Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday - nine patch quilts

I started quilting in 2001 when a friend dragged me along to a patchwork class at a local shop. Soon afterwards I joined some online quilting groups including one
"Southern Cross Quilters" especially established for quilters in Australia and New Zealand, or for Australian and New Zealand quilters who were living overseas. So many online quilting groups were (and still are) dominated by quilters from North America, especially the USA. This group was to cater for the Australian and New Zealanders.

Part of what was offered were online swaps and block exchanges. The swap that was particularly for newbies like myself were the 9 patch swaps. Each month there was a theme or a particular colourway for the swap. We would send our blocks into the swap hostess and she would divide them up and send them back to us. I can't recall how many we were allowed to make but I know it was carefully done so that they would fit into an A4 envelope and qualify for the large letter rate.

I participated with great enjoyment in these swaps over many many months. The different themes meant that I had to go shopping for fabric because as a newbie quilter I dind't have a stash to draw from. I loved getting the parcels in the mail and seeing the array of blocks and the ways other people had interpreted the theme. The trouble was I was busy making the blocks and was accumulating quite a stack of them but I wasn't actually making them into quilts. Eventually I decided that rather than making these 9 patch blocks I really needed to make quilts so I stopped being part of the swaps. I intended to rejoin once I had made up some of my blocks but some how I never did.

I don't recall all or even many of the different themes that we had but some I do recall were Christams, music, jewel tones and sewing related. I recall these because the quilts that I made from these blocks I still have or I gave to family and I have photos of them.

There may have been more than one Christmas themed swap or else we were allowed to make extra blocks or I made extra blocks for myself. I don't recall but I do know that I made two small lap quilts as gifts. ONe was for my mother and father and the other was for another couple I called Mum and Dad. They were my Sydney parents when I first went to live in the city to attend college. They belonged to the church I attended and each Sunday night they hosted dinner before church for the youth group of the church. At one point I dated their son, until we both realised we were just good mates and not at all romantically inclined towards each other. (we still are mates although we don't see much of each other)

My Mum and Dad with the Christmas quilt I made for them

Gotta show you the back too

Mum and Dad K's Christmas quilt

Mum and Dad K's quilt with grand daughter Leah

back of Mum and Dad K's quilt

The musical blocks I was making in to a quilt at the time my middle son, Kombi Boy was learning the saxaphone in the school band. He decided that the quilt must be for him as he was the musical one. Not sure how he came to that conclusion as both his older siblings Fangirl and Massage Man were also in the high school band. Later his younger brother was also in the band. In fact the other 3 stuck with their music for far longer than he did. Whatever... I was pleased that he was showing an interest in what I was doing and he scored the lap quilt.

I had intended to make a cover for my sewing machine out of the sewing related 9 patch blocks but the sewing machine had a good hard cover so it wasn't needed. Later I got another machine that was a good bit larger and I have now got an even bigger one so I am glad I never made a cover for the first machine. Instead I made a bag to carry my cutting mat in. I still use it frequently.

Some of the other blocks were made into baby quilts for my great nieces and nephews and my cousin's grandchildren.

They eventually all got used. The nine patch swap was a good way for me as a beginner quilt to start to get involved in the wider patchwork community. It was a long time before I joined the local patchwork group and my support and education came from the online community. I was more meticulous when making blocks for swaps, correcting any split seams of flip overs, squaring up the blocks carefully, making sure my seams matched. It was a great way to hone some skills

Quiltin Jenny


  1. Good ol' nine patches. Such a great block in so many ways. Love seeing the old photographs!

  2. I'm so impressed that you made so many of these into actual finished quilts. Is that a thing now? LOL!

    Thanks for linking up!