Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Versatile 9-Patch

I think most regular readers of this blog know that I have a particularly fond relationship with the 9-patch block. I have been hand-stitching them at our Frankfort Girls get-togethers for a long, long time, and I take them with me when I will be on a long car ride, or visiting family. In the spirit of showing just how versatile this block is, I have been thinking about all the ways I've used it in quilts I've made.

This is the quilt I have currently under construction. I am calling it 9-Patch Strippy. All the 9-patches are done by hand. I added the setting triangles by machine. I am now in the process of joining the pieced columns to the plain, also by machine. It is incredibly fast and straightforward. The only thing I am really minding is that I get all the blocks lined up horizontally, which takes some pinning and easing in places.

This 9-patch quilt is made with alternating hourglass blocks. It was fun to do, and went together quite fast. I made top by machine and then I hand-quilted it.

 The two quilts above are the same pattern, 9-Patch Criss Cross by Thimbleberries from the book At Home With Thimbleberries Quilts by Lynette Jensen. It uses an economy block to alternate with the 9-patches. I made the blue one first for my DS and it has been used and laundered many, many times. The one pictured above it is still a flimsy. Notice how the look changes with variations in fabrics and placement. I used 3 fabrics in the blue quilt and 4 fabrics - burgundy, gold, navy and cream - in the newer quilt.

The quilt above is another strippy quilt, but it is made differently from the one at the top of this post. Each 9-patch has been turned into an economy block, and then those blocks are set into columns and lined up with straight seams. The same look is achieved; it's just a different way of getting there. This pattern comes from Pick Four by my blogging friend Sue Abrey. She calls it Antique 9-Patches.

Here is another quilt with hand-pieced 9-patches. I had lots of Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps and joined them with white-on-white to make these blocks. Then I just used another KF fabric in deep blue floral for solid setting squares. Because it was a rather small quilt, I added 3 borders. This is a creation of my very own.

This quilt is one I have just had quilted and am in the process of binding. Each 9-patch block is turned into an economy block with the navy blue. The setting block is an economy block of a blue fern on white with a medium blue surrounding it. Set together alternately and on point, this looks really fantastic. It is a pattern from American Patchwork and Quilting, but heaven only knows how far back.

Here are 2 quilts made alike with pastel solids and creamy white. The setting block is the same creamy white fabric and the result is a series of diagonal chains across the quilt. I purposely set the colors in rows to accentuate the chains. These are both UFOs, as I made them last June at Quilt Camp and have yet to put the borders on.

And finally, I will show you how different the 9-patch looks when the "chain" is made from the light fabric instead of the dark. This is a 2-fabric quilt - blue floral and white paisley. Love it!

So there you have a quick little lesson in the versatility of the 9-patch. I hand piece some of them; I machine piece some of them. However you like, you will find that this basic block can afford many different looks.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. I love making 9 patches, too. Your quilts are just beautiful. I especially like the first one.. your newest. Gorgeous!

  2. What an interesting post! I enjoyed reading it. I never thought of sewing 9 patches by hand. That's a good idea. I liked seeing the two versions of Criss Cross and how the blue squares of the second one creates beautiful blue diagonals. Thank you for writing this post.

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