Talking with Erin last week got me in the mood to some quilting, but I wasn't sure where to start. (By the way, there is still time to enter the QuiltEssential book giveaway!) Inspiration is always in my head, but too much and I'm frozen. So I decided to get back to basics. The disappearing nine patch block has been around for a while, but I wanted to document my process here. So many who claim to not have the skills to make a quilt could easily create this block, and its a very satisfying sew. I used a charm pack of Denyse Schmidt's newest line, Florence, 1/2 yard or so of one of the prints in this range that reminded me of boxer shorts (actually, the whole range reminds me of boxer shorts!). I wanted dark centers in each of the nine patch blocks, so I used another Denyse Schmidt print (coincidence, but all her prints do work together well) in dark blue for each of the centers. Making the center of each block darker valued will create some continuity later on, but this is not a hard and fast rule. You could make every single square in your nine patch blocks a different fabric. Play with low and high volume prints. Experiment! That's what this block is all about. Here's how to do it.
1. Create a basic nine patch block. Each of my squares are 5". Sew them together across, then sew the rows together. I made the stripe fabric happen four times within each block, in the same positions, with stripes always going vertical. If another stripe showed up beside it, like below top left, I turned the strips to go horizontal. There's a reason for this, which will make sense later on.
(Note: I press all my seams allowances open. All the time. It works for me and I get much better seam matching using this method.)
Sew up all your nine patch blocks this way before moving on.
2. Once these are done, you will cut them 2 times. (I know!) Cut them through the center, both vertically and horizontally, as below.
You will now have a very satisfying stack that looks something like this.
In the one below, the dark small square is positioned in the same spot in each vertical column-
Below, the individual blocks have been positioned to make a new, larger square of 4 different prints, with a darker block at each corner-
In the version below, the darker squares make the eye go in kind of a "step down" effect, almost like the mini-quilt I made a few weeks ago-
In this one, the darker squares are creating a vertical bar/rectangle effect-
Right now, I have the "step down" placement up on my design wall, I'm going to leave it there and see if I still like it tomorrow. (That's the great thing about a big design wall. Put something up, leave it there for a day or two, and see if it really makes your heart sing before you sew it all together.)
For me, right now, this one is in need of something, but I can't put my finger on it.
The striped areas are kind of doing what I wanted them to do, which is create a basketweave type effect.