Four-patch and nine-patch blocks are basic units for building thousands of patterns. As the names Indicate, four-patch blocks are constructed from four separate units, nine-patch from nine. They can be combined into double-four patch blocks, sometimes referred to as sixteen-patch blocks, or into a double nine-patch, which contains nine discrete compound blocks. The blocks’ primary units can be plain squares or rectangles, or combinations of shapes such as four triangles joined to make a square. The plethora of patterns breeds an almost infinite choice of design possibilities, and fascinating and unexpected secondary patterns frequently spring to life when blocks are joined together to make a quilt. Nancy Pettway’s original geometric pattern is just such a combination of forms. With subdued colors, she produces a beautifully restrained quilt that even manages to incorporate small nine-patch blocks.


  • Title: "Sampler" medallion
  • Creator: Nancy Pettway
  • Creator Lifespan: b. 1935
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Creator Birth Place: Gee's Bend, Alabama
  • Date Created: 1968
  • Location Created: Gee's Bend, Alabama
  • Physical Dimensions: 78 x 68 in. (198.1 x 172.7 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: Gee's Bend, Black art, African American art
  • Type: Quilt
  • Rights: © Nancy Pettway / Photo: Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio
  • External Link: https://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/artist/nancy-pettway
  • Medium: Cotton

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