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How to Make Nine Patch Straight Furrows Quilt Blocks
Make a Quilt with Endless Layout Potential
The Nine Patch Straight Furrows quilt block pattern is known by a few other names, too, including Split Nine Patch, Perkiomen Valley quilt, and simply Nine Patch Variation.
Use Your Imagination to Design a Quilt
Misha, who many of you know from our quilting forum and Facebook groups, created the layouts above to show how 12 Straight Furrows Nine Patch blocks could be arranged to form a quilt. After making a batch of the blocks, you'll discover even more layouts.
The quilt block's layout is all about contrast. One-half of the block (when split along its diagonal) is light, and the other half is darker. The contrast between block halves can be either subtle or dramatic.
In Carolina Byways, linked above, my goal was to create a quilt in the watercolor style, using floral fabrics with less contrast. For Country Roads, I wanted more distinction between block halves. The choice is yours.
A Few More Examples of Quilts in the Watercolor Style
Log Cabin Quilts Have Similar Layout Options
Explore log cabin quilt layouts for ideas to arrange a batch of Nine Patch Straight Furrows because they can be arranged in much the same way.
Consider Color and Color Value
Color and color value work together to help make fabrics pop out or recede, and if the term 'value' is confusing, think 'contrast' instead. Before moving on to the actual quilt block I recommend that new quilters read:
Both of those articles will help you choose contrasting fabrics for the Nine Patch Straight Furrows quilt block.
Be sure to read How to Make a Scrap Quilt if you're new to scrap quilting.Continue to 2 of 2 below.
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Sew Nine Patch Straight Furrows Quilt Blocks
Choose Any Finished Size for Your Quilt Blocks
You can sew the Nine Patch Straight Furrows quilt blocks in any finished size. Each block size is assembled using two different square sizes.
Each Block Requires
- 3 Light Squares, each 1/2" wider and taller than the block's finished size
- 3 Dark Squares, each 1/2" wider and taller than the block's finished size
- 2 Light Squares, each 7/8" wider and taller than the block's finished size**
- 2 Dark Squares, each 7/8" wider and taller than the block's finished size**
Two squares that are 7/8" wider and taller are used to create four half square triangle units, and only three are needed per block. That's where scrappiness comes into play. Start sewing patchwork in the desired size and save block layout for later.
Cutting Examples for Popular Block Sizes
3" x 3" square miniature quilt blocks
- (3) dark and (3) light 1-1/2" squares
- (2) dark and (2) light 1-7/8" squares
6" x 6" square quilt blocks
- (3) dark and (3) light 2-1/2" squares
- (2) dark and (2) light 2-7/8" squares
9" x 9" square quilt blocks
- (3) dark and (3) light 3-1/2" squares
- (2) dark and (2) light 3-7/8" squares
12" x 12" square quilt blocks
- (3) dark and (3) light 4-1/2" squares
- (2) dark and (2) light 4-7/8" squares
15" x 15" square quilt blocks
- (3) dark and (3) light 5-1/2" squares
- (2) dark and (2) light 5-7/8" squares
I like this quick piecing method to make half square triangle units from pairs of squares. Try the Magic 8 half square triangle method to make eight identical units at one time.
I cut my squares oversize when making half square triangle units. For instance, if I need a 2-7/8" square, I'll usually cut it at 3" or 3-1/8" and make the unit. After sewing I trim the half square triangle units to the correct size (which would be 2-1/2").
After assembly, all half square triangle units should be the same size as the plain squares of fabric cut for the quilt block.
Look through your stash... do you have leftover half square triangle units? Can they be put to use in this project?
Assemble One Quilt Block
Sew a batch of half square triangle units and arrange components for each into three rows.
- Top Row: 2 light squares on the left edge, followed by a half square triangle unit with its light side touching the second light square.
- Middle Row: One light square on the left edge, followed by a half square triangle unit with its light side touching the light square. Finish with a dark square (it touches the dark portion of the triangle unit).
- Third Row: A half square triangle unit with its light edge to the left as shown, followed by two dark squares.
- Sew the components of each row together. Press seam allowances in top and bottom rows towards the center. Press outwards in the middle row.
- Sew rows together and press. The block should measure 1/2" taller and wider than its finished size.
Devise a Quilt Layout
Refer back to the illustrations on page 1 for layout ideas or devise your own design. A design wall can help you arrange and balance quilt blocks.
When blocks are arranged, you'll have seam allowances that don't butt against each other ideally, depending on your layout. Take care to match carefully when sewing and use straight pins to match seams and keep fabrics from shifting.