Striped Pinwheels

This spring, Lisa Ruble, editor of Benartex’s e-zine Modern by the Yard, invited me to participate in her Modern with a Twist column.


This column features modern quilter’s interpretations of traditional quilt blocks. As most of you know, I love manipulating traditional quilt blocks.

MbtY_2020_14.inddThe fabulous Pinwheel is featured in Issue #14 which came out today. Can you spot my block?

Modern with a Twist Layout

Coincidentally, I had been thinking about the pinwheel block. I wanted to combine some of my favorite things-

Solid fabrics—My pinwheel block features some of solids from the Benartex’s Superior Solids Collection.

Stripes—My pinwheel block started out as two different strip sets which I call pieced stripes. You can learn how to design and make these stripes in Chapter #4 & #5 of my book which you can order here.

Improv Patchwork

Triangles—One of the many things I have learned from my students is that triangles are the bomb. It is a dynamic shape with loads of potential.

In full disclosure, I had made this quilt many years ago. It is called Hypnotic Hypotenuse, and it features commercial stripes that have been fussy cut to create vibrating pinwheels. I have often thought that I need to make this quilt again using my own pieced stripes.

Lisa’s request to work with her on the Modern with a Twist column was just the push I needed to get stitching. Here is how I did it.

I created TWO different stripes that were pieced out to measure 7’’ wide by the length of the selvedge of the fabric.


I cut those stripes into 7’’ x 7’’ squares. This is an important step, don’t skip it! You need two squares of each pieced stripe to make one pinwheel. What I am trying to say is DO NOT just cut triangles from your stripe. You really do need to cut squares first. Trust me on this.


Then I cut those squares on the diagonal. Make sure that you cut the same direction each time. Cut right to left or left to right—it doesn’t matter which way. Just make sure that it is always the SAME way.


I then pieced them together to form a pinwheel.


This pinwheel block measures approximately 12 1/2” by 12 1/2”.


Here is the final gussied up version that Lisa created in Photoshop. How cool is that?

maria's block

I would love to see your explorations. Solids + Stripes + Triangles = FABULOUS.

And I hope you will click through and check out the entire Modern by the Yard e-zine. I think you will enjoy it.

This entry was published on June 27, 2020 at 10:09 AM. It’s filed under My Process-Quilts, News And Events, Things I Make, Tutorials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Striped Pinwheels

  1. Please remove my previous comment, as I entered it while logged into my MQG chapter account. Sorry!

    Such a great block! Thank you for sharing how you made it. I’m a huge fan of your improv style, and after checking out your book from my library, I know I need to own it. I too have a small appearance in this issue of “Modern by the Yard.” My “Tropical State of Mind” fabric bundle is on page seven. You’ll note that I am a big fan of palm trees. 😊 Congrats on being in this issue. And thanks for sharing your fantastic improv style.

  2. Judy Martin on said:

    I love that quilt made with fussy cutting printed stripes – I have not seen it before. Lovely Maria xo

    • Judy, there is a funny story that goes with that quilt. A big law firm in town decided that they wanted to have an art collection. They wanted art that might muffle the echos in their conference room, so they decided a quilt would be best. They selected Hypnotic Hypotenuse, which is of course a quilt, and it might muffle sound, but it is so loud visually! Anyway, it was one of my first big sales, so I let it go. I hope you are well.

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