If you are a regular follower here on Notions, CT‘s staff blog, you may remember that I have a history of starting more projects than I finish, love to try new tools, and tend to make scrappy quilts to help justify the size of my fabric stash (25+ years worth). Recently at least, I tend to embark upon smaller quilted projects with the hope I will complete more of them!
My Project Objectives
My objectives for this project were:
- To make a small table topper just under 16″ square for a bedside table in our guest bedroom.
- Use fabrics from my stash of neutral fabrics to coordinate with other quilted projects in the room.
- Draft a design in Adobe Illustrated which uses both sizes of the new Primitive Pinwheel Templates in one project.
Primitive Gatherings is a company that specializes in primitive-style quilted and wool projects. They were granted permission to manufacture smaller versions of the larger Twister Rulers designed by Country Schoolhouse Designs. CT started carrying two sizes of the Primitive Pinwheel Templates – I just had to try them!
The Primitive Pinwheels Template (82144) makes a 1-3/4″ finished block cut from 3-1/2″ squares. A free pattern is included with the template. The finished size: 11″ x 12-1/4″.
The Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels Template (82145) makes a 1″ finished block. The Itty Bitty template also comes with a free pattern. The finished size: 10″ square.
Note: The Primitive Pinwheels Templates are on sale for a few more days!
The Construction Process
To demonstrate how the Primitive Pinwheels Template is used, the photo below shows nine 3-1/2″ squares of different fabrics sewn together into a Nine-Patch. The Primitive Pinwheels Template is placed on fabric with its lines aligned with intersecting seams.
After cutting around all four sides, the result is one small unit made of four different fabrics. I am going to call this a Twister unit since it is not yet a pinwheel. Four of these units will later join to form a tessellating Pinwheel design.
I started with piles of scraps from other neutral quilted projects …
and assorted FQs.
I arranged the light and medium-brown squares in a checkerboard pattern so the Pinwheels would alternate colors. The border is important to provide background fabric around the edge of the interlocking Pinwheels. This will be easier to see later.
Using the larger Primitive Pinwheels Template and a 28mm rotary cutter, I started cutting out the Twister units. Either 18mm or 28mm rotary cutters will work. Smaller sizes work best because it is important to not cut into the nearby area where another small Twister unit will be cut. CT carries Clover Rotary Cutters in both the 18mm or 28mm sizes.
All the Twister units are in place, ready to sew. It is important to place them somewhere nearby in the same order and orientation that they were cut so the matching fabrics in adjacent Twister units combine to make a Pinwheel shape of the same fabric. I used a lid from one of my fabric bins, which was easy to take to the sewing machine for assembly.
The top two rows of Twister units are sewn and the two rows sewn together. The tessellating Pinwheels are emerging.
All the remaining Twister units are sewn into rows; the rows are ready to be sewn together.
The pieced center assembled.
I added 2″ strips of background fabric around the edges, planning to cut then down to the perfect size when the Border 2s are constructed. Here is the top of the mini-quilt from the front…
and the back. The Primitive Pinwheels patterns recommend pressing seams open.
I switched to the smaller Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels Template for the pieced outer borders (Border 2). I chose alternating light and medium-light fabrics since I wanted the continuous row of interlocked Pinwheels to stand out from the background.
It took me a while for me to figure out how I would sew the light and background squares together to make these borders. The challenge was that each Twister unit would have two lights and background fabric and two rows of Twister units would be joined to complete the tessellating Pinwheel design that would encircle the quilt. This was especially tricky at the corners; the units at the ends of the borders contained parts of Pinwheels in the adjacent border. It was a puzzle! The photos below show my solution. You can see by comparing the size of the borders and the quilt center, how much the dimensions decrease as the fabric is cut into smaller units and reassembled.
Two rows of Twister units cut from rows of squares. Again, it is imperative that the Twister units maintain the same order and orientation as they were cut in order to sew the units together correctly.
Two rows of Twister units are pinned and ready to sew together to make one Border 2. Usually when I sew miniature quilts, I find a scant 1/4″ seam works best to achieve an accurate finished size. Not this time! A scant 1/4″ resulted in borders a bit too long. Border 2 needs to have 1″ finished units, so I used a true 1/4″ and measured regularly as I sewed these outer pieced borders.
The four borders are ready to sew on. First, I have to figure out how much to trim down the Border 1 strips so the pieced Border 2s fit perfect.
Time to clean up!
The side Border 2s finished at 12-1/2″ like I planned, so I trimmed the quilt center to 12-1/2″ square – trimming about 1/4″ off all around – leaving a Border 1 with a finished size of 1″. I sewed on the side Border 2s, then the 16-1/2″ top and bottom Border 2s. My Border 2 construction solution worked; the Twister units in adjacent borders combined to form Pinwheels of the same fabrics. Whew!
My weekend was too busy to quilt and bind it, but I hope to next weekend. It looks great on the bedside table for which I made it, but I am going to have to trim 1/4″ off all the sides to make it under 16″ square. Too bad…the Border 2 will lose some of it floating effect, but it will still be fine.
Remember, the Primitive Pinwheels Templates are on sale for a few more days!
I plan to write a blog about all the neutral-colored quilted projects I made for this bedroom sometime in the next month. Please check back for that posting to see how this table topper looks finished.
Not sure how I will quilt it. Any suggestions?