Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Disappearing Nine" Quilt - My Process

I've been gearing up for a new quilt, and finally got all the pieces (pardon the pun) in place. This quilt is the first gift I'm making for someone else, and I'm super excited about it! Because I have someone special in mind, I wanted the colors to be just right. This person always complimented me on how fresh and pretty the color combination of my first quilt was, so I did my best to find an equally appealing color combination for their quilt. Within minutes of walking into my favorite quilt shop, I had found my "base" print. You know, the one to which I would match every other fabric. After much deliberation (and not much help from the quilt-shop ladies) I decided upon 10 prints. I bought one fat quarter each of the nine orange/red prints and two fat quarters of the green one. I had it in my mind that I was going to use the green print for the "middle" squares of the disappearing nine block. Then I did some research using Google Images (thank you!) and I realized that I wanted a randomized look that would have been impossible to achieve by using the green print repeatedly as the middle block.

Not random. Not my style:

Random! Yay! According to this blogster, the key to her success was four prints used repeatedly in no specific order.

Since I had already bought 10 different prints I was going to have to get creative in order to achieve a state of randomness. I went back to the fabric store (JoAnn's this time since I had exhausted my options at the other place) and found two more prints that I felt would balance my 10. I felt like too many of my original ten were prints on top of a cream background. I wanted a couple more that had saturated backgrounds. So I found a predominately red and another orange to round out my collection. I got rid of the duplicate green print and decided to work with these 12 prints.

I have since cut twelve 5" squares out of each fat quarter:

Then, in order to make sure that every print ended up in every position in the Disappearing Nine pattern, I sorted the fabrics into three piles: "middle," "4 middles," and "4 corners."

Then, one 9-block at a time, I laid out the squares and then sewed the rows of threes together.

I needed some technique to help me remember which row went on top, in the middle, and on the bottom. I was mulling over this while driving, so that's probably why I decided upon using color-coded pins (like traffic lights). A red pin marks the bottom row, yellow in the middle, and green at the top. So far, it's worked like a charm!

I ironed the seams flat in alternating directions: top row left, middle right, bottom left.

I'm now at the point where I'm sewing each of the three rows together in order to make my 9-blocks. I was so excited to be at this point already that I went ahead and "finished" one of the disappearing nine blocks.

I sewed each of the rows together and ironed the seams flat...

Then I used my rotary cutter to cut the 9-block into four blocks...

Once I'm done creating each of my finished blocks, I can then decide how to combine all of them for the most impact. Here's a sneak-peek of what it might look like (keep in mind, that it will look more random than this because not all of the smallest squares will be in that red print):

Stay tuned for more (I might just turn this into a tutorial)!


  1. You did an awesome job of explaining the process. I have a feeling that your blog is going to turn into a quilting blog ;) Maybe you'll start to get a following other than your usual crowd! Great job! Can't wait to see more...

  2. Awesome. I love it. Makes me wish I took pictures of my process, alas I haven't oh well. Your color combos are so visually appealing. I have a feeling you are going to blow the socks off of the recipient... that could be rather interesting :)

  3. Looking awesome to me. I am super impressed with your skills, like knowing how to iron the seams flat and alternating...all that. Thanks for sharing :-)


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