Disappearing 9 Patch

Back in 2019 I wrote a blog on how I had used a charm pack, and I thought that it could be an idea to do a series on this subject. After all, there are so many ways to use charm packs – and other pre-cut selections, and there are so many ‘What if…?’ questions.

I had the ‘What if…?’ question when trying the Disappearing 9 Patch block for the first time. Trying this block for the first time was great – it felt good to be using a charm pack for something specific. I put together the squares in a random order, and when it came to cutting the blocks, re-arranged them on my design wall so that there was a spread of colours and patterns – trying to make sure that same colours and patterns were not touching. I decided to totally mix up the cut blocks – each block yielded 4 smaller blocks, and I didn’t intentionally keep these 4 blocks together – I mixed them up.

1st layout
2nd layout

This led me to thinking – what would happen if I didn’t mix them up, but kept them together in the original block, but just rotated them? I didn’t take this any further at the time, as I had found a block that I liked, that used 5” squares, of which I had plenty, and our Project Linus group had lots of them too.

A random mix of 5″ squares
A quilt from one charm pack
Tilda and essential lights combined for a slightly less random look

Like I said in my previous blog, charm packs (and jelly rolls and layer cakes) are ideal for blocks made from these quilts, as you know that they are going to blend well together, and you can mix them up.

Part of a Moda layer cake, using part of the Disappearing 9 Patch process
A Moda charm pack will produce a small quilt, suitable for Project Linus

Our quilt group was commissioned by the owner of the local pub to make 2 quilts for her accommodation. She chose the colours, and we put together a quilt using this pattern. We used batik fabrics, and the centre square was the same for each block – which meant we had some uniformity when it came to assembling the Disappearing 9 Patch block. This gave a different look to the quilts.

A commissioned quilt made by members of Parkham Patchers
The second quilt – both using Disappearing 9 Patch

Our young person chose the colours they wanted for a quilt, and I decided to use this block again as a way to showcase the many different fabrics I had chosen to fit their colour choice: red, purple, blue. For this quilt, I opted for something rather more organised, some may say it is more tasteful. The centre square of the original un-cut block is red – and the same fabric throughout. I chose to use just 3 fabrics in each block – the blue and purple fabrics were different for each block, and I alternated the position of the blue and purple fabrics in each block – so that some would have purple in the corners, and others would have blue in the corners (of the uncut blocks). It then came to time to cut the original blocks and reassemble them. In order to do this, I mixed up the smaller blocks so that I had 2 purple and 2 blue squares within the reassembled block, aiming for no matching fabrics. I made sure that the alignment of the small red squares was the same in each block. The resulting pattern is one that is more uniform, more ordered.


The finished quilt – complete with feet at the bottom!

Some time before starting on the quilt for our young person, I wondered about the possibilities of this block – about what would happen if I used just 3 fabrics in a block, if I kept the centre of the uncut block the same. The possibilities are so numerous it could take quite some time to create samples to show the possibilities. However, help was at hand. There is a double spread within the following book that shows the possibilities for a variety of fabric layouts: Sarah Payne’s Quilt School.

A double page spread, taken from Sarah Payne’s Quilt School, by Sarah Payne, published by Search Press www.searchpress.com (permission kindly given by Search Press to use this image)

As I have mentioned in one of my previous blogs, (see Cutting Edge) I tend to cut more fabric than I need to for a project, and this was certainly the case for the quilt for our young person. I had so many squares (and strips from which to cut squares) left over, that I was able to create a similar sized quilt for our local Project Linus group. Before I decided on a layout for the quilt, I played around with the block layouts, taking photos to show the different effects, which can be seen here:

All the same original block, just rotated
Light purple and dark blue squares (from 2 original blocks)
Light blue and dark purple squares (from 2 original blocks)
All mixed up (from 4 original blocks)
The final layout for the extra blocks. The different arrangement combinations creates so many different patterns. To achieve this I just rotated the cut pieces of the original blocks.

Such a simple idea for squares, but very effective, and a variety of different effects can be achieved, according to the number of different fabrics you use in the original uncut block, and how you then arrange the cut blocks to form the Disappearing 9 Patch. The original uncut block should be trimmed before cutting, and the final block must be trimmed. However, it is quite a forgiving pattern, so those places where seams don’t quite meet can be easily ignored.

Just a word of warning for this block – it is addictive, and once you have made a number of quilts using this block, you may yearn to do something a bit different. But then you will end up coming back to it, with another idea of something different to do, once again wondering “What if…?”!