Pinwheel Snail Trail Quilt Pattern

Pinwheel snail trail quilt

Pinwheel snail trail quilt

This pinwheel snail trail quilt pattern was quite easy to make and I love the way the design has turned out.  It’s another of those patterns than look quite complex but are quite easy to make.

The quilt measures 40″ square so it would make a good lap quilt or throw.  The blocks are all 12″ square finished size and I made five snail trail blocks with four pinwheel blocks.I’ve used 3/4 yard of lilac, 1 yard of purple and 1/2 yard of green fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the pinwheel snail trail quilt

2.5/8″ squares:  ten purple, ten green

3.7/8″ squares:  fifteen purple, fifteen lilac

6.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  ten lilac

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty purple

6.7/8″ squares:  eight purple, eight lilac

Cut the four patch units

Cut the four patch units

Make the four patch units

You could make these units by just sewing together two green and two purple 2.5/8″ squares.  I chose to strip piece them to save time.  Sew together a 2.5/8″ strip of purple and of green fabric along the length.  Cut this panel at 2.5/8″ intervals.

Four patch units

Four patch units

Place the resulting strips together in pairs with the purple squares diagonally opposite each other.  Sew the pairs of squares together to create the four patch units for the middle of the block.

Add the purple triangles

Add the purple triangles

First section of the snail trail quilt block

Cut a 3.7/8″ purple and lilac square in half along one diagonal to create two triangles from each square.  Lay two purple triangles on opposite sides of the four patch units and two lilac triangles on the other two sides.  This section should measure 6.1/2″ square.

Half square triangle units

Half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles.  Place a purple and a lilac square with right sides together.  Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line and you will produce two half square triangle units.  Press the seam allowances towards the purple and trim the corners where fabric sticks out.  These are now 3.1/2″ squares.

Snail trail quilt block layout

Snail trail quilt block layout

Complete the snail trail quilt block

The central part of the block is now a square but the four patch in the middle has been turned on point so that it looks like a diamond.  Make sure that the green squares are side by side rather than above and below each other.  Now it is easy to add the remaining patches to complete the layout of the block.  I’ve realised that the main photo of the quilt was taken with the green squares above each other, but that’s just because I must have rotated the quilt before I hung it up for the photo.

Lay a 6.1/2″ lilac rectangle at the beginning of row one.  Place a half square triangle and a 3.1/2″ purple square at the end of the row.  Lay the half square triangle so that the purple is on top with the lilac between it.  Lay a purple square and a half square triangle on either side of the central area.  On the left the square is beneath the half square triangle and together they form a half-house shape.  On the right the square is above the half square triangle and the half-house shape is now upside down.

For the last row place a purple square and half square triangle at the beginning of the row with the remaining lilac rectangle at the end.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.  At this stage it measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make five of these.

Alternate block pinwheels

Alternate block pinwheels

Pinwheel alternate block

I have used a simple pinwheel as the alternate block.  Using the 6.7/8″ squares, make half square triangles in exactly the same way as for the smaller squares above.

Lay these out in two pairs so that the colours alternate all the way round – check the photo.  Sew the pairs of squares together and then sew the pairs to each other.  This block also measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four of these.

Rows one and three

Rows one and three

Assemble the pinwheel snail trail quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Rows one and three are the same as each other:  a snail trail block at each end with a pinwheel in the middle.  Make sure that you keep the green squares side by side across the row.

Row two

Row two

In row two place a pinwheel at each end with a snail trail block in the middle.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Add the border

Add the border

Quilt border

I have used 2.1/2″ green strips for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 36.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 40.1/2″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

Jewellery Quarter

Jewellery Quarter

Last week I visited the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.  It’s a lovely vibrant area of the city with a wealth of history.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

I have a very old overlocker which was a basic model even when I bought it many years ago.  This week I have been trying to make scarves and my overlocker has really not been very helpful.  I’ve warned it that I will retire it if it doesn’t behave, but that doesn’t seem to have made any difference.


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  1. Your quilt is simply beautiful. Love the pattern and your choice of colors. What color are you planning on using for the binding? The purple would be a nice contrast.
    Wish I could get back to sewing again. Had X-rays and an MRI to find out what was going on with the pain I was having in my hands and neck. I’m thinking that a pinched nerve could turn out to be the culprit. No results from the images but I’ll find out on Thursday when I see a neurosurgeon. I’ve had two neck surgeries years past and he was one of the surgeons who performed (pinched nerve) the surgery.
    Lucky you seeing spring flowers. All I’m seeing is piled up snow.

    • Hi Claire. Glad you like the quilt. Yes, I think purple would be a good choice for the binding. I hope your session with the neurosurgeon proves useful. Let’s hope he can reduce the pain you’re feeling. Sorry to hear that your snow hasn’t gone yet – yesterday we had sleet, snow, rain and sunshine all in one day, but at least the snow wasn’t enough to lie. The days are definitely getting longer which is wonderful.

  2. Hi Rose Lovely colours and lovely quilt. I really enjoy the sense of movement it has. Another one to put on my list of things to make. I have soooo many of those and so little time to accomplish everything.

    So pleased about your news of a second granddaughter. Hope you manage to get lots of cuddles.

    all best Janny

    • Thanks, Janny. It’s the snail trail block that gives the movement – a lovely block. I met my new grand daughter last week – she’s a real sweetie. I know the feeling of having too many things to complete – seems to be my permanent state at the moment!

  3. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    First I want to thank you for sending the material and the very nice postcard. Was excited when I got it in the mail.
    I love this quilt and especially the colours. You must have had me on your mind(ha,ha). Love how the pattern flows. You really have some great ideas.
    Glad you are reducing your pile of UFO’s. Mine I think is growing. Ideas are coming faster than I can sew.
    Our weather was very nice today high of 70′. Hope Spring is here to stay(ha ha),
    probably not.
    Have a great weekend and I hope your weather improves. Happy Quilting .

    • Hi Sandra. Glad the parcel arrived safely. So pleased to see that you’re feeling upbeat and ready for sewing again! Hope your weather stays good. All my spring flowers are out but they are struggling to stay upright against the high winds and heavy rain.

  4. Carol S. says:

    Beautiful Rose, as always! And. My favorite colors too! Thank you for sharing your patterns and talent!

  5. Dear Rose i love this pattern as well as Colors beautiful

  6. Well Rose once again you have made the snail trail block
    doable for me. I think it would be lovely for a baby quilt.
    Thank you for the pattern.
    Glad to hear you made some progress with your UFOs.
    Have a sew happy week-end.

  7. Larissa Wangarodskaya says:

    красивый получился проект!

  8. What a wonderful pattern. It looks so complicated but you have made it easy.
    Also congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter. Is this the result of the wedding that we saw such lovely pictures of?
    Best wishes – good healthy and lots of joy!

    • Thanks, Fay. Glad you like the quilt pattern. No, this grand daughter is the sister of my first grand daughter, born to my eldest son and his wife.

  9. Lovely quilt Rose, love the lcolours they go well together. Thankyou.
    Am off to the NEC on Sunday to the Sewing exhibition ….looking forwards to that.

    • Thanks, Leona. Hope you have a wonderful time at the NEC – sadly I won’t be able to make it this year.

  10. Liz Erasmus says:

    Beautiful, my favourite colours. Thank you so Rose x

  11. Jenny McIntyre says:

    Yes I must admit this design looks very effective and by your pictures showing how to do it, it’s not as difficult as it looks. I will certainly be trying this design out when I finish the one I’m doing now! Thanks so much Rose.

    • Thanks, Jenny. I always used to think that the snail trail block looked difficult, but in fact it’s quite straightforward to put together.

  12. Thank you Rose, I love this design.

  13. Love the colours and the way the pattern flows.