Quilting, Tutorials

Pinwheel Block Swap turned Baby Quilt – Quilt as you go method


My latest quilting finish is a pinwheel block baby quilt. This one is destined for Very Snuggly Quilts, a charity group based in Victoria, Australia, and I really love the idea that parts of this quilt has been made with joy by people all over the world.

Yoshis with darrel rob baby quilt
The Yoshis’ approve

Pinwheel Swap

Swapping is my jam when it comes to instagram and my sewing /quilting hobbies. However, being in Australia often means costly international shipping to join most swaps. If you don’t choose your swap well, you risk spending $20 or $30 on shipping alone before the cost of the goods, only to be flaked on or receive something subpar. (There are exceptions, keep an eye out for my upcoming review of great swaps for those Down Under) One way around that is to join swaps for blocks. The risk is smaller, the cost per item much lower and it requires much less time commitment from you.

I recently joined Carla’s Summer Pinwheel Swap. If you are new to block swaps, it’s simple. Everyone made the same block. In our case that was 8 inch (finished size) pinwheel blocks following Valerie’s Custom Quilting Perfect Pinwheels tutorial. I was allocated to a team 10 and sent each person in that team 2 pinwheel blocks following their colour nominations as best my stash allowed.

Here’s the blocks I sent :

Two blocks can be folded, and posted inside a normal card so each envelope is posted for the cost of a stamp. Domestically that is $1, and internationally that’s $2.95. My fellow swappers were all international so the total postage cost to me was $26.55. I handmade my cards from my scrapbooking stash, and the fabric came from my stash so while there were other expenses, the postage cost was all I had to outlay immediately for the swap.

Handmade cards for quilting swap
My quilty cards – click on the photo to see my tutorial

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been receiving lovely blocks and cards from the US, Canada and Ireland. Check out #pinwheelswap and #teamsunshine to see all the blocks.

Blocks received during the swap
Swap blocks received from @eguistolisi

On to the Baby Quilt.

As the blocks arrived I was keen to actually make something with them instead of them becoming yet another wip. At the moment I’m a big fan of Quilt As You Go quilts, and that method is particularly good for this type of project because you can work on each block as it arrives.

I added two inch wide kona white sashing to each side of the block, to make room for the QAYG trams,

I then quilted each block with simple straight lines, spaced half a walking foot width from the pinwheel seams. This created a star like pattern on the reverse side.

Night time quilting shot
Night time quilting shot – using the seam lines as guides saves marking time!

Each block finished at roughly 11.5 inches, which I trimmed slightly to sqaure up after quilting.

I chose the sashing print to replicate the pinwheel pattern.

Pinwheel sashing
Pinwheel themed sashing

It finishes at 1 inch wide. To join my quilted blocks I used Monica poole’s method.

Progress on darrel rob baby quilt
Joining the final tram

Now, for the binding I reverted to traditional binding rather then use Monica’s method. Monica’s method would normaly lead to a 1 inch wide binding visible only on the front to match the trams. But making ‘regular binding’ was a necessary compromise because I accidently cut the edge strips smaller than I should have. The silver lining of this mistake was me trying machine binding for the first time. Now this had a big learning curve. The pros are of course speed, and security. The cons are that it can be challenging to get the perfect stitch line, and the finished product doesn’t quite frame the quilt in the same way that hand finished binding does. After consulting fellow quilters on instagram, the concensus was a preference for handbinding except for baby quilts like this one. I feel similarly.

Machine binsing picture
Machine binding

Here’s the final product. It finishes at roughly 32 inches square and features 9 blocks.

Darrel Rob Pinwheels baby quilt front

Darrel Rob Pinwheels baby quilt back

I’m looking forward to repeating this process and using up the other half of my blocks from the swap.