How to make a Nine Patch Block

Just so you know, I posted a quilt I finished to an online group and Terry made the comment that she learns a lot about quilting from me and that one thing she knew is that quilting by hand is a time consuming venture. I should mention that I got into quilting because after finishing a 241 hour stitching project my first quilt took 22 hours from pre-cut kit to bound quilt. With such a quick turnaround it’s no wonder I became addicted.

Just a note before we begin, I still consider myself a beginner. I don’t know the proper way of doing curves, I don’t get my points right more than half the time. Many people are far better quilters than I am, but I can do simple quilts and I have a good eye for color IMHO.

So before beginning, there are some needed supplies. A rotary cutter, a sewing machine, a cutting matte, a ruler and some fat quarters of contrasting colors. Walmart sells a beginning quilting kit that has the matte and the cutter and a decent ruler – it runs about $27.99. Fat quarters run about $1.25 to $3.50 depending on the local shop.

The picture shows several fat quarters which I picked out on a retail therapy spree. Pick two fat quarters which look good together. It works best using a light and a dark fabric. A lot of people will suggest pre-washing the fabric and it makes sense especially if the colors bleed like red or purple. Personally, I like working fabric with the sizing still in it. If deciding to wash, serge the fabric before washing it to keep it from unravelling. Definitely iron it after washing.

One of the critical parts of quilting is cutting. The first thing I do is create a straight edge by either using a fold in the fabric or the removal of the selvage edge.

Fat quarters have a long edge and a short edge. For this block, use the ruler to cut 3 strips either 2.5 inches or 3.5 inches wide along the long edge of the fabric.For this project I cut 2.5 inch strips.

Using 2.5 inch strips, there is enough fabric in a fat quarter to make six strips instead of just three.

Line the strips of fabric up so that there are two sets, one with the dark in the center and one with the light in the center.

Quilting is done with a 1/4 inch seam. Most sewing machine standard feet are a hair wider than 1/4 inch. I’ve marked where 1/4 inch is on my machine because I got tired of trying to remember if I had the standard or 1/4 inch foot on the machine.

Now I’m lazy so I don’t pin my strips in place and I’ll admit that I pay for it as later pictures will show. I also admit that I’m a believer in the Dorky Homemade look to quilting. I quilt for relaxation not to make a masterpiece.

I’ve now spent 3 times as long writing this narrative as I did making the nine patch block and taking the pictures and I’m not finished. Later this weekend, we’ll get into the importance of a good heavy iron.

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