{Classic Quilt Blocks} Nine Patch - An Introduction

Classic Quilt Blocks have been sewn for centuries, are easy to recognise and are every quilters favorite. Let's celebrate these gorgeous blocks and add them to our quilting projects!

Are you ready for another block in my Classic Quilt Blocks series? I'm really excited about this next block, it's the gorgeous Nine Patch. {insert sighs of adoration} I've got lots of wonderful inspiration planned over the coming weeks to encourage you to use the humble Nine Patch block in your future quilting projects.

The first block I teach newbie quilters is the Nine Patch block, and the delight on their faces is the reason I love teaching so much. Nothing compares to sewing your first ever quilt block, and watching it fuel their new passion is so exciting! It's such a proud moment and I love that they're pretty darn chuffed with themselves for creating something simply wonderful with fabric.

Even a seasoned quilter finds sewing this block a delight. It's one of those blocks you can't get enough of, and you can use in so many ways. Personally, I prefer it in its most basic form (as shown in the photo's) - no twists, variations or clever quilting tricks required. :)

So, let's have a look at this gorgeous block in a little more detail:

Block History:

I like to think that the first ever quilter (let's call her Mary) cut nine equal squares and constructed the Nine Patch block, thinking wow! I'll sew another ninety-nine of these and make my family a quilt, but quilting didn't exactly start like that. The blocks we know today are the result of our pioneers breaking down the process to make quilting more manageable.

The earliest quilters sewed scraps of fabric together into an ever-growing top which would became heavy and cumbersome. They broke the quilt down into blocks, making it easier to manage and their creations are the cornerstone of the blocks we sew today.

The Nine Patch block allowed the quilter to cut nine equal squares, without wasting any of their precious fabric - a simple four patch is another great example of their frugality. It was a economical use of fabric, and it rewarded the quilter with some very stunning quilts.

The Nine Patch was taught to younger generations because it was easy to prepare, fabric waste was minimal, and the block could be pieced simply and easily. You must remember the quilts pioneer women made were critical to surviving on the land, so a helping hand from the younger generations increased productivity and passed on new skills.

I thank these women for giving us this simple, versatile and stunning block, so we can use it in our projects and create quilts with a rustic, homey feel to wrap around our families and ourselves. :)

Block Design:

The Nine Patch block is designed using a 3x3 grid:

Regardless of the block size, each of the nine squares are cut to equal size and pieced together. To work out the size of each cut square, it's simply a matter of dividing the block size by three and adding the seam allowances.

Next week I'll give you a Cutting Chart which includes six sizes of the Nine Patch block to help you with future projects.

Colour Values:

The Nine Patch block requires a dark and light colour combination to shine, and there are so many variations.

These three examples are indicative of how colour is used in a Nine Patch block, but you can make these blocks as scrappy or as colourful as you wish. A mix of fabrics on a solid background makes such a pretty block and quilt, and using different backgrounds creates lots of visual interest.

Being creative with the colours can produce some very stunning quilts, and I'm going to show you a very clever quilt in the coming weeks which is a great example of what these simple blocks can achieve.

Next week I have a step by step tutorial for the Nine Patch block and I'm sharing two ways to sew this cutie. Make sure you download and print my free Colouring Sheet and plan some blocks ready to sew along with me.

Grab your pencils or crayons and get creative!

Antique Inspiration:

A quick Google search will provide you with all the inspiration you need to recreate an antique quilt. Don't these look stunning?

I love the ones set with a solid square - this setting makes the Nine Patch block really pop! Another great idea is using them as a secondary block, set on point, to add some gorgeous framing to a quilt - my personal favorite is a nine patch block of tiny nine patches :)

Nine Patch blocks have been used for centuries, and you'll find them as the main block in a quilt, as part of a larger quilt block, and in borders and cornerstones. They are so versatile and super fun to sew. How will you use the Nine Patch in your next quilting project?

So, here's what to expect in the coming weeks in my Nine Patch Classic Quilt Blocks series:

  • Week 2 - Step by step tutorial for two methods of sewing the Nine Patch block plus a Cutting Chart for six different sizes.
  • Week 3 - Lots of quilt inspiration. I'm sharing just a few of my favorite Nine Patch quilts and you're going to love these.
  • Week 4 - I have a sweet Nine Patch pattern for you to try and it looks way harder than it actually is, plus its really fun to sew! 

And that's my introduction to the Nine Patch block. I hope you enjoy this month's series, it's a gorgeous block, underrated at times, and it has the potential to make some stunning, homey quilts.

Happy quilting :)
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  1. Love a nine-patch block too. Very simple and really enjoyable to make.

    1. You can't get enough of them no matter how many you sew Anorina :) Such a fun block!

  2. Love the Nine Patch. Thanks for reminding me how beautiful yet simple to make it is.

    1. You're welcome! It's easy to forget just how pretty some of the simpler blocks really are! :)


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