Lets get started on a block!
Start out by cutting 5 strips 9 inches by 1 1/2 inches from your background and from a colored fabric. Cut one strip 9 x 1 1/2 from your focus fabric. You will also need four 3 1/2 squares of your background fabric.
Sew a colored strip to a background strip. Since these strips will finish at one inch each, now is a good time to check your seam allowance - two strips sewn together will measure 2 1/2 inches across. If yours don't measure up, you need to adjust your seam allowance so it does, or you will have problems with your block finishing at the correct size.
Add another colored strip on the other side of the background strip (press seam allowances toward the outside strips) You will need two of these strip sets for the edges of the unit.
Sew a background strip on either side of your focus fabric strip. Press the seams toward the center. This will be the center of the unit.
These three strip sets should all measure 3 1/2 inches across.
Lay the center strip set right sides together with one of the edge strip sets, nesting the seam allowances. Cut five 1 1/2 strips from these, keeping the pairs together for easy sewing.
Sew these pairs together, then cut the remaining outer strip set into 5 more 1 1/2 inch strips. Add to other side of center strip to complete your Nine Patch Unit
Lay your nine patch units out with the background squares to create a complete block
Sew together and press seams toward center of block:
Here it is - looking good!
Here's how the block looks in a quilt, alternating with plain blocks:
Lots of negative space in this quilt for quilting! I wish I had a picture of the raffle quilt to show you, but that quilt was made long before I had a digital camera - but picture this with lots of beautiful applique over the top and you can get the idea.
I hope you enjoy making this block - and I am looking forward to sharing three more blocks using the nine patch units - I think it's a great way to add a spark to a block!