Pinwheel Quilt Pattern

Pinwheel quilt

Pinwheel quilt

The pinwheel quilt pattern has a boring name, but there is a pinwheel in each block and another formed when the blocks are sewn together, so the quilt is pretty much full of pinwheels.  There are also lots of other secondary designs that form the longer you look at it – something I always love seeing.

The quilt measures 64″ square and I have made it with nine 18″ quilt blocks and three borders, using 1/4 yard of yellow fabric, 1/2 yard of pink, 1 yard of green, 1.1/4 yards of white and 2.1/4 yards of red fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a 10% discount in this week’s special offer.

Completed pinwheel quilt block

Completed pinwheel quilt block

Cutting requirements for the pinwheel quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  thirty six red, thirty six green, seventy two white

3.7/8″ squares:  eighteen each in red and white, thirty six each in red and pink, eighteen each in yellow and white, eighteen each in green and white

For the first border you will need 2.1/2″ lengths of red fabric:  two at 54.1/2″ long, two at 58.1/2″ long

For the second border you will need 1.1/2″ lengths of green fabric:  two at 58.1/2″ long, two 60.1/2″ long

For the third border you will need 2.1/2″ lengths of red fabric:  two at 60.1/2″ long, two at 64.1/2″ long

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Making the pinwheel quilt block

Make half square triangle units using the 3.7/8″ squares in the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This will produce two half square triangle units which are now 3.1/2″ squares.

Central area of the quilt block

Central area of the quilt block

For this pinwheel quilt block the squares are laid out in six rows of six, but I am going to show the central area of the block first so that you can see how the block is built up.  The pinwheel in the middle is created with four green/white half square triangles.  The frame outside this is made with a yellow/white half square triangle in each corner.  These are placed so that the yellow is always on the outside.  Between these corner squares are a green and a white square along each edge.  These are placed so that the green square is placed against the blade of the central pinwheel, with the white square next to it.

Full layout of the pinwheel quilt block

Full layout of the pinwheel quilt block

The final frame of the quilt block is made using a red/white half square triangle in each corner.  These are rotated for each corner:  check the photo to see which direction these half square triangles are placed.

Between the corner squares along each edge are a red square, two red/pink half square triangles and a white square.  The pink triangles are placed so that they form a larger square pointing away from the middle of the block.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.

Assembling the pinwheel quilt

Three quilt borders

Three quilt borders

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.

I have used three borders:  the first one is made with 2.1/2″ red strips.  Sew the 54.1/2″ lengths to the top and bottom of the quilt and the 58.1/2″ lengths to the sides.

For the second border use the 1.1/2″ green strips.  Sew the 58.1/2″ lengths to the top and bottom and the 60.1/2″ lengths to the sides.

Finally use 2.1/2″ red strips again for the third border:  sew the 60.1/2″ lengths to the top and bottom and the 64.1/2″ lengths to the sides.

That completes the pinwheel quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

Custard factory entrance

Custard factory entrance



There’s an area in Birmingham called the Custard Factory.  As it’s in the creative area of Birmingham and full of students, I had always assumed that it was just a cute name.  But when I went exploring there recently I found that it actually was the original site of the Bird’s Custard factory.

Now the area describes itself  like this:

The Custard Factory is the UK’s leading destination for creative and digital businesses, independent shops and alternative culture outside London.

Fountains in the Custard Factory

Fountains in the Custard Factory

It’s a lovely area and I really enjoyed wandering the streets there.  On that particular day one of the shops was having a ‘Kilo Sale’ of vintage items.  People could fill up bags with vintage clothing, shoes, jewellery and bric a brac, paying a price per kilo.  The queues of people waiting to get in stretched all round the square.  Being British I was terribly tempted to join the queue but decided that I really don’t have the room for any more clutter in my house!

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  1. karin wijaya says:

    Hi Rose, this quilt is pretty one, beautiful colour combination. You are genius quilter.
    Thanks Rose

  2. Hi Rose,
    Love your quilt. Beàutiful colors. Rose are you the one that watches simply colorful on Friday night at 8 PM EST? Lynn the host always says hi Rose from UK. Was wondering if you and I are watching this together?
    Thanks, Carol

  3. elizacross2003 says:

    Beautiful pinwheel(s) and interesting pictures of Birmingham, I just last week explained to my daughter in law that I used Birds custard powder to maker the custard sauce for my plum pudding just as my Mother previously did, so pleased to see where it comes from.Thanks .

    • Hi elizacross. Apparently Alfred Bird was a chemist and he created the powder for instant custard because his wife was allergic to eggs and yeast. That was in 1837.

  4. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    My pinwheel quilt looks nothing like yours. I will have to give this one a try . Looks easy the way you explain it.
    I love when you go traveling because I feel as though I was just there. I think I would have waited in the line just to see what was inside the shop. Thank you for your tutorials and your travel adventures, Have a happy weekend and happy quilting.

    • Thanks, Sandra. There are lots of variations of pinwheels, but I think that these ones are the most basic. I think that if the queue had been smaller I probably would have joined it. I’ll have to go back to that shop some time and see just what sort of things they stock.

  5. Your quilt pattern is lovely. When I look at it I see 4 more pinwheels and every pinwheel in a square. Wow! Now how neat is that? I’ll be looking forward to what you’ll be coming up with next week. Enjoyed reading about the Custard Factory. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Claire. I was pleased with the way so many pinwheels formed in the quilt. I thought that it looked as if it had been made on a diagonal setting even though it was just a straightforward horizontal quilt.

  6. jan smith says:

    Lovely pattern- the custard area sounds fun i must find it next time i visit Birmingham

    • Hi Jan. It’s in Digbeth not far from the Rag Market. I’ll be back there tomorrow because that seems to be where the St Patrick’s day march is being held.

  7. Thanks Rose, I love getting your patterns and tutorials, they are so easy to understand!

  8. Rose, On first looking at the pattern I thought you had used some special ruler.
    It is very striking pattern. Love your piece about Birmingham. Good on you for
    having the will power to resist the sale it does sound interesting.
    Thanks Rose. Hope you don’t get a cold from getting wet.

    • Hi Mary. I try not to show patterns that require special rulers because they can add to the cost of the quilt so much – but having said that I’ve just read about a ruler for mariners compass which I think I’ll have to investigate. I think that I might not have been so good about resisting the vintage if the queue hadn’t been so long!

  9. Nice quilt! Especially like seeing The Custard Factory area. Should I ever get across the sea, I shall definitely try to visit there.

    • Hi Baye. It’s in the Digbeth area, not far from the Rag Market. I also found a delightful fabric shop (furnishings) on my way there.

  10. Sharon Lowe says:

    Thank you for the lovely quilt, very pretty. I use Bird’s Eye all the time and to see this is really
    unique, thank you so much for sharing. Good thing I wasn’t there to get a kilo of “stuff”, I always find those sort of places so very interesting. You have a great weekend as well Rose.
    Regards, Sharon

    • Hi Sharon. I saw people coming out with several bags each – the bags were purple so you could tell that they’d been spending at the vintage store. I would probably have bought from them when the children were young – great for dressing up and such like.

  11. What a beautiful piece!

  12. Rozell Kania says:

    I really enjoy seeing your patterns and the information you give us. Thank you

  13. I have saved so many of your patterns and love traveling with you, so I thought it was time to say Thank You.

  14. This is really pretty, Rose!

  15. Really good to see a bit of pink – very pretty quilt. I loved reading about the Custard Factory – and I love custard!

    • I know, I should use more pink. Apparently Mr Bird first made the instand custard powder just for family, but it was so well received that he then developed it commercially.

  16. Beautiful Rose, I really like your color combinations too. Very striking, a real standout!

    • thanks, Linda. Glad you like the colours – I auditioned all sorts of odd combinations before I settled on these ones.

      • I am happy to hear that a seasoned quilter still takes time to play with color. It can take me as many hours to choose colors as to make the top of the quilt, so I am always happy to hear others have that issue too!

        • Hi Carolyn. It’s the penance we pay for having so many beautiful fabrics available to us! The quilt that I make is often totally different in colour from the one that I first envisaged.