Saturday, September 7, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole BOM: The Nine Patch Block

GHC BOM- Nine Patch fitted

Welcome to the first lesson for the Down the Rabbit Hole block of the month. The first block is a simple nine patch. The nine patch is a great block for any beginner to learn, and it is a great block all together because it's so versatile. In this lesson (for all of you beginners) you will learn the fast economical way of making a nine patch with two colorways, and making a scrappy look as well. I 'am foinf to show you what I mean by the versatility of this block. 

What you will need:

(2) Half yard of fabric, each a different colorway.
Cutting mat 
Rotary cutter
Ruler - I use a yardstick
Thread and your sewing machine 
Iron and ironing board.

  • First press both half yards.
  • Then take one half yard and align it up on your cutting mat by width of fabric (WOF). 
  • With a ruler and rotary cutter, cut the fabric 3 1/2" x wof, repeat two more times. (see photo below for reference) 
  • Take the second half yard and repeat the process.

Picture 2420.1

Now in the next photos I am showing how I cut my salvages off. Personally I dislike having salvages. It stems from a quilt my mom made for my youngest niece. My mom did not cut any salvages off, which resulted in the salvages showing up in the finished quilt top. Its just a personal preference, you can leave them there if you like. If you are like me its easier to cut them off before getting started on the sewing. I start by aligning the piece and cut a half inch above the salvage, then I toss the salvage in the trash.

                      Picture 2424.1    Picture 2425.1

Note: I don't always throw the salvages away. If it happens to be a favorite designer or a favorite fabric line and the salvage was printed correctly I will cut the salvage off while I still have my fabric in full yardage, this way I can save the salvage for later in making a scrappy salvage something.

  • When all the strips are cut, there should be six of them total, arrange them into opposites. See photo below.

Picture 2428.1

  • Before sewing the strips together open them to the full 42 inches.
  • Press the center fold
  • Then sew the set of three strips together

Picture 2429.1

  • Once the set is sewn together press the seams. 
  • Seams can be pressed to your preference.
  • Align the strip set to the cutting mat 
  • Start cutting the strip in to 3 1/2" x 9 1/2" strip sets. See photo below.

Picture 2431.1
Pressing seams is entirely up to you in the way you press them. Some pattern designers have arrow to indicate which way to press the seams. See chart below.

Arrow Key for Pressing Seams fitted

My personal preference is to press my seams to the left or right. In some situations I will use all three directions in one block.

Once you have cut all the 3 1/2' x 9 1/2" sets you can get out of the extended strip set, start arranging them to see which preferred colorway works best for you. For my nine patches I chose the more solid (the one on the right) looking print to be the dominate colorway.

For each strip set depending on which one you choose as your dominate color (the five squares over the remaining four squares), the dominate color strips you will need eight of them to make four nine patch blocks, and four strips of your opposite colorway to complete each block.  

Picture 2432.1

  • Once you have chosen your more dominate colorway start sewing your nine patch blocks together one row at a time.
  • Press the seams after the blocks are completely sewn 
  • Lastly check out your work and admire your new nine patches.
  • Each nine patch block should fare out to be 9 1/2" x 9 1/2"

Now for that versatile nine patch lesson!

If you had any left overs from the strip sets its more than likely you have a few left over to make a couple of nine patch blocks that are opposites like in the photo above. With each block in opposite settings you can pair them up in a grid of 4 x 4 and the out come will be a simple patchwork quilt top.

Picture 2434.1

With the two tone nine patches you could go on and place a plain solid 9 1/2" square where the existing opposite nine patch and start an Irish Chain quilt instead. Its a food for thought!

The Scrappy Nine Patch

The scrappy nine patch is made up by using a different assortment of fabrics or colorways, in which you are still using the three by three grid of squares to make up a nine patch block. This method is a great way to use up any scrap fabric laying around that are not enough to throw away just yet.

Picture 2436.1

The One Directional Chain

The one directional chain in a nine patch is where the more dominate colorway goes one way. You can also make this nine patch block in reverse colors as to oppose the photo below.

Picture 2439.1

The Cross or Plus Sign

The cross or plus sign nine patch has been quite a popular block for the last several years. More devotedly use by modern quilters because of it sleekness and more of its reference to the Swiss flag and all things simple which can be found in that region.

Picture 2440.1

If you turn this nine patch on it axis or better known in the quilting world as on point, you will end up with an X or the times symbol.

Picture 2441.1

Now I could go on almost forever on nine patch blocks alone because there are so many to choose from. Matter of fact in this block of the month quilt alone I have two more nine patch blocks that I hope you will find fun and interesting to do.

Well, everyone I hate to say it but that concludes this lesson. I know that I have this block of the month geared more toward beginners but I hope that any advance quilters out there are willing to join in on the fun too. I just ask patients from ya as I progress along. Thank you for stopping by today and most of all have fun in making your nine patch blocks!



WPBMOMMY1 said...

Hi. I'm using part of a layer cake for mine. It is probably not the most efficient use of the fabric considering the 10 inch size since I'm only getting two 3.5 x 9" strips from each piece but the fabric is so cute I want to use it.

Jennifer | Gable House and Co. said...

There's nothing wrong with using a layer cake. I think the more scrappier this quilt is the better!

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