Friday, 5 July 2013

This is making me happy {a Windmill Block tutorial}

Thank you to those who joined in my discussion about my latest quilt earlier this week.  Your thoughts, which were coming in at the same time I was making these blocks, made for some great food for thought.
I started cutting these purple strips because at some point in the making of my Basket Weave quilt, I thought maybe purple would help. I changed my mind and started to think up other ways to use them.
A few evenings ago I was flipping through one of my quilt block books, trying to imagine them in less brown-and-forest-green prints. The Windmill Block struck me as an easy way to use these strips without cutting them into hundreds of triangles. My book comes with templates, but I prefer my ruler and making it up as I go. Here's what I did:

I cut 5" squares from this Essex Linen in Grey, and then cut them in half to make triangles.

I sewed one of my strips (which were 8.5" because of my original plans, but you're probably only need 7") to one of the short edges of the triangle, pressed open and trimmed, using the 45 degree line as a guide.

When you repeat this step for the other triangles, make sure you sew them all the same way! I always made sure I had my strip facing down over my triangle. (and when I didn't, I decided to make a couple of blocks going the other way!;))

I sewed two lots of triangles together into two bigger triangles, then sewed the final seam to get my block.

About the time I was running out of scrappy purple strips, I wrote my last post about colour and creating. So instead of going back to my purple scrap bucket for more, I pulled out some of my favourite purple prints by Denyse and Anna Maria. I love the variations in tone these fabrics bring to the quilt. And as I was cutting them up and sewing them together, I felt different. It made me happy. The goal moved from plowing through my scraps to creating quilts I loved. I gave more attention to colour and tone. I brought in just the amount of clash I love in a quilt. (and it turns out there can be plenty in purple!)

And I realised that recently, I've been quilting from an idea in my head, like using up my problem prints or scrap wadding, rather than thinking much about colour design. And sometimes that works, like I think it did here, and sometimes it doesn't. And in my windmill quilt, I love that it has the beginnings of a scrappy quilt, with more intentional prints brought in to give it some grounding. If I'd started with my freshly cut stash, I wouldn't have made these pieced windmill arms, and if I'd used only scraps, you wouldn't see any of that burst orange or pinky tones. And I love what both bring to this quilt.

So now I am madly trying to quilt it before I hold my first stall at The Olive Tree Markets tomorrow. I would love to photograph it there for you. So many amazing creations and colours!
My lines are a bit more wiggly that I would like, and I've been feeling a bit flat about it, but this photo gives me hope that it's not so obvious from further back?
Now. Any ideas for tiny triangles? I'm collecting a few!


  1. This turned out so nice! And your quilting looks great from what I can see :) I've been collecting all of my binding offcuts and started sewing them to 2.5" white squares this week. Going to make Up Up and Away from Sunday Morning Quilts :)

  2. The same quilt Leign Anne referred to is also on my mind. The only thing is that it creates/wastes a bunch of white triangles, but perhaps that is a good sacrifice to enjoy a scrappy bunch of small triangles.

  3. How big are the triangles? I recently had triangular ears left over from flying geese blocks, turned them into little HST's and converted them into Connecticut star blocks. Just an idea.

  4. What a beauty. I love when leftovers/cast-offs from one thing become the start of something else (in fabric... and in life!). Purple has never been a favourite of mine, but these tones look lovely.

  5. I LOVE this quilt! And no, not obvious that they are wiggly lines lol. My last quilts straight lines were a little wiggly too but I figure once it's washed and dried they're always more wiggly than originally. Have I used to word wiggly enough? lol


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx