I wrote this tutorial in February of 2008 and it is still the most popular post on Just Pure Lovely, bringing in a lot of new readers. It's crazy that I could help anyone out, as I was a brand new quilter when I wrote the tutorial. It's even crazier that I was brave enough to write it. Here you go:
Project: A Tutorial for the Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt Top
First, select your fabrics. If you're like me, the decision takes a while, so just hang fabric swatches up like laundry on a clothesline, adding one/taking one down every time you walk by until you notice that you're not taking any off anymore. That's what I do.
Or you could be less indecisive and just go to the fabric store and choose quickly.
Cut the fabric into squares. I cut 4" squares, but you can choose another size. I forgot to take a photo of the little squares. Sorry. You can imagine 4" fabric squares, right?
Arrange all of the pieces in the order you find most pleasing. Indecisive person that I am, I spend quite a while turning the squares, adjusting, counting (oops, I mentioned math again), and worrying over them. This time, our 10yo daughter said, "Mom. It's fine." And I said, "I'm obsessing again, aren't I?"
Add embroidery (if you like), batting (if you like), a backing fabric…then machine or hand quilt the piece. Then bind the edges as you like.
I've loved embroidery for years, so hand quilting is appealing to me. Blissfully ignorant of any quilting rules (there are some, right?), I am freehand-quilting, going in a square here, creating a little trail there, making tiny plus (+) signs there. I know I have much improvement to make in my stitches, which should be even & tiny and not wonky & big like they are. In embroidery, we don't deal with such thick layers.
Here's a peek at the quilting and embroidery progress so far: