Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern

Patch quilt
MBCheatham / Getty Images
  • 01 of 08

    Introduction to Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern

    Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    Carolina Byways Quilt from Floral Split Nine Patch Blocks. Janet Wickell

    Most split nine patch quilt (and quilt block) patterns show you how to cut and sew together individual squares and triangles, and others have quilters quick piece the half square triangle units that are used along each quilt block's diagonal.

    This method is just a bit different and allows you to strip piece the light and dark halves of the quilt block to make four identical block halves ​from straight strips of fabric. It might seem a little confusing at first, but once you construct a block you'll see how fast and simple it is to finish a set.

    You'll also see this quilt block referred to as Nine Patch Straight Furrows.

    Read all of the instructions and examine the illustrations before you choose fabrics and begin sewing.

    Choose a Quilt Size

    • A 15-1/2" square quilt with 3" blocks
    • A 30-1/2" square wallhanging with 6" blocks.

    The split nine patch quilt I call Carolina Byways, above, reflects the up and down mountains in our part of the country. Both it and my Country Roads quilt were assembled with strip pieced split nine patch blocks.

    Compare the quilts and you'll see how different the finished project can be when you vary fabrics and block arrangement. You can create many other layouts, too, such as the sunshine and shadows look of a log cabin quilt.

    Gather Fabrics & Other Items

    An assortment of scrappy fabrics works perfectly for a split nine patch quilt. Check the cutting instructions on page 2 to make sure your scraps are large enough.

    Fabrics For the 15-1/2" Miniature Quilt

    • Darks, 1/2 yard
    • Medium Darks, 1/4 yard
    • Lights, 1/2 yard
    • Medium Light Fabrics, 1/4 yard

    Fabrics For the 30-1/2" Quilt

    • Darks, 1/2 yard
    • Medium Dark Fabrics, 1/4 yard
    • Lights, 1/2 yard
    • Medium Lights, 1/4 yard

    Other Materials You'll Need

    Backing: 5/8 yard for mini; 1-1/8 yards for larger quilt

    Batting: 19" square for mini; 35" square for a larger quilt

    Binding, running inches: 72" for mini; 135" for a larger quilt

    Also, see my Nine Patch Straight Furrows pattern for an alternative method that can be used to assemble these quilt blocks.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Cutting Chart

    Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    Top, block from Carolina Byways; Bottom, drawings of block halves. Janet Wickell

    Get Familiar With the Split Nine Patch Before You Cut

    Look closely at the illustration above and read the cutting chart descriptions before you cut fabric.

    To Make Four Dark Block Halves

    • Choose two dark fabrics and one medium-dark fabric.
    • One dark will end up in the square on the block's outer corner.
    • The other dark fabric will be positioned along the half block's long diagonal.
    • The medium dark will create the half block's center diagonal.

    Miniature Quilt Cutting Instructions 

    • First dark fabric, two 2" x 7" strips; four 2"x2" dark squares (fabric for block's edge diagonal)
    • Medium-dark fabric, two 1-1/2" x 7" strips (fabric for center diagonal)
    • Second dark fabric, one 1-1/2" x 7" strip (fabric for square on outer corner)

    To Make Four Light Block Halves

    • First light fabric, two 2" x 7" strips; four 2"x2" light squares (fabric for block's edge diagonal)
    • Medium-light fabric, two 1-1/2" x 7" strips (fabric for center diagonal)
    • Second light fabric, one 1-1/2" x 7" strip (fabric for square on outer corner)

    Wallhanging Cutting Instructions

    To Make Four Dark Block Halves

    • First dark fabric, two 3" x 11" strips; four 3"x3" dark squares (fabric for block's edge diagonal)
    • Medium-dark fabric, two 2-1/2" x 11" strips (fabric for center diagonal)
    • Second dark fabric, one 2-1/2" x 11" strip (fabric for square on outer corner)

    To Make Four Light Block Halves

    • First light fabric, two 3" x 11" strips; four 3"x3" light squares (fabric for block's edge diagonal)
    • Medium-light fabric, two 2-1/2" x 11" strips (fabric for center diagonal)
    • Second light fabric, one 2-1/2" x 11" strip

    Getting Started

    Don't try to choose all of your fabrics now. Let's make a light block half to get started, and remember — color value is what's important - fabrics needn't "match".

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Make Light Split Nine Patch Block Halves

    Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    Making four light halves of the Carolina Byways Quilt. Janet Wickell

    Why Strip Piece the Split Nine Patch Quilt?

    Strip piecing four blocks halves at a time lets you make seven different dark halves and seven different light halves. When it's time to put the blocks together, you'll be able to scrap it up by combining halves in different ways.

    You'll have three extra blocks for more design versatility, and you can use them later as a narrow wall hanging or centered diagonally in a throw pillow.

    Make the Light Strip Pieced Sets

    1. Gather your light and medium light strips and squares, sorting like fabrics together.
    2. Sew the medium-light strip lengthwise to one side of the light widest strip. Sew The narrower light strip to the remaining side of the medium light strip. Press seam allowances towards the widest strip.
    3. Square up one end of the strip set and cut four segments from it. For the miniature, cut 1-1/2" segments. For the wall hanging, cut 2-1/2" segments.
    4. Sew your second wide light fabric lengthwise to your remaining medium-light strip. Press the seam allowance towards the narrower strip.
    5. Square up one end of the strip set and cut four segments from it using the same width you cut for previous units.
    6. Gather one unit from each of the two strips sets and one of your light squares.
    7. Arrange the components as shown above right, placing the wider sections of the units on the left as shown above and the square on the bottom.
    8. Sew the three rows together as shown, matching seam intersections carefully.
    9. Use the remaining components to construct three more half-block units.

    Don't worry about those jagged edges along the diagonal, because we'll get rid of them soon.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Make Four Dark Split Nine Patch Block Halves

    Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    Making four dark halves of the Carolina Byways Quilt. Janet Wickell

    Make strip sets and create four dark block halves using the same technique you used to sew the light block halves.

    Quilt Block Variations

    You might prefer to arrange fabrics differently than I did. Go for it! There are no rules and your layout will be fantastic.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    How to Trim Split Nine Patch Blocks

    Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    Use rotary cutting tools to trim the split nine patch block halves. Janet Wickell

    Make Remaining Split Nine Patch Quilt Blocks

    Now that you understand the technique, go ahead and create six more fabric combinations and make four light halves and four dark halves from each.

    Trim Block Halves on the Diagonal

    1. Grab a rotary ruler with a 45-degree line marked on it. Using the illustration above as a guide, align the 45-degree line with a straight edge of a light block half.
    2. Adjust the ruler so that the first 1/4" rule travels through the intersection where seams come together on the front of the block's long, diagonal edge. Your goal is to cut the block on the diagonal, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance past each seam intersection. Making sure the 45-degree line on your ruler is aligned with one of the block's short, straight edges helps ensure the block half will be "squared up" after the cut.
    3. Choose a dark block half you feel works well with the light half you just trimmed. Trim it in the same way.
    4. Sew the two block halves together along the diagonal, matching seams allowances carefully. Open the block to make sure seam intersections came together nicely. If they do not, examine your cut to determine why.
    • Points chopped off: your seam allowance was cut too narrow or you sewed a seam wider than 1/4".
    • Space between points: seam allowance was cut too wide or you sewed a seam narrower than 1/4".

    Trim and sew two more halves. Once you are happy with your cutting and sewing, go ahead and trim all of the block halves.

    Trimming Alternative

    Make a trimming guide if you aren't comfortable using ruler lines.

    1. Cut a 6-7/8" square of paper for the wallhanging or a 3-7/8" square for the mini.
    2. Cut the square in half once diagonally and tape it to the back of a rotary ruler, placing the long edge flush with the ruler's long cutting edge.
    3. Use the template as a guide to trim your block halves.

    Half square rulers are also available commercially.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Arranging Your Quilt Blocks

    Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    Country Roads Quilt. Janet Wickell

    Split Nine Patch Block Layout Possibilities

    You can sew all of your block halves together now if you like, or work with them individually as you design the quilt. When you sew blocks together, you'll find little triangular tips at the ends of each seam. Just clip them off.

    The Country Roads quilt above is another example of a split nine patch quilt, but was made with Civil War era reproduction fabrics and assembled using a different layout.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Miniature Split Nine Patch Quilt

    Miniature Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    Kalepp's Miniature Split Nine Patch - Unquilted Top. Janet Wickell

    This little miniature Split Nine Patch is wonderful!

    Kalepp is a member of our Quilting Forum and stitched this little mini during an afternoon class. She finished piecing the top the same evening (and then switched her focus to work on comfort quilts for children).

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Finish Sewing the Quilt

    Split Nine Patch Quilt Pattern
    A layout variation similar to the Sunshine and Shadows used to arrange Log Cabin quilt blocks. Janet Wickell

    I added borders to my Country Roads quilt but left Carolina Byways border-free. Both quilts were machine quilted using a combination of straight line and meander quilting.

    Finish Sewing the Quilt