Ninepatches-Everything old is new again

24 08 2012

Still more squares – – –

I have posted the pictures of four patches and 16-patches, but I jumped right over the lovely ninepatches.

For me the ninepatch is reminiscent of the very first quilt I made in 1972, a ninepatch variation called Shoo Fly.  I started this quilt in Atlanta and finished it here in California.  It was a king-sized quilt, entirely hand-pieced and hand-quilted.  Took forever to complete but was a source of great pride.

Here are some more recent examples of this simple and great block, one that gives an opportunity to play with all sorts of wonderful fabrics.

Dotty Nine Patches

Made from the leftovers from Maggie’s graduation quilt, this little beauty was a fun exercise.

Dotty Nine Patches, 2007
38″ x 44″
Photography by Sibila Savage

I used this quilt to try a new machine-quilting technique, a free-motion quilting pattern on the border.  Needed to practice, practice, practice.

Dotty Nine Patches, detail, 2007

Vintage Ninepatches

Made from squares cut from scraps of vintage fabrics, these ninepatch blocks sat forever in piles in a drawer in my studio. Occasionally I would take them out, put them up on the design wall, and try to find a fabric for sashing that would make all the blocks look good, never succeeding.   Finally I decided to put them next to each other with no sashing, and the mash of all the fabrics together made me happy.  If I have one definable design aesthetic, it would be my desire to get as many different prints as possible into each quilt.  To date, this quilt succeeds at that goal more than almost any other, pushing the concept to the limit.  Using the strong border to hold all this chaos together seemed just right.

Vintage Ninepatches, 2011
67″ x 80.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Machine-quilting trick—If you have this much activity going on in the patches, there is no reason to spend hours creating and implementing intricate quilting patterns; any quilting pattern will be hard to see unless you are four inches away from the quilt’s surface.  Something simple works best here, which allows the fabrics to do all the heavy lifting.  See below:

Vintage Ninepatches, detail, 2011

BTW: It is a common myth that making a scrap quilt this large will use up all of those little bits and pieces that are saved because we might need/use them someday.  Hoarders-in-training take note:  no appreciable dent was made in my fabric stash as a result of this quilt.

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One response

24 08 2012
Deanna Davis

Susan, am loving see all your beautiful quilts here. You just make those nine-patches sing!
Love, Deanna

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