“What If?”

Curiosity is a valuable trait for designers.

To paraphrase the old Hewlitt-Packard advertising tagline, I never quit asking “What If?”

I came across this YouTube video from Missouri Star Quilt Company yesterday. Jenny Doan demonstrates her “Disappearing Pinwheel” block.  I love a good trick, so I had to try it…and then I had to start playing with it. First, watch the video and then we’ll play.

I noticed that Jenny said you could use different sizes of squares to start with, so I had to try it with 6.5″ TQ squares. I wound up with an 8″ pinwheel to start, which does not divide by 3 easily. I simply added an extra step and trimmed the big pinwheel to 7.5″ x 7.5″. This made my cuts from the center line 1.25″ and my units 2.5″, and I end up with a 6″ finished block. (Of course, this only makes sense if you actually watched the video.)

GE DIGITAL CAMERAHere is the “official” Disappearing Pinwheel block laid out for sewing.

GE DIGITAL CAMERALook what happens if I flip the corner units.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then rotate the side units…

GE DIGITAL CAMERAAnd rotate the corners again.

This gave me another idea…

GE DIGITAL CAMERA I made two blocks.


Then swapped the center pinwheels. (above) and did the same rotations (below).



My point? Don’t be shy about playing with your blocks.

Categories: Videos | Tags: , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on ““What If?”

  1. Bev in Colo

    Love what you are showing with these blocks. The finished quilt on the Missouri Quilt Co. video on youtube is gorgeous, but I’m planning to do one and switch the center blocks. Yes, for sure I will play with the blocks as you have. Fun!


  2. wow!How cool is that!!


  3. Shirley in Canada

    thank you for doing the “What if” as I too wanted to know what size would make different size blocks. And thank you for showing the changing of the pinwheel!! I so like that very, very much!!


  4. I too found the what if. Thank you for sharing.


  5. I almost had my head spin around over that paragraph with all the numbers, but really cool blocks resulted, so thanks for showing!


  6. Crafty Sandy

    I too watched this video and have been having a ball with it ever since. I just luv it. I am making my squares with a black and white theme. I am making half my squares with a black (churn dash) and the other half am making with white as the dominate one. ( was going to say color but we all know the white is the absence of color. I haven’t had this much fun with a quilt in a long time


  7. I do that all the time. It is surprising what you can come up with. Congrats on being in the Scrap Squad. I was a member of the 2012 Squad and loved it. Hugs


  8. First of all, I’m really going to have to buy your book. I love how your mind works. Secondly, I also saw the disappearing pinwheel tutorial and loved how it worked. I thought I bookmarked it, but when I went back to find it, it wasn’t there. Also, I couldn’t remember what it was called, and I couldn’t find it on their site. Thank you for posting the site here! I can’t believe I found it by chance, and I love how you expanded on the idea!


  9. cdahlgren2013

    I love what you did to Jenny’s(MissouriStarQuilts) block. I loved it to begin qith, but your takes are amazing! I don’t follow blogs on wordpress only by email or bloglovin, so I will follow you by facebook and bookmark your site, I’m sure I’ll be buying your book!


  10. Darline from Canada

    You are very inspiring – thank you for sharing with fellow quilters. I am going to run out and get your book, can’t wait!!


  11. Susan T

    Love this! I must be doing something wrong, because I’ve made two of these and they don’t “fit.” the pieces at 12, 3, 6, and 9 are bigger on one edge, so they don’t fit with the others. I’m going to try again, but do you have any idea what I’m doing wrong?


    • I’m sorry, Susan. If you started with perfect squares, your seams were consistent, and your cuts from the center line were true, the pieces should all fit back together. My only advice would be to watch the video again and see what you’re doing differently.


  12. Thank you! I love seeing how things look in different colors, and I feel inspired to make this with green and red Christmas fabrics then switch the centers. I totally agree with you on not being afraid to play with block designs/layouts, it’s all part of the creative process!


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