Sunday, 31 August 2014

Making pinwheels

I've been home just over a week but it actually feels like months! Sadly I have succumbed once again with the razor knife throat and unmentionable sinuses. (the joys of travel I suspect). I was supposed to be on a quilting retreat this weekend with exhibition committee friends but decided that I might not be popular with the sniffling, coughing and general moaning! But despite feeling 'crap'  the weather has been lovely at home. Beautiful Spring days but today the wind has returned and the temperatures are about to plummet once again. But as always I haven't been idle so decided to do that pinwheel tutorial as promised.This all started with a lovely friend Dot who over the years has sent me these gorgeous pinwheels all hand-made by her. The one on the far left was made from a piece of embroidered antique silk, the middle one was cross-stitched by Dot and the other made from an old doyley…..
 I have become obsessed with them and have made some with a William Morris theme and all thanks to the lovely Dot (thanks Dot xx). 

So lets begin. These instructions make an approx 3 1/2" finished pinwheel with pins. You need two 4 1/2" circles of fabric (and if required mark the centre with an x for positioning your design)…...

Next you need two circles of template plastic cut 3", two small circles of batting/wadding cut 3" and two more larger circles of batting/wadding cut 3 1/2"……..

 I have also found these plastic circles in my local large craft store. I think they are for canvas work but they are just the right size and worked well too……..
 With this pinwheel I am hand appliquéing some Morris birds so here they are ironed on and ready to appliqué and embroider………..
 When this is complete cut out the circles and gather with a strong thread and using a running stitch. I've used three strands of one of the embroidery threads I was using so that you can see it (and I also did the gathering before I cut out the circle as it is a little easier to handle)……..
 Now it is time to place the batting/wadding and plastic inside the appliquéd circles. First place the larger 3 1/2" circle of batting, then the 3" piece and then finally the 3" template plastic circle. Gently pull the running thread and anchor…….. 

 Do ensure your design is centred on the other side as well…….
 Finally join the two sides together using a glove stitch. Again I've used a contrast thread for better viewing but I quite like the contrast (I would generally use the same colour as the pinwheel as it is less likely to show mistakes!). Anchor the knot inside and then do one stitch from side to side…….
 Repeat this to secure and then move forward about 2mm and repeat. I hope the photos explain it easily…..

 Finally add pins in your choice of colour…….
 Voila…one pinwheel!
Do send me photos if you too become obsessed. On a final note I have meant to make some twisted threads and attach them inside so the pinwheels can be hung - so I went looking on the internet and found a fabulous tutorial which is coincidentally called Pinwheel ponders so I must go and explore this blog more! Till next time take care wherever you are x 


  1. Thanks for sharing your tutorial Michele. What a great gift idea. I am off to have a go. Hope you feel better soon

  2. They look good Michele! Great tutorial.

  3. Love those little pinwheels, thanks for the tutorial and feel better quick. Margaret

  4. Must try one, using Nicola's embroidered birds maybe?

  5. Great blog - have only recently found it and have been going through your posts - it's good to see England through you eyes - you make it look even more interesting and beautiful so that I'm reminded of places to be revisited. You obviously had a wonderful time with a great set of people. I hope that the splendid quilt you have donated to be auctioned does very well - you are very generous with your beautiful work.
    I blog about embroidery, quilting, working in an Oxford college library and life in a rural vicarage. Perhaps you might be interested in having a look is you have time


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