Block of the Month

9 Patch Swap

For the April Block of the Month, lets try swapping 9 patch blocks. Bring as many 9 patch pairs of blocks as you want, swap them with other guild members, and go home with the same amount of blocks as you came with, but in a scrappy variety!

The color palette suggestion for these blocks is to use only ONE color per block - but use a light and a dark of that color. No whites, and no blacks, please! Look at the examples above for inspiration. All of your blocks should measure 6½ inches unfinished.

Pin your block pairs together. (Notice that a color pair consists of a block with 5 darks, making an x shape, and another block with only 4 darks, in a plus shape.) Pinning them together will make it easy to swap two for two. When you use them in a quilt or border, having a set of two will help your eyes travel around the quilt, looking for the match!

Since we're making 6 inch finished 9-patch blocks, you'll start by cutting 2½ inch strips. If you want to make one pair of blocks, cut your strips 7½ inches long.

I'm using some of my overflowing stash of fat quarters for this, so my strips are 2.5 wide x 15 inches long. If you've got long fabric instead of fat quarters, you can cut your strips 22½ inches, 30 inches, or longer!

You'll need to cut at least three strips of each color.

Sew your strips into two sets of three. One set will be two darks with a light in the middle, the other, two lights, with a dark in the middle.

Then my absolute least favorite part of quilting, you should really iron all those strips. I pressed the seams toward the dark.

Next, I pitched the cat off the warm blocks, flipped over my ironing pad to the cutting side, and cut my long strip sets into 2½ inch segments. If you don't have a cat, skip the pitching part.

I layered my two strip sets before cutting. It was easy to cut them as a pair. BUT before I took this picture, for illustration only, I shifted the strips, so you could see the pale lime on the bottom.

Then I set up an assembly line. First, looking at the pink sections, I laid out two 9-patch blocks ready to sew. The top block will be a dark-in-the-corners block, or what Charla was describing as an X. The one under it is the second part of the pair, dark pink on the middles, or Charla's + block.

I've got a finished lime one just coming off the machine, and a purple still under the presser foot.

Below are some sample quilt layouts that you could make with your new scrappy variety of six inch 9 patch blocks. I love my EQ5. :)

If you want to see one MORE layout, check my blog at Forestjane.blogspot.

The layout on the left uses 24 six inch 9 patch blocks, in the border. The inside has scrappy card tricks blocks.
On the right, a quilt layout with made with nothing but nine patch blocks, set on point, and using 2 inch black sashing and 2 inch scrappy cornerstones. I added a two inch black border to this one to tie it all together.

This one is my EQ5 version of a twist block design I found on a neat scrap quilt site:


Go to Bonnie's site and look up her instructions on how to sew this twist strip quilt. She has some great quick methods for making this block, which results in a quilt that looks almost diagonally set. I like the optical illusion thing!

It'd take 46 six inch 9 patch blocks to go around the border of this one, if you wanted to make a bed size quilt. I think I'm going to try a smaller version.

And finally, another layout that calls for 24 of the six inch nine-patch blocks.

There's a 26 inch basket block with a large triangle in the center, just waiting for all you applique people.

You could fill it with Easter eggs, chicks, and bunnies, for spring, or bright summer fruits and veggies to pick up the nine patch colors. I'm thinking an ear of corn, tomato, asparagus, string beans? Or you could choose to do a basket of blooms... or kittens.

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