Disappearing Pinwheels and Hourglass Blocks…

I’ve been playing around with the Disappearing blocks that I’ve seen on the internet…  One of my guilds asked if I would teach them at our Sew-In last Thursday…

Supplies needed:

1 Layer Cake (Pre-cut 10 inch squres)

40- 10 inch squares cut from a coordinating background fabric

BSK (basic sewing kit)

Sewing Machine


I used a Moda Layer Cake called “Hope Chest” by Laundry Basket Quilts.  I paired the layer cake (pre-cut 10 inch squares) with 10 inch muslin squares.

I put a layer cake piece with a muslin piece, right sides together and stitched 1/4 inch around all 4 sides of the square.  Then I cut them on both diagonals.  This leaves you with 4- half square triangles.  (They are on the bias, so you have to press carefully as to not distort the shape.)

From this point, I divided my Layer Cake into dark prints and light prints.  I’m going to make a Disappearing Pinwheel with the light prints, and a Disappearing Hourglass with the dark prints…

Here is the technique for making Disappearing Pinwheels:???????????????????????????????  You put your 1/2 square triangles into a pinwheel block and then cut them into 9ths.  For a layer cake. I cut them into 4 1/4 inch squares.

After you cut them into a 9 patch you rearrange them like this:

???????????????????????????????You can play around with your layout with this pattern and achieve a few different blocks!

Here is the Disappearing Hourglass block…???????????????????????????????

Again, you make the block the same way, just positioning it into an hourglass (I’ve always called this “Broken Dishes”, but traditional quilt blocks have more than one name.)

Cut into a 9 patch using 4 1/4 inch measurements as before.  Then you reposition the pieces as shown below:

???????????????????????????????These are such fun blocks and look so much more difficult than they are!  I still have a bunch of work to do, but the layer cake will make 40 total blocks, so I’m shooting for 2 quilts.  A smaller 4 X 4 layout with the churndash/pinwheel, and a 5 X 5 layout with the star/hourglass block!  More to come when I get farther along!

Thanks for visiting!!!


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10 Responses to “Disappearing Pinwheels and Hourglass Blocks…”

  1. soma1773 Says:

    That is very clever, Ruth!! Thanks so much for the tutorial. If I can ever pull myself away from paper piecing, I will definitely give this a try. Pinning it for later 🙂


  2. Tammy in NC Says:

    Thank you Ruth! I found this when looking for a way to use all of the pinwheels I made when trying the four at a time method. Great ideas and would love to see the quilts you made with these!

    • ruthiequilts Says:

      Thanks Tammy! I’m glad you found the information helpful! You may laugh at this, but these blocks have been added to my ever-growing UFO pile. I have the disappearing hourglass almost ready to quilt, alas, no time! I’ll be sure to post when I finish something! 😉

  3. donna Says:

    I love these blocks can’t wait to try them I wish I could print this page

  4. Ruth Tee Says:

    Thank you Ruthie,

    I’ve been looking for instructions for the Disappearing Hourglass block, and find your tutorial easy. There is a video on this block and another Disappearing Hourglass II (two) here:



    If you and others are interested. Also go to the bottom of the page and find other pages – there are 30+ pages – I have only looked at the first 4, so still lots to see.

    Happy stitching!
    Ruth Tee

  5. Linda J Says:

    For some reason I can never keep these two titles straight in my head! It helps to see them right next to each other and remind myself of which block they started off “life” as, LOL. I am drawn more the disappearing hour glass though I have a disappearing four patch started, queen/king sized. Better like it, huh?

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