Sunday, June 5, 2011

Charm Pack Pinwheels.....

I had been 'sitting' on a charm pack for a few months waiting for inspiration

and when I wanted some 'Wintery' colours for a swap these lovely warm colours found a use....

A pinwheel runner tutorial for you.....

(Please note this is a "how to" and not a specific pattern)

For one table runner you will need:
6 squares from your charm pack
18" by WOF of whatever background
12" x  30" piece for backing

(cut a 5" strip of your backing - then cut off 6 x 5" squares)
and 3 x 1 1/2" strips

11 other squares from your charm pack for the binding
(or you can use strips of a matching colour)

It's not HARD... but you do need to be CAREFUL with measurements ..
... you see, there are points involved..... mmmm

First things first.... get a cuppa of your favourite...

... and wash your hands please... we are playing with fabric....

I matched with a pretty spotty sage green and started my first pinwheel extravaganza....

Of course you can use whichever charm pack (or even other fabric cut to size!) and background you like
you do need a reasonable light/dark contrast

The charm pack squares are 5" so I cut an equal number of 5" in the green

For a table runner I used 6 of each - match these in pairs
(one of the green, one of the Symphony) x 6

Draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of one square (whichever is lightest)

pin a background to a charm square - right sides together and the drawn line facing you..
pin to stabilize.... you really don't want any movement.....

sew a scant 1/4" on either side of the line.........

and slice on the line.........

open and press towards the darker colour

square off the edges - use your 45 degree line to centre on the square.... you want the diagonal to go exactly through the centre and meet the points of the square -
~ just trim to straighten the edges and ensure all the squares are the same size.... 4 1/2" squares
(you can of course make smaller squares... just keep the points in the right place!!)

... you should now have 12 squares... half colour, half background..... all pressed nicely and trimmed to exactly the same size....

you may need a snack at this stage .....

... don't forget to wash hands please.........

place your beautifully sewn, pressed and trimmed squares on your favourite board/mat/bed
(I use the flannel back of a cheap $2 tablecloth hung over a cupboard door - seen HERE)

this is to help you sew them in the right places.....

can you notice one of mine is wrong.....
(I did that on purpose to test you)

sew up pairs of blocks... the background greens will be on opposite sides and the pressed seams facing opposite direction so you are able to butt them together nicely.....

pin in place
then place pairs together..... ensure your points are facing together - manipulate them a bit if you need to
(this time I don't press - but you can of course - for some reason I find my points meet together better if I haven't)

- pin and stitch the seam -

~ Now give it a nice gentle press ~

~ admire your beautifull block ~

~ repeat with your other blocks ~

~ now we will join the pinwheels together ~

perhaps you are a bit tired?

there are some fresh baked biscuits in the kitchen....

...... did you remember to wash hands.... thank you......

You will need 4 strips of your background fabric.... 
 cut these 1 1/2" by 8 1/2"

also cut 2 strips 1 1/2" by 28 1/2"

at this stage you may notice different colours in my pictures .... please ignore that and play pretend....
(I just made a few different blocks at the same time)

sew the side borders on - press and sew the top and bottom borders
.. top is done..

now you want to layer it for quilting .... base fabric wrong side up, (I used a heavy cotton so it would give a bit of weight)

because it is a small item I prefer to use a spray glue - but pinning or tacking is equally effective.... even a firm iron will hold smaller items.....

so base down, place your wadding/batting on top and then your lovely sewn, pressed, trimmed, bordered pinwheels on top.....

... now it's time to quilt it.....
now don't go and have a wobbly if you haven't done quiliting before... this part you can do... I promise

just have a nice cup of tea.....
I sewed about 1/4" away from the join lines... made pretty little triangles in each part of the pinwheel.... and then around the whole border..... just nice straight lines following the stitching line for a guide....

(in the ditch is fine too but I find if you go off the line you notice it more than if you are shadowing the stitching line....
. my tea can cause me to loose focus and go off track occasionally)

trim to the edge of your borders.....

~ time for the binding ~
I made a 'scrappy' binding using 11 more of the charm squares..... (those charm packs are so great... all the colours coordinate).... you actually need 10 but I like a generous amount of binding.....

Cute all 11 of these squares in half.... so you have 22 x 2 1/2"by 5" rectangles.....

join them up.... pairs first and then pair the pairs... and so you go on till you have one long strip....

~ press ~

because this is binding and you want to minimise lumps press the seams open

then fold your long 2 1/2" strip in half lengthways and press

 ~ bind in your favourite way ~
I handstitched down the binding for the runners

you now have a perfectly pointed colour coordinated home made charm pack table runner these lots of squares left so you can make another.....

I also made a couple of hot pot mats
there's insulbrite in the middle layer
you can see I machine sewed these bindings down

you can't see it but there is a little hanging loop on one corner

From one charm pack I have two table runners with scrappy bindings
(plus some background and backing fabric)
AND two hotpotmats
AND there are still some charms left for another day

I need a snack before I try anything else

I hope you will try a pinwheel with me

I'm going to make some more with this.....
(of course I will wash my hands first)

Marina kindly sent me some of her unused Wiscasset layer cake
(thanks so much Marina......)

I'm making a pinwheel backing for this quilt top:

..... gotta love the idea of a two sided quilt ....


  1. I think I will stick with 'layer' cake rather than real cake!! or scones!! LOL! Great tutorial!

  2. Great and humorous tut, gal.
    DD#2 and I will play with this one on our next SEW DAY.
    Am bookmarking this post right now.

  3. OR....just put your two charms right side together and sew 1/4" all the way around the outside edge in a square, then cut diagonal from corner to corner both directions.

    I would love a real cake but I am so trying to lose weight and keep gaining!!

  4. Fiona what a great tutorial i will definatly try this one,thankyou for making it so easy to understand,love the fabrics and colours that you have used,well done you deserve a wine and nibbles now,lol.

  5. I am coming to your place to do the tut and have the snacks on the way. LOL

  6. That quilting tea is good stuff, isn't it....a couple of cups of it, and lovely things like you have made can be turned out! I should see if we have any here.

  7. Fiona, you are such a dag!! I have to go back and re-read it because I was laughing at the washing hands!!

  8. Lovely tutorial. You are a crack up. I especially will follow to the letter the instructions regarding refreshments and sustenance! One of these would make a super Christmas item..
    Better go get a 'cup of tea'.

  9. Oh Please let me know when you are making another tut... cause I'll be there to hold the! and taste the food... yum... only as your helper though... did I say YuMMMMMM! :)

  10. Well you sure do make it look easy - love the snacks and LOVE the tea, lol! You crack me up! Thank you for the great how to, Fiona, I very much enjoyed it and your projects are too lovely!

  11. Great post :) where do you find the time to do all that yummy baking and all your stitching? you make it look so easy

  12. I love your tutorials Fiona. Always easy to follow, simple projects that give great results & always lots of laughs & a wish that I could come around for afternoon tea! Thanks, Tracee xx

  13. Forgot to tell you, been cutting up denim skirts today to get circles to make the quilt in your last tutorial. Looking good! Tracee xx

  14. What a fun post, Fiona! You are so creative...and so funny! I love the table runner and as soon as my sewing schedule is cleared up, I'll be making one for.... ME! :o)

    Thanks so much for sharing!



  15. I need to stay away from your looks toxic over there...yummy toxic. Love the runner!

  16. Great tutorital! I have some other projects ahead in the queue so it will have to wait. Love the food in your house for snacktime!

  17. Wonderful!! I have a few charm paks of Patriotic fabric that I hadn't decided what to do with and this will work nicely...I think I'll also do one or two with some Christmas fabric....make a nice gift or two. Your tutorial is so easy to follow.
    Oh, and I like your choice of tea..that would be mine, too.
    Mama Bear

  18. Save me a snack I will be straight over and get a personal tutorial to make this sweet runner ;-) hugs Sheila

  19. Great tutorial Fiona but I couldn't concentrate with all those yummy snacks and that gorgeous cup and saucer with the coffee pot.LOL

  20. That is a great tutorial. I love the quilting. Thank you for sharing. I've just finished a vienna coffe and a choc chip cookie (which I keep in the freezer for stitchy emergencies), now I feel all ready to go sew.

  21. Love the way you just happen to make a few other things on the way, always a pleasure to read, and you certainly are a Mo Jo mover.

  22. Fabulous tutorial, you make it look so simple - so thanks! Only a little bit hungry now though. lol

  23. Perfect how to, with all the essentials including sustenance.
    Best go find some tea and cake so I can get started.


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