Saturday, May 21, 2016

Piecing my Island Batik Playful Pinwheels Quilt

Here is my finished quilt top!  If you missed Wednesday's post click here to see how I developed the pattern for this quilt.

As an Island Batik Ambassador I was given a lovely layer cake of Hollywood Hills Island Batik fabrics. I decided to open it up and use it in my pinwheels.  It's hard for me to cut into precuts.  It makes no sense, but they looks pretty in their packages!

I was looking for 2 fabric combinations for the two different pairs in the pinwheels.  Here are a few combinations I tried:

I really like this color combination, but I felt that the fabric on the right would get lost when I cut it into small pieces so that was out.

Here are two lovely greens I was thinking about using together.  I decided that the light green looked kind of washed out on the tan background fabric.  It didn't stand out like I wanted it to.

Here are my final color choices.  The pinwheels have a thin border (the dark purple on the left) and then there are two sets of colors.  The two pinks became on combination and the green and blue the other pair.

Since I had a layer cake I wanted to make sure that I had enough fabric to complete the two blocks.  The best way I know to do this is to carefully precut all my pieces.  I cut strips the right width.  Then I drew a template the size of the final piece I needed.  I then add 3/16-1/2 inch extra all the way around to allow for paper piecing.

Using my template I cut out the pieces so that they were just about the right size with little fabric wasted.  You can see how I do this in my picture below.  I just run my rotary cutter right along the edge of the paper to get pieces the exact shape I want without a lot of waste.  I had plenty of fabric left in case I made a mistake.

I was so excited to see what my pinwheels would look like!  Here is the first one all laid out once the pieces were completely pieced.

And here are both pinwheels together.  I wanted to use the same color combination, but make them opposites of each other.  One pinwheel has long green spikes and the other pinwheel has long pink spikes.

After making all the pieces I set in the square blocks.  This was a little easier because of the paper, but of course I still had one that I had to resew four times before it came out without a pucker.  Such is life.  Then, once I had the squares inset, I had to figure out how to construct the quilt so those two points would touch.  This took some creative thinking, trimming and unsewing (my seam ripper has had a workout lately!), but I was able to piece it successfully and not revert to my usual fallback of appliqueing something I can't figure out how to piece.

Here is the final top of my quilt.  I love the way the two pinwheels play together and complement each other. They really draw my eye around the quilt.

One thing that was a challenge for me in sewing this quilt was thread color.  I know it may be a strange thing to think about when piecing, but I had a problem.  When I was sewing the background fabric of this quilt I obviously used tan.  When I sewed the paper pieces I used blue and pink thread on the two different colored pieces.  Then, when it was ready to sew together I didn't want to switch thread color as I went from colored fabric to tan fabric as that would've made it a lot more complicated.  I decided to just use tan thread and go for it.  If you look carefully at the picture below you can see the tan thread showing up in the center seams of the block. this a big deal?  Since it's not for show and it's just for me?  No.  However, the reason I bring this up at all is to talk about how to fix this problem.  There are two possibilities.  One is to change thread colors while sewing those seams (what a pain).  The other is to color the thread with a fine point sharpie in the fabric color the thread is next to.  If the tan thread shows near a pink fabric color the threads with a pink marker.  If it's near a blue fabric color it with a fine blue sharpie.  There are enough colors of sharpies out there right now finding the right color is very possible.  And close is good enough.  Yes, I know this for a fact.  I've done it on show quilts!

Did I do the coloring this time?  No, not yet.  Will I?  Maybe, if it bugs me enough.  Right now I'm just happy with how it turned out and I really don't feel like going on a sharpie hunt.

Come back Saturday to check out the quilting I did on this Playful Pinwheels quilt!  And don't forget to join my Machine Applique Adventures Facebook group.

Happy Sewing!


  1. I did the sharpie thing too. Great job!!!

  2. Best block ever Suzy. So talented

  3. Best block ever Suzy. So talented

  4. I always use a neutral thread when piecing, saves buying dozens of different colours and shades. I was also taught to go with a shade to match the darker colour, as a light thread shows up more on a dark fabric, than a dark thread shows on the lighter one.

    1. Good suggestion Katie! Thanks :)
      However.....I do have dozens of different colors because I applique so much :)

  5. Beautiful piece Suzy and thanks for sharing your steps for it. I also have a whole stash of sharpies and fabric pens for the same purpose!

  6. Your pinwheels are beautiful. Love your fabric choices.

  7. What a GREAT tutorial Suzy and a wonderful lesson as well thank you so much, throughly enjoyed my visit. Fabulous colours and delicious fabrics for eye candy. Cheers Glenda