Monday, July 04, 2016

hand pieced nine patch

 This post:  a step by step for hand-pieced nine patch.
 Cut fabric squares.  These measure 1 1/2 inches before sewing.
Line them up:  Knot the thread.
Begin your sewing 1/4 inch in from the edge with the knot on top of your work.
Take a back stitch there to have a firm beginning.
The stitch used for hand piecing is the running stitch.
For added strength, use Jude Hill's rhythm.  She begins each running gesture with a back stitch.
The rhythm is:  back, running, running.  back running running.
 At the end of this tiny seam, do another back stitch, and then a loop knot before cutting the thread.
 Sew three patches together.
Sew two lines of three patches together (six patches)
Then sew three lines of three patches together (nine patches).
This is the nine patch.
Important tip for hand pieced seams.
FLOAT the seams.  Don't sew them down like you do with a sewing machine.
Instead, feel the sewn edge with your fingers, line it up, and make a back stitch really close to that seam's ridge on the side you've just finished stitching together.
Then slip the needle through the seam line without sewing anything - you just want to get it to the other side of the seam.
Make another back stitch on the new side.
Back, running running.  Back running running.
End with a double back stitch when you get to the seam.
 Slip the needle through the seam without sewing.
 Back stitch on the new side.
Sew two nine patches together.
The nine patch is a traditional quilt block.
Three rows of three nine-patches = a double nine patch.
It's possible to create a very large fabric using the nine patch as a building block.
 The most important tip is to allow those seams to float.
 The hand stitched seams become a design element on their own.
The weight of the thread gives substance.
The above photo is from three months ago.
When completed, it will measure 90" x 90".
I keep the patches to sew it in a zip lock in my purse.
I've been working on it for over two years.
I am not in a rush.
There is a dynamic circular whirl caught within the square limits of a well crafted nine patch.
Stop thinking so much and feel it.


  1. This was my first sewing lesson at age 5, and i made all my doll's clothes on their bodies, with the seams outside :)That first back stitch was always the one that made it hard to change their duds!

  2. I continue to learn from your slow and steady commitment to your quilts, Judy. Divine the rhythm, and truly, simply beautiful. I confess that I get started slowly and then cannot wait to finish, compromising my hand stitch by adding machine work...sure it gets done and is usually fine. THIS blue and white quilt is a beautiful and very meaningful project that will resonate over many lifetimes.

  3. yes, for me it is kind of basket, the nine, and a toast to taking ones time. Floating the seam is new to me, thank you.

  4. ' The hand stitched seams become a design element on their own.' Beautifully expressed. I'm wondering if/how you will press the seams when complete....

  5. love how you talk about the feel of the line, the freeing up of floating the seams... the haptic sense of it all

  6. You will have us all stitching little squares together! Great descriptIon, Judy. I have noticed this piece in previous photos and what appeals to me is the freedom of letting the back seems float and dance to their own tune. Hugs.

  7. ~ beautiful pictures. beautiful words ~

  8. Thank you, Judy. I, too, always learn so much from your posts. I think of your floating the seams as a metaphor for something much larger and always appreciate your awareness of materials. I wish more people would float past their seams.

  9. Just like mom never made! It's a meditative, repetitive motion, this piecing. I love the back as much as the front. That ragged edge I always seem to be on.

  10. This is what I first learned to sew - a nine patch. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty in the simplicity of the nine patch. And thank you for bringing back such a wonderful memory for me in my first sewing project.

  11. Jane D11:38 am

    I love this piece, blue and white, my favourite.

  12. "Stop thinking so much and feel it" I needed to hear that, thank you. Your blog continues to inspire me.

  13. This is amazing creative work. I appreciated your crafting ideas for DIY. I really love your blog. You always come up with new ideas.

    Thanks for sharing!
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    cheap back patches for clothes


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx