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3 Kinds Of Disappearing 4-Patch

Summary

Have you ever wondered how many different kinds of "disappearing" 4-patch exist? I think there are at least 6! Here are 3 to start you off!

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3 Kinds Of Disappearing 4-Patch

Coming across a new kind of "disappearing" 4-patch, I wondered how many different kinds there are. It wasn't easy to count because so many came with a "twist", but I think there were at least 6! Here are 3 to start you off!

3 Kinds Of Disappearing 4-Patch

 

The 4-patch is one of the first blocks taught to new quilters – a classic block for children sewing their first quilts. In its traditional style, it is composed of same size squares stitched together the same way, making it an easy first step. Using the 4-patch as a fundamental block, a quilter can then move on to a disappearing 4-patch or even a double 4-patch.

 

There are just three basic principles to making a disappearing 4-patch:

  1. Make a 4-patch. Most patterns recommend two pairs of squares: one light pair and one dark pair.
  2. Cut the 4-patch up.
  3. Rearrange and reassemble the pieces.

 

The first disappearing 4-patch I learned was called "4-to-9" by the teacher. In this photo, you can see how to cut with your ruler. This one calls for you to cut 1.5 inches on each of the 4 sides. However, there are endless variations because you may cut 1 inch, 2 inches, etc., as you wish.

cut

 

HINT: If you have a rotating mat, it is so much easier to cut the 4-patch because you can turn the mat and keep your fabric in its original position. This helps to keep the cuts true on each side. If the fabric separates, you will not get pieces of the same exact size, throwing off your block.

 

When you rearrange the pieces around the new center 4-patch, you achieve a totally different look.

to9patch

 

The second type involves making 2.5 inch cuts, but you make two of them first, and then two more after the first.

2.5inch

 

When these are rearranged, you get a totally different look from the 4-to-9 block because of the way that these squares are re-sewn, you must square up the block after it is sewn back together.

2.5 finished

 

The third method is called "Windmill". It is a twist, because to make the blocks come out, you need to make at least two 4-patches and swap some of the pieces.

windmill

 

When you mix these disappearing 4-patches with plain fabrics, with each other, with blocks of different sizes, or blocks within blocks, you have almost infinite ways to create a quilt pattern.

 

What's your favorite 4-patch?

 

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Glossary

Block
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
Ruler
A heavy plastic measuring guide that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
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