The whirling squares quilt block is a delightful block that is made using partial seams – but don’t stop reading now because partial seams are not difficult. You just have to be methodical when you are sewing the patches together. I have made it here as a 21″ square – probably big enough to be used as a wall hanging, or you could add a border and make it into a lap quilt.
Cutting requirements for the whirling squares quilt block
3.1/2″ squares: four green, one white
3.7/8″ by 6.7/8″ rectangles: sixteen red, sixteen white
3.1/2″ by 9.1/2″ rectangles: four white
Making the individual whirling squares
Make half rectangle triangles with the 3.7/8″ rectangles. You can see how to make them here and the ones that I have used for this project are the right hand ones in the photo.
Lay the patchwork out as shown for each individual whirling square.
There is a green square in the middle and four half triangle rectangles around it. The immediate problem that you’ll notice is that you can’t sew these patches together either in rows or in columns. This is where the very useful partial seam comes in.
Place the green square right sides together with the left hand rectangle. Sew a seam from the top of the square to about half way down the square – just the section outlined with my fingers. This partial seam will be completed right at the end.
Open the green square out again and across the top you now have a 6.1/2″ edge. Sew the second (top) rectangle to this edge. This now gives you a 6.1/2″ edge down the right hand side. Sew the next rectangle to this edge.
You are now left with the fourth rectangle to attach in order to complete the whirling square block. Sew the top edge of this rectangle to the 6.1/2″ edge created by the green square and the bottom of the third rectangle. This is possible because you only sewed a partial seam on the left hand side of the green square.
The final seam is now the continuation of the first (partial) seam. My finger is pointing to the point where the sewing from the first seam finished. Sew from there down to the bottom of the rectangle to complete the whirling square block. Make four of these. Trim if necessary: these should now be 9.1/2″ squares.
Assembling the whirling squares quilt block
The construction of the entire block is very similar to the method used for each individual whirling square.
First sew a 9.1/2″ white rectangle to one edge of each individual whirling square block. Then arrange the four whirling squares around a central white square. Rotate them so that the white rectangles are on different edges of the block.
Yes, I do know that I have sewed the half rectangle triangle incorrectly in the top right corner. Unfortunately I didn’t notice until I had finished, so I had a lot of unpicking to do!
Once again, the blocks need to be sewn together using a partial seam. This is exactly the same method as before, but just using larger blocks.
Begin by sewing the white square partially to the top of the bottom block. That gives you a 12.1/2″ edge that you can sew the second block to.
The third block can now be sewn to the white square and the top of the second block.
Sew the fourth block to the left hand edge of the white square and third block.
Finally complete the partial seam and that will complete the whirling squares quilt block.
You may have noticed that I sewed the patches for the individual whirling squares moving in a clockwise direction, but I sewed the blocks together in an anti clockwise direction. It doesn’t matter which way you do it – the important thing is to move methodically around the central square.
Here’s the video:
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