Pressing Tips for Pinwheel Blocks Strip Sets

Today we have a guest post from one of our favorite designers, Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries. I had the pleasure of meeting Lynette at Quilt Market in Utah last month, and she is just as lovely and pleasant as her designs.

Today, she shows how pinwheel blocks can add a festive touch to your summer decor and gives you tips on pressing the strip sets that make this project so easy.

Pinwheels for June!
By Lynette Jensen

Getting your home set up with wonderful small seasonal projects is a real joy when it comes time to refresh your decor. The exclusive Thimbleberries Project of the Month I designed for Keepsake Quilting is just the ticket. Each month, a project arrives at your door including a pattern and fabric. A bonus, small project pattern is also included in the main project pattern to help you with all those little scraps you have saved for years, just waiting for the right little idea to come along.

These are those projects that take just a few hours or less, and are just plain fun to do whether they are for yourself or for a gift. Make sure your check them out in each of the twelve months of patterns that are packaged in the kits. Between the two projects each month, you will have twenty four go-to patterns for charming small projects.  Watch for my ‘Note from Lynette’ that is also included with the kit and pattern each month.

pinwheel blocks table runner
Pinwheel blocks add a festive touch to your summer decor. By Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries.

The Pinwheel Runner is ready to ship for June. It says summer has arrived. The sharp contrast of the pinwheel colors against the creamy white background really make the pinwheels pop.

And what says summer more than red, blue, sunny yellow and a great floral print? The pinwheel appears to be a double pinwheel with the green pinwheel shadowing the red one.

However, the best part is, the double pinwheel image is created by first strip piecing the red and green together and cleverly adding a square of background fabric on the end of the strip set and making a triangle by switching diagonally on the square and flipping the inner corner of the square to the outside edge.

The pattern has very clear diagrams in colors that match the kit fabrics making is so very easy to follow and get these pinwheels just right.

Pressing Tip for Strip Sets

When you are piecing strips together before cutting into other units for a project, much of the success of this process is attributed to proper pressing.  If the seams are not fully pressed nice and flat, it will change the dimensions of the next cut unit.  So, I recommend pressing the seams in one direction on the back side.  I use steam for a sharp “press.”

Then flip the strip set over and press again on the right side to make sure all seams are flat and small little tucks or pleats in the seams are hiding.  This will make the pieced section smaller than it should be.  Also, measure at this time to make sure your seam allowance is not too generous.  It is a good time to check it before going any further into the next step.

Notice, I have been using the term “press,” not iron.  Make sure the motion with the iron is up and down, not back and forth in a rounded motion as if you were ironing a shirt.  This can actually distort the strip set turning it into almost a rainbow shape, which is not how you want all of your strips to appear.  The heat and steam of an iron can really influence the shape of fabric.  So remember, up and down, and not right to left.

Use this technique beyond this pattern to make countless strip sets of fabrics from your scrap stash to make many “double pinwheel” blocks for a very scrappy quilt. How fun would that be?

Thimbleberries notebook cover
The pattern for this Slice of Life notebook cover comes with your June Thimbleberries Project of the Month subscription.

Included in the June Summer Pinwheel pattern is a rally cute and very handy Slice of Life Notebook cover.

This notebook is small enough to go into your purse to have your notes handy at all times…you know that grocery list for the upcoming weekend, the garden supply and plant list you made just before going to bed, the fabric and notions you need for your next quilting project.

It is so nice to have everything in one spot that can travel with you. It looks pretty great on your counter as well, ready to grab at any time.

The inside flaps are a great place to store store coupons as well. It is a pretty handy little item to have and takes so little fabric. I am afraid, however, it is not going to make a dent in your scrap stash.

See all the Thimbleberries Projects of the Month and more quilting projects by Lynette Jensen in our online store. For Lynette’s binding tips on these projects, visit our sister blog at

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