Week 1 - Whirligig Quilt Sew Along

Jan 4, 2022 - 8:22pm

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Whirligig Quilt Sew Along

Week 1

Welcome to Week 1 of the Whirligig sew along.
This week is all about choosing your fabrics and completing the cutting. If you don't have a big fabric stash to dive into, check out the shops selling kits here.
I'll be making a scrappy rainbow queen size version using fabric from my stash! I was a little disappointed I didn't use more but that's what you get when you only cut one or two squares from each fabric!! Maybe I'll make another one....

  • Make sure you’ve purchased your pattern. Grab it here.
  • The Whirligig SAL will be taking place on Instagram, so be sure your account is set to public so we can all see your posts using the #whirligigsal and #ejjwhirligigquilt hashtags.
  • There are lots of people participating in this sew along, so let’s start off with introductions! We’d love to see a picture of you in your native quilting habitat and hear a bit about you. If you are still working from home, I know many of you are, I hope this sew along will help you feel a little less isolated and a little more connected.
  • Post a photo of your fabric pull (if you have one yet!) – in this newsletter we’ll talk a bit about fabric choices. If you’ve already decided on your fabric, posting a picture may help to inspire others.
  • Now’s the time to buy up on fabric if it’s not in your stash – support for small businesses has never been more important and most fabric shops are selling online!


Your first step is to decide what size quilt you are making. The Whirligig Quilt comes in 3 sizes, a baby, a throw and a queen size.

The baby size finishes at 51” x 51”, the throw is 66" x 66" and the queen size finishes at 81” x 81”.

The next step is to decide on colours!


This week we are concentrating on choosing fabrics and cutting all the squares needed for this quilt.

The original quilt is made up of 4 colour groups.

You may choose to make your quilt from solids or prints or a combination of both. You may also decide to go raid your scrap basket and go completely scrappy or choose 4 main fabrics in each colour. The beauty of this quilt is that you don’t have to go out and buy more fabric (or better still, stay in and order online) – you can raid your stash and make a gorgeous quilt!

For my original quilt, the one using my Melba fabrics I used pink, aqua, green and mustard with a dark grey background. The fabrics are not perfectly matched in these colour groups and that's what I love about this quilt. The pop of orange in the green block really makes the quilt interesting and allows the colours to sing.

Whirligig Quilt Pattern by Emma Jean Jansen

Whirligig Quilt Pattern by Emma Jean Jansen

If you have a good look at the quilt you see that there are four gigs in each Whirligig. (I'm not sure that gig is a word but hopefully you get what I mean.) I like to choose four colours for each block and then repeat this block. The repeated blocks look so good when put together.

Another great way to work out if the colours you’re thinking of using will work well in this quilt, is to use the colouring page from the pattern and have a play around with the colour placement.


I wanted to put together some different looks to inspire you all. Below are just some simple colour combinations that I think will look great. All of these can be achieved with different scales of prints, pattens and colour.

Whirligig Quilt by Emma Jean Jansen

Whirligig Quilt by Emma Jean Jansen

Whirligig Quilt by Emma Jean Jansen

Whirligig Quilt by Emma Jean Jansen


I really want to show you the plan for my scrappy rainbow version of this quilt. I will keep the same colours in each gig and also the placement, but my plan is to use lots and lots of different fabrics. Please check the very orderly first image below. I really struggle with total scrappy quilts so mine are very organised. However if you are into the whole scrappy thing, I have added a few extra layouts to give you some inspiration!

Whirligig Quilt Pattern by Emma Jean Jansen
Whirligig Quilt Pattern by Emma Jean Jansen
Whirligig Quilt Pattern by Emma Jean Jansen


This quilt is made up of squares and HST's, so you’re basically cutting out heaps of squares! Change that blade on your rotary cutting and get those fabrics ironed, then brace yourself for lots of cutting. Follow the cutting out instructions for the size quilt you are planning to make in the pattern.

Here are some quick calculations for the number of squares needed for a scrappy quilt.

I have broken it down into 1 Block, 9 Blocks (Baby), 16 Blocks (Throw) and 25 Blocks (Queen).

1 Block
8 - 3.5" squares (prints)
4 - 4" squares (prints)
4 - 4" squares (background)
4 - 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles (background)

9 Blocks
72 - 3.5" squares (prints)
36 - 4" squares (prints)
36 - 4" squares (background)
36 - 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles (background)

16 Blocks
128 - 3.5" squares (prints)
64 - 4" squares (prints)
64 - 4" squares (background)
64 - 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles (background)

25 Blocks
200 - 3.5" squares (prints)
100 - 4" squares (prints)
100 - 4" squares (background)
100 - 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles (background)

NOTE: If you are planning on making a scrappy quilt you might like to to make a template for the centre triangle. The instructions tell you to cut a 4 1/4" square and then cross cut it twice to make 4 triangles. If you are doing a scrappy version you probably won't want 4 triangles from the same fabric. I made a template using the same technique except drawing the 4 1/4" square onto templastic and cutting the triangle out. Then I just traced this onto fabric and cut it out with scissors.

To create the more organised rainbow scrappy look of my quilt, check out the diagrams below. I've broken it down into colours to make it easier to work out the amounts required.

The pattern calls for you to cut larger squares from all the fabrics and the background fabric to make Half Square Triangles (HSTs).

Lots of quilters like to cut their HSTs bigger and then trim them down to size. Just remember when you’re trimming that your unfinished HSTs need to be 3.5” square.

If you have any questions, you can always email me!

Thanks so much for coming on this fun ride with me. The world continues to be a strange place and I hope this sew along brings you some joy from your home and a sense of community as we all continue to physically distance ourselves. Stay safe and let’s have some fun!

Emma x

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