Sunday, October 27, 2013

Changing Paths and the Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt

Life has a way of bringing us change… as adults, we focus on making a living, choosing a career or falling into a job that provides us the income we need to build a home and family.  Then we focus on learning to manage a household, balancing a budget.  One day, we may focus on parenting. Babies are born, they grow up and move on to their own lives, eventually.   Throughout all of these changes, some so minute they are barely noticed, and others monumental, requiring major life shifts, we learn to adapt to our new circumstances.  Sometimes we even thrive.  But many of us resist change… it’s difficult to move out of our comfort zone and begin a new routine.  My grandfather used to say… The only thing certain is death, and living until you die.  It is the living part of that quotation is that is difficult. 

When my husband passed away, I faced a lot of changes.  One of the biggest changes I made was moving away from my home and friends of over forty years to be closer to most of my children.  It was one of the most joyful and at the same time painful things I have ever had to do.  All of my children moved away as they grew into adults, so I had only my friends around me in my old home.  When I moved to Ohio, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed being around my children until I had them near me again.  But I missed my friends dreadfully!  My friends had become my family… they were people that I chose to spend time with, people I had grown to love through many years of sharing the moments of our lives. 

Recently, I had friends from Minnesota come to visit, and it was as if we had never been apart.  Five years of separation melted away in an instant.  That’s perhaps the test of true friendship… the bond is always there, and we pick up right where we left off.  Their families are important to me, as I know mine is to them.  While cherished friends might have disappeared from my daily life, they are still close in my heart!  And another old adage comes to mind… the more things change, the more they remain the same.  We change, but we are still the same people with the same memories and the same level of caring.  The things that drew us together in the first place are still present, and the bond of love remains strong. 

I just finished piecing another Disappearing 9-Patch in fall colors.  The photo doesn't show the lovely fabrics to their advantage.  Many of them have metallic accents and they are very rich-looking.  The colors go so perfectly in my family room that this might just be a quilt I keep for myself.  The quilt is shown at the right, without the border.

It’s an easy pattern to make, without a lot of seams to match.  I love using precuts, and this pattern uses 5” charm squares… perfect! 

Nine charms are joined together in three rows of three each.  The four corners will not be cut, so it is a wonderful way to use pretty prints that you want to showcase. 

It is effective to use the same square in the center of the 9-patch unit, but not mandatory.  The photo at the left shows the three rows of charm squares, before they are joined into a block.

When the nine pieces have been joined, they are cut across the center vertically and horizontally, and the 9-patch disappears!  See the photo below left, showing how the block is cut. The cut block is pictured on the right below.
The four cut units are joined with the centers diagonally across from each other in the finished block.  It’s a fast, scrappy quilt, and fun to make in different color combinations.

The photo on the right shows a portion of the quilt top that has been sewn together.  Notice how the white squares are diagonally aligned with each other, the black forms a sort of cross, and the lovely charm squares seem to float across the top of the quilt in this setting.
Below is another variation of the quilt, done in a different scrappy color combination, that was a gift to my oldest grandson last Christmas.
I hope you will enjoy making a Disappearing 9-Patch in your own favorite colors.  Using pre-cut 5" charm squares, it goes very quickly.  You can see by my three examples how different they look, depending on the colors you choose.  I love the scrappy look of this pattern!
Fall colors have come to Cincinnati overnight, it seems.  The leaves are beginning to fall and blanket the ground abundantly.  It's a good time to put the tea kettle on and enjoy a cup of spice tea.  I wish you were here sipping a cup with me!