Figure 1: Construction diagram and complete block
Figure 1: Construction diagram and complete block

Johnnie in the corner is a simple nine patch. I will admit that the name of the block caught my eye was someone called Johnnie sent to sit in the corner? We will never know.

Nine patch blocks work best with numbers that divide into three easily, 6 or 12in for example. There are three elements to this block. The corner squares on point, the squares split into rectangles and the centre square.

If you are using the same fabric throughout the quilt you could piece two long strips together for the rectangles and then cut into squares the right size. Care must be taken to keep the seam straight when working with long strips, as the edges can be stretched whilst you are sewing and the block will not have a straight seam.

For beginners, the diamond in the square is often the trickiest part of this block. You may find it easier to cut the triangles slightly larger and sew to two opposite sides of the square. Press open and then sew on the remaining two triangles.

Using a square ruler, make sure you leave 1⁄4in seam allowance or you lose the points and trim to the right size. Another method which uses slightly more fabric is to cut the corner square the same size as the centre square and then put small squares on the corners and sew on the diagonal,fold over to the back and press. You can trim away the excess fabric. Once you have made all the component parts, piece the block following the diagram shown in Figure 1.

Figure 2: Blocks in edge to edge layout
Figure 2: Blocks in edge to edge layout

Here are the cutting sizes for a 12in block.

  • Centre square 4 1⁄2in
  • Rectangles 2 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2in
  • Square on point 3 3⁄8in
  • Corner triangles 2 7⁄8in

If you look at Figure 2 showing the edge to edge layout, you will see where the block gets its name. The diamonds in square blocks meet at the corners and four of them together become the focal point.

Figure 3: Changing the individual blocks adds interest
Figure 3: Changing the individual blocks adds interest

Add interest by changing the colours across the quilt top. As this is a simple block to draw you could make a doodle pad and colour it in different ways. Dont forget that fabrics will look different to pencil or pen colours.

You can also see that the rectangles join to become squares if the fabrics are the same, creating the impression of rows of stripes with four little squares on points in between them. By playing around with colour choices a circle can appear behind the centre square as well.

For a slightly scrappier look, blocks can be made with the centre squares and the light colour the same in all blocks, changing the other sections in each block. Figure 3 shows the effect of using a sashing that matches the centre square. This pulls the design together and stops it looking too unstructured.