Monday, October 4, 2010

BOW #18 Nine Patch

If I had to choose a block that I most enjoy working with I'd have a tough time choosing between Log Cabin (more about that in a future week) and the Nine Patch, and for ease and versatility you just can't beat the Nine Patch.

It's easy to do--much like the Four Patch, with a few more squares.  You have a choice of whether you want to have more dark or light patches--you need 4 of one and 5 of the other. 

For a 12" finished block, you'll need:

(4) 4-1/2" squares of color #1
(5) 4-1/2" squares of color #2

Arrange as shown, and sew together:

Now, if you have to make many Nine Patches out of the same fabric, you can do some strip piecing to make it faster.  Directions below are for the same 12" finished block, but you can adjust to whatever size you want.

Cut 5 strips of dark fabric, 4-1/2" x WOF (width of fabric), and 4 strips of light fabric, 4-1/2" by width of fabric.   Sew  into strip sets, as shown below.  Make 2 of the first strip set, 1 of the other. (You need twice as many of the 2 dark/1 light rows as the 1 dark/2 light rows.)

Make 4-1/2" cuts of the strip sets, which will give you the rows for the Nine Patches, already sewn; all you have to do is sew those rows together.

The Nine Patch can be used as filler rows and blocks in scrap quilts, just as the Four Patch is. 

Or, you can alternate Nine Patches with plain blocks of the background fabric to create a chain quilt (a Single Irish Chain).

I'm working on a scrap quilt (have you noticed that "I'm working" on a lot of quilts, but you don't hear so much about finished quilts???) that are random Nine Patches, some with 4 dark/5 light and some with 5 dark/4 light squares.  I'm not worrying about what color goes next to the other, just sewing them all together.   (I have MANY 1-1/2" squares that I cut out, with a template, early in my quilting days.  I'm still working on putting those together, and have cut many since.  It may be a lifelong project....)

I say let's give the Nine Patch the respect it deserves--and have fun with it!

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