Summer Series Fab Four: Whirly Wheels

Every time I look at this design, I see something different – sorta like looking through a kaleidoscope.

I guess summertime just brings out the child in me.  Reminds me also of those whirly wheel magnetic rail rider toys which seemed to defy gravity at the simple flick of the wrist. What can I say? That’s the name that seemed to fit for this design – Whirly Wheels.

This is a modern take on the classic block Jack’s Chain – without the awkward construction of adding 9-patches to a hexagon with those difficult Y seams, then having to add a triangle to connect the parts…. I have one of those in my unfinished projects pile…it was too frustrating for a new quilter! Whirly Wheels is constructed in rows – so much simpler, don’t you think!

I don’t know about you, but I love precuts, those fabulous 2 ½” strip packs – such a nice variety to produce the scrappy effect that draws me in.

My cover quilt is made with a “shipping soon” fabric collection called William’s Garden from Island Batik, watch for it at your local quilt shops! It is actually the Spring 2020 Signature Collection for Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design designed by Kathy Engle. I thought it rather fitting to use Deb’s signature fabric in my design using her newest tool, the Star 60®.

(PS – I have several precuts on order so keep a watch on my Etsy shop too!)

I made a sample test using scraps from my personal Island Batik stash, the 9 patches are from a collection called Ocean Odyssey with the background and triangle fabrics being foundational fabrics, Shark and Teal…I love that I can find these basics anytime of the year… isn’t it amazing how a simple change of fabric choices changes the entire look!

You could also make a very controlled 9 patch with just two colors as I did on my “one row” pattern test in Christmas fabrics. Can you see where I fussy cut the triangles in the triangle – Christmas Cardinals…Truly the choices are endless! (hum…wonder if I will turn this into a full size quilt or just add a border and make a festive table runner?)

My pattern tester, and fellow Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor, Cindy Moores from Wisconson used fun prints in her pattern testing of Whirly Wheels. She was a little hesitant at first to use the orange as her comfort zone is a little tamer, however – it turned out fabulous don’t you think!

Whirly Wheels, pattern by The Quilt Rambler, pieced and quilted by Cindy Moores, WI
Whirly Wheels pattern by The Quilt Rambler, pieced & quilted by Cindy Moores, WI

Couldn’t resist sharing all her photos with you…If you will squint your eyes can you see multiple shapes and secondary designs? That’s what I adore about this pattern – it intrigues me as sometimes I see wheels, sometimes I see triangles with 9 patches exploding out from them, sometimes I see stars – and if you are really imaginative can you see the diamond lattice? or big X’s, huge triangles, paths, hexie trails?

Whirly Wheels, pattern by The Quilt Rambler, pieced and quilted by Cindy Moores, WI

The pattern’s quilt size is based on using just one package of precuts – but who’s to say you can’t make a quilt larger or smaller by adding or subtracting more rows! 

While Whirly Wheels is simplified with the use of Studio 180 Design tools, I would suggest this design for a confident beginner or intermediate quilter. A great place to build your skills would be to make Wheels on The Bus Table Runner and Placemats first if you feel a tad hesitant. Whirly Wheels isn’t difficult, however, good quarter inch seams are a must.

The Quilt Rambler’s Whirly Wheels pattern is a 16-page booklet in full color, well-illustrated with detailed instructions to make a 58″ x 78″ lapsize quilt. Available in both digital PDF download or print formats.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, eager to see your creations using a pattern from the Summer Series Fab Four, companion patterns to Studio 180 Design’s Star 60® tool.

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up the expanded version of sharing these patterns with you – Synchronized Swimming is up next!

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