I wrote this tutorial in February of 2008 and it is still the most popular post on Just Pure Lovely, bringing in a lot of new readers. It's crazy that I could help anyone out, as I was a brand new quilter when I wrote the tutorial. It's even crazier that I was brave enough to write it. Here you go:
Project: A Tutorial for the Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt Top
First, select your fabrics.
If you're like me, the decision takes a while, so just hang fabric swatches up like laundry on a clothesline, adding one/taking one down every time you walk by until you notice that you're not taking any off anymore. That's what I do.
Or you could be less indecisive and just go to the fabric store and choose quickly.
Cut the fabric into squares. I cut 4" squares, but you can choose another size. I forgot to take a photo of the little squares. Sorry. You can imagine 4" fabric squares, right?
If you want to make a doll quilt like mine, which is about 18"x13", you will need 27 squares. I used 9 different fabrics (see them above), so I cut 3 squares of each fabric.
Is that too much math for you? It is for me. Let's not do any more math.
Sew the squares together, to make "9 patch" quilt blocks, which are each 3 squares wide by 3 squares long. You'll see what I mean in the photos below.
Square up each 9 Patch. I like this part. It allows me to get the piece back into a square shape. After the way I iron (lumpily) and the way I sew (crookedly), it is a lucky thing indeed that I can square up the piece. I squared my pieces to about 10-11", I think. Just get them square again.
Cut the 9 Patch in half.
Oh, yes. I did just say that. You can hold your breath but don't close your eyes.
(I used a rotary cutter. That's what that pizza slicer-looking thing is doing there.)
Cut the 9 Patch in half again. Yep, again. Keeping the pieces together in their original position (as if you hadn't cut it already), cut it again, this time across).
See? They are cut and they look still pretty. Now catch your breath again.
Turn the cut pieces in any direction you fancy.
Arrange all of the pieces
in the order you find most pleasing. Indecisive person that I am, I spend quite a while turning the squares, adjusting, counting (oops, I mentioned math again), and worrying over them. This time, our 10yo daughter said, "Mom. It's fine." And I said, "I'm obsessing again, aren't I?"
She wisely kept silent.
Sew the pieces together.
As in the other quilt
I made, I worry that you experienced quilters might giggle-snort into your coffee when you see my multitude of blips, tucks, and, ugh, a complete misalignment (I don't like to pin things before I sew them). Look at the photos below after
you set down your cup.
I love the Disappearing 9 Patch for the way it covers up glaring errors, like those I make while quilting. It's a good design for new quilters like me.
(if you like), batting
(if you like), a backing fabric...
then machine or hand quilt
Then bind the edges
as you like.
I've loved embroidery for years, so hand quilting is appealing to me. Blissfully ignorant of any quilting rules (there are some, right?), I am freehand-quilting, going in a square here, creating a little trail there, making tiny plus (+) signs there. I know I have much improvement to make in my stitches, which should be even & tiny and not wonky & big like they are. In embroidery, we don't deal with such thick layers.
Here's a peek at the quilting and embroidery progress so far:
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