Free quilt pattern: Disappearing Nine Patch Flower

September 28, 2021


For decades, quilters concentrated on putting single patches together to make complete quilt blocks, then set the blocks into a quilt. Somewhere along the way (perhaps when rotary cutters came out) a clever quilter wondered, “What would happen if I put a block together, slice it up, twist it around, then sew it back into a single block again?” And just like that, new blocks like the “Disappearing Nine Patch” were born!

APQS Dealer Julia Graves of Leesburg, VA, wanted to design a pattern that looked complicated but was simple and fast to make. She’s been intrigued with the Disappearing Nine Patch block and its many variations for quite some time, so it inspired her to create this vibrant “Disappearing Nine Patch Flower” quilt.

While using the computer program Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8) to twist and turn the block’s sub-units using various color combinations, she hit upon a center block with color rounds echoing out from the middle. As she played with the colorations, a flower design emerged! Even though the block unit is easy to make, it’s challenging to determine which way to press the seams so they nestle together. Never fear—Julia has included easy pressing instructions that will ensure your block is accurate and flat!

Julia’s quilt uses scraps from the same color family for her flower petals. But as a bonus, her pattern includes instructions on how to make a quilt using the same fabric for each color, along with optional color layouts for inspiration.

To fit into the floral theme, Julia used her APQS Millie to quilt flower petals into the red, orange, and yellow sections of her quilt, and stitched leaves in the green sections. She used Superior Threads’ Fantastico thread for rich variegated color, along with high loft polyester batting to produce wonderful quilting definition.

Though she could have used the same fabric for each color “round”, the scrappy fabrics add depth and richness to her quilt. Like many quilters, Julia has a hard time cutting into her beautiful yardage. Instead, she often finds herself working from her scrap bins. She took a class with Joen Wolfrom on color, bought her color tool, and then went home and sorted her fabric into light, medium and dark tones in 24 different colors, corresponding to Wolfrom’s tool. Julia learned a lot about color through this exercise and ended up with a fabulously organized stash to boot!

She’s also very thrifty. She said, “I acquire most of my fabric at quilt guild sales, quilter’s yard/estate sales or on the guild’s free table. Therefore, I have a lot of older fabrics or toned (grayed) fabrics. People don’t often willingly offer up their bright happy fabric. But the toned fabrics have the superpower of making the bright fabric look even brighter.” In fact, a friend of hers once told her that Julia makes the most beautiful quilts from the ugliest of fabrics! Her biggest coup was an estate sale selling fabric for $5/bag. By carefully folding, she was able to fit more than 20 yards of quilt shop quality fabric into a single plastic grocery bag – that’s 25 cents a yard…and she filled 10 bags!

The most rewarding part of her quilting career is being an Artist in Residence at Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar and being invited to teach there in 2022 (COVID forced cancellation of the 2021 event) where she’ll teach a class called “Amazing Abstracts.”

As owner of Special Occasion Quilts, she quilts for others and makes commission quilts, art quilts, and lots of charity quilts. Julia also teaches long arm and piecing classes and speaks at guilds and quilt shops. In addition to being an APQS Dealer, she is an APQS Certified Technician. Check out her website to learn more and visit her online store for more quilt inspiration and class information.