From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
A Maypole Dance quilt block is a great introduction to pinwheel quilt blocks for the beginning quilter.
No triangles to cut. No bias edges to mess with!
Learn to stitch up this pattern quickly using the Connector Corners technique. There are instructions to make this block in 4 different sizes.
Let's get started.
These abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
SA are 1/4" and pressed toward the dark fabric unless noted otherwise.
Skill Level: Beginner
Choose fabrics with good contrast so that the points in the center of the pinwheel aren't lost.
The Connector Corners (CC) technique is used to create the half square triangle.
When making CC, I find it easier to fingerpress the patches when the fabric is starched before cutting.
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||L||4||1½" x 2½"||1¾" x 3”||2” x 3-1/2”||2½" x 4½"|
|2||D||4||1½" x 1½"||1¾" x 1¾"||2” x 2”||2½" x 2½"|
|3||D||4||1½" x 2½"||1¾" x 3”||2” x 3½"||2½" x 4½"|
|Unfinished Block Size||4½"||5½"||6½"||8½"|
Learn more about my favorite, new quilting tool, the Magic Pressing Mat. A valuable addition to your quilting tools—regardless of the piecing technique you use.
With a pencil (I've used my Bohin Mechanical Chalk Pencil) mark a diagonal line on the backside of all four #2 patches.
With right sides together (RST), align the #2 square with the right side of the #1 patch as shown below. Sew on the drawn chalk line. (Using an open toe applique foot makes it easier to see where you need to stitch.)
Now you have a choice to make. You can either trim away just the excess #2 fabric (below, top), or both the excess #1 and #2 fabric (below, bottom). Be sure to leave behind a 1/4" seam.
Trim all four pairs of patches.
With RST, add the #3 to the top of each #1/#2 unit, pressing the SA towards the darker #3 fabric.
Repeat for a total of 4 matching units.
Arrange the patches into the Maypole Dance design, remembering to rotate each a quarter turn as you make your way clockwise around the block.
Stitch the patches into rows. The seams nest in the center which makes it easy to get a good match. Use pins if needed to hold everything together. (I do!)
Press with the SA away from the #1 light rectangle.
Sew the rows together. Again, the SAs nest. Pin the center match point if needed. A pinwheel block with a perfectly matched center is a BEAUTIFUL thing!
After checking to see that the match is good, remove a couple of the stitches in the SA from the backside so that you can twirl the SA. This distributes the bulk in the center making the block easier to machine quilt.
Our Maypole Dance quilt block is complete!
It doesn't get much easier than this.
Three fabrics. Simple sashing and cornerstones.
A quick baby quilt to whip up at the last minute!
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
Can you tell?
It's in color.
It's got a ton of blocks.
What's not to love?
Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.
This book is no longer in print.
If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.
Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.
Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.
And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!