Fat Quarter Mystery Quilt: September Block of the Month by Nancy Zieman

September WM NancyZieman

Fat Quarter Mystery Quilt: September Block of the Month by Nancy Zieman

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September WM NancyZieman

Introducing the September Block of the Month

Whirlygig* block is the September Fat Quarter Mystery Quilt Block. Like all blocks in this year’s block of the month challenge, this block is 15″ (finished size) and is created using quick strip-piecing techniques. Simple!

During this 12-month block of the month challenge, all blocks are made from one 24-piece fat quarter bundle and 2-1/4 yards of cream background fabric. We’re using the fat quarter bundle, Garnet, it’s my most recent fabric line from Penny Rose, a division of Riley Blake Designs. You’re definitely welcome to use another collection of fabric, or fabrics from your stash!

Garnet CakeStand Nancy Zieman

Choose the Fabrics

For the Whirlygig block, select the following fabrics from your Garnet fat-quarter bundle. If you’ve chosen another fabric collection, select one medium tone, one dark tone, and one light tone for a total of three fabrics.

Fabrics WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1


  • Eight 3-1/2″ squares (light fabric)
  • One 3-1/2″ square (medium value)
  • Four 3-1/2″ squares (dark value)

CutSquares WhirlyGig NancyZieman

  • Four 3-7/8″ squares for HSTs (dark fabric)
  • Four 3-7/8″ squares for HSTs (light fabric)
  • Four 3-7/8″ squares for HSTs (medium fabric)

CutSquaresHST WhirlyGig NancyZieman

Half-Square Triangles (HSTs)

  • Layer two light 3-7/8″ squares on two medium 3-7/8″ squares, matching right sides.
  • Layer two light 3-7/8″ squares on two dark 3-7/8″ squares, matching right sides.
  • Mark each block set diagonally from corner to corner, using a fabric marking pen and ruler.
  • For greatest accuracy, use a No-Hassle Triangle Gauge. The left side of the gauge is designed to create the 3-1/2″ HST blocks used in the Whirlygig.

January 2017 Block of the Month by Nancy Zieman/Sewing WIth Nancy

  • Depress the button on the sliding portion of the gauge and move to the 3-1/2″ HST icon on the left side of the gauge.
  • Place gauge on the block set, corner to corner. Match corner marks of gauge with corner of block sets. Mark fabric through center of gauge with a fine-point, fabric-marking pen.

NancyZieman MayBoM 7

Note from Nancy Logo     The advantage of using the No-Hassle Triangle Gauge is accuracy. It’s easy to double check that the block set fits within the confines of the gauge. If the block set extends beyond or is shorter, trim or cut another block.

Stitch Half-Square Triangle Block Sets

  • Attach a 1/4″ patchwork/quilting foot.
  • Set machine for a straight stitch, 2.0–2.5 mm in length.
  • Align foot along one side of the center marked line; stitch a scant 1/4″ from center marked line. Do not cut the threads.
  • Kiss the next block set to the stitched block and chain stitch from one block to the other.
Triangle 1 NancyZieman
  • Clip threads between chain stitched blocks. Rotate blocks 180-degrees. Align foot along second side of center marked line; stitch. Clip threads between chain stitched blocks.

Triangle 2 NancyZieman

  • Cut the blocks apart along centerline markings, with a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler.

Triangle 3 NancyZieman

  • Press seam allowances toward the darker fabric.

Triangle 4 NancyZieman

  • Make a total of four light-dark HSTs, four medium-light HSTs, and four medium-dark HSTs.

Triangle 5 NancyZiemanTriangle 6 NancyZiemanTriangle 7 NancyZieman

Create the Block

  • All seam allowances are 1/4″.
  • Arrange the large block as shown:

BlockLayout WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1

  • Join pairs of blocks to create rows.
JoinRows WhirlyGig NancyZieman
  • Stitch one row at a time, starting with the top row.
  • Row One:

RW1 WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1

  • Row Two:

RW2 WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1

  • Row Three:

RW3 WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1

  • Row Four:

RW4 WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1

  • Row Five:

RW5 WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1

  • Press odd numbered row seam allowances in one direction and even numbered seam allowances in the opposite direction.
  • Arrange the rows.

NumberedRows WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1

  • Join rows one and two; interlock the seam allowances at each unit.
JoinRows2 WhirlyGig NancyZieman
  • Press.
  • Add row three. Press.
Pressing2 WhirlyGig NancyZieman 1
  • Join rows four and five. Press.

BottomRows NancyZieman WhirlyGig

  • Stitch the final row seam to create the block.

September WM NancyZieman

The ninth block in the 2017 Fat Quarter Mystery Quilt is solved!
* Whirlygig Block, illustrated in Ladies Art Company, published in 1898. 

Share Your Success!

If you are on social sites, let all your friends know you are working on Nancy Zieman’s 2017 Fat Quarter Mystery Quilt by tagging your post with the hashtag: #NZBoM. Share your finished blocks with Nancy and her team by emailing them to [email protected].

During the 2015 Quilt Adventure and the 2016 Quilt Extravaganza, I shared three virtual quilt designs made with the month’s single block. This year, I’m changing it up and sharing block color variations of one block.  Please note that the fabrics required for color-varied blocks will be slightly different than the original block of the month directions presented.

Take Your Block to the Next Level

  • Visualize an entire quilt made from this block. Each block will measure 15″ square when sewn into a quilt. This quilt focuses on the contrasting light and dark halves of the Whirlygig block. The mitered sashing looks complicated, but it is actually made with a half-square triangle at each diagonal intersection.
DiamondSash September2017
  • Notice the subtle differences in these four color variations of the Whirlygig block.

O3Block Sept2017
O2Block Sept2017
O4Block Sept2017
O5Block Sept2017

 Virtual concepts presented in this post are created using Electric Quilt 7 (EQ7) software, available at Nancy’s Notions.

Watch No-Hassle Triangles (Part One and Part Two) on Sewing With Nancy online.

If you missed any of the complete block tutorials, find the 2017 Fat Quarter Mystery Block of the Month on my blog.

Watch for the October Block of the Month on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

Bye for now,
Nancy Zieman The Blog

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  • Clovis
    September 16, 2017

    Thanks for the September block.

  • Nancy White
    September 16, 2017

    Beautiful color choice

  • Jean Long
    September 16, 2017

    Love this block- how easy to make this in fall colors or Christmas or just any nice contrasting, coordinating fabrics. Thank you for the next Christmas runner using this block.

  • Eleanor Gibson
    September 16, 2017

    I love this block, it looks so hard to do until you watch your video I am going to try to make this block thanks

  • Sunni
    September 16, 2017

    Love how different fabric color selections impact the same design pattern. Lovely.

  • Barb Anderson
    September 16, 2017

    Please help! My math says that I need to cut four 3-7/8″ squares of each fabric to make the HSTs, but the instructions only call for two each of the medium and dark fabrics. Am I missing something?

  • BevM
    September 17, 2017

    I just purchased the No-Hassle Triangle Gauge, and I am eager to try this block.

  • Knella
    September 19, 2017

    Something is missing!!! Please look and see how many 3 7/8″ blocks are to be cut. It doesn’t come out!!! Very frustrating!

  • Leonore Barna
    September 21, 2017

    This was the hardest one to do. Directional prints required a lot of attention, and I used more fabric than I cared to, because of mistakes in the directional designs. Keeps me on my toes!

  • "Willie" Loyall
    September 21, 2017

    Hey Knella and Barb — this was a “brain-teaser” — something WAS missing! Page 3 (cutting the 3 7/8″ squares) should have read 4 each of the med. and dk. (not 2 ea.), giving us the 4 “missing” med/dk HST’s!! I love this block and especially love Nancy’s beautiful Garnet color choice. PS: The little error made us use our brains, which is supposed to help ward off old age! Cheers . . . Willie in VA

  • Judy Pennington
    September 30, 2017

    I am devastated to learn of your diagnosis! I hope your show goes on for years on our PBS station. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! You will be greatly missed, I regret that I didn’t start watching your show until the last few years, never knew it was on. God bless you Nancy!

  • Bonny
    November 21, 2017

    Sadden to hear about Nancy. Condolences to the family and to all her associates.

    I was wondering when the next Mystery Block for November would be published. I am interested as I am using the patterns as well as the material given to me by my sister-in-law to make lap quilts in memory of her . She passed away in September of lung cancer. The lap quilts are being donated in her name to the local Rehad/Nursing home where she lived.
    I have made 10 quilts so far with 3 of them using Jan – Mar (and working on April) Mystery Blocks.

    Thank you,

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