Over the past year, I’ve grown more enamored of the Winding Ways (or Wheel of Mystery) block. It all started with a picture of the blocks used on point to make flowers on the Inklingo blog. I made a block like that, then the little quilt for AAQI, and then I took a deep breath and made an entire Winding Ways quilt (more on that soon!)
Now I’m turning that quilt into a pattern, so I thought I’d try several methods of making a Winding Ways block. It has been enlightening, to say the least! Below are the three methods I’ve tried. Just a caveat, this quilt uses small blocks, so that’s why you won’t see From Marti Michell templates, or Accuquilt listed in my comparisons. They’re just too big for what I need here.
Method 1- Inklingo Winding Ways 4.5″ shape collection, $20
This is the method I used for my quilt, and it produced excellent results. PROS: The pieces fit together and were fun to sew. The design book includes a piecing order and pressing method that works well. CONS: Inklingo is very time-consuming in the preparation of fabric, freezer paper, and printing. Unlike EPP, you can’t just grab a couple scraps of fabric, baste them to shapes, and see if the idea in your head is going to work. It takes time to get everything ready to print. And for this quilt especially, I had to cut out each shape by hand with scissors.
Once your shapes are printed and cut out, it is lovely to stack them up and sew happily along the little lines.
Method 2- John Flynn Wheel of Mystery acrylic templates (3″ or 4″), $7.00
PROS: Very inexpensive templates, unique instructions for seam pressing.
CONS: These were really difficult to work with. The templates have a notch for matching the center of each seam, and the instructions recommend using a rotary cutter or xacto blade to make the notches. I couldn’t get either one to fit in that tiny notch.
I think these templates would be better suited to tracing pieces with a marker and then cutting out by hand, as the templates are very, very thin. If you’re already experienced with making Winding Ways quilts, these templates may work wonderfully for you. I struggled with them.
Method 3- Paper Pieces Winding Ways 3″ paper pack, $5 (pieces for 15 blocks), $14 acrylic templates for rotary cutting
PROS- very accurate, quick to see how your block will look finished
CONS- no instructions provided for basting or sewing these teeny-tiny shapes
I’m intrigued by this method, and planning a tutorial on basting and sewing these. I think it has a lot of potential, once I get it down. As you can see from the picture, I’m already working on a second block. I think the key here is smaller seam allowances. You can purchase acrylic templates from paper pieces, but they have a 3/8 inch seam allowance, which is WAY too big for that tiny pointed piece.
How about you? What’s your preferred method for making a Winding Ways block?