Sunday, March 15, 2009

Split Nine Patch Windmills

When I first began quilting, I never made the same thing twice. I knew that in my lifetime I would never have time to make all the quilts I wanted to make.
However, sometimes there are patterns that are so much fun to make, the cause the quilt is going to is so worthy, or I'm just trying to use my fabric stash, and then I end up making several quilts with similar piecing.
Such is the case with these Split Nine-Patch Windmills. I'm not sure how visible the windmill blades are in the photo of the finished quilt, but I was using fabric from my stash.--I have sometimes made windmill blades that really, really stand out in the quilt.
This is a prayer-quilt and is a great pattern for directional prints because when the blocks are chopped apart and put back together, they can be arranged so that the direction of the print can be maintained.

The basic nine-patch block is a pattern of
The a's are the directional print, the focus fabric, the fabric you want to see in the biggest pieces.
The b's are the windmill blades (that will be sliced in half). The c's are the smallest squares (they'll be sliced vertically and horizontally to make small squares).
For this quilt I cut four and one-half inch strips of fabric. I've made other quilts with three and one-half inch strips. I used wider strips because I wanted to better show off the directional print.

After piecing nine 9-patch blocks, I carefully cut each vertically and horizonatally through the center column and the center row.

I used my 12-1/2 inch Omnigrid ruler so I could be sure everything was well aligned.
Those splits mean the center c-fabric becomes four small squares.

I turn each of the squares so that they make this configuration.
Then I piece them back together so that I have "windmill blades" in the center of the block.
Then I pieced the nine new, rearranged blocks together, and new windmill blades emerged where the edges are joined.

I added a five and one-half inch border (cut width: 6 inches) with four corner blocks.
My finished top is about 46 inches square. It could be made larger by adding multiple borders.
To enlarge one width of backing fabric, I pieced a horizontal and vertical column of solid blocks and set them into the center of the backing fabric, making the backing big enough for the quilt.
Now I just need to pin and quilt it.
I've stopped using basting spray. Although I loved 505 Spray because it doesn't gum up the sewing machine needle, it off-gasses for a long time. I'm certain that can't be healthy to breathe. Although I wash my quilts before our church blesses them and passes them on to people with cancers and other serious diseases, I'm still concerned that there may be enough residue to make them sicker. Therefore, I'm back to pinning prior to quilting--that pinning is not a fun part of quiltmaking for me. However, until the day I can afford a long-arm quilting machine, I will be pinning.
I do wish I had a working treadle sewing machine so I could continue piecing when I have to unplug my machines due to electrical storms or when the power goes off and I can't use my electric sewing machines.

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