Who names these things anyway? I mean did they make a 9 patch, not like it, slice it up and say, “Hey where did my 9 patch go?” and their accomplice answered “I dunno, it seams to have disappeared”?
This quilt was in my head from the moment I saw a picture of one.
The instructions seemed simple enough, but I wanted the small patches to repeat, and all the pictures I found were scrappy.
Like usual, I had to modify. and educate myself.
A co worker had wanted me to make a quilt.
This wasn’t the first co-worker who had asked. The first one wanted a Spider Man quilt, and he’s a big guy, so that would be no throw. I had to tell him the bare facts: The fabric would cost over $100, and if I only charged $100 labor, he wouldn’t be happy with paying it, and I wouldn’t be happy with doing all that work for that, so we’d have 2 unhappy people at the start.
but this co-worker wanted a baby quilt for a gift for his new Grand Daughter. He only had a budget of $60 and wanted pinks. I told him I would see what scraps I had, because the budget would quickly be used up in fabric and batting. I found a charm pack I paid $2 for on a daily deal, plus some fabric I had left over from other projects, and told him I could do it, as long as he didn’t mind giving me all the design control.
Now I could do an experi-mental 9 patch!
I had already broken my first rule: I have 2 price points – “Free, if I want to”, and “You can’t afford me, if I don’t”.
Breaking that rule was like the first scratch on a new car. I was set free – of rules.
A nice size baby quilt will take 12 of these blocks. There are 4 corners, 4 background pieces, and one contrasting center piece in each, so I will need 48 prints, 48 backgrounds, and 12 contrast pieces. Using charms or 5″ pieces should result in a 39×52 quilt before borders.
I got out that 42 piece charm pack, and began cutting 12 – 5″ squares in a co-ordinating color [yellow] I found at a thrift store for $2.
I had some 108″ Kona white set aside for curtains, and figured I wouldn’t miss a couple 5″ wide strips, so I cut 48 5″ squares of that.
Then I dug up enough scraps to make 6 more 5″ squares in cordinating colors, and I was ready to assemble.
Now, here’s the thing: when you combine a precut with pieces you cut, they don’t always match.
This precut had pinked edges, and mine didn’t. Some say to measure from the outside [or peaks] and some say the inside [or valleys] but knowing my 5″ squares were dead on [I obsess] I used my cut pieces as my guide, and sewed my 1/4″ seam from those.
I probably broke another rule here by making every printed square orient so that all prints were in the same direction. No easy feat since I would be turning every other block. [more obsessing]
Would people notice? [I would]
So, I put the pieces I wanted to orient ‘up’, in the 2 opposite corners on every 9 patch block. It doesn’t matter which two corners, as long as  they are opposite, and  they are the same for all 12 blocks. See the girls in the upper right, and the trees in the lower left pieces shown below. You will see why when I slice and turn the blocks later.
Once the 9 patches were done, I had some trimming and squaring to do.
The rule I did not break: People don’t tell you this, but when you trim, you don’t just willy nilly even the edges. You not only have to make the blocks all the same size, but the pieces in that block must measure the same distance to the outside edges. If you just line up your ruler with the bottom corners and start slicing off excess fabric, you will have problems. Knowing the middle squares measure 4.5 inches [5 inches minus the 1/4 seam on each side] after being sewn, that is where I want to start. These blocks will measure about 14 inches. Then after trimming, cutting and resewing, they will have a finished size of 13″ if I did it right.
You want to line up the center patch in the middle of your ruler, making sure the 45 degree angle on your ruler goes from point to point on the whole block, as well as that center patch, and then trim the top and side, spin, and do it again. This will ensure that your block is truly square.
Once trimed, slice in half both ways
Then turn 2 of the 4 resulting patches in opposite corners. Notice I did not turn the little girls, or the tree.
So happy I had my husband build me this 24″ rotating mat!
Now to agonise over block placement
Take a picture and walk away. See if I still like it, and either rearrange [always] or begin sewing [never]
Oh, and did I fail to mention that he wanted the baby’s name in the quilt?
It took me 3 weeks to find someone to do this – that was still open by the time I got to my home town after work. Given the cost of embroidery machines, $8 was a bargain.
I broke another rule by making the top border bigger then the other 3.
Now to check it with the backing I bought for $15 and see if I still liked it. It had to be pink. The quilt needs more pink!
Knowing who this quilt is really for – the parents – it’s always for the parents. I guessed that they may not be familiar with how flat hand made quilts are, so I broke another rule and used #3 thick batting – doubled. Twin size [72×90] for $15 worked for this 43x 58 quilt.
Yep, and not only that, I had exactly one inch to spare for the backing!
Many quilters want the batting and backing to be 4″ bigger on all sides.
I blew that rule up with a 43″ quilt on a 44″ wide backing.
Of course I stiched in the ditch. Ima ditch stitcher. There I said it.
Embrace who you are. I embrace the ditch!
I wasn’t done breaking rules yet. I used yellow thread on the spool, and pink in the bobbin.
I managed to stay under the $60 in materials for this quilt, but just barely. I mean who can go shopping for a 2 yard piece of backing and not see some fantastic fabric you must have for a future project?
There’s another rule I broke: buying pretty fabric without any project in mind, figuring the pretty fabric will tell me what it wants to be in due time, . . . and I will obey.
Because you asked, and I did that frustrating yet satisfying thing with a calculator, I am going to post the numbers for a “generous twin or maybe full” size:
These blocks will be 13″ square and since I made 12 blocks and arranged them 3 across and 4 down, my quilt center was 39″ x 52″ before the borders were added.
5 blocks would be 65″
6 blocks would be 78″
7 blocks would be 91″
Lets say you want 78×91 which would be 6 across by 7 down, for a total of 42 blocks.
42×9=378 5 inch squares total
42 squares would be the contrast color in the middle that gets cut into 4 small even squares when you slice the block. This could also be a charm pack. Maybe in a solid color.
168 squares would be your colorful prints, or charms.
Lets say you get charm packs with 42 pieces in them, and divide 168 by 42 = 4 so you’d need 4 charm packs. If you choose one with only 40 pieces, you will be 8 pieces short.
168 squares would be your background squares.
For the background, lets say you want yardage to cut your own charms from, and that yardage has 40″ of usable width. It’s definately not 45″, which would be one charm bigger. So you’d get 8 charms for every 5″ strip of fabric. 168 divided by 8 = 21
21×5=105″ or 3 yards. It wouldn’t hurt to go a bit bigger since we all make mistakes, so maybe get 3 and a half. Or cheat and get 4 plain background charm [42 piece] packs.
All this is assuming your blocks turn out to be 13″ and before borders.
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