Quilting is an integral part of American history, especially during the time of the pioneers and their move west. Women sewed, as was tradition, and children began their sewing education with simpler projects, like Nine-Patch quilt patterns. The Nine-Patch quilt block has been around for hundreds of years. As the years have passed, the Nine-Patch has, like many other quilt blocks, adopted variations. For more Nine-Patch quilt patterns, take a look at BLOCK Friday: Nine-Patch Quilt Patterns. For now, let’s take a look at a variation on the Nine-Patch—the Disappearing Nine-Patch.
The Disappearing Nine-Patch quilt block is a bit puzzling if you’re trying to decipher its construction upon first glance. How does a simple Nine-Patch block—perhaps one of the simplest quilt blocks in quilting—turn into its elusive cousin, the Disappearing Nine-Patch? Depending on the direction you turn the four quadrants of the split version, you can create a number of different layouts.
Cut to the Quick (pictured above), by the Fons & Porter Staff, is a pretty batik quilt made using the Disappearing Nine-Patch block. Can you see each quadrant of the original block?
Making the disappearing version is pretty easy. However, here’s fair warning to anyone trying it for the first time: it can be unsettling cutting into your perfectly, freshly sewn quilt block. You just have to trust the process on this one.
First, you’ll make the quilt block. Next, you’ll cut the entire block across its horizontal axis. Then, without shifting the pieces at all, carefully lift your ruler and place it over the blocks vertical axis and cut again. What you’re left with are four quadrants of the once complete Nine-Patch, which are now free to turn and rotate until you have an entirely new quilt block pattern.
You can see in the quilt, It’s Easy Being Green by Kristine Peterson, the two diagonal quadrants were turned 180° to make a more symmetrical, geometric design. The solid background color was added to the corners of each finished block to create a zig-zag effect between the disappearing blocks.
The Disappearing Nine-Patch in Off My Back by Tony Jacobson is constructed in the same fashion as Kris Peterson’s quilt, but changing up the color scheme and adding thin sashing with a cornerstone changes the whole look of the quilt.
Watch the quick quilting video tutorial below to see how fast and easy it is to construct this complex-looking quilt.
As an experienced quilter, you know that if you can construct a variation on a Nine-Patch block, you can most likely do it with a Four-Patch, too. And, it would be even faster to construct since there are fewer moving parts (pun intended). This is what a Disappearing Four-Patch quilt pattern looks like. I’m wondering what a 16-patch would look like. I might just have to try it out for fun!
I know many of you have made Disappearing Nine- and Four-Patch quilts, and some have even posted pictures to the Fons & Porters Facebook page (we love to see your quilts!) We should all be proud of our quilting projects, so let’s hear about your disappearing patch quilts in the comments below!