Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Seeing Stars Quilt-Along - Pinwheel Star Block

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Seeing Stars Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win one of three $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by  Fat Quarter Shop you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule

August 29th - Pinwheel Star Block (That's Today!!)
September 5th - Improv Star Block
September 12th - Basic Star Block
September 19th - Applique Star Block
September 26th - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
October 17th- Seeing Stars Parade and Grand Prize Winners

Now, first off for this week, we need to pick a winner for the Curvy Star Block Assignment.   And I just have to say, you all are amazing!!!  Your Curvy Star Blocks just looked fantastic, and for a lot of you, it was your first time sewing curves ;)  That is incredible!!!   Thanks so much for quilting along with me and being willing to try new things!!!

The Curvy Star Block assignment winner who gets a Acorn Love Table Runner Kit from Shabby Fabrics is
#33 - nbholley!!! - Congrats :)



And just like that, we are on to our third set of blocks , so let's get going :)  If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)



We will be making 4 Pinwheel Star Blocks.  I will give the cutting directions for 1 Pinwheel Star Block (for those that are making alternate layouts).  Then I will give the cutting directions for the Total Pieces needed for all Pinwheel Star Blocks.    Each Print Fabric listed represents a different part of the star block.  Below the initial single block cutting list is an image of the Pinwheel Star Block just to clarify where each fabric is placed in the block.   

Pinwheel Star Block - For Each Block cut:

Print Fabric A  - (4) 5" x 5" squares
Print Fabric B - (4) 5" x 5" squares
Background Fabric - (4) 5" x 5" squares
                                  (4) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares

So for all 4 Pinwheel Star Blocks you will cut:

Print Fabric A  - (16) 5" x 5" squares - 4 squares each of 4 different prints
Print Fabric B - (16) 5" x 5" squares - 4 squares each of 4 different prints
Background Fabric - (16) 5" x 5" squares
                                  (16) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares

Half Square triangles are fun and fast and probably the most versatile building block in all of the piecing units you can make.  (At least in my opinion :)

We will start by gathering all our 5" squares for making HST units and pairing them.  So Gather 2 Print squares of each of your A Fabrics and pair them with 2 other Print squares of each of your B Fabrics as shown below on the left.  You will now have 2 Print Squares of each of your 8 Fabrics (A & B) remaining, and those are paired with your 16 Background 5" Fabric squares.

So has everyone got their 5" squares paired.   Excellent, let's make some Half Square Triangles!!!
Start by using a ruler to draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all your B Fabric Squares in the A/B Pairings.  And then draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all our Print Squares in the Print/Background Pairings.   **Note - If you have a marked 1/4" line on your machine (like I explained at the beginning of this QAL Tutorial)  lots of times you can skip the drawing step, just to let you know ;)

Take a pairing of squares and align them with rights sides together.  Pin both sides adjacent to that drawn line, be sure to place them far enough out to leave room for your presser foot to stitch on by.  Or, if you are feeling confident since you squares aren't to large, you can stitch these without pinning :)   Stitch a seam 1/4" from EITHER side of the drawn line (the black lines represent your stitching lines :)

And of course, to save time and thread, we want to chain stitch these. Start by stitching a 1/4" seam on the left hand side of the drawn line. Chain stitched all your Print/Background unit pairs and then continue on with your PrintA/PrintB unit pairs.  There will be 24 units total. 

 Then clip the threads between the squares, stack them up, and now stitch the 1/4" seam on the other side of the drawn line.  Once all 24 units are stitched, clip the threads between the squares.

And now, back to cutting.   Align your ruler along the drawn center line (or from corner to corner).   Cut along the edge of your ruler, creating two triangles that each have a 1/4" seam.  Cut all 24 Units in half.

Now Pressing.   On the PrintA/PrintB units press the seam allowance towards the Darker fabric.  On the Print/Background units press the seam allowance towards the Print fabric.  I prefer to press them from the front rather than the back, but do what is comfortable for you :)

And now the fun part, trimming.  You will be trimming your blocks to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" square.
Begin by aligning the 45 degree line on your square ruler with the seam line on your half square triangle.  Make sure that the raw edges of the half square triangle are over the 4 1/2" line's on your ruler.  Trim the 2 sides along the edge of the ruler.  There won't be a whole lot to trim.

Now spin your half square triangle unit 180 degrees.  Once again, align the 45 degree line on your ruler with the seam line on your half square triangle.  Align the raw edges of the half square triangle with the 4 1/2" lines on your ruler.  Trim the 2 sides along the edge of the ruler.

And this is just a side note, but if you do a lot of Half Square Triangles in your quilting, I find the best tools to really speed up trimming is a Rotating Cutting Mat ( I use the  Matilda's Own Rotating Cutting mat ) and the HST Bloc-Loc Rulers.   And if you have the same size ruler as the trimming size, you can simply loc the ruler on the seam allowance and trim all 4 sides while you turn your mat.   It's super slick and super fast!!!  These tools are a little pricey, but I find they are worth their weight in gold, especially since I do a lot of HST's :)

Trim all 48 units.  You should now have 32 Print/Background Half Square Triangle Units and 16 PrintA/Print B Half Square Triangle units that all measure 4 1/2" x 4 1/2".  And I know, it seems like a lot of work to just trim off a little, but having perfect HST's makes putting the rest of your block together and getting those perfect points so much easier ;)


And with your units all done you can now make your Pinwheel Star Block.  Layout 4 Matching PrintA/PrintB Half Square Triangle Units as shown below.  Just like with previous stars, I like to stack up all 4 of my block sets on top of one another so I can Chain Stitch each of the following steps.  You can choose to do this or just make 1 block at a time, whatever you are comfortable with.    The tutorial will just go over making 1 block so it is less confusing.

Place the right hand Units in each row onto the left hand units in each row with right sides together.  The center seams will Nest, or lock against each other.  Once nested pin your sets and then  chain stitch a 1/4" seam along the pinned edges.

Press your seams open to avoid bulk, especially at that center point.

Place the Top row onto the Bottom row with right sides together.  You will be Aligning and Pinning the seams, and then stitching  a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.  But when you go to align that center seam where the points all meet up, you can use a pin trick to make sure it is aligned perfectly.

Here's how to do it.  With right sides together, place the pin through the bottom of the Print Fabric V in the top seam, and then through the top of the HST Point in the bottom seam as shown below. 

Then straighten the pin so it is standing straight up and the two points you pinned through are aligned.  Then simply add pin to the side of the seam allowance to hold the points in place.  Then remove the standing pin.    This Pin trick can be used whenever you are matching two points.

And now, you points are perfectly aligned.  So to finish the perfect point, when sewing the 1/4" seam be sure to sew directly along the bottom of the little V that the print fabrics make as shown below.

Press the center seam Open.  And now your Pinwheel Center is complete and you are ready to add the Outer Star Points.   Layout the Pinwheel Center Unit, 4 Matching Print A/Background Half Square Triangle Units, 4 Matching Print B/Background Half Square Triangle Units, and 4  Background 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares as shown below, taking care the HST's are making star points and matching the Pinwheel.

Now we need to sew those Star Points together.  Place the right hand unit onto the left hand unit with right sides together.   Align and pin the squares and then chain stitch a 1/4" seam on all the pinned pairs.  

Press the seam allowances open, again to avoid bulk and to let us see the fabric V guide that we will use when sewing the rest of the block together.

 Place the Outside Units in each column onto the Center Column units with right sides together.  Align your seams, taking care to match the Half Square Triangle Seams in the center row.   Pin, and chain stitch a 1/4" seam along the units in each of the 3 rows on either side of the center units.   And be sure on the center row units, to use that fabric V and stitch directly along the bottom of the Fabric V.

Then press your seams in the top and bottom rows outwards towards the Background squares and press the seams in the center row open so it lies flat.

And one last set of seams.  Place the Top and Bottom rows onto the Center row with right sides together.  Align the seams, again matching those center seams, and Pin them in place.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the two pinned edges, stitching along the bottom of the fabric V.

 And just press your seams open and you are done!!!!  4 wonderful Pinwheel Star Blocks that measure 16 1/2" x 16 1/2" and are all ready for your Seeing Stars Quilt!!!  And as before,  I don't trim my blocks, but if you like to, just be sure to leave yourself the 1/4" seam allowance at the end of your star points ;)

So now it's your turn, get your Pinwheel Star Blocks made and your assignment is complete!!!  And then you can enter to win the weekly prize :)

The Weekly Prize is sponsored by The Scarlet Thread Quilt Co.  and a huge thanks goes out to them for their support of the  Seeing Stars Quilt-Along.

This weeks prize is a $25.00 Gift Certificate to The Scarlet Thread Quilt Co. Someone is going to get to do some fun shopping after they make their Pinwheel Stars!!!   And what better than to get just what you have had your heart set on ;)

So what do you have to do for a chance to win the gift certificate?  Simple . . . Just link up your Pinwheel Star Blocks at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post or a social media picture, or whatever.   If you are struggling with linking up, I wrote a little Linky Tutorial over here, that might help ;)  Just make sure to link up by the early morning of September 5th as I will be announcing a winner in next quilt-a-long post :)

If you don't get your Pinwheel Star Blocks done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :) The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-Along.  

And Don't forget to add your beautiful Pinwheel Star Blocks to #seeingstarsquiltalong on social media or at the  Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group.   I am so excited to see all of your amazing Pinwheel Star Blocks  ;)  Let the HST sewing begin!!!!  

 Have a Happy Quilting Day!!  

And remember, any questions, just email me at ;)

Pin It!


  1. I’ve always liked the Pinwheel Star pattern.

  2. Oh man this link up thing is tricky. I have completed the 3 different sets of blocks But because I posted them ob Instagram together I can't separate the different block pictures. Ugh. Won't do that again


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)