Here are photos of (1) the patterns colored and (2) some stitched triangles sewn together. Print this page to use a reference.
I did not color in the center because it is always the background fabric. That helps to make the twist and separate the colors.
In the fabric photo, you can see the texture you get by stitching the plain background triangles. I think you need to continue that texture in the quilt.
If you make this quilt, send me a photo when you are finished. I'd love to see your quilts.
Copyright 2002, Bonnie K. Browning
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I demonstrated (program #802) how to make the Windmill Quilt used in the opening of Simply Quilts on HGTV. The original quilt is shown in Log Cabin With a Twist by Barbara Kaempfer; the pattern is not included in her book. This has been one of the most requested patterns, according to hostess Alex Anderson. From the responses of the viewers, that is very true. There have been some questions, so I am providing more information than is available on HGTV's website to help you make your own Windmill Quilt.
The Windmill Twisted Log Cabin quilt pattern is now available in my latest book, Borders & Finishing Touches 2. It includes the foundation pattern and photo how-tos with step-by-step instructions for sewing it. You can order a copy by calling AQS at 1-800-626-5420.
Q: How do you color the triangles?
A: The center of each triangle is your background color; I used navy blue. There are three colors in each triangle. I highly recommend that you color your blocks to make it easier when you are ready to sew. For TV, we colored all of the strips so you could see better, but in reality I just make a zigzag of color on each side to mark the colors. Get yourself a set of 12 or 24 colored pencils; don't use crayons because if you press, you'll get the grease from the crayons on your fabric, iron, or both. When you are coloring, try to place lighter colored windmills against darker colored ones, or warm colors against cool colors to make the windmills stand out better. I pinned my triangles in place on a piece of muslin and then colored the six sections of one windmill before moving on to the next one. When you are ready to sew, you can remove the triangles one at a time to sew; replace it on your muslin, and continue sewing the next triangle. It's fun to watch the windmills form as you sew.
Q: You used different values of each color. Can I use one fabric instead?
A: Yes, it's your quilt, so make it to suit your tastes. You'll get great windmills using one fabric for each windmill too. The windmills also look great in some of those tone-on-tone fabrics that are available today; they add some great texture.
Q: How did you make your patterns?
A: I drew the triangle and then scanned it into my computer. Then I printed the patterns on Vellum paper. Vellum is my favorite paper for foundation piecing. You can see the lines from either side. I placed the fabric on the wrong side of the foundation pattern and stitched on the right side where you have colored. (Make sure you have some writing on your pattern so you know which is the right side. If you want to reverse some triangles, you can just sew on the wrong side.) This paper tears away very easily. I don't remove the paper until the triangles are sewn together. I drew this design so each side measures 8-3/4 inches and I chose that size because it would fit on a sheet of paper. If you draw your triangles in another size, make sure each side of the triangle measures the same on all three sides.
Q: Do you piece the triangles that are just the background fabric?
A: Yes, you would want to piece those triangles to keep the weight of the different areas throughout the quilt the same. There are many seam allowances on the pieced triangles; piecing all of the triangles keeps the texture created by the piecing uniform.