Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Disappearing 9-Patch for Betty

Next in line for her birthday quilt is Betty. Picture someone you know that has a beautiful smile and an infectious laugh; that's Betty! She is just so much fun. Betty's delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies, or "chippers" as we call them, are a staple when The Girls get together. And while we all have our favorite adult beverage Betty only drinks lite beer!

Betty seems to have boundless energy and all the 411 on the latest hot topics. She often credits her nieces who live nearby with keeping her up to date and supplying fashion advice. The youngest of 8 kids, her large extended family is a topic we all love to hear about.  I remember all of them and can still picture in my mind their famous family photo of the "Milk Drinkingest Family"!

I think the secret to Betty's good cheer is she's actually forgotten her real age. No really, she actually thought she had another year to go before turning 50.  What a bummer when that turned out to be wrong!  But Betty's good sport and laughed along with us as she confessed.

Originally I was going to make a quilt for Betty with cats on it. Side note: Betty has two cats, both of which were thought to be males. That is until the day she and her husband came home to find one of the cats in the closet delivering kittens!  Betty's description of the event had us rolling in the aisle with tears in our eyes.  

Back to the quilt. While driving my sister from NH to FL we stopped at several quilt shops. At one shop in VA I found some cute camping fabric. That's when the idea of a "camping" quilt started brewing. Something Betty could use on her annual summer camping trips. Once I returned home and began looked for coordinating fabrics I realized the camping fabric I had purchased was about “camping on wheels”. This wasn't going to work; Betty is a “tent” camper

I still had the cat fabric and a search through my sister's stash turned up some tent camping fabric. Both of these had black backgrounds. Looking a bit dark I thought. So I continued to look for a more fabrics with lighter backgrounds. I found the chocolate chip cookie fabric at a quilt show here in NH along with the beer fabric. So there you have it; Chippers, Cats, Camping, and Beer, four things that describe just a little bit of my friend Betty. 

Trying to find a pattern that would allow me to incorporate all four of these fabrics in a single block was a challenge.  I finally came up with the "Disappearing Nine-Patch" from a Moda Bake Shop Recipe called "Christmas Table Topper".  I had already decided to use 4 1/2" squares before finding the pattern so I just adapted as I went along.

For coordinating fabrics I picked up on the colors of the cookies and beer; caramel, cream, beige.  These seemed too dull for such a happy person as Betty!  Then I found the orange – PERFECT!  It added just the "oh-lay-la" (as Betty would say) that I was looking for. 

Two of my fabrics were directional and two weren't so that worked out fine. After working out the fabric locations and sewing the 9-patch the next step was to cut the block across the middle, left to right, and down the center, from top to bottom.  What fun!  I'm a bit of a rule follower so cutting up a perfectly good block seemed a bit naughty to me ;o) 

9 patch layout

Cut up the block
Next I rotated the non-directional (upper right and lower left) blocks 180 degrees and sewed the block back together. 

Rotate oposite corners

Sew them back together
I just love how complicated this block looks compared to how easy it was to make. I'll bet if you use all non-directional fabrics you can get some beautiful combinations. 

I was reluctant to use black in the blocks because I felt it would be too dark.  "Dark" is not a word I would ever use to describe Betty!  By reserving the black for the border it gave just the right effect next to the orange framing.  

Here's the finished top. I just LOVE it!  I'm sending it out next week to be quilted so stay tuned for the finishing touches.


Minka's Studio said...

Hi Glad,
I'm enjoying reading about your quilts and how you processed the decisions. Very nice job....and the story about the cats is funny! You'll have to share the details some time.LOL!

Minka's Studio said...

Back, again, today. Thanks for explaining the disappearing nine-patch. I've always wondered what it was.