December’s QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

It’s time for the final QM Bitty Block of 2015. The year has flown by as we’ve been using these free quilt block patterns to keep our sewing machines humming. If you haven’t yet made one, here’s a friendly warning: They’re addictive!

BittyBlockLogo 300px1 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

You’ll find all of the patterns on our Bitty Blocks homepage. There are 16 plus today’s new block for a grand total of 17 #qmbittyblocks. There are printer-friendly patterns on the homepage, but if you want a little more information, look back to the blog post tutorials.

December’s Bitty Block is a simple but oh-so-charming Pinwheel that finishes at just 3″. What could be sweeter?

pinwheel15 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

December’s Pinwheels finish at 3″ x 3″.

Here is how it’s done.

Bitty Pinwheels, 3″ x 3″

Printer-friendly instructions for Bitty Pinwheels

You’ll need two fabrics. One is for the Pinwheel and one is for the background. I used light backgrounds and darker Pinwheel fabrics but you could reverse the values if you like.

Cutting, from each fabric:

2 squares, 2-3/8″ x 2-3/8″

pinwheel2 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Cut 2 squares from each fabric.

Pair up the light patches with the dark patches. Mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of the lights, or use a quarter-inch seam marker and mark 1/4″ out on both sides of the diagonal as shown below.

pinwheel3 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Mark the diagonal and then sew 1/4″ out from the mark on both sides, or use a quarter-inch seam marker and then sew on the lines.

If you marked on the diagonal, sew 1/4″ out on both sides of the line. If you used the quarter-inch seam marker, just sew on the lines. It’s two different ways of doing exactly the same thing.

pinwheel4 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Cut between the lines of stitching to reveal half-square triangles. Open out the patches and press the seam allowance toward the darker fabric.

Cut between the lines of stitching and open out the patches to reveal half-square triangles. Press the seam allowance toward the darker fabric. Trim off the little dog-ears as shown in the top pair above. These triangle-squares should measure 2″ x 2″ at this point.

pinwheel13arrow Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels        pinwheel17arrow 300x297 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

SIDE NOTE: There is one important thing you should know about Pinwheels. Even with this very simple block, there are two ways to arrange the patches. On the left above, you can see that the placement of the dark (they are red) patches causes the Pinwheel to “spin” counter-clockwise. On the right above, you can see that the placement of the dark patches causes the Pinwheel to spin clockwise.

In this quilt, it doesn’t matter which way you make them spin, but you do want to make them all the same. In some patterns, it’s very important which way they spin—so always follow the instructions carefully. Just knowing this about Pinwheels is valuable and is something you can add to your quilting toolbox!

Back to making the block:

pinwheel7 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Arrange the patches like this and sew the top two together and the bottom two together.

Arrange the patches as shown above, and sew the top two together and the bottom two together. Then sew the pairs together to complete the Pinwheel. At this point it should measure 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″.

*  *  LIGHT BULB!  *  * If you have trouble arranging the patches as shown above, you can actually sew both pairs together like this instead:

pinwheel8 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Alternative method: Sew both pairs together like this.

Then just rotate the bottom set and voilá, you have your Pinwheel.

pinwheel91 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Rotate the bottom set and there’s your Pinwheel.

Here’s another cool trick. If you move the bottom set to the top, you get a completely different block!

pinwheel10 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

If you move the bottom set to the top, you get a completely new block!

This is sometimes called Broken Dishes. If you like it, you can add a row of Broken Dishes to your Bitty Blocks row quilt!

Paula made her Bitty Pinwheels to spin counter-clockwise.

pinwheel14 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Paula’s Pinwheels spin counter-clockwise.

I made mine to spin clockwise.

pinwheel16 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

My Pinwheels spin clockwise.

It doesn’t matter which way you spin, but do make them all the same.

Inside secret: I made my first set of half-square triangles the wrong size, and if that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t get all of the patches placed right sides together!

pinwheel1 Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Major mess-up.

Even those of us who write about quilts for a living make mistakes. icon smile Decembers QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

Quilt on!

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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15 Responses to December’s QM Bitty Blocks: Pinwheels

  1. New to your blog. Stumbled upon it browsing the web. Keep up the great work. I am hoping you update it regularly.

  2. Pingback: Quiltmaker Bitty Blocks – “Pinwheels” | abyquilts

  3. Pingback: Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs – December Quiltmaker Bitty Blocks

  4. Pingback: Minirutor / Bitty Blocks | Rutigt – G Adrian

  5. Barbara Perrotti says:

    Will you give any finishing directions? Than

  6. Joy Bradley says:

    I love the bitty blocks. Even made an adorable Jacob’s Ladder candle mat from the little 4″ blocks. Sure hope Quiltmaker has more fun like this in 2016!

  7. sylvia vest says:

    I am confused. I did pinwheels in April. I love the new issue of Quiltmaker with the suggestions for our little blocks. love you for all your work this year.

  8. Doris says:

    I have 12 rows plus 3 flying geese. What are the other 2 for 17? What size is the border squares? And how are they set together?

  9. Thank you for the fun patterns. They will make a nice mini quilt for my sewing room wall.:)

  10. Love the itty bitty blocks. The Dec. post says there are 16 plus Dec.’s which makes 17 blocks. I only have 12, where can I get the rest.
    Are there going to be instructions for putting together, or is it individual choice as to sashings between, etc..?
    Thanks

  11. Darrell says:

    Hey Diane.. Have you never heard the expression that you pay for both sides of the fabric.. so take your “mistake” and make it go front-back-front-back …. or repeat it.. you then will end up with two blocks one using the front and the other using the back.. just call it a artistic variation..

  12. Amber says:

    Thank you so much for all the bitty patterns and fun. my bitty block quilt is amazing!!!! I am slowly sewing all the sashings to it and I think it may stay on the wall. Thank you thank you!

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