Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Classic

The Pinwheel quilt block is another all-American classic. It's been around forever, and has always been a very popular pattern, whether done in traditional colors or more contemporary tones.

The very first pinwheel design I did in my AMERICAN QUILT COLLECTION was this one - plain old PINWHEELS:

I did it early in my designing days, and it's very simple in style and technique.
Back then, I was totally focused on highlighting the variegated thread. And you can see that there are no other solid colors - just the variegated blues and the ecru background. It's pretty plain, really.... (and to be honest, one of my least favorite quilt designs.)

Now we move along quite a few years.... and here's my second attempt, called COLOR STUDY: PINWHEELS.

This time, I've added several other simple stitches that are used in the pinwheel arms and the various background sections. All the different colors and stitch patterns create a LOT of movement in this design....maybe too much! This pattern hasn't been a great seller, but I often wonder if the thread colors didn't work as well as I intended. I used a favorite variegated Watercolours - 06, "Amethyst" - but somehow all the purples and greens get kind of muddy in this piece. No matter, I still like the optical illusion effect, and the way it takes a while for your eye to see all the spinning colors in the piece... (Oh well, you can't win 'em all....)

But I didn't give up on the pinwheel block, because - TA DA! - I used it again in this piece: PINWHEEL SPARKLERS.

This is such a happy piece. It's by FAR my favorite pinwheel pattern. It reminds me of a long summer's day - in July, maybe - with kids sitting on the curb, waiting for the parade to pass by, waving their brightly colored pinwheels in the breeze! If you look at the other pinwheel piece above, you'll notice I borrowed the same outer block border, but the layout is slightly different. And check out that wavy blue border! Doesn't that remind you of cool waves at the beach on a hot summer's day?

This pinwheel design just makes me happy every time I look at it. And it was a fun one to stitch up, too - so it gave me double the pleasure: in the doing and in the savoring after all the stitching was done! (And hey, you know what? Now that I look at it again, I'm thinking it would look really great in bright Halloweeny colors of oranges, purples and greens... ooohhh, now there's a "bewitching" idea for autumn.....)


Margaret said...

I like the plain patterns.

One I would like to see is the little girls with a bonnet. I love that quilt.

But, now my question is: Is your header one of your patterns? That is lovely!

Nicole said...

Hi Laura,

Your designs are so pretty! I have just found your blog and have just started Canvas Work starting with a couple of your freebies. They are so much fun! I can't wait to try one of your bigger designs now! :)