Category Archives: windmill block

Wild about Windmills

I didn’t have to look far to find a block design for the other main panel of my quilter’s tote known as the Junior Billie Bag:

jbb windmill block
It’s essentially the same block that’s in the red and white quilt I started a couple weeks ago. I swapped out the pinwheel center of that block with the fussy-cut square you see above, surrounding it with a narrow black accent strip.

I am loving the bold look of this block, which reminds me of a windmill. (My red and white blocks with the pinwheel centers look even more like windmills; there’s a quilt name in there somewhere.)

Here’s the latest windmill block with black border strips added to size it for my Billie Bag:

JBB windmill panel

I’m mulling over the quilting possibilities. Maybe straight line quilting in the windmill block and free motion meandering in the black background strips?

Just for fun I positioned the block on point on my design wall (and cropped it here so it would be framed in black):

Camera Uploads8
Striking, yes? It reminds me a bit of a Maltese cross. Wouldn’t it make an interesting quilt? Oh for another lifetime to make all of the quilts that are in my head!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, update, windmill block | 3 Comments

Too Clever by Half

Which is to say: not very clever at all.

I’ve been humming along on the blocks for my latest project, a variation of Winding Ways using red and white fabrics. As I showed you in my last post, I’m working from a stack of V blocks made up of four reds and a couple of light prints:

V blocks

I figured that pairing all of the reds with both of the lights would give me a lot of variety when it came time to arrange the blocks on my design wall. But a funny thing happened when I started playing with the blocks. I had a stack that didn’t work at all! How did that happen?

Had I really thought about it before running off in high spirits to my sewing machine, I would have figured it out.

Look at a dark block. You see that the toile print is in the star points of the V blocks and the red fabric is on the outside:

windmill block 1

Now look how a light block has the vine print in the V of the V blocks and all around the outside:

windmills block 2
When you put the blocks together in their proper order, with the light and dark blocks alternating, the vine and toile fabrics should alternate, too, like this:

Windmill blocks 3x3

In other words, the V in the light blocks should always be the vine print, never the toile. And the star points in the dark blocks should always be the toile print, never the vine. I made several blocks that were the exact opposite.

(Just to be on the safe side, I’m going to make the center pinwheel blocks last. They’re going to be a bit scrappy and I sure don’t want to wind up with identical pinwheels in adjacent blocks.)

You know that carpenter’s saying “measure twice, cut once”? My dear friend Colleen, also a quiltmaker, modified that saying to “think twice, measure twice, cut once.” I should have followed Colleen’s advice. Instead I have a set of blocks I can’t use in this quilt.

Although I will never get back the time spent cutting, sewing, and trimming those extra blocks, there is a bit of a silver lining: they can always be used in another quilt or perhaps a table runner. Or on the back of this quilt. One thing I can assure you: they will never wind up as orphan blocks. I’ve invested entirely too much time in them.

 

 

 

Posted in update, Winding Ways quilt block, windmill block | 6 Comments

Snowed In!

Local pundits are calling it “Snowpocalypse” — the epic snowfall on Wednesday that pretty much shut Portland down. We can go years without snow in winter but this season it has already snowed four times. The temperatures aren’t rising enough to melt the snow so we are stuck with it for a while.

What a great excuse to hunker down and get some sewing done! This is what I’ve been working on:

windmill block 1

windmills block 2
Aren’t those pretty blocks? They remind me of windmills. The pattern is A Mid-Winter’s Night by Deb Eggers of the Cottage Rose Quilt Shop:

a-mid-winters-night-quilt-pattern
The pattern is a reworking of the classic Winding Ways block with a pinwheel in the center. If you look carefully at the quilt pictured on the pattern cover you can see overlapping light and dark circles. The circles are illusions, as all of the cutting and stitching lines are straight. I believe the Winding Ways block is traditionally made with curves resulting in a four-patch block. The method I’m using here results in a nine-patch block.

Working strictly from my stash — I couldn’t have driven to a fabric store in this weather even if I’d wanted to! — I pulled out some red tone-on-tone prints that read as solid and a couple of white-on-red prints.

Now I’m making my way through my little piles of V blocks:

V blocks
The pattern calls for the Tri-Recs rulers, which I own, but I am getting great results from the V Block Trim Down Ruler by Deb Tucker. I resized the block from 9″ to 12″ so the units you see above measure 4½” square. With the V Block Ruler you can trim down blocks for 11 different sizes ranging from 1½” to 6½”.

I may add another red for more variety in my darks. With the exception of a few small pieces in my scrap bin, I’m limited to the vine and toile prints for the lights. I’ll save the smallest pieces for the center pinwheels.

While I am happily ensconced in my sewing room, Coco is keeping tabs on the weather from her perch above the plantation shutters in the master bath:

Coco Jan 2017

The icicles start to melt in the morning sun but refreeze when the sun moves out of sight.

This is our back yard as seen from the kitchen door:

Jan 2017 snow backyard

This is the view from the front porch:

Jan 2017 snow out front
You can see why I have no desire to drive anywhere. And freezing temperatures are expected for the next four days!

 

 

 

Posted in cats, update, Winding Ways quilt block, windmill block | 14 Comments