Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Perkiomen Valley Patch

South 40, designed by Lynne Hagmeier
83" x 83"

A few weeks ago (April 25) I showed Lynne Hagmeier's design for a reproduction quilt in the split nine patch pattern.

Above and Below:
Split Nine Patch variations, about 1910 from online auctions
The example below is a Barn Raising set.
[and, as Veridian pointed out in the Comments: It's a 16-patch not a 9-patch!]
This pattern traditionally was a regional pattern, found from about 1880 to 1940 in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania they called it the Perkiomen Valley Patch. (The Perkiomen Valley runs through the northern corner of Montgomery County and portions of Berks, Lehigh, and Bucks Counties.)

It's a clever version of a simple nine patch that is shaded half light and half dark and can then be set in any of the log cabin variations like Straight Furrow, Barn Raising or Sunshine and Shadow like Lynn's. Notice how the antique quilt above has a row of three yellow triangles---an interesting variation.

Fire and Ice by Nicki Listerman, 2009
Like Nicki,  you can go way beyond a simple Barn Raising set.
Both Nicki and I asked our sewing group, the Sew Whatevers, to make us 9-inch split nine-patch blocks from white shirting prints and red and black. Nicki kept on going, making her own blocks.

I made a miniquilt out of mine and appliqued in the white area.

Red Bird, White Snow by Barbara Brackman, 2005

Nancy and Donald Roan of the Goschenhoppen Historians are the experts on the pattern in Pennsylvania. Read more about the Perkiomen Valley Patch in their book Lest I Shall Be Forgotten: Anecdotes and Traditions of Quilts.

Here's another version from an online auction. It looks to be about 1900-1925.

See several antique quilts in the International Quilt Study Center and Museum collection by clicking here on the search page:
Go down to Advanced Search and then below that Primary Pattern.
Pull down the menu and click on Split Nine Patch. Five examples from Jonathan Holstein's collection will come up.
Hope all these scrap quilts inspire you.

[They changed the link at IQSC last week. The one in the post right now works.]


  1. I was just thinking about this pattern this morning!! I will have to get a copy of the Roan's book - one I don't have yet. I like the ones with a bit of blurring between light and dark, such as the one with the barn-raising set.

  2. PS. I looked carefully at that quilt again with the barn-raising set. I think the block used is a 16-patch block - interesting.

  3. Half dark, half light blocks like this, 9 or 16 patch or more, or log cabin blocks, can be put together so many ways, and the 9 and 16 patch blocks make wonderful scrap quilts. I love the last one, but would mke a couple of changes!

    Judy B