Posts Tagged ‘Windmill’

Windmill Block – Let’s Play with Coloring

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Time to make the “quilts”! The colorplay blog is so much fun to put together for each block release of the Mic’s Attic Picks series.

Yes, they are computer graphics vs real quilts. There are only so many hours in each day, I truly do wish I could make every idea into an actual quilt, but even if I was machine piecing this would be impossible.

There are so many ideas.

So let’s just enjoy the fact that technology allows me to share some of what happens in my brain with you.

First up! A very traditional two color Windmill block setting (see image above). If you are considering this for your quilt I have just a small bit of advice. Make sure you colors are high contrast and if you are using prints vs solids, make sure the prints are of different scales (ie small and large, medium and large) to make an eye pleasing quilt.

Now look what happens when you play with the coloring of Piece A.

Movement and depth is achieved.

Let’s step up the coloring one more notch. This is an example of four blocks each colored in the same unique manner. But when set together four patch style a very complex and large “new” block is made.

This “block” measures 24″ x 24″

Repeat that block in a 4 x 4 setting you get this bed size quilt measuring 96″ x 96″

And last but not least. The Little Boy Britches block (February 2019 release) and Windmill block combine for a beautiful quilt. Windmill block with it’s breakdown into 6″ square units makes for a great block to utilize as a border. And look at those fun circle corners that can be achieved!

I hope you are enjoying the Windmill block. I see a border of it in a future project of my own.

Join me tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24th at 6pm cst for a FACEBOOK LIVE session all about the Windmill block. I will demo the roundabout technique and we can discuss coloring etc.

If you are unable to join me LIVE you will always find all the LIVE segments saved and stored under the video tab on the MDQuilts Facebook page.

Enjoy the day,

Windmill Block – How to Blog #2

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Today’s blog will be short and sweet as sewing up your Windmill block it quick and easy. 

We left off with all the wedges, as I call them, of the block finished.  With their short, approx 1 ½” seams they do finished up in little time. 

The next seam is a complex seam.   A complex seam is any seam that includes a roundabout technique that is used to pull together the intersection of 3 or more fabrics.   These intersections are always indicated by the red circles in the written instructions included with all template sets.

Place a set of wedges (of opposite coloring in this example) right sides together, line up the corners of the intersection and pin as shown perpendiculary.   The pin directly on the sewing guideline across the entire length.   

The pins I use for hand piecing are Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Pins, and believe me they are PERFECT for hand piecing.   I never realized the weight of traditional fine pins until I tried these ultra fine pins.   And because they are so slender you can leave them pinned and sew right past them (hovering above the drawn guideline – see part 1 for explanation) if you find that helpful in reminding you to hover above the line vs sew on it.

I use the smaller pins 90% of the time in my piecing.

Begin at the far right edge, just a thread or two above and to the right of the drawn corner point and sew to the left.

The roundabout technique is utilized at the intersection of the previously sewn pieces.   You will be going a round the intersection by moving your needle thru TWO pieces of fabric at a time.  Trying to manuver thru any more then two pieces usually results in warping the corner, so two pieces at a time is recommended for the best results.   You will proceed to do this as close to the corner point with your needle in a clockwise motion around the intersection, the entire intersection, until you return to the point of the two Piece A’s and then continue with your hand piecing of their edges together.

At the end of this segment you will find yourself at another roundabout, proceed as before this time ending when you reach again the portion of the two Piece B’s segment and sew that length to the end/corner, knot off and repeat 3 more times with the remaining wedges.

PLEASE NOTE:  I will be demonstrating the Roundabout Technique in a Facebook Live segment on Wednesday, July 24th.  The actual time is still being determined and will be announced in the next blog posting on Tuesday and on the MDQuilts facebook page. If you miss the LIVE segment you will be able to find the video under the VIDEO tab on the MDQuilts Page in the folder named Windmill.

With all B-A-B segments (think half square triangles) matched and sewing into square what is essentially left to complete this block is to sew it together four patch style.

The two shorter seams.

And the final long seam length down the center.  That middle roundabout is the toughest thing about this block, but go slow and aim your needle point to as close to the center of the corner points with each pass thru 2 fabrics and you will be fine.   Yes it will be bulky.   It is 8 pieces of fabric meeting.   But hand piecing allows you to the ease of being able to control your seam easier and bring them together in a nice crisp point.    Also because seams are NOT sewn absolute edge to edge (remember you end a thread or two beyond the find drawn guideline) your seam allowance is easier to manipulate for a flatter intersection of all 8 fabrics.  

And VIOLA!  Your block is done!

Join me on Tuesday for a blog filled with ideas for coloring and full quilt graphics using the Windmill block.

And if you wish to purchase Windmill templates or Perfect Pins you can find them in my store by clicking on this link or clicking the Store tab at the top of this page.

Enjoy the day,

Windmill Block – How To Blog #1

Friday, July 19th, 2019

It’s time to make a Windmill Block!   This is a very simple block and I chose it for the July release in the Mic’s Attic Picks series because of it’s simplicity.   It makes for an easy block to kit up and have for those snippets of time to sew up in the summer.  And with a rather large piece (or the two) in the block…well it sews up very fast.

It is also a great block for beginners but exciting for experienced hand piecers with it’s design/coloring options. 

Let’s talk about the templates.   These are ¼” windowed acrylic templates.  Which means you can mark your outside cutting line and your inside sewing GUIDELINE at the same time.   But take a look at Piece A of your set.  It looks a bit different then what you may of expected to see.   It is what I call a HINGED template.   That means that the template received is HALF of what is needed to make the shape and an alignment “hinge” is on one edge to help you line things up for successful tracking.

Why hinge the template?  3 reasons.  1. Acrylic is expensive and when block shapes are large it could add dramtically to the template set cost.  So hingiing a large template keeps acrylic waste at a minimum and cost down.  2. A large template can be very fragile so by hinging it we reduce the chance of breakage.  3. Hinging a piece can make a set fit in the lovely hard cases you will now find your templates shipped to you in. 

Let’s cover how to mark your fabric using a hinge template.   A set of general instructions covering HINGE templates are included with every template set, as are piecing instructions, but as they say- a picture is worth a thousand words.

I am tracing the template on paper using a marker for clear visability, you will be using a pencil/chalk pen/gel pen on the backside of your chosen fabric.

Trace both the outer and inner lines of the template on all side EXCEPT the HINGE.  Here you will only lightly mark the dashes indicated in the center of the hinge. 

Now flip the template over and line up the marked dashes and repeate the tracing of the outer and inner edges of the other sides of the template.

Your tracing should look like this.

I like to use my template edge as shown in the next pictures to fill in the missing lines.

connect the drawn lines
make the inner corner

And viola you have the whole shape and are ready to repeat this process 7 more times for the block.

You will notice that I indicate an Ar (meaning template A Reversed) in my written instructions included in the set.  I did this because I wanted it to be clear that the A pieces are meant to be at least TWO different fabrics.   I did not repeat this wil the B templates because I felt my point was made with the As.   The piece is truly not reversed but with only 2 pieces in the set I needed something to make the diagram make sense and not just be a sea of As and Bs.

Cut out all your pieces and lay them out in front of you. 

The first sewing that needs to be done on this block is all the B pieces attached to opposite ends of the A pieces.  These are short easy seams

Line up your pieces using a perpendicular pin thru each corner of the GUIDELINE and then pin directly on the drawn line in the center.   

This line is a GUIDELINE and not the line you will be sewing on.  You will be sewing a thread or two above the drawn line.  This is hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch and it helps recover the excess thread or two of seam width added by the drawn line as no pencil/etc. can get directly under the template to drawn the true line.  So you need to hover above the line/sew a scant quarter of an inch to get that measurement back.

This line is a GUIDELINE and not the line you will be sewing on.  You will be sewing a thread or two above the drawn line.  This is hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch and it helps recover the excess thread or two of seam width added by the drawn line as no pencil/etc. can get directly under the template to drawn the true line.  So you need to hover above the line/sew a scant quarter of an inch to get that measurement back.

Sew all 16 B’s in sets of two to each of the 8 A/Ar pieces.   This is where we will end today’s blog.   On Sunday we will tackle the next 3 steps of sewing that are all that is needed to complete this block.  

Please feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments.

If you haven’t ordered your set of Windmill Hand Piecing Templates yet you can do so by clicking this link. Or you can head to my store thru to tab above head to the Mic’s Attic Picks category to see all the blocks released.

And make note that every block is also released in an English Paper Piecing format. You will find all those products also in my webstore.

Enjoy the day,

Introducing – Windmill Block

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Hello July! And hello to a new quilt block design release in the Mic’s Attic Picks series.


This vintage quilt, note vintage vs antique because that orange fabric you see right under Ginger is late 1970s/early 1980s I believe. This quilt is relatively new to my collection. I only acquired it within the last year or so.

But as soon as I saw it I knew it would be a great addition to the Mic’s Attic Picks series for it’s simplicity. Just two shapes make up this block that can be quite impressive with it’s various design capabilities.

Two templates also means this is the LOWEST priced template set in the collection. Just $15.00 regular priced, but on preorder special right now for $12.50 if you place your order by midnight July 8th. Orders will ship out beginning July 12th directly from my manufacturer to buyers in the order they are received so if you wish to have the templates in hand ASAP then place your order early to guarantee quick shipping. You can go directly to the Hand Piecing Templates to order by clicking below on the image or head to my store via the tab at the top of this page. You will find them under the NEW category.

The Windmill design is also available in English Paper Piecing and you can easily find these products in my store under the NEW category.

So while the quilt itself is not, let’s just say, museum quality, it will be used someday to reupholster a chair or couch that will reside in my home. Some of the blocks are composed of heavy drapery grade fabric and thus this became very attractive for what I would like to use it for eventually. Please also note that the blocks in the inspiration quilt are approximately 20″ in size. I have taken the liberty to reduce the size to the more common 12″ and have eased the rounding of the circle edges to also make it even more beginner friendly.

Here are some samples of the block made with the Hand Piecing Templates.

This picture was taken at the Peace & Applique Quilt shop in Bloomington Illinois.

As I said – an easy block for beginners – but packed full of design potential for any level of quilter.

The timetable on this design is as follows: How-to Blogs will post on July 19 & July 21 Facebook LIVE sewing will happen on July 24th

This is my favorite block from the vintage quilt.

I hope you will join in some fun in July with the Windmill block!

Enjoy your day,