Make a Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt

disappearing nine patch
Talking with Erin last week got me in the mood to some quilting, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Inspiration is always in my head, but too much and I’m frozen. So I decided to get back to basics. The disappearing nine patch block has been around for a while, but I wanted to document my process here. So many who claim to not have the skills to make a quilt could easily create this block, and its a very satisfying sew.  I used a charm pack of Denyse Schmidt’s newest line, Florence, 1/2 yard or so of one of the prints in this range that reminded me of boxer shorts (actually, the whole range reminds me of boxer shorts!). I wanted dark centers in each of the nine patch blocks, so I used another Denyse Schmidt print (coincidence, but all her prints do work together well) in dark blue for each of the centers. Making the center of each block darker valued will create some continuity later on, but this is not a hard and fast rule. You could make every single square in your nine patch blocks a different fabric. Play with low and high volume prints. Experiment! That’s what this block is all about. Here’s how to do it.
1. Create a basic nine patch block. Each of my squares are 5″. Sew them together across, then sew the rows together. I made the stripe fabric happen four times within each block, in the same positions, with stripes always going vertical. If another stripe showed up beside it, like below top left, I turned the strips to go horizontal. There’s a reason for this, which will make sense later on.
(Note: I pressed all my seams allowances open on this quilt.)
disappearing nine patch
Sew up all your nine patch blocks as above before moving on.
disappearing nine patch
2. Once these are done, you will cut them 2 times. (I know!) Cut them through the center, both vertically and horizontally, as below.
First cut= ninepatchblockfirstcut
Second cut=
disappearing nine patch
You will now have a very satisfying stack that looks something like this.
disappearing nine patch
3. Now its time to play! There are lots of ways to orient these new blocks. Here are a few.
disappearing nine patch
disappearing nine patch
In the version below, the darker squares make the eye go in kind of a “step down” effect, almost like the mini-quilt I made a few weeks ago
disappearing nine patch
disappearing nine patch
disappearing nine patch
Right now, I have the “step down” placement up on my design wall, I’m going to leave it there and see if I still like it tomorrow. (That’s the great thing about a big design wall. Put something up, leave it there for a day or two, and see if it really makes your heart sing before you sew it all together.)
For me, right now, this one is in need of something, but I can’t put my finger on it.
The striped areas are kind of doing what I wanted them to do, which is create a basketweave type effect.
I will let this simmer while Emma and I work on Halloween costumes. What are you guys working on?
Update! All done! And I’m giving it away! Enter to win this quilt here! Update, contest over! Thank you to all who entered

  • Erin | house on hill road

    October 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I love this. So simple, but still versatile and interesting! I’m working on the flying geese quilt I’m making for my nephew. Hoping to baste today and start quilting tomorrow. Then it’s back to that compass rose thing and I just ordered a bunch of yarn for sweaters for the girls. So basically, I’m experiencing start-itis. xo.

  • melissa f

    October 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    ack. it’s good. i love the step down vibe.
    i’m working on 10 things. none of which i SHOULD be working on.

  • Erin in PA

    October 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I have 2 baby boy quilts to make and I am unsure of a pattern at this point. I do enjoy this disappearing 9 patch (or perhaps a churn dash). I definitely like the palette you chose. I just picked up 5 yards of an awesome cathedral window print from ModKid for JoAnn Fabrics – this is definitely going to be the backing for these quilts, now I need to pull some stacks for the front! Happy Monday!

  • claire

    October 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    fantastic! i’m going to try this next quilt.

  • amisha

    October 22, 2013 at 5:06 am

    i love that you showed all the different variations of block arrangements– so awesome! i love the step-down too, and the second arrangement that looks like mini- 4 patches. so many possibilities!
    i have startitis/ too many irons in the fire too… sweaters, alabama chanin dress, various quilts, ack! have had a hard time focusing on just ONE project lately. but i’m also longing to finish something 🙂

  • Amy

    October 22, 2013 at 10:37 am

    ….”Once these are done, you will cut them 2 times. (I know!) Cut them through the center, both vertically and horizontally, as below.”
    Blammo. So simple but what a big impact! Now I wan to go play (but there are those pesky Halloween costumes to make first..)

  • Robin

    October 23, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I love love love the DS prints you chose, they are perfect for this. And it’s so awesome that you can create something so modern looking using a basic traditional quilt block. The step down is my favorite, too. What did you end up deciding on?

  • beki

    October 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

    love this, blair!
    i’m always amazed how many variations one can come up with on such a simple design.
    right now i’m working on an embroidery/applique design on a dress that i’m supposed to be finished soon – it’s for ceci’s 2nd birthday which is less than a week away. all the hand sewing is taking me longer than i anticipated.

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I totally have start-iris!

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Crafty multi-tasking. It’s the only way I work.

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I love the churn dash pattern. Its on my (very long) list of blocks to make one of these days.

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Claire, I’d love to see what you do with it!

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I’m glad to know I’m not alone with so many starts. I’m trying hard to focus in. Succeeding… somewhat….

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you Amy, its so true! I love that those 2 simple cuts remove the symmetry of the 9 patch block and give it a whole new spin!

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you Robin. I love this new line of prints of hers. I think I am going with the step down effect, I’m liking it more and more.

  • blair/wisecraft

    October 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    You’re a good mom, to be stitching away. I am knee deep in Halloween costumes, but trying to dig myself out of them. xo

  • Shey

    November 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    I LOVE this! Just got a charm pack and am going to start a quilt with this pattern tomorrow! Couple of questions… How much fabric did you use for the dark center square? And, how big is the finished quilt of this going to be (approx)? Thanks so much for the inspiratioN!

  • blair/wisecraft

    November 2, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Thanks Shey! I would estimate a 1/4 yard for the dark center squares. As for the finished size, it would be a throw or crib size, to make it bigger you would need another charm pack, and double your other ydg. Hope this helps!

  • Cheryl Arkison

    November 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Such a simple block, with so many options, like a HST.
    Still stuck on it? I feel like the warms/cools are too evenly matched in numbers. But because the warms advance they are standing out more. I immediately wanted to say add more purple, but maybe it is just a matter of a few more greens/blues?

  • Kristen

    November 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    What a great tip! This type of thing, this kind of handy trick that my quilting grandma and her grandma knew nothing about, is so exciting to me. I’m really looking forward to trying this one. Thank you so much for sharing it. 🙂

  • Sheyenne

    March 6, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Thanks for the tutorial! Here is my finished quilt. I LOVE this method! (I linked to this post in my blog.)

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