Quilting Grids and
First came the 4-patch, then
the 9-patch, and now you hear there is a 5- patch and a 16- patch? What does
it all mean?
Look at the picture above.
Can you guess what kind of patch it is? There are 3 equally
sized squares both across and down. It is a 9-patch.
In the example above, all the
squares are filled with the
Snowball block and different patriotic
prints. However, you could fill those blocks with any kinds of
shapes (triangles, small squares, etc) and as long as they stayed
confined in the original square, it would still be a 9-patch.
Here is an example of how you
might use grids when planning a quilt:
Let's say you wanted
to make a quilt with 9-patch blocks. You want each finished block to
be 12-inches square.
That means that each
square in the grid will be 4-inches finished.
Now that you know
the measurement of the grid, you can make your shapes by following
the rules for shapes such as
Quarter Square Triangles.
If you see a quilt you like, being able to
recognize the block will help you make one like it.
The most common grids are the
4-patch, 9-patch, 5-patch and 7-patch.
When you see the
grid lines, it is easy to see the units. It can often be confusing
when looking at a quilt block to see the patches because of the way the fabric falls in the grids.
Sometimes one fabric will fill 2 or more grids.
Also, as similar blocks are joined
together, secondary patterns are formed. You may have to look
hard to find the block or blocks that have been repeated throughout the quilt,
even when they are quite simple.
In general, the more grids, the
harder the quilt block. A grid with 8 across and 8 down would
have 64 patches.
When a quilt is made up of
plain squares in a variety of random colors and patterns, it is
called a "Charm Quilt".
Below are some quilt blocks
with lines drawn through them so you can see the grids. The
9-patch, depicted in the Spool and Friendship Star, is one of the
most popular grids.
Quilt designs make good use of
rhythm with the repeating of blocks. Learn to recognize the
blocks when you see a quilt. Once you see the block, most
quilts look much easier to make.
This principle of rhythm is
another reason quilts are designed in grids. You want the
patches to match up so the eye will move easily around the quilt.
If you put a 4-patch next to a
5-patch, they will not match, and the rhythm of the quilt will be
lost. Sample quilts with different sizes of blocks are one
example of when you can put odd sizes together. The sashing
strips give rhythm to the quilt, and take the focus away from the