Sunday, February 10, 2019

Unplanned Quiltmaking

A week ago I was finishing up the 40 9-patch blocks I needed for the little block exchange my quilting group is doing in March. Well, in typical Jayne fashion, I didn't clean up the leftovers from those blocks - and there were considerable leftovers. I cut way more 2.5" strips than I needed, and I just knew that if I put them away, I wouldn't think about them again for possibly years.

My spur-of-the-moment decision, then, was to just make more 9-patches.

Hey, my goal for this year is to make lots of quilts using easy designs and big pieces. What is simpler and easier than a 6.5-inch 9-patch block? Not much. I love making them and (so far) have not grown tired of them. So I am feeling totally justified!

I sorta' had a notion that my setting blocks should be either from my brown bin or my red bin - largely this was because I could most easily access these two bins. I'd have had to do some really deep-stash-diving to get to some of the others.

These six became my frontrunners. In order to audition each one, I opened each fabric onto the bed and laid a few blocks out on top.

The two photos above are the darkest of the three browns - a closeup and a distance shot.

These two are the middle brown.

These two are the lightest brown (even though that one looks black). None of the browns excited me too much, so I moved on to auditioning the reds.

This deep burgundy was my initial favorite as I pulled the fabrics. But the look on the bed was less than thrilling.

This could easily have been stored in the brown bin, but because of the tiny red flowers, I suppose, it was in the red bin. I pretty much pulled it as an afterthought.

I had high hopes for this rosy pink, as well. Ehhh, I'm not so sure about it now.

A closer look at the three browns.
And a closer look at the three reds.

So, how does one decide? Well, here's my thought process. When I study my pictures of the two darkest browns and the one dark red, I only see the 4 light squares in the 9-patch blocks. Those lights "pop" to my eye, and I don't really want that. I want the 5 dark squares in each 9-patch to shine as they form that great chain-like look across the quilt. So I am eliminating the 3 dark fabrics.

That leaves the one light brown and two light reds for my consideration.

I believe I will select the lightest of all  - the beige background with red flowers. It is a Robyn Pandolph fabric from Moda. To my eye, it allows the chains to be most dominant. My second choice is the lightest of the browns.

My brain has worked pretty hard today making this decision. (What does that tell you about my brain??) I think I will go cut a bunch of 6.5" squares and get on with this!

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. That piece of fabric was my favorite too. It lets the 9-patches shine and doesn't call too much attention to itself.

  2. I liked the red fabric the best but you use what you like the most. Happy Valentines Day!

  3. I like your choices as well... not that you asked! :) Nine patches are so fun and relaxing to make.

  4. I have made a number of these 6" nine patch quilts. I think they may be my favorite traditional quilt to make. Of all the fabrics you interviewed for the alternate setting blocks, I like the one you choose the best. It is hard to see on my computer how one option is better than the others but I just know I like this fabric a lot.

  5. I have a bunch of 2-1/2" strips cut and waiting - just needed your post to get me going! Thanks for the inspiration. These will make great quilts for my hospice donations.


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