BCQuilter's Weblog

The block I want to make, and a few quilt variations.

Posted on: 30 August 2011

I was visiting Bonnie K. Hunter’s blog,  checking her posts, and someone had sent her a request on a particular block.  I decided I would thumb through my book of 5500 Quilt Blocks from Maggie Mahone, (if you visit the link, scroll down the page, you will see some of the actual pages from the book) when I discovered a few gems.  I should note, that every once in awhile, I look for something in the book, and see something that intrigues me.  If only I had really gotten into quilting 40 years ago, maybe I could make all the quilts I want to.  Um… wait a moment, it was about 38 years ago, I started my first patchwork quilt… which still remains unfinished!  Ohh… back on subject.

Well the block that really caught my eye today, is called 3D nine patch.   Now the thing with the book, is it gives you the name of the block, and shows you an image, but that is all you get.  The block has three 9-patch units with sashing, on point.

I decided I would draft out this block on 1/4″ graph paper.  It was going well, until I brought the wrong ruler (metric), which makes using accurate measurements a bit difficult.  It looked okay, but I knew that if I was to use the measurements from what I had drawn out, the block would not be very accurate.  DS#2, suggested I draw the 9patch units “square” to the paper, and then draw the setting triangles after.

Seemed like a reasonable plan.  I had an idea that the 9patch pieces would finish at 1″.  So I drew them at 1/2 scale into a 4″ block….   or so I thought.  Yes, the 9-patch units are 3″ finished… but… the block is now 4¼” instead of 4″.  Hmmm.

Next, I took two pieces of graph paper, laid them side by side, to make a larger piece.  If I was going to draw out an 8″ block, and draw the 9-patches first, I was going to need a much bigger piece of paper.

Off I started drawing again.  And it is looking pretty good.  Measured the block… 8½”… hmmm.  Apparently going to the size I want, is still not going to work.  One of things I forgot was that when things are on-point, their “dimensions” change, they are not the same size you expect.   A 1″ square is not 1″ across when you put it on its point. n (LOL I just checked… and it is 1 3/8″).   I looked at the block I had drawn out… how am I going to get it to be a finished 8″.  I wonder if EQ6 might be able to handle the job.  I draft out a  number of my quilts, primarily for yardage estimates, but occasionally, I will alter blocks, or create one if I can’t find what I’m looking for.

It took me a bit, to figure out how I was going to divide a 2″ space into 3 equal parts.  Drawing it wasn’t working, how do you measure 0.6667″.  I could guestimate, but it still wouldn’t be accurate enough.  I found I could change the “snap points” in EQ6, which means I could divide a 2″ space into 6 parts.  Woohoo!

I thought this block would be a good one to do scrappy, although the background and sashings would have to be purchased.


I then used EQ6 to play with layouts

then colours

as I was altering the quilt to be a bit more scrappy for the dark units, I discovered that the block if rotated a bit more, looks like a heart!

I am considering using Bonnie’s Leader and Ender method to create the 9patches, sewing them in strips, then cross-cutting to get the patches.  This would be a project that would fill in while working in other projects, that are less scrappy.  I think I just convinced myself this quilt is going to be started sooner than I anticipated.  What better way to get it going than using the Leader and Ender method.  And my scraps could always use a good clearing out!  I think they multiply when I’m not in the quilt-n room.  I guess I will need to start going through, and then cutting strips of 1½”!  These quilts are “small”, if the blocks are 8″, but I’m sure with the Leader and Ender method, I could have lots of 9patch units to create a much larger quilt, and use up more of the scraps!



17 Responses to "The block I want to make, and a few quilt variations."

So are you thinking of making hearts, or zig-zags? It’s funny how blocks appear differently to different people. As I look at the first two beautiful and colorful settings, what I see is a variation of attic windows. You know how disorganized I am when I begin a new quilt top; I just jump in and then grieve and worry later! If I were trying to make that quilt, I’d probably strip (or scrap) my nine-patch blocks without the ‘sashings’ that I see as the attic windows thing, and then when I got enough blocks, I’d add the ‘window facings’ as needed, one block at a time. Don’t faint! I KNOW that’s not the way to do it, but as I said, you know me, and that’s probably what I’d do. I probably would forget those side setting triangles (except on the outside edges of the top) and jam the windows all together with those nicely mitered ‘window facings’, top and bottom, This comment will probably convince you and everyone else that I’m a crazy old lady, and certainly you would be right! I do think it will be a beautiful quilt, whichever setting you choose! I can hardly believe I’m saying the scrappy idea is growing on me, but after my RR Sampler, I must admit, it is! It will be fun to see you get started on your plan, and to see the results. Dig in, Kiddo! —“Love”

I will be making all the 9patch units first. Then when I get the fabric for the sashings and background, I’ll put it together. And then I’ll figure out which layout I want to do.

And no… you are not crazy! I already own that title! (But I don’t mind sharing, I think us crazies have more fun!!)

And yes, I am calling the “attic window” things the sashing, I suppose it woud be more of a shadow box, but I don’t know if there is a name for it.


I forgot to say I would maintain that dimensional look, with various blocks brought forward, as in your first pictures! That is so neat! —“Love”

And I forgot to add… *wink*

The more scrappy quilts I make, the more I want to make. It doesn’t take long for them to accumulate. Be sure to check out Bonnie’s website, she also has some tips and techniques on how to manage your scraps!


Wow, they really do have a three dimensional look. I really like the first EQ6 layout. Good luck!
I just finished voting for the Fairy Quilt Godmothers. Needlella got my vote for best name.


I haven’t decided which layout I want to do, and I think I’ll be making it bigger, so that may change how it all looks too.

Thanks Sandy! WOW! Isn’t there some amazing FQGs!


Doesn’t the 3D effect show up well when you place a few of them together! It’s a perfect project for a scrap quilt and well done of working out the measurements. Looking forward to seeing your progess on this one. Ann 🙂

It’s a great block, and does have a neat effect… I almost can’t wait to get it started, but… other projects and my energy levels dictate otherwise. I think working on the 9-patches while working on other projects, will work well.

Thanks Ann!


Very cool block! Love the 3D effect! I use Bonnie Hunter’s “leaders/enders” all the time. It is such a habit now that I feel like something is missing if I don’t have any. Sometimes those leader/enders are full size pattern pieces, LOL. I have already finished two quilt tops with this method. Can’t wait to see your quilt finished!


Hello LIri,

I have used her method once so far, and have just about finished the blocks for that quilt, need another one to fill in!

I can’t wait to get the strips ready to go, and have them sitting beside the sewing machine!


Love isn’t crazy – I might have planned to make the 9-patches first and then figure out the sashings later too! It’s a great block and good for you figuring it all out ahead. I love the 3D effect, too. I look forward to seeing this one come together!

Hi Katie,

I had thought of that when I was trying to divide 51 mm into three, with a mm ruler, while using 1/4″ graph paper… not easy to do!

But I persevered… I am thinking that I will probably write up the instructions on making the block and quilt, when I get there.

Thanks bunches!


I love the 3D effect of the block. It is really amazing. I probably would havemade the blocks too and then tried to figure out the rest. I really admire you for all the work you put in to get the sizes correct for this quilt. It will be a beauty.
Can’t wait to see it grow.

Hi Beth,

Thanks. I have always liked math and geometry, so I do enjoy working out block designs.

Started cutting the strips and bits, only to find, I need a lot more dark fabrics. But I will start with what I have. I’m finding that using some of the “ugly” fabrics I’ve been given, is a great way to use them in scrap quilts.


Great to see you sinking your teeth into some quilting again. Must feel wonderful to be in touch with the ol’ creative urges! 🙂

Thanks Jen. I started cutting strips and bits from my scraps. Don’t have much 1½” strips… but a 6″ strip/square cuts down nicely!


[…] I have been wanting to make a quilt using the 3-D NIne Patch blocks as mentioned in this blog entry.  I’ve been working on it, as a leader/ender project, and have now more than enough 3 patch […]

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