Tuesday, July 11, 2017

9 Patch Fun - Inspiration Evolves

The Inspiration Quilt
This picture has been on my bulletin board for a long time. I took it at a quilt show in the 1990's. The maker's name is Ruth Ann T (unreadable) from Ramsey, MN. I can't make out all the words but it is called Cabin II from a series of "cabin quilts" she was making. She was inspired by an 1800's "crib spread" in a book of antique quilts. Now, her quilt inspires me!

I like the scrappy look of alternating nine patches; some with light corners, some with dark.

Having recently finished my Kaye England top (see my January 31 post)  I needed another machine piecing project to bring to our community center sewing twice a month. I decided this was a good choice. I have a lot of unfinished projects in the queue but I got going on this and couldn't stop.

I began cutting a 2" strip off any yardage I had out for another project and making 9 patches whenever I felt like sitting at the machine with some mindless sewing. In time the box of strips and squares and some completed blocks was overflowing.

Blocks finish at 4.5"

As I sewed the 4.5" blocks together I got to thinking. Maybe I could do something more interesting.  I decided to work with the many leftover 1.5" squares from the Kaye England project as a 'center', surrounding them with the larger squares.

So the center is composed of 9 patches that finish at 3".
I wanted to surround that section with the 4.5" blocks I had been making.

I worked the math:
The 9 patches blend
for  a checkerboard appearance

 3" blocks =18
Four 4.5 blocks =18


I was excited by the idea. Then I took it one step further when I remembered a  collection of 6" nine patch blocks that I had acquired through an on-line swap many years ago.

But...how about the math?
Three 6" blocks =18

This was getting TOO exciting - Bonus...the blocks are already done!

My family of blocks:
Papa, Mama, and
Baby blocks

I surrounded the center with four rows of the 4.5" blocks.
I worked on the family room floor when I outgrew my design wall.

Trying out ideas for borders

I briefly considered using some plaid squares from my stash as the final border - - nope.

           Didn't like that.

Back breaking work

From the 6" blocks I chose the darker tones to create a visual border.
I liked that - two rows of those make an 80" square top.

Here is the result:

The bottom row not fully visible in this photo.

In this kind of quilt everything works. Even, maybe especially, ugly blocks and fabrics can be used. They contribute to the interest and get lost in the crowd. I tried not to overthink placement but did squint and change a few things that stood out too much.

Go ahead. Ask. 
 2,358 squares

The top on a double bed.

I realized I've had this concept in the back of my mind for years. I remembered seeing something similar in Houston in 2002...I create files to help me organize all my quilt photos and there in the Shows>Houston file was this cheerful example. No border. 

(I may not remember people's names but I never forget a quilt!)

From my collection:  Related concept using 4 patches instead 9's

You can see the 4 patch structure

I really like working with scraps. I have shelves full of yardage but I get great pleasure picking through tiny pieces, pressing them and playing. Are any of you scrap-aholics?

Amazing what fun you can have with strips of different sizes. Cut your leftover chunks into strips as you work on other projects and before you know it you'll build up a collection to play with.

If you have made quilts like this, or have vintage examples, you can send photos and I'll add them to my next post.

Happy Scrapping!

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