Pattern

CountdowntoXmas Little Christmas Windmills: Free Quilt Pattern

Good-Natured Warning: Making These Little Blocks is Like Eating M&Ms…Hard to Stop!


I started making these blocks about five years ago as “Leaders & Enders” a la Bonnie Hunter at quiltville.com, but I had so much fun making them–they soon took over my Brain-Free Sewing Zone. Darlene Zimmerman used this block in her Bloomin’ 30s design for Quiltmaker’s Small Quilts last summer.

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Little Christmas Windmills

Here is one little 4″ block:

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There is only one patch size in this block: 1.5″ x 2.5″

Each block takes 4 patches of Color #1 and 4 patches of Color #2.

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Join each Color #1 patch to a Color #2 patch.

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Arranging the patches like they are in the next photo will help you begin to see the block design.

Join these into pairs like so:

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You can also look at it this way—you sew both pairs together in the same exact way. In the picture above, one is rotated to show the block design. In the picture below, they are oriented identically. This is how I sew them together—it’s easier for me to make them match than to try and visualize the block design and sew them as shown above.

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Rotate one and sew the sections together to complete the block.

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Make as many blocks as you want and sew them together into rows. The little quilt shown is set 6 x 7 for a total of 42 blocks. I cut strips 2″ wide for the borders.

In the Brain-Free Sewing Zone, I make lots of these little blocks. Whenever I’m cutting strips for anything, I always cut a 2.5″ strip too and throw it into my pile. So I have lots of 2.5″ strips ready.

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This is a very small portion of the 2.5" strips I have cut.

When I need Brain-Free Activity, I cut the strips at 1.5″ intervals to give me the patches I need for this block. I have thousands of these patches, 1.5″ x 2.5″.

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I have made them into hundreds of these Little Windmill blocks.

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When I want a Brain-Free Project, I think of a color scheme and pull blocks in those colors. It always seems to work! Here I pulled fabrics while thinking “yellow and orange.”

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For this group, I pulled blocks while thinking “blue and green.”

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Here’s a completed quilt I did a while back, thinking “blue, green and purple.”

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Have some fun making Little Windmills of your own. If you think “bright holiday colors,” maybe your quilt will come out something like this one. It’s next to be quilted, so I can hang it up in the next few days—because the Countdown to Christmas continues!

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Diane's Little Christmas Windmills quilt top

About Diane Harris

I'm Interactive Editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I've been writing pattern instructions and product reviews, and doing a host of other tasks necessary to help produce a national pattern magazine. Now I work remotely from rural Nebraska to generate some of our online content. I manage the QM Scrap Squad, our blog tours and our Quilt-Alongs. I have one of the best jobs in the world.
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18 Responses to Little Christmas Windmills: Free Quilt Pattern

  1. Pingback: Block Testing for Quiltmaker Magazine | Quilty Pleasures Blog

  2. Barb says:

    Very cute. I made a quilt like this but used the same fabric for one side of the block on all of them. It was a small floral that read as “white” and I used bright 2.5 strips left from lots of other projects. You get tesselating pin wheels!

  3. Ruby says:

    Every time I have a bit of fabric left from a project, I cut it into 4.5″ x 2.5″ “bricks” and I store them in a gallon-size zip bag. I had enough to make a lap robe today using this pattern. My blocks are 8.25″ square. This is a much neater way to save scraps so that I don’t a bunch of raggedy pieces stuffed somewhere. I donate the lab robes to a local nursing home.

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  5. MargaretQuilts says:

    This could be my first leader/ender project! Thanks for the instructions.

  6. Tami Chaulk says:

    This is going to make a wonderful Leader/Ender project for me. Thanks Diane!!

  7. Pingback: Past Posts: Best of Quilty Pleasures Giveaway | Quilty Pleasures Blog

  8. Margaret says:

    This is a wonderful idea for using scraps. If your fabric scraps are long enough, you can save time and get more accurate piecing by cutting strips 1 1/2 inches wide by 10 or 10 1/2 inches long rather than the recommended 2 1/2 inches. Sew these strips together and then cut into 2 1/2 inch segments. The extra 1/2 inch in the 10 1/2 inch strip allows just a little fudge factor for cutting errors and is discarded after the segments are cut. This way your matching segments are together to complete the windmill block. I used this idea the create a beautiful Project Linus quilt and used up many small scraps from other quilt projects.

  9. mary says:

    rows of these blocks make great borders also

  10. Shaunda Landry says:

    Sometimes my brain doesn’t think as much as it should but doing a different twist to these blocks really gives a different look to a quilt. And to think, just using scraps!!!!! Great idea

  11. Mary says:

    That little quilt has been on my “to-do” list since I saw it in the Little Quilts magazine. I love your Christmas version.

  12. Kitty says:

    This really is a smart way to use small scraps! Thank you.

  13. Barb Skinner says:

    These would make a fun baby quilt, I can just imagine little finger tracing the lines of the blocks!

  14. Pingback: *Brain-Free Sewing Zone Giveaway | Quilty Pleasures Blog

  15. Jocelyn says:

    How very cute! I get so many wonderful ideas from your blog. This is another great way to use up scraps. Thanks!

  16. Mary Ellen Honan says:

    Nicest scrap buster I’ve seen. Like your idea of using certain colorways for the effect you want.

  17. Cute, cute, cute and I already have a bunch of plum scraps cut to 1.5 inches!

  18. Love the different colorways you have showed and the block is so cute. I definately want to make blocks like these. Thanks for sharing.

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