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Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt Block Pattern

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Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt Color Choices
Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt Block Pattern

One of many potential layouts for the four disappearing nine patch daughters cut from the parent block.

© Janet Wickell

Color Value Choices for a Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt

Sometimes it's a little difficult to wrap our heads around the final look of quilt blocks produced using this technique, and the contrast that will occur when the nine patch blocks (let's call them parents) are cut apart (resulting in the daughters) and then reassembled.
  • The center square of a parent nine patch block will turn into a small corner square in each daughter when the parent block is sliced into four sections. Choose a dark (or hot/warm) fabric for the center to make those small squares pop out (and "move") when the daughters are arranged into a quilt layout.
  • Squares that touch the parent's center squares (midpoints of the outer rows) are also sliced, and become each daughter's outer bars. I think they look good when sewn as either lights or mediums (in contrast to the center).
  • Squares sewn in the four corners of the block are the only pieces that remain their original size (minus the seam allowance). They should contrast with the midpoint squares mentioned above.

Having said all of that... keep in mind that there are no rules.

  • Try placing your darkest square in one corner, and then fill in the other slots with light and medium squares.
  • Assemble the nine patch in a traditional way, looking like an X -- with dark squares in the center and four corners and lighter squares in the four remaining positions.
  • I love watercolor quilts (sometimes called colorwash quilts, where floral fabrics of all types seem to melt into each other, but still have a bit of contrast for definition). Here's an example of a split nine patch quilt I did many years ago in the watercolor style. The quilt was strip-pieced, so the patches don't blend quite as well as they might have in a quilt sewn one patch at a time, but I was happy with the result. A floral or watercolor disappearing nine patch, with subtle contrast, would be lovely.

Experiment a bit to create your own unique quilt blocks from the basic pattern, and then take some time to play with the endless layouts possibilities.

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