Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Skill Builder 2017-18 - Nine Patch block by Cinzia Allocca

The nine-patch block is one of the most recognizable patchwork blocks, the origins dating as far back as the 18th century.

In its simplest form, a nine-patch block is made using light and dark fabrics laid out in a checkerboard fashion:

The nine-patch block can either be assembled by sewing small squares together (making it conducive to working with scraps or charm squares) or, as we saw with the Rail Fence block, by using the strip-piecing method.

Let’s start with some simple quilt math:

To figure out the width of your strip or size of square you need for your block, begin with the finished size of block you want to make, divide that number by 3 and add a 1/2in. seam allowance (1/4 in. each side).


For the charity quilts, we want a finished block size of 12” x 12”:

12 divided by 3 = 4 + 1/2 = 4 -1/2” strips or squares.

Cut (3) 4-1/2” x WOF (width of fabric) strips of each color.

Sew (3) strips together in alternating colors. Make one set light-dark-light and a second set dark-light-dark, as shown below.

Cut each strip into several 4-1/2” pieces.

Sew three pieces of alternating sets together from left to right.

Alternate the order of the sets if you are going to sew the blocks side by side:

A nine-patch block however, does not need to be made up of simple squares. It can also be made up of pieced squares as we see in the following traditional blocks:

Examples of quilts that apply Modern Quilt Characteristics to the Nine-Patch block:


Modern Traditionalism (Modern variation of the Traditional Irish Chain):
By Mtl MQG member Tamara Serrao

Playing with Scale:

One giant Nine Patch block!
By Victoria van der Laan

Changing the scale of the patches:

For her “Stretched Shoo Fly Quilt”, Mtl MQG member Josee Carrier played with the scale of the patches within the block and varied the scale of each block.
By Mtl MQG Josee Carrier

Improvisational Piecing: (by yours truly!)

I cut my strips free hand to create my improv blocks. The result is that each block in my quilt top is unique!
Finished Quilt Top: Nine-Patch Variation by Cinzia Allocca

To see more:

I created a Nine-Patch Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.ca/2petitessouris/nine-patch-quilts/

For Quiltcon 2017, American Patchwork and Quilting sponsered Nine-Patch Challenge. Click here to see winners of the challenge:


If you choose to make your own version of the modern Nine Patch block, be sure to share it on Instagram with the hashtags:

#mtlmqgskills and/or #mtlmqgskillbuilder

Happy Sewing!!

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