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The Windmill

the windmill quilt block

The Windmill Block is a variation of The Pinwheel Block.  There are several new things you can learn by making this block

We have been working a lot with raw measurements.  This block is going to deal with the math for finished block sizes.

Look at the above block below.  Can you see the grid?  Could you construct this block to complete at 12 inches?

construction of the windmill quilt blockThis is going to be a lot easier than you think.  Let's start with the grid.   Looking at the lines in the picture, it is easy to see that there are four similar section.

It is a 4-Patch, with each patch further divided into four parts.

construction of the windmill quilt blockIf you look at the next grid, with lines dividing all the sections,  you can see that there are lots of Half Square Triangles.

You can see that there are four sections in each row. If this block is to finish at 12-inches, each section needs to finish at 3-inches.

Your first challenge is to figure out the size to cut the Half Square Triangles. 

The only difference between raw measurements and finished measurements is that you have  the seam allowance for a finished block. 

(The seam allowance is 1/4 inch on each side, so you add 1/2-inch)

This means you will cut your squares 3 7/8 inches (Raw would have been 3 3/8 inch.  See Half Square Trianges)

When you put your two squares right sides together, draw a line down the middle, and sew on each side of the line and then cut down the middle, you will be have two Half Square Triangles that measure 3 1/2 inches.  Remember that the extra 1/2 inch is for the seam allowances - 1/4 inch on each side of the block.

construction of the windmill quilt blockLooking at the block, you can see that you need 4 Half Square Triangles with Red and White and 4 Half Square Triangles with Blue and Red.   Go ahead and construct these blocks.

The last shape you see in the block is the Flying Geese Block. You could do these squares as Half Square Triangles, but  it would not look as nice with the extra seam.

Here is how to figure out the size to cut the rectangle for the Flying Geese.

The Flying Geese Block takes up two sections of the grid, so it will finish at 6-inches. 

When you cut your Rectangles  you must allow for the seam allowances on both ends. 

There is no seam between the two grids, so you start with 6-inches.  Add the 1/4-inch seam allowance at both ends of the Rectangle, and you have 6 1/2 inches.

So cut your Rectangles at 6 1/2  inches. 

The width of the Rectangle is 3-inches, plus another 1/2 inch for the seams, or 3 1/2 inches.

Go ahead and cut your four rectangles at 6 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, out of the Blue fabric in the picture.

The small squares that you are going to add to the Rectangle will be the raw width of the Rectangle.  So cut two Squares for each Rectangle at 3 1/2 inches each. (See the Flying Geese lesson)

In the Flying Geese lesson you learned that a Flying Geese Block is always exactly twice as wide as it is high.  The 6 1/2 x 3 1/2 Rectangles you are cutting have a 1/2-inch seam allowance.  Take that away for when they are finished, and you have a 3x6 finished unit.

Go ahead and make you Flying Geese, following the directions on the lesson page.

The next thing to be learned concerns sewing the units together.  When you have a piece in a patch that takes up several grids or sections,  it can be tricky to sew all the pieces together.

construction of the windmill quilt block Take a good look at the pieces laid out to the left.  It would seem logical to make the Flying Geese Unit first, and then lay all the rest of the pieces around it so you don't get confused as to placement.

However, which pieces would you sew together next?

The pieces overlap, and do not fit together.  You could do it, but it would be difficult.

                                       construction of the windmill quilt block Here is how you sew the units. You sew them together so that the units match in width. 

First sew the Half Square Triangles to the Geese units, and then match that unit to three of the half square triangles (sewn together).

You can then sew the Flying Geese unit to the side of that piece.

Repeat the process for the bottom and the top, and then sew those two units together.

Again, what makes joining the pieces together difficult is the Geese unit taking up two sections of the division of the Grid.

In order to make your seams nest, you will want to press towards the blue in the Half Square Triangles, and press the seams away from the Rectangles.

When you are finished, your block should measure 12 1/2 inches, which will finish at 12 inches. 

It is a big block, made dynamic with lots of movement. It looks great in a Sampler Quilt.  Once you make it a few times so you don't get confused, it makes a speedy quilt.

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