half square triangles and nine patch
[ Quilt Blocks ]

Making a Nine-Patch Quilt

Journey along with me as I start making a nine-patch quilt!  The Nine-Patch is a classic quilt block that can be adapted in many ways – from color combinations to layout options, you can customize your nine-patch quilt to fit any design style.

Making a Nine-Patch Quilt is Fast

Once you decide on the colors and size of your block, the nine-patch can be assembled quickly. I like to keep a stack of precut pieces near my machine and build nine-patch units in between other projects. Patriotic quilts are always in style so I usually pick red, white, and blue as my color combination. I have a stash of 2-1/2 inch strips in my leftover bucket, ready to be cut and sewn immediately into 6 inch blocks. To really speed things up, use larger pieces. Five inch squares will make 13″ finished blocks for your quilt, which could be put together as a baby quilt at least 39 inches square.

Another way to speed the process is by using solid alternate squares. Leaving this negative space between the nine patch blocks will create the classic look of chains across your quilt.

nine patch with negative spaceNegative space is a perfect way to highlight free motion quilting designs, or use a large scale print fabric. Featuring a novelty fabric with cartoon characters or some other recognized object makes the quilt interactive. Cuddling with a child and playing I-Spy with quilt fabric is a fun game for all.

Nine-Patch Stars

Sometimes you want to go beyond the basic nine patch.  Add some sparkle to your quilt by turning the basic nine-patch unit into a star block.  Make half-square triangle units for an additional row around the nine-patch center. In this variation, the half-square triangles are 3 inches to fit the 6 inch width of the nine patch center.

half square triangles and nine patch

This block finishes at 12 inches, so twelve blocks and some borders would make a lap quilt about 45″ x 54″.

Making a nine patch quilt during my #100daysofquilting

I am focused on nine patch blocks because I joined the Instagram challenge #the100dayproject2019. I like these challenges because it keeps me focused. Are you the type person who thrives under the pressure of a deadline? I definitely benefit from the external motivation. Beginning in April 2019, I have been sharing my quilting journey on Facebook Live video broadcasts. I started with nine patch blocks because there was a pile of them on my cutting table – a work-in-progress that was begging to be finished.

The plan is to create “Dancing Nine-Patch” blocks (tutorial coming soon):

nine patch quilt block variation

Nine-Patch Quilt Block fabric choices

I love scrappy quilts! My all-time favorite thing is to organize fabric by color and sew a rainbow collection of blocks. I like to mix and match the shades within one color family, so there is some control to the color placement.

nine patch fabric choicesIn the photo above, you can see the difference between a quilt block made with two fabrics versus a totally scrappy block with five different blue fabrics. Mixing up the fabrics will keep a person’s eye moving across the quilt, creating more depth and interest in the basic nine-patch design.

Grab some fabric and quilt along with me! Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite color combination. TrueBlueQuilts is here to help you enjoy, experiment and excel as you quilt.


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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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