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Showcase a rainbow of colors.

Quilt Designed & Made by Nancy Allen

Skill Level Easy

Finished Size 76" x 92"

Finished Blocks 20 Blocks 12" x 12"

Design Inspiration

I think that this quilt has a whimsical feel which is reinforced with the use of vivid jewel-toned fabrics. I like blocks that are based in tradition, but with a twist. I also like it when blocks create new patterns when put together. If this block is made without the sashing and pinwheel cornerstones, a large pinwheel is created where four blocks come together. I think this quilt design lends itself to a variety of styles and colors of fabrics. The blocks can be done with two fabrics, three fabrics or four fabrics. All of the blocks can be done with the same fabric combination or done scrappy with different fabrics in each one.

Nancy Allen, Whirligig Designer


Nancy made her Whirligig quilt with fun, bright fabrics on a white background to create a playful, twin-sized quilt.

She used 20 different prints in the blocks and border and a black print for the Pinwheels and binding. Be aware that each section uses the same fabric in each of its units. With a scrappy layout like this, you will want to use a design wall or large, flat surface to keep yourself organized.

Use an accurate 1/4" seam allowance throughout to ensure all elements of the quilt fit together well. Handle all bias edges carefully to avoid distortion.

Fabric Requirements

* 20 Assorted prints

1 fat quarter* each for blocks and border

* White solid

5 3/8 yds. for blocks, sashing and border

* Black print

1 3/4 yds. for Pinwheels and binding

* Backing

7 1/2 yds.

* Batting

84" x 100"

*fat quarter = 18" x 20"

NOTE: Fabrics in the quilt shown are from the Chroma collection by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

Cutting Instructions

Patches are lettered in order of use. Cut largest patches first. Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances.

* 20 Assorted prints*-cut from each:

2 squares (A) 4 7/8" x 4 7/8"

2 squares (B) 2 7/8" x 2 7/8"

4 rectangles (C) 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"

4 squares (D) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

2 squares (F) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"

* White solid

40 squares (A) 4 7/8" x 4 7/8"

180 squares (B) 2 7/8" x 2 7/8"

80 rectangles (C) 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"

80 squares (D)2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

49 rectangles (E) 4 1/2"x 12 1/2"

* Black print

10 strips 2 1/2" x WOF (width of fabric) for binding

140 squares (B) 2 7/8" x 2 7/8"

*see Cutting Diagram

Piecing the Blocks

1 Referring to Triangle-Squares in Quilt Basics and to Diagram l-A, use assorted print As and solid white As to make unit 1. Make 20 sets of 4 matching.

2 In similar manner, use assorted print B's and white B's to make unit 2 (Diagram l-B). Make 20 sets of 4 matching.

3 Referring to Stitch & Flip in Quilt Basics and to Diagram I l-A, use assorted print C's and white D's to make unit 3. Make 20 sets of 4 matching.

In similar manner, use white C's and assorted print D's to make unit 4 (Diagram ll-B). Make 20 sets of 4 matching.

4 Join matching units together as shown in Diagram III to make section. Make 20 sets of 4 matching.

5 Sew 4 contrasting sections together as shown in Diagram IV to make block. Make 20 blocks.

6 Using triangle-square method and referring to Diagram V, use white B's and black print B's to make 280 unit 5's.

Join 4 unit 5's together as shown in Diagram VI to make Pinwheel. Make 70.

Assembling the Quilt Top

NOTE: Refer to Assembly Diagram for following steps, watching block placement and orientation.

7 Join 5 Pinwheels and 4 white E's as shown to create a sashing row. Make 6 white sashing rows.

8 Join 5 white E's and 4 blocks to make a block row. Make 5 block rows.

9 Sew sashing rows and block rows together as shown.

10 Join 11 assorted print F's and 10 Pinwheels to make each side border. Matching centers and ends, sew to sides of quilt center.

11 Join together 10 Pinwheels and 9 assorted print F's to make each top and bottom border. Matching center and ends, sew to top and bottom of quilt.

Quilting and Finishing

12 Layer, baste and quilt. Nancy machine quilted large swirls across the quilt. Bind with black print.

Color Play!

I chose a simple color palette to make a "mini" Whirligig quilt. I doubled the size of a section and then framed it with a 4" border and pinwheels on the corners. Fabrics shown are Gray Matters and Basically Hugs from P&B Textiles. Quilted by Jackie Arnold.

Anissa Arnold, Associate Editor
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Publication:McCall's Quilting
Date:Jul 1, 2018
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