Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Nine Patch Project

I started the summer Nine Patch Project on Facebook way back in June, a little over 75 days ago. The concept is simple, make one nine patch each day and by the end of the summer you will have enough for a quilt. Easy.

It is now mid August, I have a stack of 9 patch blocks (and many more squares that will eventually become 9 patch blocks when I get "all caught up" - see the vacation post below.) For those that have been diligent (and in some cases over achievers) it is time to post the assembly instructions. Easier said than done. Technology and I don't always agree on what is possible and what I am capable of accomplishing. Normally I write and illustrate instructions for publishing, paper publishing, not electronic publishing. I draw diagrams, layouts and write step-by-step instructions. That is WAY to much to post on Facebook, so I am directing all 800+ participants in the project here to the blog for the finishing details.

I am going to post one simple setting option each day for the next several day. That way I can show you photos, give you dimensions and discuss the options for finishing your 9 patch quilt. These will be simple finishes, nothing complicated, but I've taken the math out of calculating the sizes and numbers of things to cut.
There are a few "first-quilt-ever" participants in the group, so I thought that I would begin by giving simple, detailed instructions to start. If you have no idea of how to finish this project:

48" by 60"

80 nine patch blocks measuring 6 1/2 inches including the seam allowance.

1/2 yard for binding

3 yards for backing


Cutting Instructions
From the Binding fabric cut:
6 strips 2 1/4" by the width of the fabric

From the backing fabric cut"
2 pieces 54" by the width of the fabric. Remove the selvedge edge and stitch the pieces together to form a rectangle 54" by approx. 80".


1. Arrange your blocks in 10 rows of 8 blocks each. The seams in your blocks should be pressed to one side. Turn your blocks or re-press a few seams so that the seams that touch when the blocks are stitched together are pressed in opposite directions. This will allow the seams to "nest" and make it easier for you to match the intersections.
2. Stitch the rows together, matching the seams in each block to the adjoining block. Press all of the joining seams in one direction, alternating the direction in each row. For example press row one to the right, row two to the left, three to the right, etc.
3. Stitch the rows together and press the seams in a uniform direction. All of the seams can be pressed in one direction or they can be pressed from the center out toward the edge.
Your quilt top should measure 48 1/2" by 60 1/2" including seam allowance.

4. Layer your quilt top with the batting and backing and baste the layers together. I prefer to thread baste instead of using safety pins, but pins are fine too. Your basting should be done in both directions (up and down and across) and close enough together that you can't put your hand on your quilt without touching it, about 5" apart is great.

5. Quilt as desired. - the infamous quilting instructions! You can easily quilt this project by hand or machine. If you are working by machine, you will need a walking foot for straight line quilting. If you have never done quilting before, taking a class at your local quilt shop is a great idea, or at least stop by and ask a few questions.

6. Trim the batting and backing so that it is even with the quilt top. Stitch the binding strips together end-to-end on a 45 degree angle to form one long strip. Press these seams open. Press the binding in half so that the right side is showing. Pin the binding to the quilt top, mitering the corners and stitch in place by machine. Fold the binding over the raw edge to the back of the quilt and stitch in place by hand.


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