Whirligig quilt block

whirligig quilt block

I have been seriously neglecting my quilt blocks of late. Am more behind than ever but heyho… I will have a lovely quilt on my bed one day. Just not some day soon!

Introducing the Whirligig block, number 20 from issue 22 ‘Art of Quilting’. Though issue 21 supplies the batting and instructions on how to join the first 6 blocks, I feel the need to get a few more blocks underway first.

Inset seams are second nature now. Not so daunting any more. Which is lucky because there are a few involved here!

The ‘orange blossom’ triangles are first sewn to the gingham pieces. Important to mark the 6mm seam allowance on the triangles before making the first seam. Then you know at what point to stop, where the seams meet. The ‘red daisy’ pieces are then joined to the triangles and then the final seam to the blue gingham completes a quarter of the main block. Once they have been arranged in position, the bottom two quarters are seamed together and then the top two. They can be chained and then snipped apart. Finally the two halves are joined together and the centre seam pressed open with the ‘toe’ of the iron.

I have to say this is my least favourite block so far. I think its the fabric colours. They create such a clumsy shape. I did consider selecting different fabrics but I wanted it to be consistent with the rest. The design is meant to be characteristic of the propeller look but it is very interesting how the design changes with use of pretty vintage pastels with more contrasting triangles, which seem to draw the eye more to the centre pinwheel.

whirligig block in pastel colours

Block Facts:

Name: Whirligig
History: The combination of printed fabric and gingham is very typical of the feedsack quilts of the 1930s.
Level: Some experience needed to create neat set-in seams
No. of pieces: 16

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly
Block 5: The Trafalgar
Block 6: The Windmill
Block 7: The Chequer Square
Block 8: The Diamond Square
Block 9: The Cactus Pot
Block 10: The Sawtooth Star
Block 11: To come!
Block 12: The Windmill Sails block
Block 13: The Basket of Flowers block
Block 14: Susannah
Block 15: Road to Oklhahoma
Block 16: Chequer Star
Block 17: Nelson’s Victory
Block 18: Fair and Square
Block 19: Diamond Pinwheel
Block 20: Whirligig

12 Replies to “Whirligig quilt block”

  1. I think, if you made lots the same and joined them together, you would notice the pinwheels more. I hope so, as that is the sort of quilt I have underway at the moment. My pinwheels are plain and the surrounding fabrics bright and, at least in the example of the instructions I’m following, you do get a sense of the pinwheels in the completed quilt. I love that red fabric you’ve used for the pinwheel so much that I can’t help but like your block anyway.

  2. Hiya, I love sampler quilts, but when you put a lot of the same block together you get all kinds of secondary patterns forming too. If you crop the photo and arrange it like a quilt, you can see that the triangles meet to form another kind of whirligig, so it has two reasons to have that name. 🙂 It could be fun to try that with some of these blocks, to see what the quilt would be like if it was made with the same block! 🙂

  3. Wow, I’m in awe of your quilting prowess! Those seams are beautifully done 🙂 You should be very proud of yourself. I’m not sure how you do a set in seam for quilting, but however you do it, you’ve clearly mastered it. I’ve yet to do a quilt block…perhaps I’ll start with some Christmas decorations as gifts…any suggestions?

  4. Ooobop! I’ve decided to make my mom a quilt for Christmas. Thing is, it’s my first quilt and I need to send it overseas to Canada before Christmas. Do you have any suggestions for a good beginner pattern and tutorial (since I know not what I do!) that won’t take me toooooooooooooo long to make? Any help would be much appreciated. Google searches are overwhelming me!

  5. Oh how lovely. She will be delighted I’m sure. I only have experience in the blocks I’ve made to date and can’t offer any help with the actual quilting, as yet! But I would first advise sewing by machine and not by hand just so you get it done in time! A quarter inch foot is essential to keep things accurate and quick – a great suggestion by Mrs C. Have a look at some of the earlier blocks I did: double four patch or Chequer Square or even Shoo Fly. All the ones that don’t require set in seams will be quick and easily put together before Christmas and even though they are simple, they will be great once they are sewn together. Happy to send you the templates of whatever ones you want (mum’s the word!!)

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