Wagon Wheel Blocks

January 20, 2011 § 5 Comments

While I’m currently working on the lessons and teaching EQ classes, I just remembered that a LONG time ago I had mentioned making a tutorial on how to draft wagon wheel blocks.  Man, time flies.  The discussion started last summer when I made this doll quilt for the Flickr Doll Quilt Swap.  Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this!

If you haven’t seen this or tried this in Electric Quilt, there are two ways circles and arcs can be drawn. I find it’s easier to draw a quarter of the circle and then just make four to complete the wagon wheel.  The easiest way to draw an arc in EQ is by using the PatchDraw block worktable.  There are preset grids for circles, arcs, stars, octagons and kaleidoscopes.  Just draw in the shapes in the sizes you want.

Circles and arcs can also be drawn in the EasyDraw block worktable.  This option might be preferable if you want to design a more complicated block where the shapes don’t stay within their respective rings.  It takes a little bit more effort to set it up, but you have more freedom to draw outside the grid lines.

As much as I love EQ, you can also draw arcs on graph paper as well.

1. Decide how big you want your wagon wheel to be.  If you want to make a 12″ block, then draw a 6″ block to make a quarter of the circle.  If your protractor isn’t able to draw as big of an arc as you need, I am using this handy Yardstick Compass that converts an old yardstick into a protractor. My hubby picked this up at a quilt shop a long time ago and I’ve never seen them available anywhere since.

2. Decide how many rings you want to make in your circle.  My doll quilt had two. So, draw two more arcs at the distance you decide. On this one I drew them 2 inches apart which makes a 4″ center circle and 2″ deep rings. You may want the center circle smaller and the rings larger. It’s totally up to you.

3. Now you can draw in the spokes. I found the center first by drawing a line from the lower left-hand corner to the upper right-hand corner.  From there, you can decide if you want to keep dividing the spaces in half, or randomly drawing lines at varying distances.  On my doll quilt, it felt too equal to keep the spaces all the same, so even though there were lines, I randomly stitched different widths of fabrics to make it look a little more uneven.

4. Cut apart your arcs and add the seam allowances. (I haven’t added the seam allowances yet in this picture)  If you want to make a bunch of wagon wheels, then I would recommend tracing these onto Quilter’s Template Plastic with the added seam allowances. Then you can trace around the plastic onto multiple pieces of paper without having to re-draw them each time.

From there, just sew your fabric to the paper pieces using the foundation paper piecing method and tear away the paper when you are finished. Sew the arcs together (not the center circle) in each quarter. Then sew all the quarters together to make an entire Wagon Wheel Circle.

You can hand or machine stitch the wagon wheel to a larger background piece of fabric. And you can hand or machine stitch the center circle on top of all the layers. Just be sure to add the seam allowance for the center circle as well ~ or even a little bit extra for good measure. Sometimes these things stretch out a little and it can be hard to cover all of the raw edges.

Or alternately, if you want the center circle to also be scrappy, you can sew the center quarter circle to the arcs before sewing each of the 4 quarters together.

I hope this all makes sense!  If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll see if I can clarify the cloudy bits.

Oh, and if you are still reading and were still wondering about our star anise oatmeal experiment… I thought it was just okay.  It didn’t really taste like licorice, but it was a little odd.  Gary liked it a better than I did. I think it depends on what other flavors you mix with it. We also added cinnamon, agave nectar, and dried cranberries.   I’ll have to do some more experimenting on how to use this spice.

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§ 5 Responses to Wagon Wheel Blocks

  • Liz says:

    I am glad you also showed this with the good old fashioned compass. I have a similar compass but it must be a newer version since the ruler part is made out of plastic. I find that the screwed on parts slip and are not reliable – probably the plastic performing more poorly.

    Thanks for the mini tutorial. I like the concept and now I have the tools to do it!

  • Yes, thanks for the tutorial using basic equipment! It’s a beauty I can’t wait to try.

  • Adina says:

    if you like asian food it can be used in wonton soup…it’s delish. you can either do a search or i can send you the recipe via e-mail from one of my dim sum cookbooks. just let me know if you want it.

  • pratima says:

    Fabulous tutorial like always! Thank you!!
    Star Anise is so good in pilafs. I feel it gives a distinct fennelish scent. I hope you get to experiment more and discover your own twist with this spice :)

  • Karen says:

    This is an awesome looking quilt! Thanks for the tutorial – I’ve done some arcs in EQ7 (New York Beauty), but not big like this. I’ll try something new LOL!

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