The Pinwheel block is one of the most common and is ideal for many different projects, from samplers to baby quilts. It’s this last option which I decided to make for a newborn, a little girl. I chose some lovely ombré pink fabric patterned with a little grey backed up with a self patterned white.

The history of the Pin Wheel block, when looked for on the internet, is reputedly from the early American Pioneering era but actually there are examples of it earlier, in Britain. As a side note (and a bit controversially), I’ve found this not unusual. Due to the popularity of quilting in America, especially since the ‘quilt revival’ of the 1970s and 80s, they do claim origin of many designs which had been in use previously. It was the Europeans which took quilting with them as they immigrated so it is no surprise really. The oldest quilt still in existence from the UK is the 1817 silk coverlet, held in the Quilters Guild of the British Isles collection, and there are examples of the Pin Wheel block incorporated within.

Pinwheel Block

It is quite a simple pattern, symbolising windmills essential for the commercial grinding of flour across the country. An obvious choice of pattern from daily country life.

Making a Pin Wheel is easier when you use the method of making two half square triangles (HST) at the same time. I always add an inch and trim the square down to your finished size, which ensures a perfectly accurate finish. But what’s the best way to trim down?

Sew Easy have brought out a new Patchwork Triangle Ruler which is perfect for this and Groves were kind enough to send me one to try. Laser cut for precision which allows your rotary cutter to run alongside smoothly and accurately. There are easy to read lines which makes squaring up so much easier. Another feature I really liked was the cropped tip to one of the corners of the triangle. This enables you to pre-trim the ‘ears’. The excess of fabric when you sew triangles that extend from the corners of the blocks.

Cut Triangles with ease.

When squaring up these HSTs, position the 45 degree line right down the centre line between the two joined fabrics and then you can trim two sides neatly. Just flip the square over and then trim the second two sides, keeping the centre line down the middle. 

This triangle ruler can be used for so much more.  Obviously, it is perfect for cutting many sizes of triangle quickly.  It’s small enough to sit in your workbag and is perfect when drafting patterns. I also found it useful when trimming foundation pieced fabrics. I was able to use it to add the 1/4” required. A very handy ruler indeed.

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