By Dawn Stewart of Spring Water Designs
Hello, I’m Dawn Stewart of Spring Water Designs, and I’m so excited to be asked to write an article about the AccuQuilt® Winding Ways die! I’ve been quilting for over 20 years, long before the introduction of many of the modern tools that we use and love today. In fact, I can even remember when the rotary cutter was the “new fangled thing” in quilting. I love all styles of quilting, but traditional blocks are my first love. Taking a traditional block and giving it a modern twist is my favorite thing to do. One of the things I love about AccuQuilt is that along with all their great geometric dies and vast array of appliqué shapes, they’ve also included a nice selection of dies for cutting out traditional pieced quilt blocks. One of these classics is the Winding Ways design – also known as “That Curved Pinwheel Block”. This is definitely one of my favorites. This traditional block can be attributed to The Ladies’ Art Company and dates back to 1922.
Typically you see this block done in a completely two-color quilt pattern where the light and dark fabric is alternated in block two to create a “negative” of block one. A scrappy look can be done as well using many different fabrics and modern prints are attractive too!
In the past to make this block, I would have cut out cardboard templates. Often times from an empty cereal box much like my mother and grandmother would have and then traced them a bunch of times. I would then keep track of how many I’d done and then cut them out with scissors.
Fast forward to the present day, the AccuQuilt GO! Winding Ways die (55069) makes cutting this block a breeze! As a bonus, the pieces are complete with little registration points cut right in, and the corners are pre-notched to do away with the “dog ears” that are normally produced at the edges when pieced. This makes matching the ends very easy.
Layer two light and two dark fabrics on the die, and with one pass through the cutter, you’ll have the fabrics to make two complete blocks.
When laying your mat over the die, make sure that the little hanging hole on the mat is not over a cutting blade underneath. Two sides of the die have a large open area that doesn’t have any blades. Make sure that your mat hole is over that area.
There was a day when I would have only attempted piecing curved seams by hand, but the cut shapes of the AccuQuilt GO! with the built in registration marks makes piecing these gently curved-seam blocks easy and quick. You can use a regular quarter-inch presser foot with little or no pinning.
All of the AccuQuilt GO! dies come with a free pattern and basic steps to make the block. I found the directions to be quite clear and easy to follow. Good tips are provided and if you follow the pressing directions that they suggest, everything lays really well. First and foremost, match the registration marks!
In the pattern, the suggestion is provided to work with the concave curved piece (curve going inward) on top. I found that worked well for me. Everything falls into place much better that way for some reason. It stitched up fine by just pinning at the center registration marks and one pin on each end.
The Winding Ways block finishes to an 8 inch block. A four block by four block setting with borders makes a quick and lovely wall hanging. Chain piecing is easy with this block. As I got going, I sewed my blocks up at a pace of a leisurely half hour per block so a whole project can be finished from un-cut yardage to finished top in one day. The curved piecing makes it look rather impressive.
Besides the traditional two color alternating pattern, try these blocks in different color combinations. Holiday fabrics make for great table runners for the upcoming season.
Scrappy fabrics – alternating the light and dark fabrics in the blocks helps to produce the circular secondary pattern that emerges.
Christmas Colors – This design has all darker pinwheels with lighter backgrounds.
Combine with the GO! 8 1/2" Square (55058) in Sweet Girly colors. Here, you completely lose the secondary circular pattern, but the pinwheels make a sweet child’s quilt.
If you’d rather skip the pins, Ebony Love of Quilt Possible has a video (Part 1 & Part 2) where she shows her method of piecing this block without using any pins; however if you’re a “pinner” like me and don’t mind spending the extra time, feel free to add more pins. Do whatever makes you enjoy the process more, after all that’s why we quilt, right?
For further details on how I personally pieced the Winding Ways block you can click HERE and check out a post on my blog.
About this Blogger
Dawn has been quilting for over 20 years starting with a crib quilt for her then baby daughter. She began teaching in 2004 and loves to teach beginners new techniques and being part of starting them in their quilting journey. She is the designer behind Spring Water Designs. In addition, Dawn enjoys playing with color, adding twists to traditional blocks, and trying out new appliqué and quilting techniques. Her designs started appearing in magazines in early 2009. You can learn more about Dawn and her designs by visiting her blog, or by going to her website, www.springwaterdesigns.com.