Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Case of the Disappearing 4-Patch

This really is a post about a Disappearing 4-Patch block, but I couldn't resist making a mystery out of it by taking liberties with the cover of The Secret of the Old Clock! I discovered Nancy Drew books when I was 10, and my friends and I pretended to be the characters in the mysteries. I sold chicken eggs to buy the newest books at the tiny bookstore in my small town. And to this day I get a thrill of excitement when I see those old book covers. My favorites were The Password to Larkspur Lane and The Whispering Statue.

Since I first started quilting I've been fascinated with "disappearing" 4-patch, 9-patch, and 16-patch blocks and their many variations, so this "disappearing 4-patch with a twist" on Pinterest was hard to resist. I found the tutorial on the blog of What Comes Next?. I decided to try my own tutorial, but you can refer to the original tutorial if you get confused. Click on the pictures for a closer look.

Contrasting colors work best. In keeping with the "mystery" theme, I chose two light and two dark 5-inch charm squares from Moda's Get A Clue With Nancy Drew collection.

Sew 4-patch together as normal

Place a mark 2 inches from each of the 4 corners

Using the marks as a guide, place ruler as indicated and make diagonal cuts as pictured.
A rotating cutting board is helpful!

The cuts will yield pieces like this

Here is where the "twist" comes into play:
In the upper right corner, switch "a" with "b"
In the lower left corner switch "c" with "d"

Now take the center piece and give it a turn

When the "twists" are completed, your sections will look like this

Each 3-piece section is sewn together

The three sections are sewn together, matching the center seams

Trim the block

My block finished at 8 inches square

You can use different sizes of squares and also make your diagonal cuts at measurements other than 2 inches. The variations are endless!

I am sharing this post with Val's Quilting Archives and Life a Colorful Life Really Random Thursday.

Val's Quilting Studio


  1. I've been looking forward to your post ever since your photo on IG! What a great block! I've experimented with Disappearing 4 Patch blocks, but not like yours. And I was the same with Nancy Drew stories when I was little! I've never forgiven my mom for selling my Nancy Drew book collection at a garage sale when I was in college. Lol!

    1. I'm sorry it took so long! I got side-tracked, as usual. ;) Oh how I wish I still had my Nancy Drew books too!

    2. PS I forgot to say how impressed I am with your tech skills, to make that book cover look like it was real!!

  2. Great tutorial. I can't resist a mystery either. Nancy Drew wasn't my go-to series. I did read a lot of them though! Thanks for the share!

  3. This is a great tutorial Lynda! I had never seen disappearing 4 patch before and I really like it! I am going to try this! What size were your four original squares of fabric? I am sorry to say I don't know the Nancy Drew books but they sound a lot of fun! Christine x

  4. What a great tutorial...thank you. You've made it look so easy. You must be thrilled that you found the Nancy Drew material, a step back in time for you. You can chuckle each time you look at your quilt.

    1. Thank you so much Dawn. :) Yes I love that fabric - someday I'll make myself a little lap quilt with it.

  5. These kinds of patterns are always intriguing to me, but I've never tried one. Thanks for the clear tutorial so I can see how they work. I got a real kick out your Nancy Drew book cover and how you used the matching fabric.

  6. Oh what a fun fun post. I so remember Nancy Drew...was I the only one that wanted to be her?? LOL!! I like your block and am so glad you found us at Tuesday ARchives. Welcome LInda!! V:)

  7. Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Elizabeth Enright's Melendy Family were among my favorites. I am thrilled to see that they are being reprinted for today's readers. Of course, fabric designers are smart to create fabric with all the things that we Baby Boomers grew up with. They know!
    Your take on the disappearing four patch is really interesting. I like the diagonal cut and the different look of the block. Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. Oh yes, George and Bess! I forgot to say that I love the new profile pic you have on your page. It is adorable.

  9. Oh thanks Bernie - you are so sweet. I love that pic too - it was on our 45th anniversary. :) We need to get ourselves a selfie stick!


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