Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Dancing Nines Pattern Time!

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I know you’ve waited so patiently for this…I really needed the quilts to be FINISHED before I could post the pattern.  It’s just the way things work around here, if it is not a finished quilt, the pattern will wait until I’ve gone through everything so I can write the instructions in the way that I made the quilt.

And these quilts have been a long time in coming, as they started as Leader/Ender Nine Patches that really didn’t have a destination plan!

Often when I don’t KNOW what quilt I want to make as a Leader/Ender I just stockpile PARTS.  Four Patches & Nine Patches are one of those things that I can always use…I can vary the size, I can vary the coloring, and they will always go SOMEWHERE.

These 9 patches were made with 2” squares cut from recycled plaids, stripes and prints and sewn together with no attention paid to what was light or dark, just sewn randomly in between the lines of working on other projects.  I pinned them into groups of 10 so I could keep track of how many I needed.

When I needed two baby quilts to be done AT THE SAME TIME, it was these 9 patches just waiting for a project to give them life that called to me.

And those of you who have followed along will remember that it was a kismet moment – these 9 patches include fabrics from my grandfather’s shirts.  The baby quilts are for his great-grandsons.  It’s a heart swelling realization of how families continue to grow.  We are connected!

So let’s start!

You can use ANY fabrics for this quilt – don’t limit yourself just because I used plaids.  Go Brights!  Go Batiks!  Go novelties!

Nine Patches:

I made my 9 patches as Leaders & Enders from 2” squares, but you can easily strip piece the 9 patches as shown:

9patches 005

Sew random scraps into sets of 3!

How many strip sets?  It depends on how long your strips are. What matters to me more is how many sections I need from my strip sets.  For this quilt you need 68 9 patches, each with 3 sections for a total of 204 sections.  Just Sew and Sew – and come sew some more if you need to!

9patches 009

Here’s the kicker…You may want to cut, sew and press the 68 CENTER sections first, pressing seams toward the center square ---cut 68 sections that will be your centers.  The remaining 136 sections will be sewn to either side of the 9 patch center…press these sections with the seams going outward toward the two end squares as shown. This way all seams in your 9 patches will nest.

Be sure to test your 1/4” seam!  These 9 patches will measure 5” square and finish at 4.5” in the quilt.  Make 68 nine patches.  64 will go in the quilt center, 4 will be border corners.


From sashing fabric cut:
64 rectangles 1.5” X 5”
64 rectangles 1.5” X 6”.


Sew the shorter rectangle to the right side of each 9 patch, and press seams toward the rectangle just added.

*HINT* if these rectangles are too long for your block….your seam allowance was too wide when sewing your 9 patch units!  FIX IT!!

Rotate the block and join the longer rectangles as shown to make 64 block quarters.  Press.


Rotate the block quarters Make 16 blocks!  Press!
Blocks will measure 11.5” and finish at 11” in the quilt.


Full Quilt Layout!

Lay out the blocks as shown…there is no rotating of blocks, they are set side by side by side all facing the same direction.

Inner border:

Cut 5 1” strips across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage. Join the 5 border strips end to end with diagonal seams to make a strip approximately 200” long. Trim excess 1/4” from seams and press seams open.

Lay the quilt center out on the floor, smoothing it gently. Do not tug or pull. Measure the quilt through the center from top to bottom. Cut two inner side borders this length. Sew the inner side borders to the quilt sides with right sides together, pinning to match centers and ends. Ease where necessary to fit. Press seams toward the borders.

Repeat for top and bottom inner borders, measuring across the quilt center, including the borders just added in the measurement. Cut top and bottom inner borders this length. Stitch the top and bottom inner borders to the quilt center, pinning to match centers and ends, easing where necessary to fit. Press seams toward borders.
dancingnines 001

Outer Border:

Cut random scraps into 2” strips. Sew together into sets of 3 pressing seams to one side. Sub-cut the border panels into 5” units. Join units side-by-side arranging scrap colors in a pleasing manner. You will need about 360” of piano key border. You will need 4 borders, each 30 strips long.
dancingnines 003
Any short ends of strip sets got cut at 2” for MORE scrappy 9 patches!
dancingnines 007
Adding the borders on my treadle machine!
Add the side piano key borders to the quilt, pinning to match centers and ends, easing where necessary to fit.  Press seam toward the inner border.

Add the 9 patch corner bocks to each end of the top and bottom borders.  Join the top and bottom borders to the quilt, pinning as above ---and press seam toward the inner border. 
Stay stitching a bit less than 1/4” away from the edge of the quilt top will help keep those piano key border seams from popping open, and will be covered by binding after quilting.
dancingnines 027
Dancing nines were quilted in an antique gold colored thread with an edge to edge design called Deb’s Swirls by Deb Geissler!
dancingnines 030-001
A blue check binding finishes off the edge – PERFECT!
These quilts will soon be sent off to my two new nephews…as soon as I find out what their names will be so I can add that to the label!  The sooner they tell me, the sooner they get their quilt….deal!

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  1. Bonnie,

    Those two quilts are fabulous - lucky little no-name nephews!

    Have a WONDERFUL time in Ireland, land of most of my ancestors, bacon, Guinness, soda bread etc. etc. and it looks as though you have struck lucky with the weather. You are just too jammy for words.

    Love from sunny(!!!) England,

  2. Dancing Nines is the perfect name for this sweet pattern. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I'm looking forward to making this quilt as an enders/leaders project. Happy travels!

  3. Anonymous7:39 AM EDT

    Been hoping you would post Dancing Nines. Terrific easy pattern, but looks much more complicated.

    Have fun on your journey!
    Smiles, JulieinTN

  4. Love them Bonnie, and thanks for sharing. You are the best... Have a great time in Ireland. One of these days I am gonna have enough saved to go on one of those trips. Millie

  5. Thank you for your wonderful gift of this pattern. It is so appreciated! Have a wonderful trip!

  6. Thanks so much for the pattern--it will be my next leader/ender project. If mine turns out half as nice as yours, I will be thrilled! Hope you enjoy your trip.

  7. First thing - have a great time in Ireland! I love the new pattern and I am not being critical but doesn't it require 64 nine patches for the center and not just 32? The pattern is certainly going in my stack of patterns that I go to when I am looking for a way to use up scraps. Thanks for all your great patterns.

  8. Thanks for the pattern and the print friendly. I've been admiring this pattern since you first showed it. Great one for my bucket list! Have a great time in Ireland, oh how I wish I could have joined you!

  9. Hi Bonnie: Hope the flight to Ireland was OK. 2 years ago yesterday my Dad passed away and during the next guild retreat all I wanted to do was "busy sewing not requiring ANY thinking". I always cut all my scraps into 2 inch squares and keep a basket each for light and darks.....by the time I emptied the baskets I had made 136 16 patch squares.....and now I know what to do with them! It may be a while before I can face working with those squares but when I do I will send photos.
    L in Kamloops, Canada

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this. Our guild recently had a sew-in and most of us spent the day "Bonnie Huntering" our scraps.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. People ask what I do with my tiny (1 1/2") pieces. This would be great for that, too. Leaders and Enders forever!!

  12. Bonnie, since I started quilting 3 years ago I have read many instructions. I am very frustrated with magazines and the short descriptions. You have spoilt us with pictures and concise directions. Yours are the very best. Amazing that you found the time to document. Thanks for all you do for us quilters. Enjoy Ireland!

  13. Thanks for sharing this pattern! Your so awesome! I really love this pattern, the quilts came out great and I especially love the fact their grandfather's shirts are part of the quilt! Lucky babies!

  14. Bonnie Dear, have a glorious time in Ireland! And thank you so much for sharing this adorable pattern with us. I've watched these quilts come to life via Quiltcam and they're simply wonderful. It's fantastic that these little boys will have their great-granddaddy's shirts covering them.

  15. Thank you for this pattern! I have been anxiously awaiting it - my 2" strip drawer is CRAMMED full and needs a project! What lucky babies to have some of great-grampa's shirts in their quilts - that is beyond special.

  16. Well worth the wait. I had just come to the conclusion that I needed to make a scrappy quilt with all my leftovers. This pattern is perfect. Thank you so much, especially for the motivation.

  17. Thank you for posting this pattern. I just found out that I need two baby quilts, one for a great nephew and one for a great niece. This will be perfect! And Bonnie, thank you for including the pdf patterns. I do print these out and take them to retreats that do not have great internet access.

  18. Hi Bonnie !
    I'm so glad you posted this quilt pattern, I joined a online group for 2020.
    ( One nine patch a day ) Dancing Nine patches will be one of the patterns I will be making with some of the 365, nine patch blocks, I'm sew Happy Thank's


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