Welcome to the Steam Engine Whistle Stop Tour!  All this week my fellow Studio 180 Design Certified Instructors and I are introducing the new Steam Engine line of batiks from Island Batik, coming soon to a quilt shop near you.  Aren’t these fabrics cool?



Each of us are presenting one or two blocks from this sampler quilt during the week of September 9 through the 15th.  Then, on September 16th, the finishing instructions will be available from Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design.  Follow us on the Whistle Stop Tour and create this great sampler quilt, named Union Station!



Here on the Thursday stop of the Tour, we’ll be working on the Twisted Pinwheel block, made with Sidekick Units, High/Low Units, and a Four Patch block. 

First, gather what you’ll need to make this block:  Your V Block tool, the V Block instructions, and the Sidekick & High/Low Technique Sheet.  Please review the V Block Instructions and Technique Sheet to remind yourself of how to make each of the units.

Then, start pulling your fabrics.  In the Twisted Pinwheel block, I’m using four of the batiks from the new Steam Engine line from Island Batik: a dark blue, a light purple, a medium blue and a light beige.

Once you’ve pulled your fabrics, follow the Unit Summary and Cutting Instructions (download here) to cut all the pieces for this block.

Follow the instructions on the Sidekick & High/Low Technique Sheet to make each unit.  According to the Unit Summary, you will make one Four Patch Block and two of each of the following blocks:

High/Low Left 1

High/Low Left 2

Sidekick Right 1

Sidekick Right 2

But before you start cutting, here are some tips and tricks to help you create a square and accurate Twisted Pinwheel block.  🙂

1.  When cutting the side triangles and trimming the base squares, make sure that the fabric is in the correct orientation.  When making the High/Low unit with the “High” on the left, place your fabrics RIGHT SIDE UP before cutting.  When making the Sidekick with the “High” on the right, place your fabrics WRONG SIDE UP before cutting.  It’s not always easy to tell which is right side or wrong side with batiks, so it is important that you pay attention when cutting.  The pieces must be on the correct side and in the correct orientation in order for the pieces to fit together properly later.

2.  When cutting the base units (the beige squares), make sure that you line up the DASHED line of the tool on the left side of the square, and line up the 2″ Finished Unit line on the bottom of the square.  Don’t use the solid line on the left.

3.  When cutting the side triangles (the light purple or a blue), make sure that you line up the SOLID line of the tool on the left side of the strip, and line up the 2″ Finished Unit line on the bottom of the strip.  Don’t use the dashed line.

4.  When piecing the units, place a triangle and a base unit right sides together and align the diagonal edges.  Scoot the triangle down just a bit so that the notches (at pencil points) are approximately 1/4″ from the aligned side. This will help you keep the block kinda square once you’ve sewn the 1/4″ seam.

5.  It is important that you sew an accurate 1/4″ seam.  I always use some sort of seam guide on the bed of my sewing machine to get an accurate and consistent 1/4″ seam.

6.  When adding the 1 3/4″ square to the High/Low units, do not sew right on the line.  Stitch just to the right of the line.  This photo is a little blurry, but you can see that I have stitched right next to the black line instead of on top of the line.  When sewn this way, the fabric will be folded *at* the line and should align with the corner.

7.  Make sure to spin the seams on the back of the Four Patch block to eliminate bulk at the intersection.

8.  Lastly, when putting all the pieces together, make sure to match all the points and intersections.


Have fun making your Twisted Pinwheel block, and I’m glad you could join me on the Steam Engine Whistle Stop Tour! 


As a “Thank You” for hanging out with me today, I’ll be giving away a set of my patterns:  Around the Pond, Stella, and my new pattern Gemma!  Leave a comment below and tell me which of my patterns (on the “Classes” or “Shop” page) is your favorite.

Around the Pond




Don’t miss any of the other stops on the Tour!


Monday, September 9

Karen Overton – The Quilt Rambler

Tuesday, September 10

Michelle Renee Hiatt – Sew On The Go

Marie McKay – Ribbon Star Studio

Wednesday, September 11

Sarah Furrer – Studio 180 Design

Thursday, September 12

Kathie Beltz – You are here!

Gail Renna – Quilt Haven Threads

Friday, September 13

Jackie O’Brien – If These Threads Could Talk

Saturday, September 14

Tammy Silvers – Tamarinis

Carolyn Ratola – CaTs Quilting

Sunday, September 15

Tina Dillard – Quilting Affection

Bonny Peters – Cat Den Mountain Quilts

Monday, September 16

Sarah Furrer – Studio 180 Design


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