Several quilt blocks are staples in traditional quilt patterns.
Quilt blocks such as the eight-point star, churn dash, flying geese, and log cabin are among the most well-known conventional blocks.
Another quilt block that belongs on this list is the pinwheel quilt block.
With a simple construction and multiple variations, the pinwheel block is a fantastic block that has stood the test of time.
We’re going to discover the history of this block, how to make one, and check out some incredible examples of quilt patterns that include this timeless quilt block.
- What is the History of the Pinwheel Quilt Pattern?
- How Do You Make a Simple Pinwheel Quilt?
- 19 Gorgeous Pinwheel Quilt Patterns to Try
- 1. Pinwheel Wreath
- 2. Flying Geese Pinwheel
- 3. Jolly Pinwheels
- 4. Drunkard’s Path Pinwheels
- 5. Peaceful Pinwheels
- 6. Windy Day
- 7. Turbine Pinwheel
- 8. Twitter
- 9. Pinwheel Party
- 10. Pinwheel Quilt Block
- 11. Island Breezes
- 12. Pinwheels and Posies
- 13. Pinwheels on Parade
- 14. 3D Pinwheels
- 15. Fair Day
- 16. Pinwheel Garden
- 17. Rivermill
- 18. Spring Morning
- 19. Prairie Pinwheel
What is the History of the Pinwheel Quilt Pattern?
It’s hard to say when who created the pinwheel quilt block, but there is evidence that it came into popularity around the end of the 1700s. It has been a foundational block ever since and shows no signs of slowing down.
The reasons why it has stuck around for so long are pretty obvious. It’s a quick and easy block to make, it pairs well with other quilt blocks, looks excellent in scrappy or designer fabrics, and is a whimsical, playful design.
How Do You Make a Simple Pinwheel Quilt?
I will show you how to make a pinwheel quilt block in just a few steps. You can then use this simple tutorial to create a beautiful pinwheel quilt.
Pinwheel Quilt Block Assembly
1. Take two background fabric squares and two patterned fabric squares and pair them together.
2. Place the squares right sides together in each pair and draw a diagonal line from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.
3. Stitch ¼” away on either side of the lines.
4. Cut down the line you drew in Step #2, creating four half-square triangles (HST) blocks
5. Press the seams to reveal your four HSTs.
6. Layout the four HST blocks to create a pinwheel layout.
7. Sew the top two HST blocks together and the bottom two HST blocks together.
8. Sew the top and bottom pieces together to create your pinwheel quilt block.
9. Repeat Steps #1-8 to construct as many pinwheel blocks as you need for your quilt. The example below is a 56” x 65” quilt. You will need to make 42- 9 ½” pinwheel blocks.
19 Gorgeous Pinwheel Quilt Patterns to Try
Now that you’ve seen how easy the pinwheel block is, let’s check out some gorgeous pinwheel quilts. I found a fantastic mixture of beginner-friendly patterns and a few that may be more challenging for my seasoned pros.
1. Pinwheel Wreath
Here is a beautiful, beginner-friendly pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Co. This pattern is layer cake (10” squares) friendly and is a free download with video tutorials included. The finished quilt measures 91” x 91”.
2. Flying Geese Pinwheel
This is a fantastic tutorial on how to make these unique flying geese pinwheel blocks. The tutorial shows you how to make a 6” or 12” finished block.
3. Jolly Pinwheels
This free quilt pattern features large pinwheel blocks that look like the pinwheels we played with as kids. You can use layer cake squares or yardage to make these blocks. The finished quilt measures 57” x 63”.
4. Drunkard’s Path Pinwheels
Here is an excellent example of how eye-catching pinwheel quilt pattern variations can be. This pattern uses the classic drunkard’s path blocks to create beautiful pinwheels across the quilt top. The finished quilt measures 80” x 95”.
5. Peaceful Pinwheels
This is a fun twist on a regular pinwheel block. Each spoke of the pinwheels is elongated with an extra HST block. This fat-quarter-friendly pattern will help you make a 64 ½” x 80 ½”.
6. Windy Day
“Windy Day” includes two pinwheel sizes in a fun lattice layout. The finished quilt will measure 60” x 78”, a sizeable throw-size quilt.
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7. Turbine Pinwheel
Here’s another pattern with two pinwheel sizes. This beginner-friendly pattern will help you make a 65” x 78” quilt.
How cute is this pattern?! This pattern features simple pinwheel blocks like the one we made. The finished quilt measures 44” x 48”. You could make this for a small child or as a wall hanging for your home.
9. Pinwheel Party
I love seeing quilts with a black background; the pinwheels jump off that dark backdrop. The pattern features several pinwheel sizes and 12 different blocks that make up this 48” x 62” quilt. This is an excellent option for a beginner quilter.
10. Pinwheel Quilt Block
This block pattern will help you make this adorable block in either 6” or 12” squares. The pattern writer assumes you have basic sewing knowledge and only includes diagrams for block construction. There is no text included in the instructions.
11. Island Breezes
This pattern includes instructions to make a 52” x 64” throw quilt and 10” hot pads. It would be a great pattern for using up scraps and is beginner-friendly.
12. Pinwheels and Posies
This pattern features pinwheel blocks and posies in a checkerboard layout. Combining pinwheels with another block is a common design, and it looks great! You can make a 64” square quilt with this pattern.
13. Pinwheels on Parade
Here is a super simple pattern with pinwheel blocks and sashing between each block. The finished quilt size is 54 ½” x 75”.=
14. 3D Pinwheels
3D quilt patterns are gaining popularity, and this pattern is such a fun introduction to using the 3D effect in quilting. This pattern includes instructions for a baby and a throw-size quilt.
15. Fair Day
This is an excellent example of a modern quilt pattern that utilizes the classic pinwheel block. The pattern will help you make a 48” square quilt and is a great choice for beginner quilters who want to attempt a modern pattern.
16. Pinwheel Garden
This fun pattern features pinwheels and squares. This scrap-friendly pattern includes three sizes in the instructions.
First, isn’t this a gorgeous color palette? It’s perfect for winter! This beginner-friendly modern quilt pattern is fat-quarter friendly and has four size options. The throw size (56” x 70”) is pictured above.
18. Spring Morning
You can make this gorgeous 54” x 54” quilt relatively quickly. Don’t let all of the embellishments intimidate you. The quilt top can be pieced quickly, and the pattern includes details on using web-fusible interfacing to create adorable applique pieces.
19. Prairie Pinwheel
Here is a fun example of how you can add a pinwheel into the center of another quilt block. This pattern combines the basic pinwheel block and an eight-point quilt block. The finished quilt measures 42” x 42”, but you can add more blocks if you want to make a larger quilt.
The versatility of the pinwheel quilt block is pretty incredible, and I hope you enjoyed viewing these various quilt patterns that feature this block.
As long as quilters keep making these fantastic patterns, the pinwheel quilt patterns will remain a timeless staple in the quilting community.
About the author: Miriam Ronne is a lover of all things quilting and sewing. She is a self-taught quilter and is constantly learning and broadening her skill set to create one-of-a-kind quilts! When she’s not behind her sewing machine you can find her playing with her fur babies or trying her hand at other crafty things.