Barbara Brackman calls these Unequal 9-Patches because each corner unit counts as one and the center bar counts as the third patch on each side. This means the edges are still divided into three, but the corner squares are larger than the center bars. Other authors call these Five or Seven Patch blocks because the edges can be divided by five or seven, and the corners are frequently Four Patches of some kind.
Let’s look at a very simple Unequal Nine Patch, Churn Dash. This block has twenty-two names, two of which are Monkey Wrench and Bride’s Knot. Looks a lot like the Hole in the Barn Door from Part 1, but the corner patches are larger, with a small center square. So what size should you make your patches?
Let’s say you want to make this block in a size that is NOT divisible by three, a 10″ block, for instance. Remember, we are talking about FINISHED sizes here and this is an Unequal 9 Patch. So the corners could be 4″ Half Square Triangles and the center would be all 2″ squares. (4 x 2 = 8 + 2 = 10)
What about an 8″ block? Doing the math, it does not work with this design, because the corner patch has to be divided in half to make squares. If you use 3″ HST x 2 = 6″, that leaves 2″. 3 ÷ 2 = 1-1/2. So that is not a workable design for an 8″ block. You could make the center bar from TWO rectangles, 1-1/2″ x 2″, with a 2″ center square, that would work. That gives this block a new name, Grandmother’s Choice.
There is NO “quilt law” that states you can’t change elements in the block to suit your needs.
Let’s look at a Bear’s Paw block. The pieced areas in the corners are, in reality, Nine Patches. If you count the same size squares as they appear at the edges, it is evenly divided by 7, but that center bar (made up of a rectangle and square) could be larger or smaller, depending on the size block you want. It does not have to be the same size as the finished triangles, as we have seen from Grandmother’s Choice. They can be whatever size you choose, as long as they remain proportional to the block.
Let’s say you wanted to use an Unequal 9-patch with 4-patch and 9-patch block types in a quilt. Simply change the size of the center patches to make an Unequal 9-patch.
For instance: In a 12″ Handy Andy block, the triangle divisions would be 2 1/2″ each; the setting strips and center square would be 2″. In a 9″ block, the four divisions could be 2″ each and 1″ for the center setting strip.
OR If you wanted to make a 9″ Bear Paw, make each division of the paw 1 1/4″ and the setting strips 1 1/2″. These are the finished sizes we are talking about, you still have to add the seam allowances to cut the squares. It always makes sense to do all your math with the finished size of the blocks and units. The seam allowance will then be uniformly added to all sizes.
Anyways if you have something you would like to say about all of this just drop me a line in the comments section.