How to disappear a nine patch

only to find I was a week too early. Curses! Well at least I now have time to stitch that binding on, and take it back next week.

nine patch
Little winner

We all deserve a little luck occasionally; this quilt was made from a little bit of mine.
I’m lucky enough to live near a company called Standfast and Barracks, they print fabric for Liberty and Designers Guild amongst others. They have a factory shop where these fabrics can be bought in small amounts for discounted prices. You won’t be surprised that I shop there often. They also have a facebook page. ( ) and some time ago they ran a little competition to win some fabrics … guess who won?

nine patch
lucky Me

I won… Four lovely pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn; now what to make?

I decided to make a disappearing nine patch, I had only used that block once before but I knew it would go together quite quickly, and I liked it, you don’t need a better reason, do you?

nine patch
3 of the 4

I fiddled around for a while trying to work out the placement of the fabrics and came to the conclusion that I needed more contrast, a different colour. I dug out my enormous stash of Liberty Tana lawn remnants from Standfast and Barracks, and found a blue which I thought would work.

nine patch
2 and a contrast

Thinking about the balance of your fabrics in simple terms, the fabric you want to use the most of or to be the dominant fabric should go in the corners of the nine patch block .

nine patch block
nine patch block

The next fabric or fabrics should go on the four sides of the nine patch , you could use all one colour as I did or you could alternate two colours which would create a completely different look.

NB , if you use a fabric with a directional pattern, as I did the pattern should not be placed the same way up, but directed from the sides to the middle of the nine patch block, otherwise when you cut it up and try to put it together again, you’ll find the pattern going every which way. It won’t work.

nine patch
Disappearing nine patch

Finally the fabric you have least of if you are using scraps, or you like least, or would dominate the quilt if used in greater amounts, goes in the centre of the nine patch block. The disappearing nine patch block has a balance of fabrics which is expressed by 4, 2, 2, 1 . The largest patch is 4 times bigger than the smallest and the middle sized patches are half of the larger, if you see what I mean?

nine patch
180 degrees

Having put together the nine patch I cut it into 4 quarters and put it back together having turned two of the quarters 180 degrees. All the blue patches are aligned in the same direction. If two patches had the pattern aligned along the length, and the other two along the width, it would be visually distracting.

nine patch
neither works for me


Nine nine patch blocks gave me a 30” quilt top and used up all of the flowered and the blue fabrics, to make it big enough for a lap quilt usually 40 -45 “ square, borders were needed. First I considered a darkish blue… too dark, then a bright watermelon pink… too bright. I thought it would dominate and make my pieced disappearing nine patch centre look dull.

nine patch
blue and green work together

I added a narrow green border to separate the pieced top from the outer border, using the green helped to balance the colour across the quilt and use the green up too. Finally I took my centre back to Standfast and Barracks, draped it over the rolls of fabric for sale in the shop. I found another blue that worked for the border. I also bought a piece of the flowered fabric big enough to back and bind the edge, leaving enough left over for the hanging sleeve too.

nine patch
simple quilting

I planned to submit this to my quilt group’s exhibition; the third of my three items, and thinking it needed to be handed in in a few days time I was in a hurry to finish it. The last time I had used this disappearing nine patch block I used a circular quilting to balance the very square pattern, I began to mark out the circles, but my disappearing pen was dried up and useless, pencil was too laborious, I had to do something simple.
It’s stitched in the ditch, just outlining each quarter block, and the border follows the pattern of the disappearing nine patch block in a simplified form.

nine patch
burning the midnight oil, less than 24 hrs to go

The binding was stitched onto the front, rolled over and tacked down over the stitch line on the back, almost ready but time was up. I drove out to the village where my Quilt group meet to hand it over, only to find I was a week too early.

nine patch
how neat is that?

Curses! Well at least I now have time to stitch that binding on, and take it back next week.

In case you are wondering I have a plan for the other two fabrics not used in this quilt, with the addition of that bright watermelon pink, I think I’ll make a disappearing four patch… watch this space.

A new quilt every time we redecorate; madness.

Quilts are for using, and enjoying, signs of wear are badges of honour for a quilt.

Sally's quilt full size

Here’s an idea for a quick quilt to match your bedroom décor. This quilt was made by my mother for her granddaughter, my sister’s daughter. Sally had recently repainted her bedroom and her mother had bought her new bedding to tone in with the Lavender walls. Her old quilt no longer fitted in with this new colour scheme, and a new quilt was required.Sally's quilt;backing

My mother, went back to the shop where the bedding had been bought and bought a king size duvet cover in the same pattern, one side had very large cabbage roses printed on it, not suitable for cutting into small pieces, so that side would be used for the backing, the other side an easier fabric to cut up being an all over swirling pattern.
Using small amounts of toning fabric, a paler green Broderie Anglaise, bright and greyed Lavenders, dark Blue, and Teal green, with large amounts of the duvet fabric in an oversized 18inch block, she achieved a pattern apparently floating in space.
Sally's quilt detail 2
I have been looking at the photographs trying to see where the block begins and ends. I think it’s an asymmetric 4 patch block, 4 of which are placed in the centre of the quilt each one rotated 90 degrees from its neighbour. There’s an extra half block strip top and bottom to make the quilt rectangular.It was a lovely quilt when it was made, and a great idea for making a quilt to tone in with an existing décor.

Sally's quilt detail 1

The bedding was polycotton and has long since worn out and been made into dusters, and the quilt, although still in existence, up close has the appearance of worn poly fabrics, stray fibres pilling across surface. I think I could shave them off with a safety razor to improve the appearance, but to be honest I like the fact that it shows wear and tear, it is what it is, and sometimes when well used quilts are a little tatty, they invite further use. No longer preciously perfect, they can be used, thrown about, even sicked on without conscience, and enjoyed.
When I see a quilt which has lived it’s life packed away in a drawer kept for best, or for a wedding day which never happened, I feel sorry that someone’s handiwork lost its purpose, and the point of its making was missed. Quilts are for using, and enjoying, signs of wear are badges of honour for a quilt.